What is it about chainsaws that make us so excited? It’s the ideal killing tool that drives the movie into a much higher realm of chaos and suspense. Think of 1984’s Gremlins when Billy Peltzer is going after Stripe in that Montgomery Ward store. Up at this point, Billy has already set fire to the movie theater and the horde of Gremlins are dead. Then we are given one of the best final monster battle scenes. This is like playing a long ass video game and demolishing every enemy but then having to fight the boss on just two bars of health!
At first Stripe toys with him like a slasher does before making a kill. Stripe then throws circular saw blades at him, pegs him with baseballs from a pitching machine. Then Stripe shoots Billy in the arm with a crossbow! It’s like Stripe is a video game character like Link in Breath of the Wild and he’s magically pulling these things out from his ass! Billy avoids the second arrow and Stripe runs off… and everything is quiet. But then we hear the revving of a motor and there appears Stripe holding a chainsaw! Stripe laughs and sprints for Billy with this awesome trailing shot. We see the horror on Billy’s face and feel exactly how he feels because of that chainsaw… it brings everything to an entirely new level. Stripe reigns down on Billy in total delight. Of course, if someone had just fucked up my entire family then I would have done the same thing!
You see, that is another thing about a chainsaw being used as a weapon. It matches the hostile emotions that come to a person. Think about when you play a video game and have an array of weapons at your choosing. You could pick the hand gun or maybe go with the automatic rifle. But damnit, you’re a pissed off Gremlin that just lost his awesome family while watching Snow White! The weapons you choose are the representation of the anger and fire deep within your heart. You can’t just end this person with a simple shot to the head or slash to the neck. They have to feel the effect of your rage and what better instrument best illustrates that internal struggle? The chainsaw is the thing that makes it all crystal clear. It’s like Harry F-ing Pussy Potter finding his wand! You and the weapon have to synch together and create some sort of gross orgasmic reaction. Just look at that face of Stripe! All that hatred, pain and anguish is brought out in this beautiful machine!
This is high definition horror battle climax and all Billy has to defend himself is a wooden baseball bat! Now, granted Stripes chainsaw is an electric one and everyone knows they’re not as powerful as a gas powered one. Regardless, it’s still a pretty uneven and terrifying matchup. The only thing that keeps Billy from biting the big one is when the lights turn on and cause Stripe to abort his chainsaw murder. That chainsaw is the icing on the top of the cake of suspense. Kind of like raising the mindset and cruelty of the Gremlins to a much harsher tone.
Two Instruments of Destruction
The best is when you get a balls to the wall fight between two badasses wielding their very own instruments of destruction. The revving of two ferocious engines is like a roaring crowd at a boxing match. Clashes of rotating chains causing a rain of sparks is mesmerizing and far out weighs any pussy little lightsaber from Star Wars! This is the climax showdown in a horror film and one everyone is always excited to watch. The reason is because when you have two titans going at it like this, there is only one inevitable end. Someone is going to get f’ed by a chainsaw! There is no coming back because a chainsaw doesn’t cut clean. It’s a mess and always concludes with permanent doom!
Finding Chainsaw Fights
So I thought of great chainsaw battles in movies. Not necessarily moments in movies where a chainsaw makes an appearance but when two dudes actually duel with chainsaws. Today I am going to start with a timeless cult favorite in 1980’s Motel Hell.
Gosh you have to love Motel Hell. It’s one of those films that not many people are aware of and I am sure some think is a rip-off of 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre… and maybe it is but it’s still a great movie because of this scene. I’m not quite sure but this might be the first dueling chainsaw scene ever! If I am wrong then someone please let me know. Regardless, this scene is my first for the chainsaw battle series.
Peripheral Vision & Psychos
You have to love Vincent wearing a decapitated pigs head and I don’t even understand why someone would do this. If I was going into fuck someone up with a chainsaw then I would think having peripheral vision is important. Wearing a dead pig head completely eliminates the ability to see all around. Even Leatherface understood this and made sure his skin mask had decently large holes to see through. But Vincent is bat shit crazy and dawns a pigs head that he looks out through the mouth. Which means he can’t see anything around him! Anyone that has ever held a chainsaw knows you hold it to your side. Imagine holding some skin shredding machine that you can’t see? Vincent has balls dude, big balls! He doesn’t care if he can’t see. He has thought long and hard about this moment and wants this to happen just as much as we do.
I can feel for him, really I can. One Halloween, I was determined to go to work as the grim reaper in a suit and thought how awesome it would be to drive to work in this costume. I was dedicated to spending the entire day as the grim reaper. But I lacked peripheral vision which made things like driving, working on a computer and taking a pee real damn hard. I almost killed myself on the highway and later in the day I pissed all over my pants cause I couldn’t fully see where I was aiming my dingus! It was embarrassing.
But Vincent is amazing. He wouldn’t pee on himself like I did. He maintains focus as he swings that chainsaw at his own brother. His own brother! Bruce can’t truly comprehend what is going on. Maybe the pigs head thing was a good idea cause it kind of puts Bruce in shock a little bit. Which allows Vincent to disarm the 12 gauge from his brother. But the battle rages on. Bruce finally finds another chainsaw because the horror gods deem this a “trope” and all tropes must be honored in horror! The duel begins and Vincent starts laughing maniacally.
Both brothers take lunges at each other and Bruce is getting the worst of it all with a cut arm and some shredded clothing. He swings his blade and it jams into a post. Vincent chops forward at Bruce and doesn’t realize Bruce’s chainsaw is to his right! All because of this stupid pig head! Vincent kind of falls into the blade and it shreds through the side of his body. Ending this notorious battle of sibling insanity.
This chainsaw scene is crazy but the absurdity of this scene and the entire film is it’s main appeal. I love how everything is happening in a pig slaughter room. It’s an ideal ring for this kind of showdown. It has to be cold in there so everything has this shimmering fog to it. It’s all awesome and it can only be perfected with an ending that will leave you in hysterics.
I hope you enjoyed this first post for my Scenes To Be Seen: Chainsaw Battle series! Stay tuned to my next entry coming soon with another battle of insane titans and more chainsaw carnage!