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Saw Wiki

The key to your freedom...
— The words written on the folder with Art's instructions[src]

The Spine Cutters are a trap from the Saw franchise, appearing in Saw IV.

Design and Function

This trap device was attached to the victim's back with a leather harness. It was an elongated contraption with two pliers at its upper end. These pliers were aimed at the victim's neck and would cut his spine if he didn't follow the orders given to him. (Saw IV)


Art Blank's Test

Congratulations, Art.
— The beginning of Art Blank's tape

Art receives his instructions

The victim of this trap was Art Blank, the former lawyer, partner and friend of John Kramer, better known as the Jigsaw Killer. After surviving his first test in a mausoleum, Art obtained a file and an audio tape with further instructions for another game. Afterwards, his wounds from the first game were stichted up and he was forced to wear the Spine Cutters on his back, which would kill him if he refused to obey Jigsaw's orders. Within the next two weeks, he was forced to prepare a game for Jigsaw, which would focus on Daniel Rigg, an officer obsessed with saving everyone around him, as well as several of Art's own clients. Therefore, he built a trap designed for Brenda, a pimp who he once successfully defended for her crimes. Six days before the game began, he rented a room at the run-down Alexander Motel, which was owned by Ivan Landsness, another one of his clients who he got acquitted of rape three times. During the time of his stay at the motel, he smuggled several components into the room one by one and used them to set up another trap for Ivan.

When the time of the game had finally come, Art abducted his next client, Rex, an abusive father and husband, and his wife, Morgan, who had been violently abused by him over the years as well, at night and took them to one of the classroom at the elementary school. After that, he put a leather harness on them an chained them back to back to a metal column in the middle of the room. Then, Art used a dangerous device, which worked similar to a nailgun, and shot eight long, thin metal spikes through their bodies. While Morgan only received severe flesh wounds, Rex was mortally wounded as the spikes had pierced his major arteries. After that, Art chained a tape recorder to Morgan's wrist which contained the instructions for her test. Additionally, he positioned a chart of the human body in front of Morgan and a wooden chart with the words "Your life is in her hands" in front of Rex and also hung up numerous X-rays of the broken bones and injuries Morgan had received from Rex in the past. Having finished the preparations, Art went on and also set up a test for Officer Rigg, who was planned to arrive at the school shortly after Morgan's test. Therefore, he set up a timer, placed a second tape recorder for him on a table and placed a box with a photo of Tracy, Rigg's wife, behind the body chart. After that, he wrote the words "Save As I Save" on the blackboard and finally left the building.

Art attacks Rigg in his apartment

When he was done, Art abducted Brenda. After that, he invaded the apartment of Officer Rigg and attracted his attention by turning the light in the hallway on and off. Initially thinking that Tracy had returned to give him a final chance after they had a dispute earlier that day, Rigg called for her, but realized that something was wrong when he received no response, but saw someone scurrying through the hallway. Rigg carefully went into the direction where he had seen the mysterious figure, but was eventually attacked and subdued by Art Blank. After sedating him, Art took his unconscious body to the bathroom and placed him in the bathtub. Then, he destroyed the phone and positioned a TV in front of the bathroom door with a video tape that would start once Rigg left the bathroom and would then provide him his instructions. After that, he prepared Rigg's first test in the living room. Therefore, he set up the trap built for Brenda in the middle of the room and chained her to it. Additionally, he placed another TV in front of her, set up another timer and placed numerous photos of the victims involved in the game all around the room. Then, he removed all the knives from the drawer in the kitchen and placed one knife in a small shelf underneath the TV in the living room. Shortly afterwards, Brenda woke up and he told her that the combination to the lock of her trap was written in the trap's gears. Finally, he placed a small box in the apartment's hallway, which contained a written message from Jigsaw and two keys, one of which was for the room with the trap at the Alexander Motel. Having finished all of his preparations, Art left the apartment. (Saw IV)

Art arrives at the plant

Shortly after Rigg's game began, Art arrived at the abandoned Gideon Meatpacking Plant, John's very first building which now served as his hideout. There, he found a room with a large scale in the center of the room. On one side of it was Detective Eric Matthews, who had been missing for the past six months. He stood on a large ice block and was held in place by a chain noose around his neck. Around him were several radiant heaters which caused the ice to melt slowly. On the other side of the scale was Detective Mark Hoffman, Jigsaw's apprentice, who had strapped himself to an electric chair, which was actually without function, and acted as another victim. Apparently, the water from the ice block would eventually flow to his side of the scale, causing him to get killed by an electric shock. Upon entering the trap room, Art pulled a lever next to the door which activated a mechanism above Eric Matthew's head. Mark Hoffman angrily yelled at him and demanded him to let them go. However Art ignored them and instead sat down in front of the surveillance monitors in order to observe Jigsaw's games. At some point after the beginning of Rigg's series of tests, Eric told Art to fuck himself and attempted to commit suicide. Therefore he tried to hang himself with the chain noose around his neck by jumping off the ice block. However Art saved him and placed him back on the block. When he revealed to him that Hoffman would be electrocuted if Eric left the block, Hoffman begged Eric to listen to him. Eric insulted the man but stayed on the block when he went back to the monitors.

Art prevents Eric from suicide

However as the game progressed, Eric begged Art to shoot him as he didn't want to play the game any longer. Therefore Hoffman angrily yelled at him and told him to be quiet. Later on Eric pretended to be unconscious. When Hoffman told Art to take a look at him, Art became worried and tried to wake Eric up. Eric then attacked him and therefore fell off the ice block again. While struggling with him, Art forced him back on the block and told him that he wasn't the one that Eric should worry about. Furthermore he told them that all of them were going to be free if Rigg passed his test, revealing that he was merely another victim on his own. Following the instructions Jigsaw provided for him some time earlier, Art gave Eric a gun and a bullet and told him that he had the choice if he wanted to live or to die.

Art reveals the Spine Cutters

At some point however Art started to become nervous when he saw the mechanism above Eric's head. This mechanism was connected to two large ice blocks attached to mechanical arms suspended from the ceiling. When he saw the chain which connected the mechanism with the door of the room, Art realized that the ice blocks would swing down and therefore crush Eric's head if the door was opened before a 90-minute timer went off. Therefore they had to prevent Rigg, who was on his way to the plant already, from entering the room before the clock expired. As the timer was ticking down, Art, Hoffman and Eric started to panic. Eric yelled at Art and demanded him to tell them who was coming. However Art ignored them and just kept his eye on the surveillance monitors. When he took off his jacket he revealed the trap attached to his body. Furthermore he took out a button and told the detectives that it would free them once the time went off.

Art tries to prevent Rigg from entering

Only minutes later, Officer Rigg finally arrived at the Gideon Meatpacking Plant and reached the room where his friends were trapped. Eric yelled at him not to open the door. Ignoring his warning, Rigg burst through the door with only one second left on the clock, and was shot in the chest by Eric in the process, as a final attempt to keep him from entering. When he opened the door, Art approached him and was therefore shot in the chest by Rigg, causing him to collapse. Moments later, Eric's head was smashed by two large ice blocks swinging down from the ceiling, causing Rigg to fall to the floor, screaming in grief and agony. He angrily yelled at Art as he thought him to be Jigsaw's accomplice. Art tried to explain that he was tested by Jigsaw, and went to reach for his bag, causing Rigg, who thought that Art was grabbing a weapon, to shoot him in the head. However, it turned out that there was no weapon and Art was actually attempting to grab an audio tape. Upon listening to the recording, Rigg finally realized that his test wasn't to save Eric, but to let Eric save himself.

Art is shot by Daniel Rigg

Moments later, Hoffman freed himself from his trap and calmly approached Rigg, thus bringing Rigg to the realization that Hoffman was Jigsaw's accomplice. However, due to his gunshot wound, Rigg collapsed to the floor as Hoffman escaped. He turned around one last time and ended Rigg's game with the words "Game Over" before he disappeared and left Rigg for dead. Shortly thereafter, Rigg succumbed to his gunshot wound. (Saw IV)


Shortly afterwards, the meatpacking plant was found and raided by the Metropolitan Police Department. As the police secured and searched the entire building, they discovered the many corpses of Jigsaw's victims, including Art. All of them were sent to the morgue for their obduction by Dr. Adam Heffner and the traps were sent to the evidence room. (Saw V, VI)