Contributing author Alfredo Torres is an adjunct professor of communications at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA where he wrote his master’s thesis on the metaphoric representation of zombies in the films of George Romero.

How pop culture will get us all killed. (Part 1)

I love the zombie genre! I love the action, the suspense and the interaction between survivors. There is nothing about the zombie genre that I don’t like, except… the content of the zombie genre. Let me explain. You see, the problem with zombie movies is that they provide us with an incredible horror which, as you know, the Zombie Research Society is hellbent on proving can exist. But then they go and give us nothing but bad examples on what to do to survive them. Let’s look at one of the most obvious examples; the chainsaw.

Ever since Ash decided that a chainsaw hand would be the best defense against the deadites, the chainsaw has become one of those go-to weapons that zombie lovers want to have when Z-day finally goes down. Yet it is one of the worst things that you could possibly arm yourself with in order to get rid of your zombie foes.

A. It can be difficult to start. How many times have you seen the hero of a movie have difficulty starting a chainsaw? He pulls and pulls, hoping to get it running while the undead get closer and closer to dinner.

B. It’s noisy. I have yet to hear of a silent chainsaw. We all know that the more noise you make killing zombies, the more zombies you have to kill.

C. It requires something to keep it running. Gas or electricity, you need something to power it… which will undoubtedly run out when you need it the most.

D. It’s messy. All of those zombie pieces are bound to jam up your chainsaw, assuming that the blood and guts don’t get in your mouth, eyes or some other place that will eventually release the virus into your bloodstream.

If you enjoy zombies in any form, just remember that in pop culture the point is to entertain, not survive. Do not get all of your tips from the movies or video games!


  1. Guns are loud, you can run out of bullets, they can sometimes get pretty messy and jams easily.

  2. sooo true thats the worst thing to use

  3. Yes, agreed. The size is inconvenient because having a melee weapon that big would make it your primary weapon. Plus, its melee, close combat. This really restricts the killing opportunity because you can kill maybe 1 or 2 before it gets jammed, then it may malfunction causing you intestines to finally be devoured my these flesh eating ghouls.

  4. Green Bay Packers

    The chains get worn quick just cutting wood not to mention small gas tanks and requires frequent maintenance

  5. Wow I’ve been arguing this with people for years who don’t get it.. (actually a good answer to the chainsaw/melee question has excluded people from my SHTF crew).. my biggest issue has always been that the spray of the body fluids has a higher than likely chance of being ingested by the attacker without additional safety gear. Plus the bulk of the tool and there being better suited uses for petrol.
    I think in the future when I have this discussion I will refer people to this link

  6. This is one of the worst misconceptions ever in the genre! Wanna know what the best weapon is? Samurai sword. period….

    • My preference has always been with the Tomahawk.. proven just as well as the Katana with more practical applications and much smaller. Also provides consistent penetration with the back side spike ala zombie prison guard Walking Dead S3

  7. What about the spray or the tendency to jam up? I really think that it is one of the worst. No business as a zombie survival weapon what so ever.

    • i cut down a dead tree once where a long-vacated critter (squirrel?) had built a nest out of sofa stuffing. Chain saw goes through tree limb just fine — even thick ones. But as i found out, even light cotton would get wrapped between blade and bar, instantly seizing the saw. even at full throttle.

      So if zombie is nude, chain saw *might* work. But even a flannel shirt would stall saw and you die.

  8. a good chainsaw that is taken care of will start first pull. its largest downside is the excesive noise and weight that will lead to rapid fatigue

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