Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter YouTube Email Newsletter

Who SAW it coming? Saw: The Ride - at Thorpe Park, Spring 2009.

Written by
Published: October 14, 2008 at 11:30 PM

England's Thorpe Park will launch SAW - The Ride, the world's first ever horror movie-themed rollercoaster, in spring 2009. Based on Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures' 'Saw' franchise, SAW - The Ride will put riders at the mercy of the series' master manipulator, Jigsaw.

A 'beyond vertical' drop of 100ยบ from a height of 100ft, will make the ride the steepest freefall drop in the world. Riders will also endure three inversions on this, the park's fourth coaster.

Candy Holland, Creative Director for Merlin Entertainments Resort Theme Parks, is the woman behind the ride and also was responsible for the creative development of Thorpe Park's Stealth ride, Se7en maze, as well as Oblivion and Air at Alton Towers Resort.

The park's official website for the ride is www.sawtheride.com.

Readers' Opinions

From Corey Romberg on October 15, 2008 at 12:26 AM
Hmm I dont know whether to be excited or dumfounded...I think its a little bit of both....I LOVE the Saw movies, so the idea of a ride based on Saw sounds pretty sweet...but this is Thorpe Park we're talking about, not Disney or Universal, so the extent of the theme is likely to be just the marquee of the coaster
From Nick Hutson on October 15, 2008 at 1:51 AM
It will be interesting to see that Merlin/Tussauds do with this ride. They seem to be promoting the theatricality of it pretty heavily (which I love), and the ride's website is stunning.

I don't think the theming will be mediocre - because they have the movie studio behind them. Dark Knight may be like this (I hope not). Merlin knows how to do horror theming - they of course own and run The Dungeons across the UK and Europe; they have the chamber of horrors at all the Madame Tussauds across the globe, and they are getting pretty good at Halloween Events at their parks and properties.

I am sure some sections of the ride will be outdoors - but who knows what they have planned for the indoors section and queue.

I hope they make use of projection technology and have a different experience every time...

But - we can't start making rash observations until we've actually observed anything weakly theme related.

From Mark Walker on October 15, 2008 at 1:52 AM
Yep, I 'Saw' this coming. I been watching the construction for quite a while now and it's shaping up to be a pretty good coaster. However, it's a little on the short side with only 100ft in height and only 3 inversions. The most likely top speed I see will be a good 50mph.


However, if the scenery matches the ride poster, this will be a brilliant ride! I would love to test it out as soon as it opens in Spring!

From James Rao on October 15, 2008 at 8:46 AM
The question begs to be asked: can you make a good ride out of a series of badly acted, badly written, completely predictable, gore-driven movies?

Revenge of the Mummy was not based on the greatest movie series in the world, but Universal turned it into a pretty excellent attraction. However, the SAW movies are just plain lousy, so it will be interesting to see if the ride can rise above the material from which it is drawn.

The website for the ride seems to be very creative, and humorously pokes fun at the over-the-top murder and mayhem of the movies by contrasting the horrible events in the films to riding an intense coaster. "Live your life on the edge or rot in this cell." Kind of funny in a very sick way. Just like the movies, I guess.

Good luck to the ride designers...but I would have built my coaster upon a better foundation. Perhaps the movie SEVEN, which the SAW series tries so desperately to mimic, might have been the better basis for a ride? Especially since the park already has another SEVEN-based attraction during their Halloween festivities.

Only time will tell if this coaster can be a "cut above the rest." But it sure seems like ride designers are scraping from the bottom of the barrel for ideas these days.

From Anthony Murphy on October 15, 2008 at 8:35 AM
I know I am going to get attacked for this, but I was a little disappointed in the Mummy. I thought it was going to be better. Anyway, it is an interesting idea and perhaps will push new ideas for roller coasters. I still would like to see a roller coaster to music (RnR is close)
From Tim W on October 15, 2008 at 1:29 PM
Sounds intense. intense theming intense drop, and overall intense ride. Im sure it will be excellant and well worth a wait!
From Eli Katzman on October 15, 2008 at 2:42 PM
Yeah, I agree, seems pretty intense and awesome, but it's actually not the steepest coaster in the world; Steel hawg, at Indiana Beach, has the steepest with 120 degrees. I'm not sure when it opened, but here's the link: http://www.indianabeach.com/rides/coasters/hawg.php . I assume that saw the ride will be alot like it, just with a 100 degree drop and probably good themeing and good indoor parts. Steel hawg also has 3 inversions, and is also 100 feet high. So, you can expect this.
From Chloe ! on October 15, 2008 at 7:33 PM
I think the roller coaster part of the ride sounds cool. A horror movie themed roller coaster...that's interesting. But i mean how are they gonna make it like saw? That movie is really weird...is's not so scary but its really messed up. Are they gonna put scenes from the movie on the ride or what?
From Sylvain Comeau on October 15, 2008 at 8:01 PM
I think the movies are pretty clever. James, I don't believe for a second that you predicted those surprise endings, or the other twists in the movies. Spare us.
I suppose they could make the coaster sort of look like one of Jigsaw's macabre contraptions. Or maybe the ride vehicles?
From James Rao on October 15, 2008 at 10:56 PM
Clever twists? Maybe I've seen too many slasher films, but there were very few surprises in any of the SAW movies I watched. For the most part, I found all four films to be laughably bad (although, Tobin Bell, the actor who plays Jigsaw, does a pretty good job, given the scripts he has to work with). I am not sure why I keep paying to see them? Peer pressure, maybe? At least I go to the cheap show (SAW V, in theaters this month!).

**MINOR SPOILER WARNING**
To be fair, every once an awhile I did find something mildly interesting in the first SAW movie, but it would soon be tainted by another painfully embarrassing performance (Cary Elwes), another contrived plot twist (are you kidding me, that "dead" body is not just a prop? never saw that coming...hahahaha!), some heavy-handed direction (omg, every gratuitous, grisly, under-cranked torture scene), or a character making yet another incredibly dumb decision ("I don't need this foot to run and save my family, I'll just cut it off and crawl home."). What makes SAW so awful is that it starts with a clever premise and then completely blows it. The sequels were a little better in the acting department, but the stories were just as contrived and Swiss cheese-like with all their plot holes.
**END OF MINOR SPOILER WARNING**

Bottom line, the SAW series pretty much created the slasher sub-genre now called "Torture Porn." I just don't get my kicks from exploitative and manipulative graphic violence. I do like the idea of the SAW movies, with their very smart, deliberate, methodical villain, and his elaborate traps, but the end result seems dumbed down to make a quick, grisly buck. With each iteration (like Halloween, or Friday the 13th, or Nightmare on Elm Street) I keep hoping for it to somehow get better. But alas, so far I have been very disappointed.

(The only thing really good about the SAW movies was the spoof in the beginning of Scary Movie 4 with Shaq and Doctor Phil. Hilarious! They should put that in the new coaster!)

As for SAW - THE RIDE, I am sure this coaster will be fun (most coasters are). I just wish it wasn't glamorizing what I consider a series of very sub par, overly gross, and derivative slasher flicks.

From Joshua Counsil on October 16, 2008 at 1:50 AM
James, I completely agree. Especially disturbing is that some people idolize that Jigsaw freak and feel that what he's doing is righteous. Absolute bull.

Not to mention the franchise sucks. It's not horror, or thriller, or even action. It is, as you so eloquently put it, glorified torture porn. The writers seemed to have put more thought into the traps than into the characters or plot. Albeit the first film has enough in it to keep you somewhat entertained, but the next films are just sickening, leaving terrible tastes in your mouth.

And Anthony, you weren't the only one disappointed in The Mummy. I mean, it was good, but so much of it was cheap strobe effects. But it is a coaster with some good, albeit cheesy, elements. And people rarely care about the theme of a thrill ride as long as it packs a punch. Such is the case with Saw - it's a disturbingly popular franchise, and even if the theming is garbage, a good thrill ride will retain popularity.

From TH Creative on October 16, 2008 at 3:30 PM
"Cheap strobe effects?"

NONSENSE!

The Imothep figure in the first scene is one of the most sophisticated animatronic effects ever designed. The projection elements are spot on. The use of the dead end bug chamber was a first. The rotation of the ride vehicle and linear induction launch (into the screaming head of the mummy) is one of THE BEST effects in the business.

And then there's the false ending with the fire pan and second launch ... extraordinary.

Like 'The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman,' 'The Incredible Hulk,' 'The Simpsons' and 'Men in Black: Alien Attack,' 'Revenge of the Mummy' demonstrates (again) how Universal Creative continues to set the standard for theme park entertainment.

From Christopher Combs on October 16, 2008 at 9:13 PM
Ok last time i checked (refering to some of the last few comments) i thought this was an opinion on the ride idea not the movie.....though seriously "one guy who said the movies were predictable"...seriously--really?!---seriously?!---"completly predictable"?!...and who called it torture porn? the franchise doesnt even have a hint of nudity till the fourth movie.so obviously someone hasnt even seen the movies they are insulting....but really?...predictable?!,really?!. yeah its a horror flick but--you know this isnt a movie site im going to stop....really though?! predicatble?!

anyways.i have to agree with the fact that the themeing will go no further then queue line and the name slapped on the car. most parks dont go that deep with theme other then universal or disney (though some due). but i could be wrong. but a coaster is a good idea...but not the best idea in my opinion. to me the saw movies were about the clever twist and a little bit of the suspense in some scenes (do not quote my movie opionion "movie hater person").i would have really like to see the movie tackled in a different way with a ride. maybe a show (though that could be too graphic). or some type of ride through.but i dont see how u r going to look at the coaster itself be say "hey look.that thing is based on the saw movies" without looking at the sign. maybe its difficult say if the saw movies can (notice i said "can" and not "should") warrant a ride. what can u do with a flick like that in a theme park that could make a decent entertaining ride pertaining to the actual theme of saw and not just the physical aspect of the coaster itself

From James Rao on October 16, 2008 at 11:26 PM
Torture Porn defined: "...if something (text or film) has torture in it because the torture is what is entertaining or interesting about the work, then it is, like pornography, just trash, and watching it is a demeaning and sullying activity...."

I didn't make it up, Chris. Someone else did. David Edelstein, a film critic for New York Magazine. Check the wiki. I am not smart enough (or sick enough) to come up with a term like Torture Porn. But I am smart enough (and sick enough) to be able to predict the "twists" in derivative movies like SAW I - IV.

And in each of my posts, I always got back to the ride. Just as I will do in this post.

If I was gonna make a coaster, I would pick something a little less perverse and a little more scary for my theme. Gratuitous torture is not scary, it is just sick.

I would want my coaster to be scary, not sick.

I would also want to base my coaster on something that will stand the test of time. For example, a little show called the Twilight Zone was first shown on TV back in 1959. It is still a part of pop culture today. It is a franchise that justifies a great attraction like the Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror.

Another little film starring Boris Karloff came out in 1932. It was simply titled THE MUMMY. Since then dozens (if not hundreds) of movies have been made using a mummy as the main antagonist, up to and including the current slate of Brendan Frazier MUMMY films. So we see another example of an iconic franchise deserving of an attraction.

And in 1962, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko came up with a comic book about a lonely teenager named Peter Parker and his super alter ego, Spider-Man. 40+ years, 600 issues, and 2.5 billion in worldwide ticket sales later, Spider-Man is still going strong and is another franchise deserving of a theme park attraction.

Does SAW's moderately sized cult following automatically make it deserving of a theme park ride? Does the $500 million combined worldwide gross for the four SAW movies imply longevity? Do the two sequels still forthcoming mean SAW is now mainstream? Maybe. Maybe not. The real question to ask: do you honestly think anyone will remember the SAW movies 40 or 50 years from now? Honestly? Do you put the SAW franchise in the same category as classics like Spider-Man, The Mummy, and The Twilight Zone? I should think not.

And lastly, Chris, I love movies. I really do. I watch most anything I can get my hands on legally. I have found however, that I just don't like gratuitous torture movies. I prefer my gore when it is off camera, not right in my face. Sorry, I don't like torture films. I especially don't like badly acted, badly directed, and badly written torture films.

That's my bad, I guess.

From Mark Walker on October 17, 2008 at 3:18 AM
Well, one thing I'm sure we can all agree on is that Thorpe Park is a brilliant theme park!
From James Rao on October 17, 2008 at 4:48 AM
And, Thorpe Park needs to have a sister park here in the US, or I will probably never get to ride this new coaster no matter how long and boring I make my comments in this discussion thread! ;)
From Nick Hutson on October 17, 2008 at 4:50 AM
Thorpe Park may have many sister parks in the US, if Merlin buy Busch Gardens et al!
From Sylvain Comeau on October 18, 2008 at 1:03 AM
Spoiler alert spoiler alert!!

You're full of it, James. You're going to try to claim that you guessed that Saw himself was the "dead body" in the first movie? And that you guessed that the cops were just watching a video in the second movie, and that the cop's kid was there with them the whole time? Youre just soo clever you sat there in every movie and said "this is gonna happen, and that's gonna happen" and you were right every time. Oh, b.s. Come off it.

From Jason Williams on October 18, 2008 at 7:22 AM
Sylvain, I agree with you completely.

James, let go of it. These movies are not your style, we get it. I have a solution for you then, do not watch them. This is not about the movies themselves, it's about the ride. Before you go and say 'I go back to the ride in every post', then why do you spend so much time on how 'bad' the movies are? Like I said, let it go. If you want to go discuss the movies, go discuss them where they are the topic. This is about the ride.

The ride itself looks like it should be fun. It will be hard to theme the ride to the movies though. I am interested in seeing how they are able to pull it off and how well they do.

From James Rao on October 18, 2008 at 5:58 PM
(SPOILERS)

1) In the first SAW, I knew the body was important to the finale. I may not have known the specifics, but I knew it would come into play. As the movie went on, I began to suspect the body was someone working for the killer, or the killer himself. I did not "drop a load" when they revealed the big twist, because it was a confirmation of my suspicions, not a surprise.

2) In SAW II, I knew that everything they were watching was a red herring and peripheral to the resolution of the movie.

3) In SAW III, I knew that Amanda was just a pawn, and I also guessed the ending was going to borrow heavily from the movie SEVEN, which the SAW franchise has desperately tried and failed to mimic from the beginning. And it did.

4) In SAW IV, the story and ending were so convoluted and non-nonsensical that there was little to predict. The one major thing I knew right off was that Hoffman was NOT going to be a "good guy" and he would factor into the final resolution in a big way. Which he did as he became the next Jigsaw (in the most ridiculous plot leap of the whole series). However since the movie didn't really end, there was not much else to predict.

(END OF SPOILERS)

There you have it, basic predictions for very basic movies. Furthermore, I have watched a lot of splatter films, and can usually guess when someone is going to jump out at me. The ones that surprise me, are the ones I like.

I think the the films in the SAW franchise are groan worthy. They are very simple and derivative films that use extreme violence and torture to entertain. I watch them because I like horror movies and keep hoping the SAW films will transcend their gore-based roots. As I wrote previously, I do like the premise of the SAW movies, with their very smart, deliberate, methodical villain, and his elaborate traps, but the end result has been disappointing so far.

In my initial post I asked the question "Can Thorpe Park make a good ride out of some pretty bad movies?" Well, we know they CAN make the ride, but SHOULD they make it? Based on that question, I have tried to accomplish two things in each of my subsequent posts:

1) Discuss the merits of making a ride out of a series of movies commonly considered to be Torture Porn
2) Respond to critical attacks against my honesty.

I think I have, as much as anyone on this site, tried to remain focused and on track with my comments. If I have sabotaged this post, then it was not my intention. I do not want to preach or tell anyone how to think. I am just stating my opinion. If you liked the SAW movies, then good for you. Just know, I can recommend a dozen films with far less violence that are scarier, more intense, and less predictable.

Furthermore, I am not squeamish, I do however, wish our society would stop embracing gratuitous violence, especially in entertainment. I like a good scary movie as much as the next person, and there are many alternatives Thorpe Park can use to make a ride.

Finally, I see no reason why anyone would suggest that I am being less than honest about my knowledge of the SAW movies. To quote SAW, "I wouldn't lie to you." (Ugh, Cary Elwes was just awful in SAW - can we not all agree on that point??). Generally speaking, I am not a liar, and I think my track record of fair and honest posts on this site should speak to that point. And I see no reason why someone would think I want to discredit SAW for personal reasons. I gain nothing from the points I am trying to make, and have had to (mostly) defend myself at every turn. I post because I feel very strongly that making a ride based on Torture Porn is a sad statement about our society, and serves to desensitize an already tragically desensitized populace.

Look, we all know that most theme parks try to cater to the lucrative family market. Sure, there are thrill rides that cater to adults and teenagers, but overall, the subject matter has been PG-13 at worst. So, do we really want ride designers to cross the line and begin making theme park attractions out of splatter films and torture porn? I agree that it is not the job of a ride designer to play moralist, and it would be somewhat pretentious for them to do so, however, if SAW - The Ride is successful, then what's next? HOSTEL - The Ride? IRREVERSIBLE - The 4D Adventure? TRAINSPOTTING - A Surreal Train Ride Around the Park? A playground based on the movie KIDS? Once ride designers open the doors like this, we have to worry about what will come next. Well, I worry about it, anyway. And honestly, shouldn't you too?

From Joshua Counsil on October 19, 2008 at 5:35 PM
James, I'm with ya man.

Of course it's worth talking about the film franchise on a theme park site. During the theme park tournament, many people voted based on the ride's icon (Rod Sterling vs. Spiderman, for example). James is simply asking if a terrible franchise deserves a ride. I don't think so.

And for the record, most of my buddies guessed that the body on the floor in "Saw" was alive and was, in fact, the true killer.

If they theme it well, there will be so many disgusting elements that if the curves don't nauseate you, the visuals will. And to coincide with the franchise's "twists", the end of the ride would have to encompass something along the lines of "you weren't riding the coaster, the coaster was riding you".

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Previous article: Universal Studios Hollywood to remain open for Thanksgiving, Christmas



How to save money on a Disney World trip

Saving money at Disney World

Insider's Pick: You can afford that Walt Disney World family vacation of your dreams. Get started with 102 Ways to Save Money For and At Walt Disney World, a great guide to planning an affordable trip to the Vacation Capital of the World. Why wait? The sooner you start saving, the sooner you and your family will be enjoying your vacation!

Get it! In paperback | For Kindle | For iBooks