Silent Hill

Silent Hill title screen

I like more intense movies and horror shows. I like to be violated and feel disgusted and affronted during and after a horror flick, but I’m also a sucker for elegance and beauty. I strongly believe that the two must have a very close relationship if you want to do right by the genre as a whole.

So how in the hell does Silent Hill fit in this grander scheme of things in my head? One might look at it and want to call it a disaster. After all, it didn’t do very well as far as critics’ ratings. It’s hard, though, when an adaptation of a game or a comic book tries to make it big on the silver screen. The purists out there are brutal. Silent Hill was no exception. It was left to the mercy of millions of gamer fans. I don’t blame them for ripping it apart, but it’s important to look at all of the right things it did.

Silent Hill welcome sign as Rose enters the town.

I remember seeing the movie in high school before I had ever heard of Silent Hill as a game. So seeing it with eyes unclouded by skepticism and a preconceived notion on what Silent Hill should be allowed me to see the movie as its own unique entity. I understand now where it comes from and what it’s roots are, yes, but the movie will always hold a dear place in my heart more than the games ever will.

It was the first time a movie interlocked that theme of elegance and horror into one fantastic ride for me. There are several aspects that play into this and make the film so largely successful. The key is the monsters, the atmosphere, the textures, and the music. So basically everything the movie did right was what it took from the game.

The monsters are real, they feel real and look real because they are real. The movie adaptation exists prior to a time where CGI was heavily used so as a result, the director requested real costumes with actors to put into. These actors were artists in their own respect. For example, the actor for both Red Pyramid and the janitor were the movie’s own monster movement coordinator, Roberto Campanella . He was very much real with a full costume to bring that iconic character to life. Yes, even though Red Pyramid wasn’t supposed to be in the film technically, he was still a wonderful part of the movie, oh the eye candy. How he moved, indeed, how all of the monsters moved was not just movement, but dancing and swaying in an eerily beautiful way.

Roberto Campenella as Red Pyramid dragging a corpse behind him.
Roberto Campanella as Red Pyramid

The textures alone for the monsters brought them to a very real place. Visually, one can imagine what the grey children or the armless man might feel like. They’re perverted distortions of humanity, no longer flesh, and bone, but synthetic and plastic, thin, moist, and frail to the touch. If I can visualize exactly what the monster might feel like with just my eyeballs you know it’s a damn good costume design.

Additionally, the bubble head nurses were wonderful; slutty and terrifying. Their outfits no longer resembled clothes but became their peeling and grotesque skin. Their hidden faces took away their identities and left nothing but the figure of what was once a woman, now nothing but an object who sways and moans in quite a delightfully erotic way. Their breasts, their rears, their hips, that’s what you can see more clearly than their bandaged faces. They’re disgusting and you feel disgusting for objectifying them and fawning over them, and yet they are so beautiful.

A group of bubble head nurses stand ready to attack Rose
Bubble Head Nurses

The music finally, which was smartly taken directly from the game, did wonders for the atmosphere. It’s a soundtrack I continue to listen to this day. It’s rhythm that matches the swaying and dancing of the monsters and the town of itself. It’s creepily beautiful music. The perfect concoction for any whimsical horror film.

Now I could go on for days on everything that the movie did right, but I’m not here to write a full-blown essay. I think it’s right to say that the movie didn’t deserve the terrible ratings that it got. I don’t know, considering the opinions I’ve taken on other movies and games I guess you can just put me on team unpopular opinion and leave it at that.

In any case, I hope you have seen Silent Hill and if you haven’t I strongly recommend it.

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