View Full Version : How to wield a chainsaw?

09-22-2008, 03:46 PM
This year our house is located in an old auto-mechanic wharehouse. inside there is a built room that was used for repainting cars. it has a large ventalation, thus allowing us to use a chainsaw inside the house, rather than at the end of it. My room will be inside there, (Toxic Clowns) and they are letting me use their chainsaws inside. we are still unpacking and doing construction, so it will be a while before i get to handle one, but i want to definatly make sure i know what im doing with it before opening.

Ive watched many videos of scare tactics with them, including sliding them on the ground and simple nudges at their feet, but what else can i do? Also, how do i start them on the fly, as well as care for them? I dont want to be repaying for a 150 dollar chainsaw due to improper care. This is my second year with this haunt crew and im very flattered that they trust me with something like this, as it takes years before some houses let their vets touch one. any advice, tutorials, or even a funny chainsaw scare story would definatly help me out.

Jim Warfield
09-24-2008, 07:21 AM
Take off the chain.
Remember the heat factor, or burns can happen.
A spinning sprocket can wrap up long hair quickly.
Fueling should be outdoors, fumes can ignite.
Look into buying the faux chainsaw with a speaker system built into it, cheaper in the long run, probably.
Customers can still get hurt by the metal parts when swung wildly around in a dark room because : Customers are unpredictable
It's hard to see everything through mask eye holes.

It is basically still a power tool, heavy, muscle ripping after time, makes for inaccuracy of control.
I don't use a chainsaw, just the threat and illusion of one, people are entertained, often scared, I burn no fuel doing this.
None of the problems I mentioned can then happen.
I control the light, I control the room, I create "The Moment".
Explore the options.

damon carson
09-24-2008, 01:15 PM
Remember safety first. Indoors your gonna need lighting and not strobe lights. If your swinging that chainsaw around you could easily hit a customer. Dont wear any loose clothing it can get caught right up in the chainsaw. No robes with long sleeves ect. If you got to wear a mask make sure you can see out of it well. If anything wear a good hockey mask or cut the eye holes bigger if needed on a mask . Or just do makeup. That would work even better. Dont touch the customers in anyway . If there told there not gonna get touched thats what they expect. And most of all have fun scaring the bejesus out of everyone!

09-24-2008, 02:15 PM
thanks for the input guys!!

my room will be UV lit, so it will still be dark and i must be cautious about that. I DO plan to wear makeup, as masks tend to bother me and limit my vision as well.
i didnt even realize that a burn could happen from it, so do you guys suggest wearing *tight* fitting wristbands or such to prevent hurting myself?

also, due to me being in a vented yet enclosed room, i will be wearing a painters mask (for effect wise as well as practicality) but do you suggest earplugs? it will be loud for the customers yes, but with me being around the noise for a long period of time do you reccomend it?

Jim Warfield
09-24-2008, 05:21 PM
Just the shrill screaming pops holes in my ear drums.
I wear ear plugs when grinding steel. Most of the time I don't run the same type of tool for anything like an extended period of time, but on my Mother's side of the family degenerative ear bones might be hereditary.
Of course they all lived wel into their 90's, so maybe being deaf is a trade off?
Death keeps knocking on their door and they can't hear it?

09-26-2008, 08:19 AM
make sure you can start the chainsaw in one pull. Practice this until you can.
Plus know how the kill switch works and were it is so you can find it with your eyes closed.

A chainsaw in good repair will start on the first pull once it is warmed up, if it cools off for say 10 minutes it may take a few pulls.

An overheated chain saw is hard to start as well... so use it then turn it off then crank it back up...

People freak at the sound fo the chainsaw starting up more then they do hearing one and getting closer and closer to it.

The reason I say practice is for the following reason, nothing is more lame then a guy coming out from somewhere and pulls the cord and the chainsaw sputters and stops.

09-26-2008, 11:47 AM
There are a lot of things to consider, safety being first. Others who have posted have noted quite a few very valid points. First step, remove that chain!

I'd like to add a little to the list.

Not only can the saw cause burns to customers, it can also give you burns if handled incorrectly. Using the kill switch, as OgeXam mentioned, and turning the saw off in intervals, generally helps keep the saw cool. Using the kill switch also assists in giving you the highly anticipated chainsaw start-up, which as stated, is scarier for patrons than an approaching or already running saw.

Remember, the saw is essentially an extension of your body. No matter the blade length, you are extending your reach by that much. Be fully aware of the patrons, props and walls in your room. Iíve seen chainsaw actors run into walls and props several times (thankfully not at our haunt) because they werenít used to the extra length. Be sure that the saw never comes into contact with patrons. Even getting it close to them could run the risk of staining their clothes with oil or gas.

Chainsaws arenít terribly heavy to carry for a short amount of time, but when you are using them for hours on end, with a full tank of fuel Ė especially if you plan on lifting it, or using it as a weapon and not to cut wood Ė they can take their toll on you. I recommend stretching out a bit before getting into character, so your muscles donít get torn up. You also donít want the saw to get torn up, either, so I recommend familiarizing yourself with all of its parts. Upkeep is important. Become best friends with it and know it inside and out, or know someone who does. Cords tend to break after a while and spark plugs die. I agree with OgeXam again, itís pretty pathetic when this hardcore chainsaw wielding maniac comes out of nowhere to kill you and his saw wonít start, or he pulls the cord out, or he turns it on and the brake is on. Practice, practice, practice.

If you are going to be in an enclosed area, I would definitely recommend ear plugs. Try to tune out the saw and focus on your customers, in case they are too scared to continue, or need to be lead out. Chainsaws are loud to begin with, but to be in a closed room adds to it. Tight clothing and no loose hair. Since your room is UV lit, maybe you could add a little UV paint to a few areas of the saw, so that it shows up better Ė or maybe you donít want it to show up? You may have a painters mask on, but the fumes may still get to you if the room is closed off. Be sure to get plenty of fresh-air breaks and drink a lot of water. The last thing the patrons need to walk in on is "Big-Scary-chainsaw-weilding-serial-killer-who-passed-out-on-the-floor-from-fume-asphyxiation".

Best of luck! And being such a long reply, thatís my 4 cents worth!

09-27-2008, 09:05 AM
Step One: Kick victim knocking them to ground

Step Two: Place foot on screaming victim ( preferably upon back of neck )

Step Three: Give Chainsaw gas

Step Four: Jam that baby right into he back of victim ( Brace yourself this might get messy)

Step Five: carve victim like Thanksgiving Turkey

Finally Step Six: grab a plate cause its dinner TIME !!!

09-28-2008, 09:51 PM
Ive watched many videos of scare tactics with them, including sliding them on the ground and simple nudges at their feet, but what else can i do? any advice, tutorials, or even a funny chainsaw scare story would definatly help me out.

Since you are a crazy clown, you need to be somewhat spontaneous with the saw. Now I dont mean wild by any means. Big safety issues could happen if you're wild.

What I mean is do stuff out of the ordinary- versus a Leatherface character.

One option for instance- as your approaching a group of patrons, you could put the saw at your crotch and thrust with it. As if your trying to have sex using the saw.

To me, as a crazzy clown, you should try to be really scary, and then sometimes really funny.

And I say that cause instantly when a group enters the room, you could tell whether they are easily scared or very hard to scare. So sometimes You should mix up your act a little bit. If you cant scare them, then do something stupid/crazy/funny. To most people that "cant get scared", when you do this they will be entertained and feel they get their money's worth.

Just a suggestion.

Jim Warfield
09-29-2008, 08:14 AM
Maybe a chainsaw costume? The pull/starter cord hangs out from the crotch area.
"You trying to start something?"

10-15-2008, 12:07 PM
My STRONG advice:

Get an electric saw.

They're light (mine can't be more than 9 lbs), there's zero burn risk, and aside from the cord there's really no downside.
You never have to worry about starting it, it's just safety-trigger-VRNNNNNN! All night!

Plus, because there's no real risk of burning anybody. When a group of screamers comes through, I'll just walk around the corner with the saw out (not even on!) and slam it on the wall next to them or even above their heads (they drop to the floor EVERY time). I get the saw RIGHT IN THEIR FACE (again no heat so no burn, and it's not on so no moving parts), I give them not one inch of personal space. I've had people in the corner of my room screaming for up to two minutes without even touching the safety!
Then when they finally get free, I start the saw and the chase begins!

The most important things to remember about acting with a chainsaw are that people are more scared of the anticipation and the build up then they are of the actual saw, and you can't let the saw do the work for you.
Sure, you could just run out of the dark with the saw full on. And yeah, that'll get maybe 40 or 50% of groups a good scare, but why do that when you can make them scared of YOU, not just the saw!?

10-16-2008, 08:52 PM
so heres an update on how i have been doing with the saw.

they gave me the saw about an hour before we opened, so i spent
what time I had to understand it, as well as the controls. starting it is easy,
and i do love the feel of pulling the cord, and im watching where my flying elbow goes. hes how my room works.

when the guests walk in, there are barrels lines up to where they have to walk around to get to the other side of my room where the exit is, forcing them to get close to my scene(where i am hiding). another actor is usually at the front to bring them in, or one to hid behind/in the barrels as the distraction. once the group gets close, i step out and fire it up. I have had many people run into walls, in the barrels, and ball into the corner. my best scares are when those who are frightened put themselves against a wall, to which i *gently* slam the saw by their face, for them to see that it is in fact real.

if i am fast enough to get in front of the exit i encourage them to get closer, or try to leave. sometimes i run the chainsaw at their feet, or i run past them with the saw high above my head. once they leave, i follow them out (pitch black for them, but i can still see) where before they enter the tube hallway, i fire it up once more for another scare.

my only problem is that every night to get it able to start up everytime, i have to let it run for nearly 5 minutes constantly, which drains the gas. it takes a ton of pulls to get it started, but once its warmed up shes ready to go :)

whats some of your favorite chainsaw scare moments?

Dr. Giggles
12-22-2008, 03:29 PM
One man looked me straight in the eye and says "You can hurt me with that thing there is no chain on it!" i just laughed like a fool and all willed eyed i said "Wanna bet Mr?" and i would hold the blade ((lack of chain)) about 2 inches from his face and he would usually back up or fall over and freak out! "Oh my god i think....i think...THERE IS A CHAIN! Lets get the $%^@ out of here!" is the usualy response Hahahaah. But yeah becarefull i usually use a homelight which generates a lot of heat...burns are frequent for you and the customers to try to make sure they dont happen to the customers.

Stephan (screamwalk
01-05-2009, 03:41 PM
you don't need to take the chain off, as long as you remove the teeth from it. however, if it's used for anything else, then just take off the chain.

10-14-2009, 08:16 PM

It is still wise to remove the chain, teeth or not.

A moving chain could still injure someone even without having teeth.

If you want authenticity, you could weld a non moving chain to the bar and/or add some plastic mylar teeth to it which will vibrate and appear somewhat realistic, especially when used in low light situations.


Dr. Giggles
10-23-2009, 05:23 PM
Oh and when you start it, start it DOWNWARD. I see a lot of new saw actors nick people because they jerk it forward when starting.

sLiTwRiSt ThE cLoWn
03-07-2010, 01:04 AM

check outt bubba-robics at 24 hour frightness!!

03-15-2010, 10:45 PM
Ok first Ive gotta say

Never use a Lighter for light when refueling the chainsaw...as this comes as common sense to most it doesnt to all.

Second Dont hold the saw above your head and then swing it in a downward motion, doing this could cause some face damage if you trip or further injury to the customer.


damon carson
03-16-2010, 07:54 AM
Tater is more than likely talking from experience! LOL! Tater it must really be a bitch trying to use a chainsaw in a dress. And using a walker. Talk about getting your panties in a bunch. I will say never use a horror robe. One night our chainsaw guy was late and I had to do the front room and run out and do the chainsaw at the end. Long sleeves can be a nightmare around a chainsaw! Ha!

03-16-2010, 08:32 AM
hah damon you know I do have other characters I do....and this time it wasnt me, both times....I saw the incident happen with the lighter and a flaming chainsaw go shoot across the woods because the kid thought that throwing it into a hole would put the flames out. The second thing my friend got some serious damage done to him because an actor with a chainsaw tripped causing him to smash the chainsaw in my friends face.

03-16-2010, 07:51 PM
What other characters would that be. I did not know you did other characters. I just thought you did the granny b.s. The granny is'nt scary. If you want to see scary wait to granny meets nanny.

03-17-2010, 10:27 PM
Im sorry danny I didnt know you have seen Granny in action..or are you just relaying on things youve heard from Larry...I know alot or people who find Granny to be the scariest thing on two legs...As for the other characters yes...I do a Clown and a multitude of others