And a handful of para-game material such as artbooks, comic books, and a "making of" DVD.The eponymous setting is an American lakeside resort town with a long history. Native Americans called the area the "land of the spirits," and may have considered it cursed. The history of Silent Hill is rife with disappearances, murders, and mysterious activity, mostly owing to the existence of an unnamed demon-worshiping cult.The Silent Hill games have largely dealt with the repercussions of that cult's actions, including the existence of multiple "layers" of the town itself. The normal town is an average Americana tourist attraction. On another level, it is long-abandoned and empty, save for the lost and damned who stumble onto its streets. On deeper levels, it is a crumbling ruin, or the full-fledged Otherworld: a burning, rusty hell.A new entry in the series was announced for Sony's recently revealed Playstation Vita called Silent Hill: Book of Memories, which is a multiplayer hack-and-slash game starring player-created characters. And as if it wasn't horrific enough as a work of fiction, the 2012 Halloween Horror Nights event at both Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood included a Silent Hill-themed haunted house, Welcome to Silent Hill, based off of the franchise as a whole.Along with Resident Evil, it is considered one of the defining examples of the Survival Horror genre, and is famous for the high quality of its story and background music.Character sheet and Shout Out pages are up and running, so feel free to contribute.Has an Abridged Series titled Noisy Hill.
Subverted in Homecoming, where the game starts in an Abandoned Hospital that is also a Continuity Nod, but it's just a dream. Later on, you can find an item or two on the grounds of the familiar Alchemilla Hospital and it's labeled on the map, but you don't actually go inside.
Harry is killed in the nightmarish Otherworld at the very beginning of the first game. He then wakes up in the Fog World inside a diner.
The worst ending from the first game reveals the entire game to be Harry's Dying Dream.
Heather in the third game wakes up in a restaurant just after getting run down by a rollercoaster car in the nightmare, mirroring her father's experience in the first game. Later Heather visits the amusement park for real and narrowly avoids getting hit by the rollercoaster.
Played with in the fourth game. The opening sequence initially gives this impression, but it later becomes clear that the player is seeing through the eyes of Joseph Schreiber, Room 302's previous occupant and Walter's 15th victim.
Alex in Homecoming wakes up in Travis' semi-trailer truck after being skewered by Pyramid Head's knife in the Nightmare Hospital.
The "Hospital" ending of Homecoming.
Murphy wakes up from a dream (later revealed to be a flashback) about beating and (possibly) killing Napier at the beginning of Downpour.
All There in the Manual: The Book of Lost Memories (1-3), Another Crimson Tome (4), the victim files (4), and the diaries (5).
In another sense, the series ironically could provide an inversion of this trope as well as playing it straight, as the additional material sheds a lot of light on the nature of the cult, the history of the town, and the in-game mythology. The inversion comes when you realize that nearly none of the speculation referring to metaphors, symbolism, and the meanings of certain things has ever been confirmed anywhere, yet a great deal of it is accepted as fanon. Mostly, this has been treated with the occasional Shrug of God, but nothing is ever made specific. Arguably, to some, this makes the series even more frightening, as it literally causes you to come to the horrifying conclusions yourself.
Alternate Universe: Silent Hill seems to exist on multiple levels: the normal, unhaunted town, a demon-haunted, deserted town, and a nightmarish Dark World. At least, this is how it works in the movie: how many realities there are and how they're connected in the game is the subject of much debate.
And I Must Scream: Several of the monsters, particularly the humanoid ones. Silent Hill 2 is pretty much dominated by these guys; Even Pyramid Head, the most invincible of the bunch, was animated to suggest great pain under his helmet.
Downpour: After being beaten to within an inch of his life, Frank Coleridge spends the rest of his life as a vegetable before succumbing to organ failure.
Awesome, but Impractical: The heavier melee weapons (hammer, great knife, mace, etc.) and the hunting rifle, particularly in the second game (can't move with it drawn, too slow to fire and reload, only useful for the last two bosses). In the hands of a skilled player, though, the hammer is one of the better melee weapons available.
Ax-Crazy: Walter. Travis looks like this whenever he has the fireman's axe equipped.
Bad Samaritan: In the first game, Dahlia turns out to be a dark version of this trope. To a first time player, she seems enigmatic and obtuse, but her advice and clues tend to steer you onto a path to progression regardless. That she turns out to be pure evil after Harry has given her the benefit of the doubt is a pivotal point in the plot.
Vincent from the third game has shades of this as well.
Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Done visually - some truly horrendous sights are scattered around Silent Hill with such subtlety that you can pass right by them if you don't slow down and examine your surroundings.
Silent Hill 4 has the golf clubs that hog inventory space after they break. There was also the wine bottle, which actually became a slightly better weapon after it broke (though it was still quite weak).
Every non-special weapon in Silent Hill: Origins is breakable.
Played with in Downpour, as while the melee weapons break after prolonged use you can use the metal parts of objects as more durable weapons.
Chainsaw Good: Usually a bonus weapon in the series, although its usefulness varies from game to game.
Chaos Architecture: The few times in the series when you can return to a location that was visited previously, it's usually different, sometimes radically so. Even though the town looks abandoned, it seems that there's still life in it in some way, as if you're in some sort of shadow-dimension mimicking the real world.
However, this trope is averted for the most part, until origins, all recurring areas have the same map layout, with the only difference being item placement.
Children Are Innocent: Why Laura locked you in a room full of monsters in 2; children can't enter the Otherworld and therefore can't see the monsters. Though Alessa and Cheryl can see monsters in the first game but it's justified since Alessa being forced to birth the Order's God is what's creating all of them in the first place and Cheryl is the other half of Alessa's soul.
Closed Circle: Played straight most of the time, except in 2 and Homecoming. In 2, the player can pretty much always backtrack to the starting area with James's car, but James himself refuses to leave until he finds out what happened to his wife. The developers stated that they made the path from the parking lot to the town in 2 "so long that you wouldn't want to go back". In Homecoming, you can backtrack almost anywhere, but occasionally you're trapped in an area until you find the exit; similar to the second game, the character simply refuses to leave until he's found the person he's looking for.
In the Silent Hill 2 bonus scenario "Born From a Wish" (which shows Maria's point of view just before she meets James), Harry's name is written on a dumpster as graffiti.
In Silent Hill 3, Heather will stumble across Harry's notes in the exact style of the Silent Hill 1 save points just before the last section of the game.
The UFO endings of each game typically have some nod to the previous games (see below).
Homecoming has some interesting nods with its achievements. Beating a Feral is Eddie's Legacy, using health-enhancing Serum for the first time is Kaufmann's Handiwork, beating a Siam is Shades of James, and beating the game on Hard means The Old Gods haven't left this place.
The plot of the fourth game and The Arcade are based around minor articles from the second game about Walter Sullivan and The Little Baroness.
Controllable Helplessness: Aside from the portions of the game where the player can't do anything except watch horrific things happen around them, all of the games can be argued to be an extended exercise in controllable helplessness. This counts especially if you get the bad ending, as you're effectively forced to herd the player character to their own doom.
Conveniently Interrupted Document: These show up through out the games, most notably in 2, Origins and Downpour. Normally what's obscured is the name of the character who the document refers to, as the game reveals their background bit by bit.
Creepy Child: A few: Alessa Gillespie (especially in Origins), Josh Shepherd (well, the apparition of him that appears, at least, the real Josh was more like a regular kid), and the little boy in the Monastery in Downpour.
Various bloodied dolls are scattered about Silent Hill in 1 and 3.
Silent Hill 2 has a creepy voodoo doll apparently left by an insane prisoner, and although it's not strictly a doll, there's a ruined, creepily-staring teddy bear sitting outside what is implied to be Angela's sealed-off childhood bedroom.
In Silent Hill 3, Heather finds various dolls next to diary entries written by a Brookhaven Hospital patient with a crush on her.
Silent Hill 3 also introduces Lakeside Amusement Park mascot Robbie the Rabbit, who reappears in 4 and Homecoming.
Before the end boss in Silent Hill 3, Heather notices some old dolls in Alessa's bedroom and remarks that one of their names is Scarlet.
In Silent Hill 4, Walter gives one to Henry that causes an additional apparition to appear by his chestbox.
In Homecoming, Scarlet's dolls and herself during her boss fight.
The Doll monsters in Downpour.
Then hilariously subverted by the sex doll... The mannequins that send shadow monsters at you while crying, moaning, and laughing however...
Critical Existence Failure: Averted in Shattered Memories, where Harry noticeably starts limping more and more when he's been tackled enough times.
Also averted in Downpour, where Murphy will hold his side and limp after taking a large amount of damage.
Happens fairly often, but one of the most notable is Richard getting slowly electrified to death in 4. Made all the more unnerving by him still trying to talk as he dies. Jasper's death earlier is just as unusual, in that he's apparently being possessed and forced, not only to burn himself with a candle, but also to carve "17/21" on his own chest.
Henry breaking his arm at the end of the Good ending or getting possessed by Walter in the 21 Sacraments Ending.
A few of the instant deaths that happen to Heather in Silent Hill 3.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: While the first three games all had pretty much the same controls, the fact that most of the games afterwards were developed by different studios means that each game has it's own control scheme. It's usually not too bad, but playing several of the games in succession can throw you off. 4 in particular had very distinct controls from the rest of the games.
Dark World: The alternate, dark and evil(er) Silent Hill with the air raid sirens and the (tougher) monsters and screaming and blood and the running and the huge gaping holes of fire and rusty steel grating. And hot, demon-on-demon rape action. And breathing organic walls with heartbeats. And... many other things. *shudder*
Shattered Memories changes up the formula a bit by making the Dark World be covered in ice rather than rust and blood. And indestructible monsters.
Deadly Lunge: A favourite attack of the simian-type monsters such as Rompers and Mumblers. The Numb Bodies in 3 do this as well.
Lisa. She is pretty much the same as the demon nurses that stalk the hospital. She retains some of her humanity, as Alessa remembers her as an odd yet kindhearted nurse, but begins to gradually lose it once Alessa's captured by Dahlia.
Harry himself is one of these in the worst ending.
Room 302 in the fourth game; around the halfway point, it slowly becomes possessed with "hauntings", which will hurt Henry if he stays too close to them, as well as affect which ending you get, depending on your vigilance in exorcising them.
Eileen at the end of The Room, making the boss fight harder.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: At least half the games end with the hero confronting and defeating some incarnation of the "God" that the cult worships (which may be prematurely born each time, or simply not really a god at all). Heather even makes a dour remark about it in the third game:
Heather: It must not have been much of a god if it could be killed by a human being.
Difficulty Spike: The hospitals, where the nurses are much tougher than previously encountered enemies, notably in 2 and 3 on the higher difficulty levels.
James gets a letter from his dead wife to kick off the second game. He also gets calls from her on the radio after he picks it up and after watching the tape in the hotel.
In the first game, Harry gets a wall of department store televisions with the same image of his own daughter asking where he is. She says the same thing on the phone in the alternate school.
Likewise, early on in Homecoming, Alex receives a call for help on his radio intended for somebody else.
In the fourth, Henry gets a call on his disconnected phone from Cynthia after losing her mere moments after agreeing to an Escort Mission.
Harry gets these quite frequently in Shattered Memories - including one that was, surprisingly, not from Cheryl.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: In quite a few places. Of noteworthy mention is Pyramid Head, who eventually gets a long, jagged spear with which to penetrate his victims. He goes on to penetrate Maria.
Driving Question: At least one per game, usually in the form of "What the hell is going on?" and/or "Have you seen X?" The first game even lampoons it in the bonus UFO ending, as the first thing Harry starts to say to the aliens is "have you seen a little girl around here" (they stun him before he can finish).
The voice actors sometimes don't emote very strongly compared to the horrors their characters are facing, and the animators often choose not to give the cast a wide variety of facial features. Henry from SH4 in particular is considered the worst offender, as he reacts to his situation with nothing more than a mild "What the hell?"
The instruction manual for SH4 lampshades this quirk of Henry's: "he never shows his emotions," indeed!
Completely averted in Alex's case, who reacts with the appropriate (and usually sweary) exclamations and facial expressions. ("Oh, you gotta be shitting me!")
Downpour also averts this now - Murphy is considered the most identifiable protagonist thus far in the series due to how frequently he screams, swears, and just generally exclaims out of fear, surprise, and confusion.
Eldritch Abomination: The things that you have to fight or run from, and possibly the entire town itself.
*Cough-cough* Every boss battle and larger-than-the-average-Mook in the game. *Cough-Cough* Incubus, Flesh Lips, Abstract Daddy, Sephulcher. *Cough-cough* Every boss from Silent Hill 2 (save for Eddie), and Silent Hill Homecoming. *Cough-cough*
Eldritch Location: In addition to the town itself, there are also several specific areas throughout the series. Some examples include "Nowhere" in the first game and the Silent Hill Historical Society in the second. The fourth game is basically framed around trying to escape from such a place, which just happens to be your apartment.
Empty Room Psych: Some rooms contain no monsters, items, or any of the fun Silent Hill surprises.
End Game Results Screen: Most of the earlier games give you a ranking between one and ten stars after the credits. The ranking you got sometimes also determines the power of the game's secret weapons in a subsequent playthrough.
Enemy Detecting Radar: The radio is an audio version, but it's nigh-useless — it tells you how far away the monsters are depending on the intensity of the noise, but not from which direction.
Unless you play with headphones on. At least in 3 anyway.
Escort Mission: Protecting Maria in 2, Elle in Homecoming, and Eileen in 4. Eileen's is the worst, since the ending you get depends in part on how much she got attacked throughout the whole freaking game. The more she's been attacked, the faster she'll walk towards Walter's death machine, making it nigh-impossible to beat Walter before she's killed if she's been beaten up badly.
The insta-kill red fog during the escape from the amusement park's haunted house.
The hallway that suddenly turns to meat in a New Game+.
In the fourth game, after Henry's apartment becomes haunted, the walls, furniture, and fridge (among other things) can harm you.
Everything's Better with Spinning: Industrial-sized fans are a recurring motif. The last battle against the Big Bad of the fourth game takes place against the backdrop of a giant rotating death machine. And whether or not Eileen walks into said death machine is part of what determines your ending. The other part is whether you get rid of the aforementioned hauntings or leave them be.
Made even better by the fact that Gyromancy is spinning around in place while in a circle of letters until you fall down, and choosing the letter you fall on.
Evil Albino: Claudia (of note, the drug used in the first game to make cult followers hallucinate was called White Claudia —- though whether she was indeed the drug's namesake isn't explicitly stated).
Evil Is Visceral: Many of the monsters are based on this — if not visually, then with their sound effects.
A theme of rust and blood pervades the Otherworld. A notable exception is Silent Hill 2, which opted instead for mold and urban decay. Shattered Memories is another thing again.
Failure Is the Only Option: In the Otherworld sequence at the very beginning of the first game, you have to let the enemies "kill" Harry in order to continue. Trying to escape doesn't work, as the only escape route is blocked off. Done again in the third game, when it's his daughter's turn to encounter Silent Hill.
Fanservice: Very rare for the series, but there are a few examples.
In the fourth game, Eileen's extra outfit has her wearing a very skimpy nurse costume. Cynthia also has an extra outfit which further accentuates her assets (if you don't immediately approach her and trigger the introductory cutscene with her while she's in her costume, she's even dancing!) Both outfits come complete with Jiggle Physics.
Not within the game itself, but on the third game soundtrack album's cover, there's a picture of Heather wearing her trademark white sleeveless vest, but without the orange shirt she usually wears inside it, instead showing off her cleavage.
Heather/Alessa is pregnant with the cult's God. She has to use the Aglaophotis secretly stored inside her necklace for her body to reject it, causing her to vomit it out. And then Claudia proceeds to swallow the aborted fetus and become the new bearer of the god.
Done bizarrely in Homecoming, where Amnion is "pregnant" with the corpse of Alex's dead little brother, Joshua. Whether this is ultimately a positive experience for Alex or very, very bad depends on the ending received.
Finishing Stomp: Every protagonist can do this. Whether you actually need to varies with the game.
Fission Mailed: A staple of the Silent Hill series. 1, 3, and Homecoming start out with a nightmarish sequence that turns out to be a dream for each respective player character.
"Know what you're shooting, and don't go blasting me by mistake!" Spoken by hot cop Cybil, who gets possessed and will have to be killed if you don't have the red liquid to exorcise her.
The bits and pieces of what James gets about what happened to Mary before The Reveal.
The recurring headaches and flashbacks Heather gets as the third game progresses.
The numbers carved on the victims' chests in the fourth game and the corresponding increase in the bloody handprints on the wall. Plus, one of the hauntings can be Henry, with 21/21 carved in his neck staring through the eye-hole on the outside of the door.
A recording in Homecoming has Alex's dad stating that Alex doesn't always see things the way they are. The first dog enemy also receives a lot of foreshadowing, starting with the empty dog house in their backyard.
Shattered Memories is full of this, right down to the names of the enemies. Raw Shocks = Rorschach, as in a Rorschach test. You are literally trying to fight off the therapy Cheryl is receiving (or perhaps fighting off the resistance she is giving to the therapy itself?)
In Downpour, the series-wide motif of abandoned wheelchairs foreshadow Frank Coleridge's fate.
Gaiden Game: The Silent Hill Play Novel revolves around Cybil's adventures in Silent Hill during the course of the first game. The game's not referenced by the rest of the series and generally isn't considered canon, though.
Supposedly, The Room was originally meant to be one, before being integrated into the main series partway through production.
Genius Loci: The town itself is arguably alive. More than alive, the town's image is unique to its inhabitants, reflecting upon their personality and past experiences, good or bad.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: A popular theory states that the reason for the sheer void of explicit information in the first game is because the Moral Guardians would never have otherwise allowed the publication of a game whose plotline contained so many satanic elements.
Ghost Town: An unclear example, actually. No one outside of the town ever says it's abandoned, but we never find out just where the hell the townsfolk are. One very popular idea is that there's an unseen "level" of the gameverse town that's normal and inhabited (an idea that, at the least, makes the most sense for the prequel game Silent Hill Origins). The movie and comic books present Silent Hill as being completely abandoned, although they disagree on whether the "foggy" town is reality.
The concept of Silent Hill itself for the movie version is originally based off of the real-life ghost town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, which was abandoned after the coal mines beneath the town were accidentally set on fire. Centralia inspiration and backstory only applies to the movie adaptation and is not related to the games with the exception of Homecoming, which twists many elements of the movie into its own narrative and canon.
Giant Mook: The Large Numb Bodies in the third game.
God Is Evil: Appropriately enough for the particularly heinous and barbaric methods used to summon God.
The Greys: The aliens that show up in the UFO Endings.
Special shoutout to the hard mode puzzles in 3, which require you to have a working knowledge of Shakespeare's tragedies, know a specific fact about a particular species of bird, and be able to intuit that a morbid love-poem that involved mutilating the protagonist's face is supposed to represent keys on a keypad. Though even possessing such knowledge may not help much.
Hair-Raising Hare: Robbie the Rabbit. Especially in his reappearance in 4 — visible from the peephole allowing Henry to see inside Eileen's room. After Eileen is attacked by Walter, when you look into the peephole again, Robbie is now pointing accusingly at you!
Hand in the Hole: A particularly disgusting version is present in 2, and 4 is essentially this every level. Also, several instances pop up in in Homecoming, where something may rip off your hand if you don't pull it back out fast enough.
Lampshaded in 3, if you also have a save file for a complete game of 2; Heather's about to duplicate James' brilliant search technique at which point she pulls back with a disgusted noise, looks to the side and asks "Who the hell would do something like that?"
Henry's will change depending on his equipped weapon.
In the second game, James will strike a pose reminiscent of Ash in Evil Dead II if you're holding the chainsaw and - according to some - standing over a dead enemy. He'll laugh/yell, too. It's unsettling if you've had to set the controller down to concentrate on something else for a minute.
Even some monsters have a version of this. Downpour's Screamer monster hits herself, cries, and makes a rocking motion as if cradling a baby when the player is at a distance.
Judge Holloway in Homecoming, when Alex impales her through the jaw with her own electric drill.
Implacable Man: Red Pyramid a.k.a. Pyramid Head until the end. Walter counts as well.
Improvised Weapon: It'd be easier to list the melee weapons in the series that don't fall under this trope.
James's BFS. Heather's Mace and Katana. Henry's Swords of Obedience. Travis's breakable katanas. That's it. Comparatively, all of the characters get kitchen knives or boxcutters, everyone gets a pipe, and most get hammers, fire axes, and other tools.
Journey to the Center of the Mind: One of the basic premises of the series. It's hinted that the town itself has the power to manifest people's personal demons literally. So we're treated to Alessa's mental landscape in the first game, James's in the second, a weird mashup of Alessa's and Claudia's in the third, Walter Sullivan's in the fourth, Travis's with some of Alessa's in Origins, Alex and the parents of Shepherd's Glen in Homecoming, and Murphy's in Downpour.
Most obvious in Silent Hill 2. Did James really descend about five miles beneath the Silent Hill Historical Society?
In Silent Hill 1, Dahlia gets fried by the very god she was trying to summon, and Kaufmann, if you saved him earlier, gets dragged to hell by Lisa.
Done rather bizarrely in Silent Hill 2 when the twin Pyramid Heads commit suicide on their own weapons once James comes to terms with the truth.
In Silent Hill 3, Vincent insults Claudia, ordering Heather to kill "this demon", and earns a knife in the back with a cry of "you'll go to hell!"
Claudia also earns one, by ingesting the fetal God Heather vomited up, intending to birth it herself. Considering that she fostered the God's growth by subjecting Heather to horror and hatred, the fact that Claudia's literally left as a smear on the ground could qualify.
In Silent Hill 4, Andrew DeSalvo is locked into a cell of the prison where he had acted as its sadistic warden, and later is brutally murdered by one of its former prisoners, Walter Sullivan.
In Silent Hill: Homecoming, Judge Holloway has her own electric drill shoved through the bottom of her jaw after torturing Alex with it.
Implied in Silent Hill: Downpour. In the "Truth & Justice" ending, Anne, armed with a gun, confronts Sewell after learning that Sewell murdered her father.
Silent Hill 1 - The third game follows either of the best endings, where both Harry and Cheryl escape the town. In the best ending, Cybil survives as well, but according to Word of God, she dies. Maybe. Played with in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, which is the sequel to the worst ending, where Harry dies in a car wreck and the first game was a dying dream.
Silent Hill 2 - James's fate isn't stated for certain, but in the fourth game, his father notes that he and his wife disappeared after visiting Silent Hill.
Silent Hill 3 - The fifth game reveals that not only did Douglas survive, he also took down most of The Cult.
Which is actually a perfect lead into Homecoming when it is revealed that Judge Holloway is trying to restore the Order, albeit mostly for the sake of breaking the curse that is on Shepherd's Glen, though she does take a certain... glee in torturing Alex and does not care at all about having her daughter tortured and murdered as well.
No Communities Were Harmed: The movie's foggy setting is inspired by the real-life town of Centralia, Pennsylvania. The whole community of Centralia was mostly abandoned decades ago when the coal mines beneath the town were accidentally set on fire. To this day, smoke billows up from the ground and scientists estimate that the mines will continue to burn for at least another 250 years. Even the local highway, PA Route 61, has been closed down due to the mine fires cracking through the asphalt.
Harry meets a gruesome death by tentacle if he fails to use an item before proceeding in the original.
Heather, in keeping up the family tradition, meets the same fate if she crosses a bridge without first dealing with the tentacle residing in the sewer muck.
Heather births the God if she tries to shoot Claudia near the end of SH3.
In SH2, if Maria is killed before she's supposed to die, including during the chase immediately before her first Plotline Death cutscene, it's Game Over. And sometimes, when James is killed during the Hanger boss battle, the creatures lift him into the ceiling.
Painting the Medium: Along with providing telephone voiceover via the Wii Remote's speaker, Harry's in-game cell phone's battery meter in Shattered Memories will match the Remote's current charge.
Papa Wolf: Harry Mason. He'll go To Hell and Back for his little girl. The third game reveals that he outright killed a cult member to keep Cheryl safe.
Murphy Pendleton. His response to Patrick Napier sexually assaulting and murdering his son Charlie is to get himself arrested and put in prison with Napier so he can exact his revenge.
Path of Greatest Resistance: Occasionally, it can be easy to get turned around or unsure of which direction to go. When you are attacked by one of those damned nurses when you open a door, you know that yep, this is the way.
Police Are Useless: Generally averted. 1, 3, Homecoming and to a lesser extent Shattered Memories all have policemen/women as secondary protagonists. Downpour has one as a relentless antagonist. In 2, the monsters are Invisible to Normals, and in 4, the police succeed in capturing Walter Sullivan. Not mentioned in Origins.
Several of the riffs from the first game's opening theme recur throughout the series.
Silent Hill 2 does this the most with its own soundtrack, eg. Theme Of Laura, White Noiz, Forest (Angela's theme, also heard combined with Promise, etc.), Null Moon (sort of Maria's theme, reprised in Fermata In Mystic Air), and Promise (itself based on the series's main theme).
Dahlia (Claw Finger and Never Again) and Kaufmann's themes from the first game. The music played when Lisa dies is a variation on the series theme.
The main theme of the first game is the basis for "Hometown", Silent Hill 3's ending credits song.
A melodic line from "Theme of Laura" from Silent Hill 2 is used in a guitar solo in "Waiting for You" from Silent Hill 4.
Part of the guitar solo from "I Want Love (Studio Mix)" from 3 reappears in both "Your Rain" from 4 and "Hell Frozen Rain" from Shattered Memories.
Sensor Suspense: The radio starts playing static as dark things draw near. Silent Hill 4 instead uses this to indicate that the room is haunted.
Sensory Overload: The games, especially the first 3, love to overwhelm you with loud, clattering, metallic industrial sounds, as well as the almost perpetual static from your radio and the uncanny sounds the monsters make, all to help unnerve the player.
Soundtrack Dissonance: Every game got one. Especially in the opening, when you can hear a somber, mellow tune, or even upbeat song... which can distract you from the fact that the games are fueled with Nightmare Fuel. To quote IGN's review of the DVD:
"Akira Yamaoka's soundtrack, taken from the videogame series itself, is both warm and terrifying. Think of the sweet smell of grandma's delicious cookies, then imagine a pinch of cyanide awaiting that first bite instead of cinnamon."
Scare Chord: In some parts of SH2, it takes the form of a high-pitched screeching or ringing noise.
The creators are frustratingly coy about which of the endings are canon. A few of the additional releasesonly available in Japan do shine some light on things, but real answers are as rare as ampoules. (It is canon that Silent Hill 1, 3, and Origins had good ending and heavily implied that "Into the Water" was the bad ending for Silent Hill 2).
Although to many, this simply makes the games more scary, since the games are one of the few instances in media where pretty much everything is symbolic of something. It causes many players to simply speculate even more about the series. Since there is no true answer to many of these questions, it makes the nature of the town that much more unsettling.
Sigil Spam: The Order's official seal, the "Halo of the Sun." It's practically wallpapered all over SH1's Otherworld, and functions as a save icon in SH3.
Silent Hill 1 can end with Harry being abducted by aliens - after he asks about his daughter, of course.
Harry makes a cameo in the UFO ending of Silent Hill 2 (complete with retro blocky graphics) to abduct James after a Catch Phrase exchange.
Another alternate ending of Silent Hill 2 is a shiba inu dog did it.
The UFO ending of Silent Hill 3 has Harry (and James) getting angry about Heather being picked on by the cult members and unleashing lasery death on the town with an entire UFO armada. And then the credits are accompanied by a very cheesy Japanese song.
Silent Hill Origins has an alien with a dog - a suspiciously familiar shiba inu - offering Travis a ride in his UFO.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories has the biggest Mind Screw UFO ending of all time: Cheryl claims her father was abducted by aliens, saying Silent Hill is really a giant spaceship. Then James comes into the therapist's office having gotten the day of his appointment wrong (he's one of Kaufmann's couples therapy patients; Kaufmann notes how he hasn't seen his wife recently). Then the camera zooms back to Cheryl, who's turned into the shiba inu dog and begins talking about how her mother was a bitch to Dr. Kaufmann, who has turned into an alien.
Silent Hill: Downpour has a rather different joke ending: After digging his way into a room, Murphy is suddenly greeted with a surprise birthday party from the other characters in the game and half the protagonists of other games. Then Pyramid Head shows up to cut the cake, and accidentally breaks the table it is on in half while doing so.
Solve the Soup Cans: It's Silent Hill. Even the puzzles hate you. According to "The Book of Lost Memories", many of those are meant to represent various fears. For example, the key you get from the vending machine represents the fear of machines not working the way they're supposed to.
Spooky Painting: Frame pictures in Silent Hill often depict the impossible — like the exact room you're standing in, complete with slumped corpses.
Spring Loaded Corpse: Any corpse not properly given one last kick/stomp can stand back up and continue menacing the player character.
The air-raid siren, some of the monster sounds, the sound of the fan in the first game, the door opening/closing sounds, the demonic moaning sound, and other effects heard in the ambient musics in the series, etc.
The sound the sniffer dogs make when they die is the common "cougar roar" sound, the Insane Cancers use a guttural stock sound when awakening, Air Screamers and Pendulums make red-tailed hawk sounds, Hummers make a "bee buzzing" sound, and the Numb Bodies use some of the zombie moaning sounds from the Resident Evil series.
Shattered Memories, on the other hand, abandons combat altogether and forces the player to have to run, hide, and barricade entrances to defend oneself against monsters, heavily emphasizing the "survival" aspect.
The town as a whole is also suspiciously "generous" with weapons, ammunition, and healing items, considering that everything else is trying to kill you. Then again, there's no fun in having a plaything die horribly within the first 30 minutes of fun, now is there?
Also justified in that it is hinted that the town is not a death sentence, but a test for redemption...which brings it's own Fridge Horror, in that it could just kill you outright, but chooses to toy with you in the name of letting you try and redeem yourself.
Tarot Motifs: In the story supplement "Book of Lost Memories", pretty much every aspect of the town and the characters are associated with Tarot cards — Heather is The Fool, The Sun is the games' bonus features, Pyramid Head is Judgement, The Eye of Night (created specifically for the third game, as no Eye of Night appears in the tarot) is The God, and so on.
This Is a Drill: You can unlock a rock drill as a weapon in the New Game+ of the original game, and Judge Holloway wields a nasty looking drill in Homecoming.
Through the Eyes of Madness: Silent Hill's primary method of Mind Rape. Several times it is hinted that the "monsters" you're killing may actually be innocent human beings. Alluded to in 3:
Vincent: Monsters? They look like monsters to you?
Updated Re-release: The Greatest Hits Playstation 2 version and Xbox version of Silent Hill 2 were released not too long after the original, adding a new playable scenario and several other extras.
The Silent Hill HD Collection for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 features ports of Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3. It has, however, caught a bit of flak from both fans and the original developers for changing the look and feel of the games too much and having many stability related bugs.
A persistent rumor abounded about a supposed "Ambulance Ending" in the first game where Harry rampages through Silent Hill Grand Theft Auto style.
A common fan art sight gag is to make or draw fake screenshots of the "lost" SH4 UFO Ending. It doesn't have one.
Unreliable Narrator: James Sunderland, come on down! From the second game onwards, all of the protagonists are very obviously not honest with themselves. James just gets namechecked because his Player Punch reveal is that memorable.
Variable Mix: Most of the games feature dynamic music which seamlessly changes according to the action, such as the number or proximity of monsters in a room, entering or exiting a room (eg. going back through the clock room in the apartments, jumping down the final hole to the labyrinth), activating a switch (eg. the Alchemilla Hospital generator), or completing some other objective.
Before that, stories of a Silent Hill remake called "Silent Hill: Original Sin" featuring the movie continuity arose, but it turned out to be Silent Hill Origins.
An RPG-style cellphone game remake of the first game did emerge in Japan called Silent Hill: Mobile.
Violation of Common Sense: Jump down this possibly bottomless hole? Stick your hand in the toilet? Reach into a dead guy's pocket? Wander around an old insane asylum filled with monsters? Sure, why not!
Visual Novel: Silent Hill Play Novel, as the title might suggest.
Wake-Up Call Boss: The first boss in each of the first three games, all of which have an instant-death attack that will catch inexperienced players off guard.
The reams and reams of information you get from reading stuff picked up in Silent Hill get quite wordy. Even worse, they aren't always quite expository.
One LPer made fun of the use of blacked out words in Silent Hill Origins by pretending to play Mad Libs with the blanks.
Mostly averted in Shattered Memories, in that while you do get text messages on the cell phone, few of them (the exception being The Experience in the mall) are overly wordy.
Where The Hell is Silent Hill: The games never explicitly spell out where Silent Hill is, other than somewhere in New England. Circumstantial evidence strongly implies it to be in Maine, but this is only hinted at and not fully confirmed in-game. Most resources state its in Maine / ME so it is not a mystery anymore.
Womb Level: The boss battles of the first and third games and Nightmare level of the third game are composed of pulsating flesh. Arguably, the entire fourth game applies as well.
Yet Another Stupid Death: Besides the generic death animation, several games feature unusual means of getting horribly murdered.
You Wake Up in a Room: Frequently happens when protagonists 'wake up' in the Otherworld. Following an indoor boss fight in Silent Hill 2, James somehow warps to a forbidding-looking outdoor area with insurmountable walls (Labeled "Courtyard" on the real world map).
Except in Downpour where Murphy gets the misfortunate to watch reality melt and ooze away then proceeds to get attack by a sentient blackhole. Fun.