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Nightmare Fuel / Silent Hill 2

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As Silent Hill 2 is one of the most haunting video games of all time, expect to see a lot of Nightmare Fuel in this section.

As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

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  • The moment at the end of the final boss fight when Maria/Mary endlessly repeats James' name until he deals the final blow.
  • The Abstract Daddy is possibly the single most obscene monster in the entire series. Hideous as it is merely to look at, if you couldn't make out exactly what it's supposed to represent, you were lucky. It's two figures lying on a bed with the larger, dominant figure on top of the smaller one. In other words, you're watching a reenactment of Angela, presumably still underage, being raped by her father before your eyes. And then it tries to kill you for interrupting its assault on Angela. Truly horrendous.
  • Maria herself is also a very unsettling character for a number of reasons. First off, she resembles Mary almost perfectly, she is never seen interacting with any other character besides James, she keeps coming back to life no matter how many times Pyramid Head kills her, and she eventually decides to kill James once he realises the truth behind her origins.
    • And the most unsettling and tragic part about Maria is that she isn't inherently evil, as shown in her own desire to help Ernest in Born From A Wish, but is nevertheless a puppet of Silent Hill who is forced to do it's bidding by seducing and tormenting James.
  • The Lying Figures that come scuttling and screeching from underneath a car. Not only that, but the Mannequins that randomly levitate out onto the road? It causes suffering in one's heart. Mannequins in general are terrifying considering they... just... stand... there. They don't move until you get close, don't emit static, and seeing one standing motionless in the middle of an empty hallway? Oh. God.
  • Speaking of Born From a Wish, the entire time that Maria is in the mansion, she hasn't seen the man she's been talking to face-to-face, instead speaking to him through doors. While you get an idea of what's going on after visiting the attic, it's not until Maria leaves through the back door of the house to get to the Lakeview Apartments that it really hits you... someone's spray-painted "KEEP OUT OF HAUNTED MANSION" on a nearby wall.
  • Just the sounds of most of the enemies are enough to scare basically anyone. The Lying Figures make ear-destroying scraping sounds as they scuttle across the floor, and when you hit them, they moan. Mannequins do the same thing, moaning upon being hit.
  • The Bubble Head Nurses look relatively normal from the neck down. But their heads... Their heads are just a lump of flesh somewhat in the shape of a nurse's bobcut.

     Pyramid Head/Red Pyramid Thing 
  • Pyramid Head aka Red Pyramid Thing. An Implacable Man known for his giant knife, rusty red helmet, quasi-sexual activities with the other monsters, and ability to make players call for their brown pants.
    • One of the reasons Pyramid Head is so terrifying is that his appearances aren't always preceded by cutscenes. Take his first appearance at the apartments: the radio blares its usual static as you walk down a hallway, and there he is, on the other side of row of bars, standing completely still and looking right at you.
      • That's the worst part, too. He just stares at you from behind those bars. He doesn't do anything. You don't want to walk into the next room because you're convinced he's going to burst through the wall and kill you, but you have to. After that, every step you take carries the weight that he's going to be there ready to kill you. You don't know when or where, but you know it'll happen.
      • Eventually, it feels like he isn't staring at James, he's staring at you, the player. And as if he wasn't menacing enough already, turning off your flashlight here shows him to seemingly glow with a dim, bloody-red light while he stands there.
      • Elaborating on the above statement: During Pyramid Head's proper introduction, James hides in the closet and we get a POV shot of him watching Pyramid Head through the slits in the door. After a moment, Pyramid Head suddenly looks directly at the camera and shuffles towards the closet to investigate. As he slowly closes in, you start to wonder who exactly he's looking at.
    • One of the scariest parts of the game is seeing the huge painting of Pyramid Head just before you start exploring the prison. After already encountering him a couple of times and having built up a healthy fear of him, seeing it hanging over the entrance will have you constantly dreading his eventual appearance as you go deeper and deeper underground.
      • In addition, the title of this exact painting, as noted in the image above, is "Misty day, remains of judgment", which hints at Pyramid Head's nature and reason for existing here: he carries out judgment against criminals. Let that sink in a bit...up to this point, he's hounded James in several locations, seeming to relentlessly pursue him throughout the town. Also, up to this point, the player has no clue James murdered Mary, so it makes you wonder what on earth you did to piss off such a thing for it to chase you nonstop...
      • But perhaps the most shocking of them all is the painting titled "Crimson and White Banquet of the Gods". It depicts a group of cultists, one of them wearing a red triangular capirote hood. This means that Pyramid Head is a representation of the executioners of The Order, the antagonist cult of the entire franchise.
    • To top all of this, he sometimes jumps out of impossible angles, like in the underground basement in the Otherworld Hospital where you pass from one fixed camera angle to another and he's suddenly right behind you. Also, when you reach the roof of the hospital. Turns out there's not actually anything for you to do on the roof (unless you're honestly curious about the diary in the corner), so you try to leave through the door you came in from and you can't open it. Unlike most of the doors in the game, nothing's wrong with the lock. James says that something is holding it closed from the other side. Uncertain what to do next, you wander over to a nearby section of fence and Pyramid Head appears literally out of nowhere to give you a hand (read: use his Great Knife to give James a good shove in the midsection, sending both him and the fence over the edge and crashing through the roof below, leaving James one hit away from death).
    • His appearances in the Labyrinth might be the most terrifying of all, because he shows up completely randomly. Picture this: you're running along, and then you see Pyramid Head coming your way, and there's no way out. You can leave, but that'll risk the chance of Pyramid Head being in another place. The only safe spot is a nook in the wall, mere inches away from Pyramid Head's path. Then Pyramid Head walks by, and there's nothing you can do but cross your fingers and pray he doesn't see you. And even if it works, there's no guarantee he'll fall for it a second time.
      • The sound of the Great Knife as he approaches is like nails on a chalkboard Up to Eleven. You'll be minding your own business when suddenly *scree* ... *Scree* ... *SCREE*
      • That circular walkway... THAT CIRCULAR WALKWAY. You may spend most of your time running from him screaming "I CAN'T FIND THE LADDER, I CAN'T FIND THE LADDER!" Not to mention the fact that running from him only takes you around the walkway and right into him again.
      • Similarly, there's a certain intersection of rooms with several Mandarins in them, and while you're busy trying to run past them before they can grab you, you're most likely to run straight into him, allowing him to get a free hit before you finally notice that he's been standing there the whole time.
      • Not to mention that due to the darkness and decrepidness of the game's buildings, there are times where you can walk right into him.
    • The scene of Pyramid Head raping the Lying Figure before you battle him in the apartment stairwell is just eerie. That groaning...
    • One disturbing fact is that you never see Pyramid Head's face. Underneath his metal helmet you can see a tumour-like growth and when he attacks James, an long tongue or a tentacle-like tendril emerges from a hole in his helmet. What exactly is his helmet hiding? Looking closely you can see that the flesh growth appears to be fused to the edge of the helmet. It may be possible that his metal "mask" is actually part of his head.
  • The grid of nine save squares at the end of the game. They aren't any more effective than a single square - they're just a good indication that there's something very, very bad in the next room...and there is. Two Pyramid Heads!

     The Town & Manifestations 
  • In the abandoned apartment complex, James finds a flashlight on a mannequin whose dress eerily resembles Mary's. As soon as you take it, another previously inanimate mannequin abruptly stands up and begins to shamble towards you.
  • Much of the historical society/prison/abyss sequence. The peak of terror occurs in the corridor before the final hole. A small corridor, with an unopenable door, the last hole... and an earsplitting electronic wailing noise playing.
    • And just before that, you get to go through the prison morgue. It's full of corpses, stuffed into holes in the wall and lying on gurneys. It's James's comments that really clinch it, though:
      "It's all dismembered... No, I can't look anymore."
    • How about the room where you have to go in to get a tablet... then find the door to the cell inexplicably locked? You spend several moments huddled in that cell trying the door over and over again until... it inexplicably opens.
    • The Historical Society itself sets the tone for the entire sequence. Unlike the other areas you've been in, it's not run-down and abandoned, it's downright pristine... except for the giant hole smashed in the wall, which reveals a giant staircase. As you head down it, you hear a foghorn in the distance. It keeps playing, getting more and more frequent, until you head through the door at the bottom of the stairs and it stops. Behind it? Just an ordinary office with nothing in it except a first aid kit. No giant, moaning monster, no jumpscare, and no explanation of what was making that noise. The lack of any proper release to the tension that stairway built up only makes it more terrifying.
  • The invisible Prisoners in the cell blocks of Toluca Prison. There are two of them, one in each cell block. They don't register on your radio, but they tap on the walls and whisper an incoherent, guttural-sounding word (possibly "ritual"). You can shoot them through the bars, and if you kill them and look carefully, they make human-like cries and you'll see blood spreading across the floor, but you never actually see what they are. This does not make them any less disturbing.
    • The fact that the invisible things sound human when they die is pure Paranoia Fuel. What exactly did you just kill?
    • Another thing to note is that when James looks at them, he looks up. Every other monster is either smaller than him or about the same size - even Pyramid Head is about James' height, but the things in the cells are big and/or tall enough that James needs to actually look up to acknowledge them. Kind of makes you glad there are bars between you and them.
  • The alternate Lakeview Hotel, which has been both burnt and flooded. Your flashlight no longer works, which doesn't help when you have to go back into the dark basement, the room doors now teleport you around the building, and several areas that don't exist in the real world are now incorporated into it. And the music: an constant vocal drone accompanied by occasional distorted hissing noises.
  • As terrifying as the more overt elements are, often it's the subtle and ultimately irrelevant mindfucks that are the most effective.
    • At the very beginning of the game, you walk from James's car to the cemetary along a trail in the forest. You don't run into any monsters, but the first time through, you don't know that, and you can hear something moving around and growling.
    • The first time you get into an elevator in the hospital, a game show suddenly blares from a radio that until then only emitted static. Afterwards, Maria asks, "What was that?", and nobody ever mentions it again.
    • Take a close look at the corpses you see on the streets. All of them are dressed like James.
    • There are quite a few moments like this in the Silent Hill Historical Society, that while in and of themselves are quite subtle, are extremely unnerving. The two most prominent examples are the several descents that James must make, which would put him almost a mile beneath the surface of Silent Hill, yet you emerge only about a dozen feet below where you entered. This instance of symbolism represents the fact that James has surrendered himself completely to what he knows to be madness, both in his search for Mary and the blind faith it takes to repeatedly jump down tunnels of unknown lengths into complete blackness. There's also a moment right before you fight Eddie where, despite having descended an immeasurable distance, James finds himself in a cemetery where there is rain and thunder, and three headstones with his, Angela's, and Eddie's names on them.
    • There's a room in the Otherworld Brookhaven Hospital where you periodically hear the sound of glass breaking, if you stick around after killing the nurses.
    • In the Otherworld Hospital, you can find a diary entry from the patient who was locked in the "basement's basement". When you actually get to the basement itself, there's a barred-off area you can't get to, but when you walk past it, you hear a repeated noise that sounds like a cross between a child screaming and a pig being slaughtered. And once you finally psych yourself up to enter the "basement's basement", there's nothing unusual in it except an item you need to solve a puzzle, which is arguably just as bad (what did the person who dropped their ring see down here?).
    • The messages in Neely's Bar. What the hell does "There was a HOLE here. It's gone now," mean? Who left it, and why? Even creepier, if you go back after leaving the hospital, there's another one: "If you ReaLly want to sEE Mary, you shOUld just DiE. But You might be hEadiNg to A diffErent place than MARY, James."
    • The Wood Side/Blue Creek apartment buildings still have people's belongings in them, but judging by the graffiti everywhere, they've been abandoned for decades. What happened to make everyone abandon them all of a sudden?
    • What was really being done to the patients at Brookhaven? The staff locked at least one patient in the "basement's basement", and were neglectful enough that Joseph Barkin managed to write a message in one of the padded cells in his own blood...
    • On a related note, some may find Walter Sullivan far more disturbing in Silent Hill 2 when he's only mentioned in a newspaper article ranting about the "Red Devil" than when he's an out-and-out serial killer in Silent Hill 4.
    • In the first apartment building near where James first meets Eddie, there is a bit of graffiti that reads "To Hell", with an arrow pointing towards a door. The door in question can't be opened. You then find another door with the same graffiti. This one opens.
    • The three disturbing paintings you find in one of the prison cells: "436 People At A Recital", "Burning Man", and "Woman In Flight". The paintings actually represent the three characters in the center of the "judgment": "Burning Man" represents the burning of the Lakeview Hotel (which is central to James' story); "436 People at a Recital" represents how Eddie was humiliated as a child in front of a large group of people, thereby setting a trend for his life; and "Woman In Flight" represents Angela, fleeing from her crime. Whether that's less disturbing or more depends on your mileage. Now, how a random lunatic at a prison might know about these three lives, or whether the town went to extreme lengths to manifest these things to James... Not something you want to speculate on.
    • A disturbing little detail in the "Woman In Flight" painting is that one of the buildings is shaped like a pyramid. And in "436 People at a Recital", a lot of the audience members' heads are very... angular.
    • One early sequence of the game has you go to a room that has nothing but an eerie red light, a collection of butterflies, and an incessant, industrial grinding noise somewhere in the background. There's a hole in the wall you need to stick your hand into to get a key. It's surprisingly horrifying when, after a vibrating jerk from the controller, absolutely nothing happens.
    • In the Otherworld hospital, the room Maria was resting in in the regular hospital is now empty. However, if you listen, you can hear breathing.
  • The indecipherable whispering in Room 209 of the Blue Creek apartments. It doesn't show up in every playthrough; it's random.
    • The original source for the audio clip has actually since been found. It's a stock audio clip, and unfortunately also gibberish. The discovery of the original stock clip.
    • A cleaned up version of the whisper seems to say something like "See my dead wife come home to do some laundry to save me see two cars two..." It's pretty difficult to make out the last bit.
    • Don't worry, it's not indecipherable. It says, "See my dead wife and go home, do some laundry, do some..."
    • Similarly: While walking down a specific hallway in the hotel, you may suddenly hear a distorted cry that sounds like sobbing laughter. This event is completely random.
    • Shortly before your first encounter with Pyramid Head in the apartments, the camera pauses and James hears what sounds like a baby crying. One may have to turn the sound off after that.
    • Near the end of the jail cell section of the Toluca Prison, one of the places James can enter is the female bathroom. The stall on the far right side is the only one that's closed. The player has the option of knocking on the door, to which nothing responds. When the player walks back to the door to leave, a very loud crash and scream will come from that stall. Sometimes.
    • If you try to open the door to Room 208 in the Blue Creek Apartments, you'll find that it's locked, but when you walk away, you can hear the knob rattling furiously. When you eventually enter the room... nothing is there except a key.
  • The prison graveyard. All those graves, with no explanation why it's there, with your one waiting to be filled... And the next level only reachable by jumping into it...

    Other Horrors 
  • Much of the soundtrack itself can cause bricks to be shat. "Only a Nightmare", which is pretty much a distillation of every horrific sound in the Historical Society/Prison/Labyrinth, "Death Shamble", and "Suddenly Awake", which is part of the reason the alternate hospital is so traumatizing.
    • On that note, there's the way the game warns you that there's enemies in a room in Born From a Wish. Since there's no radio, they went with two different methods. The first one was making all of the monsters' footsteps really loud. The second? Walking into a room, only to be blasted with this.
    • Also under consideration for terrifying tunes: "Mangled Corpses", which plays during the final descent into the Abyss from the prison, and "Invisible Monster", the Historical Society and Prison music/ambiance.
    • "Blood Pulse", the music in Room 208 of the Wood Side Aparatments, while tame compared to the rest of the soundtrack, is very disturbing, made up of distorted sounds that sound like groaning metal backed by the ticking of a clock. And when you backtrack through the room later, it's been replaced with the aptly named "Horrific", which mixes constant eerie drones with what sounds like clanging machinery.
    • What's worse than the sounds from facing Pyramid Head? The music while facing two Pyramid Heads.
  • Eddie's slow descent into madness; at first he seems like a nice, if oafish, guy, but by his last appearance, he's trying to kill James while bragging about the other people he's killed. And we don't know for sure if he was already nuts or if his experience in the town made him that way. Even worse, his description of the dog he shot is absolutely gut wrenching if you're an animal lover.
    "Yeah, I killed that dog. It was fun! Tried to chew its own guts out! Finally died, all curled up in a ball."
  • In the normal Brookhaven Hospital, there's a box that has four locks on it that you must open in order to proceed. What's in there? A piece of hair. Right next to the box is a note on the wall directed to someone named Louise, promising that the person writing the note will take care of her forever. Many fans think that that person is a patient of the hospital who is obsessed with a nurse named Louise. And the hair in a patient's room, in a box that is secure with four locks? Think about it.
  • The collection of diary entries spread out in the street. Reading through them, you find someone had written down what they knew about surviving the monsters (saying that they'd probably be dead by the time you found their notes). After reading through 3 of the 5, you go to read the 4th, which simply says "Run away." While creepy, curious players will still be wanting to know what the last note says. "RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!"
  • In the Lakeview Hotel, if you go up to the third floor at the gate which halts your progress to the room James and Mary stayed at until you get the key, if you stay a couple of seconds, you can hear a female voice (possibly Mary) whisper "James."
  • How about the sequence that requires you to cross to the center of the prison yard, only to hear what sounds like many people running/jogging/trudging in unison around the edges, near the walls. It's too misty to see that far, and if you get up your nerve to go and investigate there is nothing there, and the sound stops... until you make your way to the central path again. Leaving you with the uneasy feeling that you're being circled repeatedly by the ghosts of the prisoners who took exercise in the yard (and were quite possibly executed on the scaffold you find dead-centre), or possibly that there's some many-legged horror forever one step ahead of you. As he is leaving the prison yard, James hears the sound of galloping horses and finds a horseshoe on the door. This may suggest that alternative to being executed by hanging from the gallows, some prisoners may have been quartered. Just suggesting the act and letting your imagination take over is so much worse than actually showing a quartered corpse, because you think about it happening (sounds included) instead of brushing it off as some horrible act of the past. The choking scream of a prisoner being hanged after you solve the tablet puzzle doesn't help.
  • Similar to the crying baby sound Dummied Out of Silent Hill 3, the sound of Mary's stifled screaming as James kills her is dummied out of this game. Found at the beginning of this video on some of the secrets in the game, it is incredibly disturbing.
  • Mary's Letter, the one item alongside her picture that you have since the very start of the game, yet is also the one item that changes a total of THREE TIMES over the course of the story. After the boss fight with Eddie, the letter is suddenly a blank piece of paper. After viewing the video in Room 312 at Lakeview Hotel and finally understanding the truth, the paper itself disappears, leaving you with an envelope. After fighting the Dual Pyramid Head boss, the envelope itself completely vanishes out of your inventory. The accepted theory to this is that the letter never existed in the first place, which is an exceptionally unnerving thought.
    • Consider why this is unnerving, however. Eddie accuses James of being "the same" as him, a murderer lashing out at others, and it is after his boss battle that the first change occurs, when James kills him and it is later revealed that this wasn't the first time James has killed someone. After the video is the second change. Finally, after the two Pyramid Heads, the entire item vanishes entirely. These three points are where James is uncovering the truth of what happened, and shows him no longer chasing a delusional fantasy. The game has for the most part been you chasing after a single fantasy James or the town concocted and brought him there. But who "invented" the letter anyway? James or Silent Hill? Do you REALLY want to know....?
  • Subtle, in an almost blink-and-you'll-miss it kinda way, but a single line after Brookhaven. After the terrifying escape from Pyramid Head in the basement of the hospital that saw Maria brutally murdered before him, James dejectedly makes his way out of the hospital and thinks about how he couldn't save Maria from Pyramid Head when he steps outside into the pitch black darkness. However, his thoughts then turn to Mary, as they typically do, and he gives a rather chilling line: "Are you...really waiting somewhere for me? Or is this your way of taking....?"
    • Consider this line for a bit. For a brief moment, James seems to wonder if the hell he's going through in Silent Hill is Mary's way of getting revenge on him. A bit of Fridge Logic here as it's the first hint that James isn't quite an innocent bystander who simply lost his wife to a disease...
    • And what's worse than that? For players who are following the "Maria" ending, this line turns out to be completely true...
  • The entire game's focus on rather taboo subjects, such as sexual frustration and abuse, emotional and mental abuse, euthanasia, terminal illness, guilt, and trauma is enough to make anyone terrified.
  • "Leave" is the only legit good ending to the game, despite the fact that much of it is still somewhat ambiguous as to how things will play out since Laura had blown up at James for killing Mary the last time she had seen him. Regardless, the other endings each have their own fair share of horrors:
    • "In Water": James is unable to get over the hurt of murdering his wife, realizing that he came back to Silent Hill to ultimately commit suicide. Somewhat more of a Tearjerker, but it's kinda horrifying to think that James had came here to die and your choices only empowered that mindset...
    • "Maria": This is the only ending where James DOESN'T sit by Mary's bedside and have a final heart-to-heart with her after the final battle. Instead, he denies that Mary was there, only some aberration taking her form and simply transfers his love to Maria, who could simply be an Eldritch Abomination given how many times she had been killed and resurrected by the town. For all his struggles to find his beloved wife, it's almost haunting how he simply lets her go without much other thought, like he's accepted her hatred that the "Mary" during the final battle displayed against him despite her letter given to him by Maria stating otherwise. The whole ending is capped off with Maria coughing and James giving an eerily ominous "You better do something about that cough..."
    • "Rebirth": This ending has James attempt to summon the power of the old gods to resurrect Mary and ends abruptly as he rows out to an island in the lake. We never see what happens, but considering the god that the cult worshipped in the last game and James is about to dabble in Silent Hill's occultism...


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