Silent Hill: 22 Survival Horror References From The Movie
Is the Silent Hill movie good? We're not sure. Did it fit a bunch of Easter Eggs in? Definitely.
It's been kind of tough out there to be a Silent Hill fan these past few years after the unceremonious cancelation of Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro's Silent Hills project back in 2015. Not much was known about the project to begin with, but the release of the celebrated demo, P.T., had survival horror fans champing at the bit--and with good reason. The last official Silent Hill game, Downpour, came all the way back in 2012, so the wait has been--for lack of a better word--pretty killer.
But all hope may not be lost. Sure, we may all be a little desperate, but a recent tweet by Kojima Productions has reignited the fires of speculation in our hearts and minds for the potential of a future Silent Hill game (or at least a survival horror game in the vein of P.T., since Silent Hill is a Konami property and Kojima's split with the company didn't seem particularly amicable). Is it a lot to work from? Absolutely not. Will we get our hopes up anyway despite the inherent risk of having them dashed all over again? Unfortunately, yes.
Now all that's left to do is wait with our eyes peeled for any more details that may slip out--and what could be a better way to kill time than to revisit the weird, kind-of-sort-of wonderful world of the Silent Hill movie from back in 2006. Love it or hate it, it managed to cram as many references to the game series as possible into a bite-sized, two-hour-long package. And, in an effort to keep ourselves from falling too deep into the speculative rabbit hole, we've revisited the movie and catalogued them all. We'll even set our sights on the, uh, considerably less good sequel, Silent Hill: Revelations 3D, here soon. This is a healthy coping mechanism, right?
1. The soundtrack
Right off the bat, Silent Hill tosses back to the video game with that iconic (and extremely eerie) mandolin theme. The musical callbacks continue through the rest of the movie with songs by series composure Akira Yamaoka and vocalist Mary Elizabeth McGlynn cropping up on the regular, you know, just to really emphasize the vibes.
While the movie follows the first Silent Hill game relatively closely in terms of plot, it pulled off a few major switch-a-roos to make things new. The first and most obvious were the name changes for the main characters like (kind of) demonic-kid-in-peril Cheryl Mason, who became Sharon De Silva for the movie--but the name "Cheryl" can be seen spray painted beneath the overpass that Rose runs under during the opening scene.
3. Alessa Gilesspie
Sharon's real identity is eventually revealed as the "good" side of poor, tormented Alessa Gilesspie, who became the unwitting catalyst for Silent Hill's hellish reality after she was very nearly sacrificed for being "impure." This is, with a few notable differences, exactly Alessa's story from the game--except in Silent Hill 1 she was sacrificed by her mother in an attempt to birth an eldritch deity back into existence. It's not that they particularly played down the whole cult aspect in the movie, but they certainly didn't handle it the same way.
4. Cybil Bennet
Tough-as-nails cop Cybil wasn't actually a character in Silent Hill 1 originally, but was added to the story for the visual novel adaptation, Play Novel: Silent Hill, in 2001. Her role in the visual novel is basically what we see in the movie.
5. Corinthians 6:2-3
Before Sharon and Rose make the jaunt to Silent Hill, there's an ominous billboard boasting "Corinthians 6:2-3," which references a verse from the bible. It reads: "2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!"
Not exactly the most subtle foreshadowing.
6. The Silent Hill fires
The game franchise plays fast and loose as far as establishing a look and feel for the town of Silent Hill itself, but the movie is more concrete. The idea of a small town shut down because of an ever-burning underground coal fire is actually taken from real life, a reference to Centralia, Pennsyvalia, which has suffered the same fate in the real world since the early 1960s. Sadly, there are no monsters or portals to a hell-dimension to explore there--just a lot of toxic fumes.
Brahms is regularly referenced and visited in the movie as one of Silent Hill's neighbors. It was made canon for the game series the year after the movie's release with Silent Hill: Origins.
8. Radio static
Silent Hill games traditionally use a radio that emits static as an early warning system for monsters being nearby. Rose never actually picks one up to carry with her in the movie, but it functions basically the same--and it's super, super creepy. The movie also takes the time to recreate some of the more bizarre camera angle changes that occur during the games as the various protagonists wander around the town.
9. Ash rain
While it's never been completely, canonically established (most things aren't--being vague is kind of Silent Hill's thing), a white, ash-y powder tends to fall from the sky in most Silent Hill games. In the movie, it's clearly ash (the coal fires explain it), but still, the net result is the same atmosphere.
10. Welcome to Silent Hill
The movie uses the exact Welcome To Silent Hill sign you can find in the games.
11. Ring of Fire
More subtle foreshadowing, this time care of Johnny Cash's classic country ballad about going to hell: Ring of Fire.
12. Toluca County
Another name-check from the games: Toluca County, a reference to Toluca Lake, a giant body of water that Silent Hill sits on, introduced in Silent Hill 2.
13. The School
Rose and Cybil visit Midwich Elementary School, one of the key locations in Silent Hill 1--it even gets its very own giant sign to make sure you don't mistake it for any of the other schools in the Silent Hill area. Convenient.
14. Grand Hotel
For a town that is notoriously plagued by monsters, Silent Hill sure does love hotels. While the Grand Hotel in the movie was actually a reference to Silent Hill 2's Lakeview Hotel, it did become canon itself several years later in Silent Hill: Homecoming.
15. "Order Soldiers"
The gas-mask wearing members of the cult were original to the movie, but were later adopted into the game universe with Silent Hill: Homecoming, which is where they got the name Order Soldiers.
16. Dahlia Gillespie
Her look and role may have been changed, but Dahlia Gillespie exists in both versions of the Silent Hill 1 story. In the game, Dahlia is much more like the movie's main antagonist, Christabella--the leader of the cult, Alessa's abusive mother, and so on. In the movie, she's a cast-out vagrant trying to save her little girl.
17. The hospital
Silent Hill loves hospitals, too. The layout, name, and overall look may have been changed for the movie but the hospital ward Rose braves is clearly a nod to Silent Hill 1's Alchemilla Hospital, but the name on the map denotes that it's actually Silent Hill 2's Brookhaven Hospital, because why not right?
18. Pyramid Head
Of course the most well known and iconic Silent Hill monster would make an appearance in the film. The movie's take on Pyramid Head (or Red Pyramid as he's known more formally) is considerably different from the games, where he debuted as a short, smock-wearing humanoid rather than a super tall, jacked muscle man, but still.
Pyramid Head is one of the movie's biggest and most obvious departures from the outline of Silent Hill 1. Good ol' PH was, for a long while, only seen or explored in Silent Hill 2. Later, during Silent Hill: Homecoming in 2008, the movie's version of the monster was adopted into the games.
If Pyramid Head is Silent Hill's most iconic monster, the Bubblehead Nurses are a close second. They don't behave in the games they way they do in the film, but their overall look and design are strikingly similar. They, like Pyramid Head, were actually introduced in Silent Hill 2.
Silent Hill 1's version of the nurse-enemy is known more commonly as "puppet nurses" and are usually seen hunched over, controlled by a sort of tumor on their backs.
20. Spitters/Lying Figure
The final Silent Hill 2 monster to make the move to the big screen is the Lying Figure, or the "Spitter" as it's known in the movie. Resembling a person whose arms and head were absorbed into their torso, the Lying Figures have a nasty tendency to hide under parked cars in the game. In the movie they spit acidic sludge.
21. Lisa Garland
The nurse in the red cardigan is never named in the movies, but fans of the first game will immediately recognize her as Lisa Garland, Alessa's nurse. In the movie, Lisa's eyes are gouged out but in the game she's left to die (or maybe turn into a monster, or maybe survive, depending on what ending you get) after an encounter with the main protagonist, Harry.
Silent Hill has so many mannequins they apparently just leave them lying around in abandoned hotels. They're entirely set dressing for the film, but in the games they have the nasty tendency to come to life as monsters, especially in Silent Hill 2.