Headscratchers: Silent Hill
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Stupid Oblivious Government
- The entire place is practically a Ghost Town, not to mention Shepard's Glen in Homecoming. How come no one has taken notice? Why does it seem like no one has tried to start an investigation? An entire town going dark for 20 or so years seems like it would net SOME attention, not to mention that everyone who has left has probably been put into an asylum.
- It hasn't gone dark. The foggy Silent Hill is an otherworld that people are drawn into just like the hellish one. To most people, it's just a regular old resort town. Or at least, that's the most popular WMG for why the government isn't all over it.
- The above is correct, Silent Hill exists as a normal town. There are many indicators of this, such as there being computers in Brookhaven Hospital in Silent Hill 3 where there were only typewriters before in Silent Hill 2. Homecoming mentions a school bus accident in Shepherd's Glen that involved taking the children to Alchemilla Hospital in Silent Hill. And there's a letter in Doc Fitch's office from a "Dr. Slater", the Chief Resident of the Psychiatric Department in Alchemilla Hospital. As for Shepherd's Glen, there's a memo in the Overlook Penitentiary that explains the situation there:
- "For any readers looking to enjoy that good old Shepherd's Glen hospitality, you may want to reconsider your options. I recently stayed at the Shepherd's Inn, located conveniently just outside the downtown area. While our previous overnights at this location were memorable, the year since their Sesquicentennial Celebration has not been kind to our neighboring burg. Our accommodations themselves were inhospitable, to put it mildly, and the locals seemed gruff and uninviting. Even the Town Hall, once a friendly way for tourists to learn about the area's culture, stood in exceeding disrepair. On day two—"
- Indeed, the deserted and largely shattered version of Silent Hill we the players have gotten so used to is likely a pocket dimension separate from Earth.
Invincible locked doors
- Dear gods, the sheer amount of locked doors boggles my mind. Why, with all the weapons the protagonists have, haven't they tried to break them down? James with Pyramid Head's Knife should easily cleave those flimsy wooden things.
- My guess? Silent Hill has a hell dimension anchored over it, and breaking open a door would result in a tear in the space/time continuum which would permanently trap you in the Dark World. ... or, it would cause the game to glitch.
- I always figured it as whatever entity/power behind all the nonsense only having a few, important areas accessible- too much effort to make everything ever available. (Rather like, er, the real life reason.) It also works nicely to contribute to a sense of claustrophobia, which seems to be the desired effect.
- In the section for SH 4, there's a theory that The Room purposely makes itself unbreakable to keep Henry locked in and force him to go through the hole. Maybe the dark power likewise makes all doors and windows unbreakable except for the important ones that lead to eventual escape. It may be evil and controlling, but Silent Hill is fair... horrifying, traumatizing, and murderous, but fair.
- In other words, the doors cannot be broken with any degree of force the PCs can deliver.
- As good an explanation as any is postulated at about 7:12 in this video
Apocalyptic cults bad for tourism?
- So just what the hell is the current state of the town? I understand that the series has thus far spanned at least twenty or so years, but why is it that people are constantly acting as if there is nothing wrong with the town, despite the fact that dozens and dozens of people have disappeared in the town over the course of 2 decades with a connection to a cult that seems to be hellbent on ripping goddamn Cthulhu out of the ground to destroy humanity? Wouldn't that kind of ruin tourism?.
- The number of people who go missing isn't really that high. Assuming that the good endings are canon, the number of disappearances is less than ten, and most of them aren't exactly mysterious. Most of them are either drug addicts, dealers, or suicidally depressed. People go missing sometimes in a town of more than 30,000 people.
- Well, keep in mind, twenty years. Strange things happen in small towns, and the cult owns just about everything. Keeping tourists coming won't be too hard, I mean, those were isolated incidents over two decades. People go missing all the time. As for the original question, the town of Silent Hill itself is supposedly normal, the alternate world is the misty version. What you call the dark world is YMMV, but this troper refers to it as the Nightmare, usually.
- Actually it is stated from Silent Hill 1 to Silent Hill 3 that the town is normal in every sense of the word. Even the Silent Hill Arcade game mentions that it's a well known lake-side resort. The Other World, Dark World, Gray World, and once mentioned in Silent Hill Play Novel Light World are all in other dimensions (hence the uncrossable giant cliff of doom at the edge of town or the No Where world which is often mixed bits of the Other, Normal, and Dark worlds) which are only linked by either Mirror Gates or the whims of the dark god.
- You've gotta remember that there's a specific in-game explanation that covers this little concern quite nicely - White Claudia, a seriously addictive drug, is specifically targeted to tourists. It doesn't matter what reputation a town has, I imagine, when you're addicted to a drug you can really only get there.
- The town exists without monsters and fog (well, less fog) in the real world. It has been inhabited since 1810. According to SILENT HILL KOSHIKI GUIDEBOOK KANZENBAN (Silent Hill Official Guidebook Complete Edition) the population was "below 30,000" at the time of the first Silent Hill game (set in 1983) and its key industry — tourism — is in a state of steady decline. The residents were aware of the drug trade and presence of the Order in the real world (various articles and memos corroborate this), though they are not aware of what happens in the Fog World and Otherworld.
That lock sounds broken to me!
- How do the characters know the difference between a locked door and a door with a broken lock?
- Maybe the locks are really obviously broken, like it's wonky and there's a big crack in it, but they just didn't bother to animate that.
- If the monsters are metaphysical manifestations of the characters' guilt and psychoses and all that, why do they present themselves as living, breathing things capable of being killed by something as real and mundane as a shotgun? If they aren't real, then why are very real and very brutal, unrefined, and simple methods capable of killing them and one need not address what they represent or their actual nature at any point during the games?
- Because, ultimately, the will to live/discover the truth/save a loved one is stronger than the guilt and despair that spawns the nightmares. They physically exist due to the town's power despite their imaginary origins.
- Of course, that's assuming the monsters actually are "metaphysical manifestations of guilt/psychoses" in the first place. There is actually fan debate as to whether or not that is the case. As this fan here notes, the repression of memories and guilt thing actually is more of something unique to Silent Hill 2, with Silent Hill 1, Silent Hill 3 and Silent Hill 4 instead focusing on a purely occult-themed backstory/scenario. With this in mind, it's debatable that the monsters are indeed "just" creatures from some other dimension or whatever, and so weapons kill them just fine.
- Just HOW MANY different worlds exist with in the place anyway? And have they all been shown yet or just mentioned?
- The obvious answer is at least 6 but the official statement from Keiichiro Toyama is 'Unlimited' to be mysterious. The ones that were shown so far are in order -> Real, Gray, Nightmare, Ash, Ice, and Rainy. .
- There were three mentioned in other resources but if they are canon or not is unknown; they are Dust, Empty, and Light but they were mentioned/seen in games like Silent Hill Orphan and other media such as the 2006 movie and various Comic Book Adaptions.
- It should be noted any adaptations, games, or films made or directed by anyone other than the team that worked on the original four games should NOT be considered canon. (That would be like considering anything Harry Potter-related that was not written by JK Rowling to be canon. And that would be silly!)
Real World Location
- So like Springfield, there is not a defined location for the town as SH 1 says New England, the comic books from IDW and Konami are very vague about it, the movie has it in West Virginia, and one of the wikis say it's in Michigan with Shattered Memories.
- Official canon states that the town is located in northern Maine, the upper northeast of the United States.
Nightmares about Silent Hill? Let's go there right now!
- "Oh honey you're having terrible nightmares about a horrible, evil place? It's ok, I'll kidnap you to take you there against all common sense, your father's wishes and any concern about your well being, I'm sure that will make it all better."
- Yeah, I like how she just went behind her husband's back like that. So not only are men incapable of loving their children as much as a mother according to the studio, but they don't deserve to be kept in the loop either.
- Especially since in the movie it is public knowledge that Silent Hill is very dangerous, even at the pseudo-normal levels. Rose clearly researched this place and should know (just as her husband did) that the fires burning are so dangerous that people can't live there. So of course the best way to handle this is to take your mentally ill child and go there without even hiring someone who would have a reasonable chance of knowing how to safely navigate such a place. To make it even more ridiculous there was no reason whatsoever to bring the child with her. There was no reason at all why Rose couldn't leave the kid in the care of specialists and her husband for a few days and travel to the town herself.
- Rose tells Chris that the therapy wasn't working and no one could figure out what was wrong with Sharon. I think Rose reached a breaking point and stopped thinking rationally after she found Sharon screaming about a town she's never heard of while sleepwalking on the edge of a cliff.
- And this is the character we're supposed to cheer on? One who's either been pushed so far she'd rather put her child in real danger than do the intelligent thing or who is just too dumb to realize what she's doing? Usually the audience expects the main character to act intelligently in a movie.
- Yeah, the set up to the main plot of the film (Rose searching the town for Sharon) wasn't the best, but I totally get what they were trying to do. What they (presumably) wanted the audience to see: Sharon is sleep-talking about (and drawing) Silent Hill, but Sharon has no recollection of the town when she's awake and therapist can't explain why this is happening. Rose figures Silent Hill is relevant to the cause of Sharon's problems in some way, and having found Sharon sleepwalking on the edge of a cliff in what can only be described as nightmare fuel for parents, Rose can't think of any more options and decides to take Sharon to Silent Hill. While we aren't given an exact reason for why Rose decided to do this, I can see why she might think it's a good idea. Without knowledge of Sharon's supernatural origins, one could presume that taking Sharon to Silent Hill will trigger memories of the town and any experiences she had there. note
- While it's not covered in the movie the game canon says the town Silent Hill is supernatural in nature and has the ability to reach out to select people in the outside world and affect their actions in ways that eventually draw them to it, like sending a letter from Mary to James Sunderland long after she was dead. Rose may not have had any choice in the matter of going to Silent Hill.
- There are several factors to consider in why Rose would take Sharon to Silent Hill. The first is that Sharon was sleepwalking into extremely dangerous situations, and was likely to kill herself soon enough. The second thing to consider is that the doctors had done everything they could, and the only option left was to have Sharon institutionalized for the rest of her life. Rose was also aware that Sharon came from West Virginia, and suggests to Chris when he calls her that she believes that Sharon may be from Silent Hill or somewhere around there. There's also the fact that the town isn't as dangerous as some people think. Chris and Gucci drive around for hours with no masks, and it's perfectly logical to think that may have been Rose's intention. So long as she wasn't planning on taking Sharon into any closed buildings for long stretches of time, it's very unlikely Sharon would have been harmed by the town. The idea is that Rose wasn't ready to watch her child's life be taken away yet, as would have happened had Sharon been permanently institutionalized.
Watch as I pull this trigger... d'oh!
- Cybil was easily pwning the cultists in the hospital without needing to fire her gun. Why oh why did she reveal her own bluff by "shooting" Crystabella? She could have at least convinced them to go away and leave her alone for fear of getting shot to death, and then wait for Rose to come back? They'd have totally thought she'd be dead meat anyway, what with being so close to "The Demon", too.
- I just assumed she thought the gun was loaded, and that she tried to shoot Christabella to prove a point.
- Definitely not, she explains that she is on her last mag when fighting Pyramid Head, and drops the slide after her last round in the scene before. I think she just gave up and figured she was dead anyways. Good guess, though.
Cybil just really hates parents?
- Officer Cybil's suspicions when she first sees Rose and Sharon. At that point she has absolutely no reason at all to think that there was anything suspicious about Rose, so what did she do? She decides to go over to the child in the car and to follow them.
- The movie tries to justify this by using that "boy who was kidnapped and put in a mineshaft (or whatever) 'til Cybil came to save him" sidebar. I think they were hoping the audience would presume that Cybil's cop senses were tingling and she just couldn't resist the urge to investigate.
- Still silly.
- So do the local police regularly get complaints from travelers that one of their officers keeps tailing them and speaking to their children?
- To be fair, Rose was acting suspicious at the gas station.
- And she DID just kind of kidnap her own daughter in a way....
- We know that Chris had Rose's credit cards cut off when she left, so it's possible he also reported the Jeep stolen in an effort to have her brought back. Cybil never mentions it, but it would explain why she was checking out the vehicle, copied down the license plate, and then came screaming after Rose with her sirens on after she ran the plate.
- Cybil's initial suspicions at the gas station were spurred when Rose showed Sharon a drawing that she drew and Sharon became distressed because she didn't remember drawing it. Cybil was just within earshot to hear Sharon becoming agitated ("What is that mommy?", "I don't remember!" etc.) and went to investigate when Rose left, but Sharon said she's not supposed to talk to strangers and rolled her window up. The suspicions increased for the reasons that the other tropers have described above.
- Not only were Cybil's suspicions raised by Sharon's yelling and Rose's cold attitude, the script shows a cut scene where she went into the restaurant to ask the cashier about what Rose had told her. Learning that Rose had mentioned Silent Hill would definitely have given her a reason to pull her over.
- I'm kind of surprised that no one's mentioned this yet. Okay, so the premise is basically that the entire Church of fanatics is already dead and their souls are trapped in Silent Hill: the detective makes a comment about a lot of people never being found, not even bodies, and then says that some people would say they deserved it. Regardless, a huge fire spread throughout the town and killed people. And Alessa was right at the center of it. How in the hell did she survive long enough for the detective to save her? How did he even get to her?
- Honestly? She probably survived for a time off pure hate. I assumed that Alessa either got lucky and the chains snapped before she was killed, or the demon did it to save her. The police may well have been investigating the cult, or the fire of the drapes set off fire alarms and they found her there. After the botched burning, Alessa was interned at a hospital, bonded with the demon, and then caused a second, stronger fire that must have got all the cultist and the town in general.
- Given that Dahlia's with the cops when they find Alessa, it's implied that as soon as the horror of what she'd done struck her, she rushed to the police. That the first fire merely drove the cultists out of the hotel, and that a second, stronger fire killed them and ruined the town never occurred to me, and is a possibility.
- Right, there were two fires. One that maimed Alessa and a later one that ignited the coal mines and left the town uninhabited.
- There was only one fire, and neither Alessa nor the townspeople died in it, as evidenced by the lack of bodies, the fact that they all age 30 years, and statements made by the director. Alessa survived because she was pulled out of the hotel before the coals could eat down into a coal mine vent that ran directly beneath the sanctuary (it was a rather unfortunate placement for a place of sacrifices involving fire, apparently). After going to the hospital, Alessa split her soul into two beings (the evil little girl is the manifestation of Alessa's dark side) and kept herself alive by using her powers to keep the hospital equipment running after she created the alternate reality.
Lecturing crazy cultists is a free action
- When Rose is shouting at the Church to remind them of their crimes why on Earth are they just standing there? She's the heretic connected to the Demon, so why don't they knock her over the head and burn her like they were planning to?
- Well, they didn't expect her to come back at all. Some of them did try to smack her, but at that point, she was far too angry/hopped up on adrenaline to care.
- Um, one person slapped her the moment she started talking, a bunch of people tried to grab her, and one person punched her in the face, along with every clamoring to burn her alive. I'm pretty sure none of them were just standing there letting her talk.
Troubled Child + Danger + ??? = Cure!
- What exactly was Rose's plan for when she and Sharon reached Silent Hill? Did she think that they could just wander around the townnote and that this would somehow cure her daughter? Was Sharon supposed to have an epiphany from being in a creepy, deserted town? Even ignoring the obvious dangers and lack of any real planning did Rose never consider the possibility that being in such a scary place might make Sharon's condition worse?
- From what I gather, Rose didn't have any plan at all. She went to Silent Hill out of desperation and frustration, looking for answers. She didn't know it was a "creepy", "scary" place — which is entirely subjective. All she knew was that there was a coal fire that started thirty years ago that is still burning and that nobody wanted to talk about it, because it was a tragedy and people died (like Thomas Gucci's father).
- It's deserted and has a still-burning underground coal fire that makes it too dangerous to allow people to live in. Not sure what else you want to make a place creepy. And it still leaves Sharon in danger and mentally unstable in a deserted town. That's not talking about the unintended car crash, it was Rose's plan from the beginning to take a mentally ill child into a dangerous town with zero help.
- Why is it assumed Sharon is mentally ill/unstable? She has a very dangerous sleepwalking habit, which is a sleeping disorder, not a mental one. There's no indication she's anything but an ordinary child otherwise, and certainly no signs she's somehow unstable or mentally ill.
- The child also talks about a place she's never been that actually exists while she's sleep walking - that seems to go a bit deeper than just a sleep disorder. Apparently she goes back and, shall i say, "edits" her drawings to be disturbing; this happened in the car before they even got to Silent Hill, so this troper assumed it had been a problem along with the sleep walking. That seems to go farther than a sleeping disorder as well...
- While the altering of her drawings was creepy and definitely something that would get reactions like Rose's, it's not automatically a sign of mental illness, though. Sometimes kids draw creepy things! In-universe, that could be easily brushed off with she'd seen something scary on TV, and could have heard Silent Hill mentioned before and just not remember she had. Remember: We know what's really going on, but it's implied (if I remember right?) that Rose has had Sharon see doctors before, and her having something like a mental illness is never brought up. So even if she did, chances are the doctors didn't think so and thus in-universe, Rose wouldn't think she was taking "a mentally ill child into a dangerous town with zero help". She was taking her daughter to the place she was dreaming about (albeit a dangerous one, yes) in desperation to somehow figure out what is going on, with no idea that what happened was possible.
- The creepy drawings are more of a problem because of the context. Children draw creepy things all the time, but they usually don't immediately break down crying and ask who drew the pictures that they just got done creating. If that was happening all along, that in and of itself would be cause for concern. It's also safe to assume that, if she was sleep walking and making disturbing drawings, she would have also had other lapses that could easily have been more disturbing. Of course, the drawings might have been something new, since Rose seems confused by them.
- It's a matter of truth that parents who're driven to desperation by their circumstances will do things they wouldn't normally do if they were thinking logically. Sharon's sleepwalking and nearly dying by falling off a cliff and the lack of results from therapy and medication, added to by who knows how many sleepless nights Rose has been suffering while worrying about the well-being of her daughter, and the premise isn't impossible to accept.
- Sharon's sleepwalking was definitely dangerous, but if that was the only problem and if none of her sleepwalking episodes were violent or self-injurious, why were they even considering permanent institutionalization? Problematic sleepwalkers are usually cared for by making sure that they're in a safe place where they can't easily go anywhere or somehow harm themselves while they're asleep. A room rigged up with infrared motion detectors set up to trigger an alarm would have solved a lot of problems.
So there's a group of cultists who are basically trapped inside the church they 'live' in. They can't go outside because it's too dangerous, which is fair enough in and of itself.
- Where the everloving fuck were they getting food from? When Cybil and Rose meet Anna in the hotel, she explains that her mother needs more food, so they do eat. Later on, Christabella tells Eleanor that Anna disobeyed their rules and 'went outside into the devil's playground'. And besides, even if they do leave the church occasionally (which they are admittedly seen doing, albeit in those big suits), it's been a full thirty years since the disaster struck the town. Where's the food coming from? It's pretty obvious that you wouldn't be able to grow crops or raise animals in Silent Hill, and the town's water supply must have dried up long ago. All that would be left would be canned food, and after thirty years, even most canned food would probably be a little on the dangerous side. Or did the cult simply stockpile huge quantities of Spam prior to the disaster?
When Cybil gets Rose to pull over...
- "Oh look, a police officer's pulled me over. She already thinks I might have kidnapped the little girl I have in my car and is concerned I'm a bit of a weirdo. I know! I'll drive off at full speed away from her into the darkness!" Seriously, Rose? I know she was worried about being arrested, but good god. Cybil was already suspicious of her - didn't it ever occur to her that driving away like that would just make her look even more suspicious?
Dark Alessa, and Sharon
- When did Dark Alessa arrive? She explains to Rose that Sharon is what's left of Alessa's goodness, which is fine, and she's seen leaving baby Sharon on the doorstep of the orphanage, which is also fine. But how much time passed between Alessa being burned (and subsequently arriving at the hospital), Dark Alessa showing up, and Sharon being dropped off at the orphanage? It's been thirty years since the disaster, and no indication of time is provided.
Regarding Thomas Gucci and Christopher when they're searching the town.
- At one point, Rose runs straight past Chris, who can't see her because she's in another reality, but he does smell her perfume. The whole purpose of the exercise is to try and find Rose and Sharon, so why does Gucci then insist that Chris didn't smell her, and tell him she was never there? Seems a tad counterproductive.
2012 Film Sequel
More issues with Harry... goody
- This Headscratcher is based on pre-release details about the sequel. Spoilers abound, so turn back if you're uber-sensitive about that kind of thing. According to pre-release info, Heather Mason will be looking for her father in Silent Hill after being on the run for eighteen years. And apparently, her father is Christopher Da Silva, Sean Bean's character. "Okay, cool" I thought to myself, "they're sticking to the game's story this time." This even fits in with the general opinion that Sean Bean would have made a good Harry. The problem? Heather is aided in her quest by by a completely unrelated man. Named. Harry. What. In. The. Utter. Fuck. Oh, and even better? Heather will also be helped by Rose Da Silva, who is still wearing the exact red-stained clothes she wore in the original movie. Meaning that little to no time has passed since the first. The only way this could possibly make sense is by involving time travel, or Christopher Da Silva was one of those freaks with a second hidden family.
- Maybe, hopefully, "Harry" is really just Douglas from Silent Hill 3, renamed Harry in the movie story as a Shout-Out to the first game. From the prerelease info it sounds like he's playing the exact same role as Douglas. As for Rose, my money's on her being a spirit, a projection or something else mysterious and supernatural: the last time we saw her she'd been fully absorbed into the misty world.
- According to IMDB, Sean Bean is credited as both Christopher Da Silva and Harry Mason. The only source I've seen refer to Harry as a different character is The Other Wiki, and that plot summary isn't even sourced.
- Perhaps the family went into hiding from the cult and took on the aliases of Harry and Heather Mason?
- The same cult that was completely trapped in the nightmare world and were slaughtered at the end of the movie? That would be a bit excessive on the part of the family.
- Not the same cult. The cult in Revelation is more along the lines of the Order (specifically, the Sect of the Holy Woman) in Silent Hill and Silent Hill 3.
- I haven't found any new written information, but here are some pics from the set. There's nothing too revealing, but we get a look at a few things and characters. This is Don Carmody and Nurses posing comically in what appears to be a hospital from hell. This is Don Carmody at an altar(?) that is curiously similar to the one from SH1, I think. This is Carrie Ann Moss in costume as Claudia Wolf. This is what appears to be a snowy Silent Hill, along with Adelaide Clemens as Heather Mason (her face and hair are freakin' perfect—like a clone of game!heather), Kit Harington as Vincent Carter and the Director and other set dudes. Also, THISreferences both Harry and Chris being played by Sean Bean. Rose is in an elevator◊. The creepy◊ carnival◊ is apparently relevant to the film, and an article is here. The Carousel at night is quite a sight, as is this school bus. There are many photos surfacing of the carnival on fire, and guess who's enjoying the blaze:SPOILER .
- Obviously with the movie released this has come to light, but to sum it up: "Christopher and Sharon" are now going under the names "Harry and Heather", to make it, y'know, the game. Heather was helped by Douglas for about 2 minutes, but he was killed by the Missionary instead of Harry. The only one that helped Heather long-term was Vincent, who was..... Not at all the Vincent from the game, for brevity's sake we'll leave it there.