Basically, chainsaws are good. Good here having the meaning of "totally unstoppable weapons of mass destruction." Nothing can stand before their roaring, multi-toothed might; only death awaits any who challenge a chainsaw-wielding maniac.
A favorite tool of horror villains and zombie hunters alike, where they're typically swung like swords. While cool, there are good reasons the chainsaw is not exactly the first choice among melee weapons in the real world; chainsaws are heavy and hard to swing with any degree of finesse, have poor reach compared to their weight, require fuel or an external power source, make a lot of noise, and will tear through the person wielding them just as cheerfully as the intended victim. Either way, expect Gorn. Lots and lots of Gorn. Ohhhh yes!
Chainsaws are also prone to a phenomenon called "kickback" where one tooth of the blade contacts something without cutting it and the resulting shock throws the blade backwards violently, often right at the unfortunate operator's head; obviously, this is all the more likely to happen when they're being used as a weapon.*
In Real Life a chainsaw needs to be firmly and slowly "applied" to the cutting surface to avoid kickback and get any useful cutting from it.
The chain also runs the danger of snapping and whipping the user in the process. Fictional chainsaws also have the ability to start instantly, with one pull of the starter handle, unlike in Real Life where they require several pulls and most models will need to warm up for at least 30 seconds or they'll immediately die when you try to cut something. Most Real Life chainsaws also dull in seconds if they touch anything harder than woodnote Chainsaws with diamond teeth are used for concrete and some use water for cooling and safety purposes, but it's unusual for a non-professional to have one of these. Finally, running out of fuel or suffering a broken chain or clutch will leave the erstwhile chainsaw maniac holding a big, unwieldy and rather useless club.
A common way of playing with this trope is to make a chainsaw part of a Swiss Army Weapon.
See also Vibroweapon, Deadly Disc, Rule Of Cool, Awesome, but Impractical. Compare An Axe to Grind and Sinister Scythe, where other gardening/logging implements are used as weapons.
While the trope name refers to chainsaws, it has mutated to include the use of circular saws and even lawnmowers as well. Both of these obviously have similar problems to chainsaws when it comes to use as weapons.
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Anime and Manga
Buccaneer in Fullmetal Alchemist has a Chainsaw Arm style of Automail, though his is actually more realistic than most examples here in function. It consists of a chainsaw that is part of a larger pincer, and allow him to dismantle other Automail limbs. Furthermore, the chainsaw motor is used to keep the Automail warm and prevent frostbite, which is important given that he works in the far north. Also is likely to be handy what with the whole zombie army that shows up in the finale.
Akutabi Gamma, of Zombie Powder, carries a chainsword as tall as he is. He wields it one-handed. Oddly, he's supposedly one of the greatest swordsmen in the world anyway, which makes you wonder why he needs to carry around an encumbering, gas-guzzling chunk of overkill as well. Outside of the obvious.
One suggestion is that the use of chainsaws in horror films is the reasoning behind the 'truly traditional' comment.
He's also one of a few weapons which can wield themselves by turning part way into their weapon form (he usually manifests his chain to act as armour, cut stuff up with his hands and feet or...as treads to move around with).
Black Lagoon has Sawyer the Cleaner, a chainsaw wielding Elegant Gothic Lolita. To be fair, it's as much a tool of her trade as much as an instrument of mayhem even though she can apparently deflect bullets with it. What's her trade you ask? She 'cleans' up the many bodies that litter Roanapur by making them... More portable. Occasionally when the bodies are still technically alive in order to give the correct impression to the receivers of the bodies in their portable state.
Grell the grim reaper of Black Butler uses one that he supposedly customised himself. Some might say that it conflicts with the "Victorian" setting, but Black Butler doesn't really pay attention to that kind of thing.
To be fair, the word 'chainsaw' is never used, and none of the other characters seem to know what it is.
In the French version, it is.
In Overman King Gainer, the first important weapon King Gainer gets is the chain gun, a chainsaw sword, and gun all in one package.
In the Kirbyanime, King Dedede cuts down a forest with a laser chainsaw.
This is only true in the dub to make it less imitable.
In other words, because of paranoid and over-protective censorship.
Axis Powers Hetalia: America is using a chainsaw for no explained reason, scaring Canada out of complaining about him to his face. He also sported a very Yandere expression with Scary Shiny Glasses. (America didn't mean to threaten him though, he was just being unintentionally scary.)
Saitama Chainsaw Shoujo takes this trope up to eleven with Fumio, a teenage Yandere who learned an American Chainsaw Martial-art from her Texan grandfather. She ultimately faces an Evil Twin of herself who wields an identical chainsaw, leading to a chainsaw duel.
Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka deserves mention due to a bright pink chainsaw named Mysteltainn featuring prominently in the course of the show as part and parcel of the resident Magical Girl's outfit and moveset, including the Finishing Move "Mysteltainn Kick."
Abslom Daak (to a Dalek): Okay, Chuckles, take a look at this chainsword. Notice those nice whirring teeth... and imagine them ripping through your little tin body!
The Savage Dragon The hero, Dragon, early in his series, uses two chainsaws against a (later revealed) brainwashed rat man. The creator, Larsen, said he chose the chainsaws because they look cool. And Dragon could easily survive kickback.
The Tick has the Chainsaw Vigilante, a highly skilled wielder who seeks to humiliate vigilante superheroes back into private life by cutting their clothes off. With a chainsaw.
He's never actually killed anyone with it. He's that good.
Subverted in Saga of the Swamp Thing, when Woodrue attempts to unleash the Green against humanity and wipe out all animal life. The defiant wielder of "Evangeline" is immediately knocked out from behind by a fast-growing root, and the psychotic plant elemental attempts to turn the weapon on Abigail, yet he too is stopped by Swamp Thing.
The 2000 AD series Nemesis the Warlock has a variation in book 9 - having already broken his chainsaw Cheryl, Big Bad Torquemada despatches a henchman to find a replacement. When he returns during Torquemada's battle with Nemesis, it turns out that the local garden centre has sold out of chainsaws - so Torquemada has to make do with a hedge trimmer instead.
In Gekotzt wird später!, Andi uses a chainsaw to top chop the Oldsmobile.
In the Doom Comic the Doomguy, calls it "the Great Communicator" (now the page quote), and promptly communicates to a group of demons his desire to have their guns.
In many versions, the tale of "Little Red Riding Hood" doesn't end with a brave hunter rescuing the ladies, but with a Woodcutter. He's more likely to carry an axe, but in some modern versions he's portrayed with a chainsaw.
In the Jackie Chan Adventures fic Queen Of All Oni, Left tries to use a chainsaw to try and destroy the Dog Talisman (we don't see it, and it fails), and he later uses one to KILL a wolf-squid hybrid.
Averted in the self-parody film My Name Is Bruce. When a rabid fan offers Bruce Campbell a chainsaw modelled on Evil Dead to fight an unleashed god, Bruce is honored but turns it down because it's too damn heavy and unwieldy to use in combat.
A less famous, but still Badass use of this trope is in the Hong Kong film Tiger On The Beat, where the hero and villain have a final kung fu showdown with chainsaws. This is the same movie that had Chow Yun-Fat using a shotgun-on-a-string that essentially let him fire around corners to kill bad guys. Yeah. It's that kind of movie.
Patrick Bateman in American Psycho chases a prostitute through an apartment building in New York City with a chainsaw while naked. The sequence may have been a figment of his deranged imagination. Not only does he kill her with the chainsaw, he drops it on her from several stories up and kills her. Ignoring the fact that most modern chainsaws have a safety on it so that if you let it go, it'll turn off. If you look closely you can see judicious use of Duct Tape.
In the 2007 movie Smokin Aces, one of the Tremor brothers uses a hand-mounted chainsaw during their assault on the Nomad Hotel, with predictably devastating results. He was then hoist by his own petard, so a possible subversion...?
Motel Hell ends with a chainsaw duel between a sheriff and a crazed farmer wearing a pig's head as a mask.
In a case of a victim using a chainsaw against the killer occurs in Maniac Cop 2, where the heroine of the previous entry is thrown through the window of a hardware store by Officer Cordell. Grabbing a chainsaw, she tries to attack him with it but he just nonchalantly grabs the blade, wrenches it from her grasp and snaps her neck.
Another example would be Halloween Resurrection. Sarah gets a few good swings in before it stops working (which is probably justified, since she found it among the junk in the Myers' abandoned garage) prompting her into throwing it at Michael.
The remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003 also has a "chainsaw against the killer" moment, and far more successful; the Final Girl actually manages to hack Leatherface's arm off with his own chainsaw, though she, obviously leaves him bleeding on the ground and runs away, necessitating having to run him over with a car to escape at the end.
Dawn Of The Dead 2004 - painfully subverted during a high speed zombie car chase. One of the characters accidently looses his grasp of the chainsaw, which cuts into another survivor. This causes their getaway truck to topple over.
In Gremlins, Stripe uses a (small) chainsaw from the hardware store to attack the human hero, who fends off the blade with a rapidly-fragmenting wooden baseball bat. Bonus points for awesomeness in that we hear the chainsaw's motor revving up, just before Stripe attacks, and can guess what the little creep just got his scaly hands on.
The Saw films seem to prefer circular saws to chainsaws, with Jigsaw himself being killed by one in Saw III, and William being attacked by the co-worker he'd just gotten scalded to save, who wanted the key buried in his abdominal wall with one in VI, and a tablesaw in Saw 3D.
Subverted in Pulp Fiction, where Butch is choosing a weapon to use to rescue his enemy Marsellus Wallace from the men currently having their way with him. He grabs a chainsaw, and then stops and instead grabs a katana.
The killer in Stage Fright Aquarius manages to kill one victim with a chainsaw until it runs out of fuel.
Subverted in the horror-comedy Black Sheep, in which Henry needs to perform half a dozen steps to get a complicated chainsaw's motor started, only to drop it over the side when the truck he's riding goes over a bump in the field.
Subverted in Mr. Nice Guy, when a Mook swings a big circular grinder at Jackie, but it comes unplugged the instant the thug tries to chase him with it.
The killer in Pieces uses a chainsaw as his main weapon.
Aiko, one of the heroines in the Japanese comedy/horror flick X-Cross uses a rather conveniently placed chainsaw at one point to fight an insane, giant-pair-of-scissors-wieldingGoth Lolita named Reika. Unfortunately, this fails, as she winds up dropping it. She ultimately resorts to torching Reika. Which also fails.
High Tension: Both the killer and the protagonist get a turn with a circular saw.
InEvil Aliens, a combine harvester is a drivable chainsaw.
In the film of The Water Babies, the bill of the heroic swordfish develops tiny moving serrations, plainly meant to resemble a chainsaw's, when he fights or cuts through things.
Stacy, a Japanese movie concerning zombie schoolgirls (or "Stacies") who only seek love and acceptance from the living (despite eating many of them), reveals that the only way to destroy a Stacy is via "repeat-killing," specifically dismemberment. To facilitate this, one can purchase "Bruce Campbell's Right Hand," a chainsaw that fits over the user's right hand. It comes in several different colors, many of them new this season!
In Big Tits Zombie, the main character finds a chainsaw and is so overjoyed, she practically starts crying. The chainsaw even glows. This movie loves this trope so much that the first zombie kill, moments into the film, is a chainsaw attack.
Art for Transformers: Dark of the Moon showed that one of the options for Optimus Prime's weapons pack - an option which was not used in the final film - included a giant, triple-chained chainsword.
In the final battle of The Marine, Rome attacks Triton with one. Triton defends himself with a wrench, which gets sawed in half, but manages to force Roman to drop the chainsaw.
Michael Z. Williamson's novel Better To Beg Forgiveness features, among other equally awesome things, the esteemed yet extremely enraged President Bishwanath of Celedon driving off a mob of bloodthirsty rioters with a chainsaw. Yes. The PRESIDENT.
Possibly one of the very earliest Chainsaw Swords in literature is the Diskos from William Hope Hodgson's seminal 1912 fantasy-horror novel The Night Land. (The hero's survival ration pack also includes literal Dehydrated Water, which if it isn't a TV trope darn well ought to be.)
The Zombie Survival Guide deconstructs this, noting all of the above reasons not to use a chainsaw against the undead, and adding that you're throwing infected bodily fluids all over the place if you do get it to work, and that the loud noise is just going to attract more zombies.
Secret police and Cacticae security in Perdido Street Station carry Rivebows, a large crossbow which shoots spinning chakris (circular saw blades). In universe, the main way to defeat Cacticae (humanoid cacti) is through severing limbs.
Averted in Misery, in which Annie Wilkes is found dead from her injuries and clutching a chainsaw she'd plainly intended to use on Paul Sheldon in the end.
Live Action TV
Double The Fist gives us The Time-Saw, a chainsaw which can cut through the fabric of time and space. Oh yes, Chainsaw indeed good.
Subverted in an episode of Torchwood, where Rhys fires up a chainsaw to take out a rampaging Monster of the Week, only to have the machine die on him at the worst possible moment.
Pizza gives us Bobo, the Ax Crazy pizza store owner who keeps a chainsaw under his counter.
One segment of the multi-part CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode "Toe Tags" showcased both the damage-dealing potential and the dangerous unwieldiness of the chainsaw as a "weapon": The Killer Was Left-Handed, and accidentally killed his friend and himself trying to cut up some furniture to spite his ex-wife. He'd been using a chainsaw designed for righties at the time.
A few Robot Wars competitors employed chainsaws as weapons as did House Robot Matilda (though this later replaced with a vertical spinning disc in the 5th wars), but they were quickly proven to be Awesome, but Impractical as they were largely ineffective against robots with metal armour (i.e. the vast majority!) and, in the case of Matilda, proved to be a critical weakpoint to the likes of Razer.
Tomica Hero Rescue Force gives us the Rescue Crusher Mantis Mode, which, surprisingly, isn't usually used for slicing up badguys.
One episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer had Giles use a chainsaw as an impromptu skeleton key to get into a Haunted House (a demon had caused the doors and windows to vanish). And he was awesome doing it.
Xander:Giles? Everyone, it's Giles! With a chainsaw!
John Woo's TV series Once A Thief (in turn itself a remake of his own movie of the same name) features a 'parody' episode filled to the brim with intentionally absurd situations, one of which involves a lightsaber-style duel involving chainsaws. That's right, complete with clashes and sparks flying and all that jazz. This trooper thinks that particular scene is concentrated awesome.
In the Walker, Texas Ranger episode "White Buffalo", the villain attacks Walker with a crowbar, only to be beaten down with a 4x4. Naturally, while Walker deals with one of his accomplices, he decides that the proper response is to rev up a chainsaw. It doesn't really take.
The penultimate episode of True Blood's second season includes a protagonist attempting to use a chainsaw as a weapon, only to get it hopelessly stuck in a counter-top before it can be of any use.
The History Channel's new show Sliced in which a guy cuts things (pool tables, pinball machines, other chainsaws) open with various saws to see what's in them. Not entirely sure what it has to do with history.
On Home Improvement, Tim and Al take part in a turkey carving competition on Tool Time, and when Tim starts lagging behind he brings out a chainsaw to finish the job.
In the episode "Crush", Justin Gaines uses telekinesis to turn on a chainsaw and throw it at Chloe. Clark Kent saves her in time.
The Burn Notice movie "The Fall of Sam Axe" has Sam use a chainsaw against his enemies by throwing it into a moving vehicle. Considering who plays him, this is a clear Actor Allusion which is only cemented by his follow-up line: "Groovy."
"Malcolm" by the Arrogant Worms that begins as follows:
Billy solves his problems by calling up his Ma,
Heather solves her problems with drugs and alcohol,
Daniel solves his problems with a doctor and the law,
But Malcolm has his own way, and it's better than them all...
'Cause Malcolm solves his problems with a chainsaw, Malcolm solves his problems with a chainsaw,
Malcolm solves his problems with a chainsaw, And he never has the same problem twice!
In "The Curse of Millhaven", by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, the Enfante Terrible protagonist uses a circular saw (close enough) to decapitate a handyman, and then leaves his severed head in the mayor's fountain.
In the song "Break Stuff" by Limp Bizkit, Fred Durst points out that he "packs a chainsaw" and politely suggests that people get out of his way.
W.A.S.P. have a song called "Chainsaw Charlie", which starts off with few chainsaws revving up.
Lead singer Blackie Lawless used to wear various saw blades on his costume in the eighties.
All of the above are beaten by 'The Lumberjack Song' by US rockers Jackyl. Lead singer Jesse James Dupre actually plays a chainsaw as an instrument during the song, including a chainsaw solo. When played live he would chop things up on stage during this number.
M.I.A.'s "Steppin Up" kicks off with a sample of a chainsaw.
Used as an instrument and stage prop by Finnish punk rocker Maukka Perusjätkä.
Miss Construction's "Slaughterhouse"- I bring the chainsaw, you bring the knife. I bring the chainsaw, you bring your wife. I bring the chainsaw, let's have some fun. I bring the chainsaw, I kill the fucking bitch.
Evelyn Evelyn's autobiographical monologue "The Tragic Events of September Part 1" describes how, when the Conjoined Twins were born, the doctor attempted to separate them with a chainsaw, accidentally killing their father in the process.
Warhammer 40000 has the distinct honor of arming several troops in the Imperium, Chaos, Orks and Eldar forces with Chainswords. That's right, Chainsaw swords. In fact, the priests of the Church Militant are often given extra-large chainsaws to carry into combat. In addition, there are the chain-axes wielded by Khorne Berserkers(and sometimes Orks, too). There's not much more terrifying than a squad of 9-foot-tall insaneSuper Soldiers in Powered Armor swinging screaming axes and thinking only of separating your head from your shoulders. The Space Wolves (being something of a good guy counterpart to Khorne) also have Chain Axes, which are even more powerful then the vanilla brand due to the blades being made from kraken teeth. How this works, who knows, but it's awesome.
It's actually explained via fluff; the teeth of the default chain-weapons are monomolecular adamantium. Meaning they're nigh-unbreakable and as sharp as the laws of physics allow. Even a passing glance will turn a large chunk of a living body into ground beef; the reasoning behind this stuff is that they also have to deal with heavily armored super-soldiers in super-suits, alien insects with hides tougher than most tanks, and alien and heretical sorcerers that use raw magic as shields or to craft/enhance their armor. Yes, Warhammer 40K has chainsaws that cut through magic.
Then there's the Banelord Titan, a daemonically possessed Humongous Mecha with a chainsaw fist. There is also the elite Space Marine (Super Soldier) in Terminator armor, a hulking man strong enough to destroy armies, who, yes, is also given a chainsaw fist.
Hilariously in most earlier versions of the Chainfist the Chainsaw blade replaced the middle finger. It wasn't exactly subtle in telling whoever the Terminator faced just how fcked they are. Newer ones either have the Chainsaw slung under the fist or, in the case of Chaos, have two chainsaws completely replace the fingers.
Games Workshop displays a distinct affinity for chainsaws - one of their lesser efforts in the 1980s spun this trope into a (terrible) boardgame.
The chain-axes are an even more bizarre example than the chainsword, because the main point of an axe is to make brutal impacts with the weight of the head, while chainsaws require careful pressing. But the Rule Of Cool is 40K's physics.
Tellos of the Soul Drinkers loses his hands quite early on, and the Healing Factor he picks up when the Chapter begins mutating won't give him his hands back. So what does he do? He attaches chainswords to the stumps.
Ork Nobs take this Up to Eleven with one one-handed chainsaw axe, two two-handed chainsaw axes, two two-handed circular saw axes, and a circular saw bionic hand.
One White Dwarf shows off a customized Ork with a Power Klaw that consists of a single metal blade as the top "finger" and has two semi-circular saws as the bottom "fingers".
The new Ork Deff Dread and Killa Kan kits have at least four different buzzsaws, and a drill.
There's a chainsaw scythe in Necromunda, wielded by the Spyrer Matriarch. Only Warhammer 40000 could take Sinister Scythe up to 11.
attributed to Mad Chainsaw Johnson, Commander of the White Scars
In Rifts, Armor-shredding Chainsaws are a favorite weapon of the chemically-augmented Juicer Warriors.
Thanks to the Mega-Damage combat system, those chainsaws CAN slice through a tank. The fact that the preferred model among Juicers has teeth virtually honed to the molecule, and that your average Juicer can bench press a grown bull, may be a factor in this as well. Anti-tank chainsaws wielded by suicidal-steroid-freak-supersoldiers are not among the top 40 weirdest things in Rifts. Which tells you something of what you need to know...
And while the books note that strictly speaking a chainsaw isn't a very practical weapon even in the hands of a colossal Juicer or Titan Juicer (that is, while stupidly deadly, they're still extremely clumsy in use), they admit that the potent symbolism and intimidation factor is the real reason they see widespread use among Juicers; entire Coalition brigades have run in terror at the sight of a mere handful of chainsaw-wielding Juicer shock troopers.
In Unknown Armies, melee weapons deal +3 damage per quality they have—sharp, heavy, and/or two-handed. Among the examples mentioned, chainsaws give a + 9 damage bonus in melee, the highest in the game. As do katanas.
There is a Chainsword (a unique magic sword that's a cross between a sword and a chainsaw, described in DRAGON Magazine #132) in AD&D.
Cyberpunk 2020 has the Husqvarna Chainripp - a chainsaw which you can install into your bionic arm.
Dragonmech, a steampunk take on a d20 fantasy world, has as part of the new "steam tech" chatterswords, which in addition to 2d6 damage can inflict a bit more damage later on as the victim's own movement rips open their wounds. Then there's the terrifying buzzaxe, which does 2d8 damage.
Exalted characters are well known for their daiklaves. How do you go one better? With a chainklave. It's not just a chainsaw sword...it's a magical chainsaw sword about the size of a man. Unsurprising, really, since Exalted actually has a Rule Of Coolgame mechanic.
The Alchemicals have the Gyroscopic Chakram, the signature weapon of the Thousand-Wounds Gear Style. It can only be described as the bastard offspring of Captain America's shield and a table saw.
A canonical form of chainklave, the autoklave, appears in the appendix to Shards of the Exalted Dream. Apparently they're popular in, surprise surprise, Autochthonia, as well as every Shard except Burn Legend.
Averted in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG. They do acknowledge the desire to use them given their prevalence in horror movies, and they deal great damage, but they are dangerous. If you roll a Critical Failure, you'll hit yourself.
Mutant Chronicles, has a chainsaw attachment for various firearms called a "Chain Bayonet." There's a picture of one on an Ahhnold-style Minigun that might as well have the word manly stamped on it.
d20 Modern has the Decapitator, which is essentially a Vorpal Chainsaw, and the Chain Saw of the Psycho, which is an enhanced-damage weapon that inflicts negative levels on good-aligned users.
In GURPS chainsaws do more damage than any other melee weapon. Unfortunately, they're terribly difficult to use.
Both versions of The World Of Darkness grant chainsaws terrible accuracy penalties... but if you can land that hit, they deal great damage.
Even Dungeons & Dragons has gotten in on this trope. With the second Adventurer's Vault sourcebook, anyone who wields a Heavy Blade, Axe or Polearm can find a Fleshgrinder version, a demon-developed magical weapon that the text and sidebar make clear is a chainsaw-bladed version of the greatsword, battleaxe, scythe, glaive or whatever's appropriate.
Call Of Cthulhu gives a chainsaw the equivalent of an impale (where a stabbing weapon hits something vital) but in this case it removes a limb.
Shadowrun doesn't list chainsaws among its normal weapons, but a note in the Breaking and Entering gear section says that you can use a chainsaw in close combat, and it deals horrific amounts of damage, but it is extremely unwieldy.
In 3rd edition, the Cannon Companion included chainsaws, and, oddly, it was roughly comparable to a katana in terms of general damage output. Looks like katanas really arejust better.
Hong Kong Action Theatre lists the chainsaw as just one of the Improvised Weapons a character can wield. It does a fixed 100 points of damage rather than being reliant on Muscle like most other melee weapons, but it's also got the biggest Speed penalty out of all the weapons of the game, meaning you're not going to get a lot of Actions with the sucker. But if you want to recreate the final showdown from Tiger On The Beat, what's stopping you?
Mekton represents this with the Armour Piercing upgrade. The standard Saw item has a low Weapon Accuracy, to represent its clumsiness. However, the weapon construction system in Mekton Plus offers no obstructions beyond price/space considerations to building a chainsword that could be used by a particularly agile Impossibly Graceful Giant for fencing.
In Battlemachines chainsaws are one of the satisfyingly destructive weapons that you can arm a mech with. This is taken to new heights with Carman Skiric, whose personal mech has no less than four chainsaws, and if he hits with one of them, the rest will hit automatically.
BattleTech and Mech Warrior Dark Age allow players to field IndustrialMechs that use civilian gear as weapons. The Forestry and Logger Mechs carry what can only be described as giant Mech-scale chainsaws, which they can use very effectively for cutting down trees or carving up opponents. Said saws are the size of the host Mech's leg. Just have a look at the thing.
In Paranoia, the standard peripherals for docbots include surgical chainsaws. Please hold still, citizen.
Even Cirque du Soleil's Mystere plays with this trope for laughs. Brian Le Petit tries to get a man out of a wooden crate with one. The pompous emcee stops him; Brian begins to shoo him away with the threat of a Groin Attack — and then the power runs down and he can't restart it in time.
Halloween Horror Nights at the Universal Studio parks go all out with this trope. HHN Orlando has the long running Chainsaw Drill Team who roam the park grounds scaring guests while HHN Hollywood has the pigmasked lackeys from Saw performing the same function and running visitors out of the park at the end of the night in the "Chainsaw Chaseout". They also appear in the hands of the "scareactors" in their haunted houses.
In Resident Evil 4, there are chainsaw-wielding Ganados that can kill Leon in one hit. (Though it is worth noting that there are many things in RE4 that can kill Leon in one or two hits, especially during boss battles.) Capcom clearly thought the chainsaw was so cool that the limited edition RE4 game controller was a chainsaw, even though the player never uses one in the whole game. Moreover, one piece of official artwork◊ shows the player character being killed with said chainsaw.
Just for overkill, the Waterworld level in the Mercenaries mini-game features an exclusive enemy who wields a duel-bladed flaming chainsaw and swings it around nonstop while advancing at decent speed, which will automatically decapitate your character at any opportunity.
Chainsaw-wielding enemies also return in Resident Evil 5, and while they are still lethal, there's a chance that they may just deal high damage to the player instead.
Resident Evil Revelations has Scagdeads, bloated, two-headed (more like two-mouthed, really) Ooze with a giant buzz-saw in place of its right arm. Although its standard swinging attack isn't a one hit kill anymore, it does possess an instant death attack where it will grab the player by his/her legs and then brutally grind them to death on their buzzsaw. This attack has a quick animation windup and is always fatal, even with full health. Despite not being electric or having any machinery in their bodies, the Scagdeads's saws sound like electric buzzsaws.
This doesn't stop the Comms. Officer-turned-Scagdead from asserting his humanity, which would be funny except for the extremely creepy way he says it.
Fallout has the Ripper, which is another version of the chainsaw sword, which is used one-handed. In the third game they even name one 'Jack'. It's very... effective, as the trope implies.
The Pitt DLC adds the "Auto-Axe" (with its own unique variants), which scales things up to industrial strength.
New Vegas has a plain ol' chainsaw, which is, somehow, an amazing weapon for stealth kills.
They can't hear you sneaking up on you over the TERRIBLY, TERRIBLY LOUD SOUND OF A CHAINSAW.
Lonesome Road, the DLC expansion of New Vegas, adds the Industrial Hand, a cross between a buzzsaw and a Power Fist.
Dead Space also has a weapon called the Ripper: it takes it up a notch by being a buzz saw that projects a spinning blade about a foot in front of it. It can then shoot the blade at a distance.
Gears of War features the chainsaw bayonet. Interestingly, while it is as lethal as one might imagine — essentially an instantaneous kill for the poor bastard on the receiving end — it takes time to rev up.
In Yume2kki, the colloborative fan tribute to Yume Nikki, the player character Urotsuki's choice weapon is a chainsaw in supplement to Madotsuki's knife in the original game.
In Doom, the chainsaw replaces your fists as the Emergency Weapon once you find it, and works quite well as a way to save ammo when dealing with lesser enemies.
Extremely Bad Ass doomers are known to complete the game without using any weapon other than the chainsaw and, when absolutely needed, the pistol. This is known as Tyson style, preferably done on ultra violence (UV Tyson). 2005:7 The COMPET-N has demos of all four boss levels from the original Doom being played "Tyson" style, with only the fists. The Cyberdemon can be punched to death, but it takes patience, dexterity, precision, strategy, and a very long time (28 minutes 10 seconds is the record). The two Spiderdemons can be lured into being killed by other monsters.
Doom's successor, Quake, doesn't give you the chainsaw, but does give the weapon to the Ogres as a melee weapon against you.
The Quake II Mission Pack Ground Zero introduces the Chainfist, which can kill an unarmored player in one or two swings and has unlimited ammo.
While the chainsaw was eventually reintroduced in a number of quasi-official mods for Quake, the default melee weapon in Quake III Arena was the gauntlet, a wrist-mounted circular saw. Along with Quake's nailgun, this raises the question of which powertool Id will weaponize next.
The game would yell "Humiliation!" to all players whenever someone scored a kill with it.
The chainsaw makes a return in Doom 3. It's one of the best weapons to use when you're in Berserk mode. As to why there are chainsaws on Mars, a log you can read in-game mentions a delivery error. Somewhere on Earth is a group of lumberjacks wondering what to do with their shipment of jackhammers.
The chainsaw in DoomRL not only does a whole whackload of damage per strike, it's apparently Good enough that picking it up for the first time gives you a free Berserk Pack effect.
Unreal Tournament paid homage to Doom with the pickup message: "It's been five years since I've seen one of these."
Heretic features the Gauntlets of the Necromancer, functionally identical to the chainsaw of Doom, but made more practical by the limited number of enemies that possesses ranged attacks. When powered up using a Tome of Power, not only do they rip into enemies with red magical lightning, they also vampirically heal you.
.hack//G.U. has angsty Anti-Hero Haseo Dual Wielding short swords (some which are mini-chainsaws, some have spikes on them), a Sinister Scythe and, because he is cool enough, a big Chainsword. In fact, he tries to be so cool he cuts off an opponent's head during a skirmish. That all happens in the Virtual World, so he can do it as many times as he wants with impunity. It's just a game after all.
Phantasy Star Online has a hidden weapon known as the Chain Sawd, which is a lightsaber-toothed chainsaw BFS. In practice it's not as effective as the trope would indicate, but its HP-steal special, along with the fact that it IS still effective in combat, mean it has a lot of fans.
In Dead Rising, although it's one of the best all-around melee weapons in the game, being incredibly powerful without the extreme clumsiness of weapons like the sledgehammer, and possessing dangerous 360 degree spin and charging attacks, the chainsaw is too heavy and clumsy to store in your inventory, has to be started up before use, and its fuel supply only lasts a fairly short time after starting. The game also features a smaller, slightly weaker, but far more portable version . . . which, barring the Infinity+1 Sword, is commonly recognized as the best overall weapon in the game.
While there is a slightly more powerful weapon than the small chainsaw in Dead Rising, it suffers from Breakable Weapons just like everything else; however, the game's durability increasing power-ups for weapons can be applied to the small chainsaw more than any other weapon in the game, turning the small chainsaw into the game's Disc One Nuke (relatively speaking, since the game's still crazy hard even with this exploit).
The sequel takes this further, with a zombie-killing reality game show were the climax involves riding through hordes of the undead with motorcycle-mounted chainsaws. And that's just at the beginning of the game. You may later have double chainsaws◊ mounted on a kayak paddle (which is just the cover art example).
In the Fighting GameTime Killers, the 21st-century fighter Rancid uses a chainsaw as a weapon.
The chainsaw weapons in Silent Hill are generally useful weapons . . . except they're all New Game Plus-only. One thing many gamers seem to forget about them is that you don't actually have to swing it, just rev it up - the monsters will ignore this completely and kill themselves on it.
Unless said gamers are playing Silent Hill 2, in which case their memory is spot on; James holds the chainsaw off to his side until he swings it, making it useless when stationary.
Wild ARMs 4 has an anti-tank chainsaw. Considering it shreds a train cart to itty-bitty pieces and overkills your characters many times beyond their max Hit Points, it likely does what its name implies. It avoids the usual depiction of the chainsaw though; the character that wields it is one of the slowest bosses in the game, and he needs to waste one turn to start up the chainsaw every time he uses it.
Heavy Metal FAKK2 lets Julie wield the mighty chainsword. Unfortunately, you can't use it with the game's Dual Wielding / Guns Akimbo system. Plus, the damn thing gorged fuel like crazy.
The chainsaw found in Serious Sam has its fuel problem Handwaved by the existence of an advanced fuel cell. There is also a type of enemy mook that uses chainsaws.
The Assault Blade weapon in Super Robot Wars Original Generation is a Humongous Mecha-sized Chainsword. Quite a number of mecha feature it as a weapon, even the cute Elegant Gothic Lolita Fairlions. In the Original GenerationsVideogame Remake, Ryusei uses the ART-1, a mecha armed with chainsaw tonfas. In MX, the Garmraid has buzzsaws for knees.
In SRW Z, the Gunleon carries a pair of chainsaws on its shoulders, which it can use in combat to brutal effect, as demonstrated when, upon scoring a Dynamic Kill with them, it stabs both into the target and then tears it in half. (And this is one of the leastmind-blowing things it does.)
Just in case you missed/forgot it in that surge of craziness there: Gunleon does Chainsaws Akimbo.
Fittingly, one was in an out of the way hick-like town.
While not precisely a chainsaw, the video games Half-Life 2 and Half Life 2: Episode 2 provide a saw blade that can be launched at enemies using the gravity gun, nicely slicing them in half.
The Manhacks (think flying, homing circular saws), which you can grab in place with the gravity gun and slice into enemies with.
In the game Armored Core-For Answer, there exists a number of Arms Forts which act as the main adversaries, which include a six-legged aircraft carrier, a giant hydrofoil...and a gigantic tank named Cabracan that has 4 multi-story chainsaw blades on the front!
The 5th game features the "Grind Blade" a six flaming, rotating chainsaws. Not just any weapon; it is classified as an Overed (Ultimate in the US/EU versions) Weapon, and once activated, completely replaces the left arm and purges the right arm weapon, and one hit will kill any AC it comes into contact with. Steep requirements make this weapon situational at best, but Mech-mounted gigantic sextuple rotating superheated chainsaws!
In Ninja Gaiden II for the 360, one type of enemy is a zombie with a chainsaw for one arm and a cannon for another. Ya rly.
In the old adventure game Maniac Mansion, you can find a chainsaw in the house but there is no fuel to make it run. In Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders you find a can of gas ("For chainsaw use only!") in a locker on Mars as an in-joke, with the player character refusing to pick it up because "It's for another game".
A new class in Atlantica Online uses chainsaws, despite the modern chainsaw not having been invented until the early 20th century — there were chainsaws earlier, but they were quite different from the device we know and love today — and the game seeming to take place in the 19th century at the latest. This only adds to the already bubbling Anachronism Stew of the setting.
The Chainsaw person has ridiculously high stats, save for Dexterity, and can only be made by someone with a level 100 character already made.
Madworld more or less eats this trope for breakfast. The main character has a mechanized arm with a retractable chainsaw built into it. The first miniboss carries a giant dual-bladed chainsaw, which you can pick up as a weapon of your own after you beat the game at least once. Revolving buzzsaw blades are a common environmental weapon. Some of the tougher gangmembers in the Downtown stage carry chainsaws. The Shogun boss uses a Blade on a Stick that consists of a huge staff with two massive buzzsaws at either end. And then there's Kojack, who also has a retractable arm-chainsaw.
This is the signature weapon of Mika from the Daiku no Gensan video game series — better-known in the US as Hammerin' Harry. The manual for Hammerin' Hero even mentions that her nickname is "Chainsaw Mika"... despite the fact that she actually uses a fan in that game. The cover art has a nice picture of her using a chainsaw, though.
There's a chainsaw in Survival Crisis Z. However, it's one of the worst weapons in the game, only slightly above the knife. It inexplicably doesn't require fuel, but it's clumsy, not particularly damaging, and you have to get in close, easily allowing the Infected and zombies to mob you, or counterattack if you don't line it up right. Even low-end guns like the revolver or SMG are better than it if you have the choice.
The latest edition of Sauerbraten replaces the old completely worthless melee weapon with a chainsaw. It's mostly there to serve as your Emergency Weapon in the single-player modes, although it is more damaging than the pistol and has enough range to serve as a semi-useful crowd clearing weapon if you're out of grenades or rockets.
Tetsuya Nomura stated in a recent interview that the original weapon design he showed to Disney for Kingdom Hearts was a chainsaw-like weapon. Upon seeing their scrunched-up faces and the dead silence that followed, he resigned to the Keyblade, thus averting this trope entirely.
Indie game The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai features a chainsaw used like a heavy sword. It's not used to cut through enemies, only to hack and slash at them, though cutting through an enemy is an optional finishing move. There's also an especially relentless miniboss, the Cyborg Pumpkinhead, who cackles maniacally and barrels at you, rapidly and dextrously swinging a very large chainsaw about. He stops periodically to rev it back up again, and that should be the only time a player would risk getting near him, Teleport Spam or no.
In the sequel The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile, Yuki gets her arm cut off early in the game and replaces it with a chainsaw that can also turn into a chaingun or a shotgun. Also, the cyborg pumpkinhead enemy shows up again, this time downgraded to a recurring enemy, but still wielding his chainsaw. Yuki can have chainsawduels with him.
Left 4 Dead 2 features a chainsaw. It doesn't have infinite-use (has a gas tank), but you can just hold the fire button down and walk forward and wipe out everything in your path. The character wielding the chainsaw will also taunt appropriately as they lay waste to the horde. The player will inevitably be cackling maniacally as they do so.
And it does pretty heavy damage to everything. Even a Tank; you can kill him in about 5 seconds if you can stay close that long. And if you still have gas left in it by then.
Not only that, but one of the upcoming "Mutations" to the game involves all the players having no weapons except for chainsaws with unlimited fuel.
Splatterhouse 2 is the only game in the Splatterhouse series to date to feature a chainsaw as a weapon.
That Rick gets to use, in any case. The infamous "Biggy Man" boss from the original game has two chainsaw blades in place of his hands.
There are logger-bot enemies in Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier with chainsaws. A boss, the Uber-Bot 888, comes with circular saws about the size of Jak's torso.
Bayonetta features dynamic, special kills called Torture Attacks. When killing the angel Harmony with a Torture attack, Bayonetta jumps onto its back and produces a huge demonic chainsaw out of nowhere, which she proceeds to cleave the enemy in half with. She then retains this chainsaw as a pick-up weapon. Until it breaks (as all pick-up weapons do), it's the strongest weapon in Bayonetta's arsenal. It'll even cleave apart an Ardor or two in just a few swings.
With infinite ammo and no reloading, the chainsaw in Alien Swarm is a great weapon, especially for characters with a melee bonus. It's also used as a quick way to open doors, essential in Speedruns.
Even if they didn't intend it, the fact that you could murder God with a chainsaw in Square's first Game Boy title is pretty awesome. And some people thought J-RPGs only turned sacrilegious following Evangelion's trend.
In SaGa 2 / Final Fantasy Legend II, the chainsaw, which you can first obtain midway through the game, is an equippable weapon which kills any one mook instantly. Depending on how you plan your stat growth, it continues to be effective all the way to the final dungeon.
In Scarface: The World is Yours, the chainsaw is indeed the most powerful weapon, able to one-hit-kill targets and sever extremities. The same also applies if used against Tony by enemies. Hear a chainsaw? Run. They will catch you and decapitate you faster then you can reload.
In Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga, chainsaws are one of the numerous weapon types.
Armored Core 5 brings us one of the most awesome chainsaws to ever be wielded by a mecha. The most powerful weapon, the Grind Blade, consists of 6 chainsaws that can be positioned either adjacent to each other, or for even more awesomeness and destructive power, in a gatling-gun-like formation. Each of the chainsaws are about as long as the mech's own arms, possibly even longer, and in total, the weapon is able to dish out... pretty large amounts of damage. According to the customization-trailer, it is the most powerful weapon in the entire game, being able to rip apart even the strongest enemy mechs in seconds. But given its sheer size, it isn't the best weapon for all situations, such as dealing with smaller, faster enemies or when you need high speed to evade attacks easily.
The first Hunter The Reckoning game included a chainsaw. It's a terribly devastating weapon and the most effective tool against the Final Boss, but not for the obvious reason: it can cut through the boards over the windows, allowing the sunlight to destroy the master vampire.
Die 2 Nite has chainsaws. They're about as powerful as you'd expect, but come with some hefty drawbacks. First of all, they're an extremely rare item that most towns will be lucky to find a single one in their entire existance. Secondly, they are found broken and need several parts to fix up. Lastly, they have limited uses and need batteries (thankfully, a very common item) to power them.
Starting here, 8-bit Theater has Fighter using the "Glorious Chainsaw Method"; this enhances his swords with "radiant chainsaw auras", which he uses to make short work of some dragons. It's apparently a Shout Out to Exalted.
Fighter: Guys, I ran out of dragon.
Glorious Chainsaw Method: Make your swords become like things unto chainsaws.
The hyper-novelSixgun features Abe Lincoln in a chainsaw fencing match. This is not nearly the weirdest thing going on.
Version three of Survival of the Fittest had a chainsaw in it, which was used to carve up a student in one particularly gruesome scene, but subsequently abandoned.
Version four featured one as well, which ultimately eviscerated the same character who had initially been attempting to wield it.
I Am Not Infected features what, in the first shot, appears to be Paul decked out with chainsaws on both arms. Then it turns out to be a "Chainsawsuit" including the aforementioned arm chainsaws, leg chainsaws, and a back chainsaw. It's awesome.
In Chapter 18 of Shinji and Warhammer 40K, NNHIS shows off several mods for the Evas to the pilots and team, among them the IN HIS Name Prog Chainsword and IN HIS Name Mighty Chainaxe. Need more be said?
In this Muppet web video, a chainsaw is one of the "utensils" the Swedish Chef pulls from hammerspace for carving sapient pumpkins.
Strong Bad actually uses a chainsaw to sing his lullaby to get The Cheat to go to sleep. Also, some of his past jobs for some reason involve a chainsaw, such as being a heart surgeon, a licensed technician, a poultry farmer, and a fireman.
The logo for James Rolfe's Cinemassacre is a combination between a camera and a chainsaw.
And in the zombie episode in s1, Chef wields dual chainsaws.
In The Batman, Batman wields chainsaw tonfas at one point to fight Poison Ivy's plant monsters.
Lilo & Stitch: During Jumba's invasion of Lilo's house, Stitch picks up a chainsaw to fight him off—prompting Lilo to remark, on the phone to Cobra Bubbles, "Oh good, my dog's found the chainsaw!".
Beast Wars' Dinobot has an angular 'sword' that rotates. It's functionally a chainsaw sword, as proven when he used it to cut Inferno from shoulder down to mid chest. Sparks could be seen flying as the sword gradually cut deeper and deeper into Inferno's body!
Played with in American Dad. Francine has a dream sequence in which Stan threatens her with various objects. At first (or possibly second), he chooses a chainsaw. He changes his mind, walks offscreen, then comes back holding a leopard. Apparently having decided this is not threatening enough, he repeats the act, this time returning with a leopard holding a chainsaw.
The antihero of the Madness Combat videos is especially excited by a chainsaw in the seventh installment. This despite the fact that he's a Person of Mass Destruction even without any weapons. Give a chainsaw to someone who can already stab people through the skull with a nightstick from across the room...
In the Live Role Play scenario Final Voyage of the Mary Celeste, Johan Martens (a character on the edge of insanity) has a chainsaw, inherited from his uncle. During the game, it is accessible to the player of Martens - it can be used for various things, including killing people/things/sea monsters. Now consider the fact that another character, who wants everyone on board dead, can make attempts to mind control Martens...
Wrestler Terry Funk had that silly "Chainsaw Charlie" gimmick.
Silly, yes. But then you realize that it's an older, beat up, mentally unstable, drug-addicted guy whose claim to fame is being in some of the most visually gruesome matches in history... And he's swinging a live, revved-up chainsaw as he goes flailing to the ring. More than one wrestler's Oh Crap face was not acting.
Think regular chainsaws are scary? Forget lumberjacks: geologists who collect sectional samples of rock strata use two-man giant chainsaws with diamond-dust cutting edges, that can slice through granite.
That thing over there is a Trencher. They are construction vehicles with giant chain or circular saws. No, you can't have one.
There is a more portable type of trencher that is for digging smaller trenches in softer materials. Used by landscapers and occasionally plumbers. You still probably shouldn't buy one for fun.
The lead singer of the Japanese noise band Hanatarash (known for their live shows involving power tools and on occasion industrial construction heavy machinery) once strapped a buzzsaw to his back, and proceeded to show off the dangers inherent in improper use of such tools by falling over and accidentally almost amputating his leg. He was rushed to hospital and luckily was able to keep the limb.
Bruce Campbell himself says in an interview how much he hated working with the chainsaw in The Evil Dead movies. Not only was it too heavy, which he mentions in My Name is Bruce, but they used tobacco to make the smoke, meaning he was breathing secondhand smoke the entire time and ended each day with a huge nicotine stain on his body.