The real silent Hill Experience




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ROSSETER

This word is used over and over in both Silent Hill 1 and 3. But, what it really means is a "sacrifice of self", the same way Leonard uses it:


"It's God's decision that I fight. As a knight of honor, as a protector of the seal, I sacrifice myself to the blood of criminals."

- Leonard Wolf


They go out of their way to use every possible meaning of that word:
"Hungry for sacrifice, the demon will swallow up the land."

- Dahlia Gillespie


"A man offered a serpent to the sun and asked for salvation. A woman offered a reed to the sun and asked for joy."

- Myth: Birth


"Sacrifices were made, and those are my sins."

- Claudia Wolf


"A woman named Dahlia, she tried to summon the ancient god of the town. She offered up her very own daughter... But I think Claudia is trying to do the same thing again. And I've been chosen as the sacrifice."

- Heather


That last one is of particular note. Heather has been chosen as the "sacrifice". But, at any time during the game, does Claudia attempt to burn Heather? Even at the end, if her plan finally succeeds, Heather begins giving birth to the demon without any kind of incendiary stimulation. When Heather takes the aglaophotis and disgorges the fetus, Claudia takes it into her own body, at which point Valtiel shows up to take her. She is sacrificing herself for the sake of the demon in the same way Dahlia sacrifices her daughter, who dies shortly after the demon's birth.
DERFUZHWAR

So, we maintain that Dahlia "sacrificed" her daughter in order to birth the demon god, but during the impregnation ritual things got crazy and out of hand when Alessa's heightened stress level caused the boiler explosion and subsequent razing of half the neighborhood, after which Alessa was rushed to the hospital to be put on medical and magical life support until the other half of her soul could be returned. We do not think it likely that the ritual itself would leave its subject in a state that would require external medical or magical influence just to keep them alive. But, whether the fire was purposeful or accidental matters little. It is Alessa's response to the situation that is most misunderstood.


ROSSETER

The notion that Alessa wants revenge for being "tortured" is unfounded because Alessa does not spread the nightmare intentionally. When the ritual was being performed, Alessa split her soul purposefully to prevent its success. When Cheryl returned to Silent Hill, she became the mental projection of the original Alessa. This mental projection allowed Alessa's nightmare to seep into reality completely by accident, as stated in the Manifestation of Delusions article. Seeing that the cult's plan would succeed if Dahlia captured her soul's other half, Alessa began to spread the Seal of Metatron as a last-ditch effort to seal off the town and herself from reality. She would sacrifice herself and be condemned to the nightmare forever to keep the demon from entering the mortal world.


DERFUZHWAR

There is plenty of evidence in Silent Hill 3 that shows that Alessa was not an evil, vengeful fiend bent on the town's destruction. She was a good person, engaging in an act of self-sacrifice to save mankind (including you). Of course, the cult doesn't want their followers to know this, so they blame the attempted sealing on Harry, Cybil, and Kaufmann. Which makes it quite a bit more believable that the cult would try to take credit for the horrible accident that burned down half the town by saying it was part of the ritual.


ROSSETER

Bang!


05: THE ROOM
ROSSETER

Before we get into Silent Hill 4, we have to address a big fat misnomer that is annoying us to no end. With Silent Hill 3 came a brand new nickname for the cult. In room S1 on the 3rd floor of Brookhaven Hospital there is an article which refers to Silent Hill's cult as...


DERFUZHWAR

... "The Order".


ROSSETER

We refuse to call them that. Naming the cult implies that someone other than its members knows about it. This is exactly why they are unnamed in Silent Hill 1 and 2; it gives the cult an air of mystery.


Nevertheless, the memo reads:
"The cult religion that operates 'Hope House' is known by the locals simply as 'The Order'."
In the original Japanese, written by Hiroyuki Owaku, the memo reads:
「希望の家」を運営する真の団体であるこのカルト宗教は、独自の名前はなく、地元ではただ「教団」と呼ばれている。
"'Kibou no Ie' wo unei suru shin no dantai de aru kono CULT shuukyou wa, doku ji no namae wa naku, jimoto de wa tada 'Kyoudan' to yobarete iru."
This sentence is really translated: "'Hope House' is really a religious cult which is run by a group that does not have it's own name, but is simply called 'Kyoudan' (the cult)." So, when Jeremy Blaustein translated the sentence when localizing the game, "Kyoudan" (the cult), became...
DERFUZHWAR

... "The Order".


ROSSETER

This is because Mr. Blaustein sees Kyoudan as a semi-official title, and so must be translated as such, when in reality, Kyoudan is just the word "cult".


This name was carried over to Silent Hill 4 in the memo "Joseph's Article", which is a direct copy of the Silent Hill 3 article with the word "wish" substituted for "hope". This further cemented Blaustein's translation as the official name, much to our frustration. In any case, it doesn't really matter how this little nickname came about. We're going with the original Japanese and leaving them unnamed as was intended.
FUNGO

The story of The Room is about Walter Sullivan, a serial killer we learned about in Silent Hill 2. Walter was an accident born in apartment 302 of the South Ashfield Heights apartment building in South Ashfield. His parents abandoned him, and the super, Frank Sunderland, had to put Walter into an orphanage. The orphanage Walter ended up in is Hope/Wish House, where Silent Hill's cult members kidnap children and brainwash them into believing the cult's teachings.


Walter was told by Dahlia Gillespie during one of her visits to Wish/Hope House that his mother is in the apartment where he was born. She tricked him into believing that performing the "21 Sacraments for the Descent of the Holy Mother" would allow him to see his mother, when actually the ritual would bring about the "rebirth of the Holy Mother" (the birth of the cult's demon god).
ROSSETER

This seems to be another way to summon God. But if so, why would Dahlia tell Walter this if she's already taking care of that plan with her own daughter?


FUNGO

Maybe she wanted a backup plan?


ROSSETER

Why would she need a backup plan if the Alessa plan was airtight?


FUNGO

The 21 Sacraments involves killing twenty-one people who each represent something, separating them from their bodies (including Walter, which is how he's able to continue on after killing himself). The ritual also turns the apartment in question into a nightmare world of Walter's subconscious.


Henry Townshend, the current resident of the apartment, wakes one day to find himself trapped, the door chained up from the inside. He is able to observe the outside world, but cannot interact or escape. After ten days, a hole opens in the bathroom. The hole leads to various parts of Walter's past, including Hope/Wish House and the surrounding area, the cult's cylinder prison, where Walter was kept for a short time for misbehaving, the city of South Ashfield, the subway Walter used to get to the apartment, the apartment building itself, and the hospital in which one of his future victims ends up.
All of Walter's victims haunt the realms of his subconscious, and all of his future victims are pulled into his world to be killed. Walter inhabits his nightmare world in both his adult and child forms, representing Walter's complete disconnect from his innocence. Walter's last two victims are Henry and his neighbor, Eileen Galvin.
Henry is helped throughout his ordeal by the ghost of Joseph Schreiber, the previous tenant of 302 and victim of Walter. Joseph informs Henry that he must travel to the deepest part of Walter's subconscious, reunite his mind with part of his flesh (the umbilical cord Sunderland kept), and there he'll be able to kill Walter and end the nightmare. So he does. Or doesn't. The End. If Walter really wanted to live in Henry's apartment, he could have just... "Knock knock! Hey, can I live here?"
ROSSETER

Silent Hill 4 had good and bad points. While the story is lacking and nowhere near the quality we have come to expect from the series, it maintains the theme and style of the series and makes for a good side-story. While the character design still brings the boys to the yard, thanks to Shingo Yuri, the exception is the main character, who is absolutely void of any personality.


FUNGO

Perhaps he should have been victim #12..?


ROSSETER

The graphics are usually passable, but when in first-person it's easier to see some garbled, low quality texturing, and the framerate likes to drop to fifteen frames per second during cutscenes, which may be stylistic, but makes it look worse and is just annoying.


FUNGO

In the developers' attempt to change up the gameplay (and boy did they change it)...


ROSSETER

Hoo boy!
FUNGO

... they removed two of the largest influences on Silent Hill's atmosphere: the need for a flashlight and a radio. Darkness played a huge part in what made the previous games scary, and some of the creepiest noises around came from that radio. Removing these is like removing the gravity gun from Half-Life 2. Because of this the game isn't very scary. But, it does have some scary moments, such as Richard's ghost (I mean, come on!), the surprise rooms in the hospital, which featured some disturbing imagery, and exploring the cylinder prison cells. So, there are some disturbing ideas, but the game isn't very well-executed.
ROSSETER

As the game is about the apartment, you must spend a great deal of time in it. You must spend all of this time in first-person mode, which isn't as bad as some make it out to be.


FUNGO

Well, it's pretty bad.


ROSSETER

Not as bad as some make it out to be.


FUNGO

Oh... it's okay, I guess.


ROSSETER

It certainly makes the hauntings effective (think of how those would be in the third-person...), and we can see what they were trying to achieve.


You can only save the game in your room, and unlike other Silent Hill games, you can only hold ten items. Because of this, you must make frequent trips back to the apartment just to dump your inventory and save, which can be a real pain in the beehive. The fact that ammunition must be stored box-by-box and health drinks bottle-by-bottle doesn't help this at all. The previous games were immersive with their health indication, letting you know you were taking damage with a quickening, heartbeat-like controller rumble. The Room uses onscreen health bar and power meters, which, while helpful, take some of the tension out of the combat and make you feel like you're playing a game.
The controls are simultaneously better and worse. While fighting enemies, Henry can lock on and move freely around specific targets. This is definitely a step up from the usual. But, all other times, you're locked into this 2D control. Camera angles are a big part of the series, and with so many camera changes, tank controls are absolutely necessary. The second the angle changes, Henry decides to go wherever the hell he wants. And, the camera system that was so beautifully implemented in the past has almost been removed. Not being able to see is pretty bad with the game's difficult enemies to outrun and evade.
The enemies don't live up to the standards set by Masahiro Ito. The wall creatures and two-headed apes are just ridiculous. And even more ridiculous... wheelchairs.
ROSSETER

There is one fact about the game that is unforgivable.


FUNGO

It's that bad, is it?


ROSSETER

Yeah! Have you played? Once you play through the game and all the areas, you have to play through it again! You must go back to the same subway, forest, prison, and building worlds with different puzzles. This accounts for the entire second half of the game. In addition to this, you're forced into the most dreaded of video game scenarios: the escort mission. One really, really long escort mission for half of a game. Eileen accompanies you on your quest, but she's been attacked and left in a horrible physical state. She runs so slow, you'll find yourself coming close to death just waiting for her to hurry the frig up. She doesn't follow you when you go through doors if she's too far away, so you have to keep going back for her.


"I can't use a ladder with my arm like this."

- Eileen Galvin


I don't see any reason why not!
FUNGO

You can equip her with a weapon, but it ends up distracting her more than it helps you, as she'll go ballistic on an enemy with her handbag and forget that she should be following you.


Rosseter holds up a handbag similar to Eileen's.
So, is she lugging a brick around in that thing?
Rosseter throws the handbag off-camera. A loud thud is heard, as if the handbag contained a brick.
While she can't actually die, she gets more "possessed" the more she gets hurt. In this state, she'll stop dead in her tracks and have a freakout session, and you just have to wait. The best way to play the game is to leave her behind and explore the area on your own. But even if you leave her in an empty room, you'll return to find that she has been taking damage the whole time anyway!
ROSSETER

Silent Hill 4: The Room may have had its fair share of problems and a considerable lack of replayability, but it was still scary and disturbing.


FUNGO

That it was.


ROSSETER

The Room was the last Silent Hill game made by KCET. In the two years after Silent Hill 4's release, there was some fumbling around and undisclosed issues at KCET. It is suspected that this is when Team Silent unofficially disbanded. The members now work on separate projects within Konami.


... That's it.
FUNGO

That was a very ser-


A parody of Silent Hill 4's Joseph Schreiber cutscene. Fungo and DerFuzhwar stand in a living room looking up, both confused. It is not yet revealed what they are looking at when Rosseter is heard.
ROSSETER

You must... kill Walter... must... Sullivan...


Rosseter is shown sticking out of the ceiling upside-down. Fungo and DerFuzhwar listen with a mix of confusion and boredom as Rosseter slowly and nonsensically delivers scrambled pieces of Joseph's dialogue. The scene drags on until, finally:
ROSSETER

You must... Go do it.



06: SILENT HILL COMICS
FUNGO

Like so many other properties, there are always people other than the creators who want to get in on the action. IDW, a publisher specializing in comic books, worked out a deal with Konami to bring us a comic book series based on the Silent Hill games.


ROSSETER

While this may seem like a fantastic idea...


FUNGO

It could work.


ROSSETER

... in the wrong hands it is a disaster.


FUNGO

And a disaster it was, all thanks to Scott...


Both make several attempts to pronounce the name "Ciencin".
... This guy. It is impossible for us to describe just how bad these comic books really are without you having read them yourself. And we will explain this.
While struggling to read these comics, we had no idea what was going on. Much of the art is difficult to make out, and most of the time the story is so abstracted we were turning pages back to make sure we were in the same spot. Art is copied and pasted all over the place, rather than being redrawn. The overall style looks like a lazy mess. All of the characters have the same apathetic, smart-alec, reckless attitude. Plus, everyone swears more than anyone you would ever know in your entire life. All of them. The heroes, the villains, the elderly, the children, the monsters. Everyone.
In all of the comics the story is always nonexistent until the last few pages where it's all neatly summed up.
ROSSETER

Except when it isn't.


FUNGO

Yeah... But as you will soon find out, none of the comics have anything to do with Silent Hill at all. Here's what we could piece together from the entire line of comics starting with Dying Inside.


ROSSETER

Lauryn and Christabella are sisters born in Silent Hill. One day...


DERFUZHWAR

... The Order...


ROSSETER

... showed up and killed Christabella. She's dead, haunts the town, and controls everyone as monsters. Lauryn is lured into the town by Christabella through a video shot by a mental patient, Lynn. Lauryn and the Punk-Asses go to Silent Hill to shoot a way cool video, but Christabella kills most of them. Lauryn realizes she is the devil and destroys Christabella with her zombie punk-ass minions. At one point...


DERFUZHWAR

... The Order...


ROSSETER

... shows up again to stop Lauryn from waking up Alessa, but they die. "And it's going to be a beautiful day."


FUNGO

Dead/Alive continues that story. Lauryn rules the town with an iron fist, punishing monsters who attack people. It's a beautiful tourist town again. A place where human and monster live hand-in-hand. Then all of a sudden Lenora the witch shows up and takes control of the town. It's a power struggle between Lauryn and Lenora with Christabella and tentacle-doctor Troy all caught up in the middle. We could never finish reading the Dead/Alive comics. They are agonizing. We're pretty sure it has a happy ending, and some souls get eaten.


ROSSETER

Among the Damned is about Jason, a soldier who has nightmares about fighting demons with his war buddies. Somehow, he ends up in Silent Hill where he meets Dahlia the pop singer, who turns out to be yet another demon. Jason's zombie war buddies save he and Dahlia from blade-handed creatures. Dahlia literally gives Jason her beating heart-organ, and then he and she leave after a bunch of nonsense.


FUNGO

Paint it Black is about Ike, a painter who got kicked out of his roommates apartment. He goes to Silent Hill because a hobo told him there was food. The demons give him paint supplies and have him paint their portrait. A year later, a cheerleading squad shows up and starts practicing cheers in the street, but then they move into Ike's apartment and redecorate with pink ribbons and hearts. Two of the cheerleaders, Missy and Chrissy, get abducted, so Ike and the rest of the squad grab machine guns and body armor out of nowhere and then start rampaging the streets in a firetruck, sirens blaring, shouting "Go Bengals! Go Bengals!" as they shoot and run down every monster in sight. But the Pyramid Heads corner them in the bowling alley. Ike and head cheerleader, Cheryl, escape through a portal in the wall. This takes them to an art gallery of Ike's paintings, which they promptly torch with a flamethrower. Then they stumble into a sweatshop full of monsters building other monsters. The robotic monster sweatshop owner threatens them, but Cheryl and the missing cheerleaders escape through the wall, leaving Ike to his terrible fate. The cheerleaders escape Silent Hill only to find that Missy and Chrissy are monsters.


ROSSETER

The Grinning Man is about a psycho killer who collects dead people to build an undead army, hiding them in inter-dimensional pockets in Silent Hill's Lakeview Hotel. Two cops show up and shoot him to death.


FUNGO

Speaking of Dying Inside, on September 18th of 2003, plans for a Silent Hill movie adaptation were announced.


ROSSETER

Fans the world over rejoiced, non-fans remained indifferent, and we nearly choked to death on our own disdain. This film would supposedly follow the events of the first game, and it had been long rumored among forum-goers that if ever a Silent Hill film were made, Johnny Depp would play the leading role of Harry Mason.


FUNGO

He looks just like him!


ROSSETER

Fortunately, fans who entertained this notion were misguided.


FUNGO

Were they off...


ROSSETER

After three more years of such speculation, the Silent Hill movie was released on April 21st, 2006, and the film was, ironically, quite a departure from the game series on which it was based.



07: SILENT HILL (MOVIE) AND SPIN-OFFS
FUNGO

If the film had featured an original story written to accompany the game series and enhance the overall narrative, much in the way Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within or Resident Evil: Degeneration were written, the idea would have been much more palatable. But, since filmmakers who choose to make films based on video games haven't yet learned this lesson, the movie would be an attempt to recreate the game experience. The following information was gathered from an Edge-Online interview with Roger Avery, the film's writer.


Christophe Gans, director of such films as Brotherhood of the Wolf and Necronomicon, took the time to splice together shots from the games and various movies to show what he could do with the film adaptation. Akira Yamaoka was WOWED! ...and set up a meeting in order to discuss the details. Some upper staff members of Konami and Yamaoka got together with Gans and Avery for a few periodic visits in order to discuss adapting Silent Hill for the big screen sometime in 2005.
FUNGO

When Gans first roughed out the script in French, there were almost no male characters. Roger Avery was flown from California to France in order to re-write the script in English and add new story and dialog, and when the final draft was complete, the studio told them to take it back and add some male characters or develop the one that was already present, a character which Gans cleverly named Christopher after himself. The script Gans and Avery finally settled on was fundamentally flawed in it's execution. Avery said:


"I wanted the movie to have that feeling of a witch movie, because that's essentially what it is at the end of the day."

- Roger Avery


FUNGO

Yep, that's what it is.


ROSSETER

When you're right, you're right, huh?


FUNGO

Witch movie: CHECK. Before we tell you the plot of the film, we will remind you of the plot of Silent Hill 1, the game on which the movie is based.


A cult dedicated to a demon god wishes to birth Him into the world in order to bring "paradise". Dahlia Gillespie, a prominent member of the cult, plans to impregnate her seven-year-old psychic daughter with the demon seed. During the ritual in which she was to be impregnated, Alessa's heightened stress caused the house to be burned down. During this time she also split her soul in two. The other half of the soul took the form of a baby, which was found by Harry Mason who raised the child as his own. Seven years later, the cult used a spell to call Cheryl, Harry's adopted daughter, back to Silent Hill. During this time, Alessa's badly burned body had been kept alive. Alessa is now trying to counteract the nightmare using the Seal of Metatron. Dahlia used Harry's love for Cheryl to battle the nightmare world that the demon projected onto the town through Alessa. Harry's success lead to Dahlia capturing Alessa and initiating the ritual to birth God. Harry won. The End.

The plot of the movie is as such:


ROSSETER

Witch burning puritan Christians reside in Silent Hill, West Virginia, rendered a ghost town thirty years ago due to a coal mine fire. Alessa Gillespie, ten-year-old daughter of Cassandra Dahlia Gillespie, is burned as a witch by the puritans because she's a bastard. However, during the ceremony, the witch burning apparatus breaks and knocks over a pot of coals. Officer Gucci, who was there for some reason, rescues Alessa and puts her in the hospital. The devil visits Alessa and offers revenge upon everybody in town.


The puritans now cower in their church, venturing out in miner's uniforms (complete with canaries in cages) to kick down doors and beat people up. The devil spreads darkness over the town at random intervals, and luckily, birds like to freak out right before it happens to warn people.
Sharon Da Silva is having nightmares about the town and is eventually drawn to it for no apparent reason other than the fact that she looks just like Alessa. Seriously. For no other reason. There's no reason for it. None. None at all.
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