Wicked Channel had the opportunity to interview author CJ Patton about her new book The Cutting Edge: Philosophy of the SAW Films.Â CJ Patton delves into the deeper meaning of the Saw series and comparing their philosophical concepts to the views of many philosophers throughout history. The book also examines the primary characters of the movies and includes a comprehensive index of the infamous Jigsaw traps. You could also see CJ on the floor of your local Wizard World ConÂ as she enjoys cosplay.
WickedChannel â€“ Tell WC readers about yourself.
CJ Patton – I’m a very busy person all the time because I hate being bored. I’m studying philosophy of film in graduate school, which is really fun, but exhausting. On top of that, I write a whole lotâ€”fiction, non-fiction, poetry, screenplaysâ€”whatever I’m in the mood for. I’m also very into photography, so I can usually be found carrying around my camera and taking pictures of everything that I find fascinating. I frequently go to anime, gaming, and comic conventions in costume. I enjoy working on film projects, usually within the horror genre. I listen to a lot of metal and progressive rockand I feel that my music collection has frequently become the guiding force behind a lot of my creative projects. I’m also very into health and nutrition. In order to do all the stuff that I do, I have to be at the top of my game so I make sure to eat right and exercise. I also practice mindfulness and meditation as a way to help me get through my busy days. That’s me in a nutshell.
WC – I am exhausted just reading all that! When did you learn to meditate? What type of meditation do you practice? I looked into TM and was shocked at the price to learn from a qualified teacher.
CJP – I learned to meditate when I was thirteen while I was at summer camp. Because I live in the city, I usually practice mindful meditation because it helps me deal with the variety of different and colorful sounds I hear on a daily basis. Sometimes I focus on counting or my breath. If I’m having trouble staying present, sometimes I’ll focus on a particular sound or object. Classes can be ridiculously expensive, so I haven’t bothered with them. If you practice for long enough you figure out what works for you!
WC – You said you listen to metal which is great to hear as Fearshop carries the metal flag also. Who are some of your favorites?
CJP – I would say my all time favorite metal band is probably Satyricon. I’m also a big fan of Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Lamb of God, Amon Amarth, Kittie, DevildDriver, Maximum the Hormone, Children of Bodem, Lacuna Coil and Kamelotâ€¦ This list could go on for a long time.
WC – How did you like Wizard World Philly?Â We were only able to make it Sunday but got some good deals.
CJP – I loved it! I was running around with my camera all weekend in my Flashpoint Joker cosplay, taking pictures for Wizard World’s website. I got to meet some amazing people, bought some props for my Joker costume, and went to two awesome panels. I will definitely be back next year.
CJP – This book is for anyone who loves the SAW series. There was so much more to the series than bodies being ripped apart and I think a lot of fans realized this. I also think this is why the series was so successfulâ€”it was entertaining while leaving the audience with thought-provoking questions. I set up the book as if Jigsaw sat down and had a conversation with a diverse group of famous philosophers. This â€œconversationâ€ brings out what was so special about the SAW series.Â I cover a wide variety of philosophical concepts, from Jigsaw’s view on living a happy life, to existentialism, morality, utilitarianism, and many more!
WC – What made you write about the Saw movies?
CJP – I didn’t start watching the SAW movies until October, 2006 when SAW III was in theaters. I was going through a very hard time when someone invited me to see the movie. I was immediately blown away by the message and the clever twist at the end.Â This movie made me rethink a lot about my life and my situation at the time. In some ways, this movie was my trap. The first time I saw it I covered up my eyes at the first hint of ribs being pulled out or a foot being smashed into a bloody pulp, but by the end of the movie I got the point and I feel that the movie actually saved my life. In the fall of 2008, I was in my sophomore year of college and I declared myself a philosophy major. At this time, I realized I had to write a thesis during my senior year. I decided to take the opportunity to show everybody that there was something fundamentally good about the SAW movies and that’s when I made the first outline for my thesis. In December 2010, I finished my thesis on the SAW movies. This year I decided to turn my thesis into a book. SAW continues to be sentimental to me, even to this day. I couldn’t not publish a book about it.
WC – That is a pretty amazing story. Will you publish your original thesis somewhere in the new book The Cutting Edge: Philosophy of the SAW Films?
CJP – The book is essentially an expanded version of my original thesis. When I wrote my thesis is was actually too long for me to hand in, so I had to start taking out all the parts that weren’t completely necessary. Now that it’s a book, it says everything I had to say in the original thesis and more.
WC – The Saw movies get a tad convoluted, especially when you go a year or more between seeing them like I did. When we did a Saw retrospective for our podcast and watch them all within a few days you get a totally different perspective on the series. Did you find that to be the case?
CJP – Since 2006, I don’t think I’ve gone a whole year without watching the whole series at some point. I can understand why it may seem a bit convoluted with too much time in between. There are a lot of characters and a lot of flashbacks. It can be hard to follow if everything isn’t fresh in your head. However, I do not recommend watching all seven movies in one day, as I have done on numerous occasions.
WC – What about other horror? Are you a big fan of the genre? (If so what are some of your favorite horror books/movies/comics?)
CJP – It’s my favorite genre of everything. I have an H.P. Lovecraft anthology, which I have been trying to work through, but it is very long! I will watch just about any movie based on one of his stories.Â My favorite is Beyond the Wall of Sleep. Some other horror movie favorites are The Collection, Suspiria,Tucker & Dale VS. Evil, Evil Dead 2, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, House of a Thousand Corpses, The Descent, and Event Horizon.I also love to play horror survival video games like the Silent Hill series, Resident Evil series, Haunting Ground, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and Fatal Frame.