[Editor's note: pendelton21 tells us his fear of the chainsaw for his Monthly Musing piece. -- CTZ]
If you fine folks would indulge me for a moment, turn off anything you're listening to. Any music, any TV shows, everything; mute 'em all. Alright, now, think about a sound that terrifies you. It could be anything; a horrible ghostly wail, a rusty blade scraping across a wooden floor, Jim Sterling singing Rhianna. Think about that one sound effect that, as soon as you hear it, makes you feel uneasy or restless; a sound that shakes you to your soul.
For me, that sound is this. The sound of a small motor revving up, a blade horribly grinding, flesh and bone being torn apart. Above any other sound, I am deeply terrified of the chainsaw. Whenever I hear a leaf blower, a chill goes up my spine. Walking through Lowes makes me hyperventilate a bit. I can't even watch that History Channel show about loggers. Is this because of a horrible gardening accident I witnessed, or watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the dark when I was a kid?
Now, normally, chainsaws are fun. Honestly, what weapon in gaming is more entertaining to use than this piece of lumberjack equipment? Doom gave us the first use of the chainsaw, and kicked up the power in Doom 64 by giving us a double-bladed chainsaw, perfect for tearing all sorts of demons apart. Gears of War's Lancer is just a wonderful weapon for plowing straight through the face of a close-up Locust. Hell, even FF3's Edgar has an amazing chainsaw weapon I used rather frequently.
While all of these are a blast to use, once you're on the other side of the blade, the chainsaw becomes an instrument of nightmares. At least, that's what happened to me. Let me share with you a few moments of chainsaw-fueled terror from my past.
I had to sit there, while the chainsaw buried its way into Leon's neck, tore through his spine, and popped his head off like it was a grape on a vine. The near-surgical precision of a FUCKING GARDENING TOOL shocked me like nothing I'd ever seen. When the screen read "You Are Dead", I put my controller down, and just stared at the TV for a minute, shaking. I was visibly distraught over how cleanly that chainsaw killed me; I'd never seen anything like it. Not only did it remind me of the trauma ZAMN caused me as a kid, but it showed me, to date, the most vicious death of a character I was controlling I had ever seen.
I stopped playing RE4 for a few days, only to come back and finish it in one sitting, jumping every time I heared that familiar sound. And every time I saw the good doctor, he got progressively harder. Things only got worse when I played the Mercenaries mini-game, only to find a roided-up, double-blade-chainsaw-wielding Salvador waiting to turn my pants a lovely shade of brown. To this day, the chainsaw has terrified me like no other item in videogames ever could, and I don't think that anything ever will.