The 12 Most Nightmare-Inducing Silent Hill Monsters
The Silent Hill series contains some of the scariest videogames ever made, favoring lingering fear and atmospheric chills over jump scares and gore. The games’ success can largely be attributed to the dilapidated, intimidating environments that inspire feelings of isolation and dread. The games’ narratives are well-written (well, the first few are anyway), focusing on the psychological torment of the protagonists as they deal with their personal demons. Their fears manifest as the games’ monsters, a bestiary of genuinely disturbing and twisted creatures that have have become icons of the series. To celebrate the release of the surprisingly decent (though technically broken) Silent Hill: Downpour and the upcoming second film Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, here are the 12 most nightmare-inducing Silent Hill monsters.
WARNING: Some of the descriptions in this list are pretty gruesome… though fairly tame next to the average Fan Fiction Friday. Oh, and also, spoilers for the entire Silent Hill series.
12) Pyramid Head
Let’s get everyone’s favorite out of the way first: Pyramid Head has become the unofficial mascot for the series, featured in nearly every recent release and the divisive feature film. He’s basically a meme now, a joke, which is unfortunate: it’s hard to find the fear in something that make a cameo in a DS sports game. But going back a decade to Silent Hill 2, when no one even knew what his name was (the game credits him as “Red Pyramid”), this enormous helmeted THING was absolutely terrifying. His first appearance is behind a barred wall, unmoving, simply standing and watching you. That’s creepy. But that’s nothing compared to the next time you see it, in which it is busy “raping” two of the other enemies before casually killing them and then shuffling off as if in agony. Like Nemesis from the Resident Evil 2, he was unstoppable, and whenever he appeared you had to RUN LIKE HELL.
His true significance is revealed late in Silent Hill 2, and he would go on to be pointlessly redesigned for American effort Silent Hill Homecoming and the aforementioned film (though he earns his stripes there with a spectacularly gruesome scene in which he tears the skin off a living girl and throws it at the people fleeing from him).
Silent Hill 3 deviated from previous games by introducing a young teenage girl, Heather, as the protagonist. Initially a pretty standard teenager, Heather’s story evolves into one about the fear of a demonic birth, and the imagery becomes that of menstruation (long rivers of blood and ghastly pulsating walls of gore) and of rape (like the incredibly phallic Closer). The first monster Heather encounters looms over her and its limbs are basically long phalluses (phalli?). Its design appears to mock the female form, with its miniskirt-like abdomen, the set of lips covering its face and bloody gashes all over its body. The Closer is disturbing to look at, although not as disturbing as…
10) Insane Cancer
Insane Cancers resemble obese saggy skinless men who chase Heather. They attack by throwing themselves on top of her like a fat john on a high-priced hooker. Resembling large cancerous blobs with few distinguishing human features (like a face), they’re absolutely disgusting and are the last thing anyone — let alone a teenage girl — would want to encounter.
9) Larval Stalker
From the very first Silent Hill, Larval Stalkers are essentially ghost children. They appear in the school and later the amusement park, and unlike most of the Silent Hill monsters they don’t actually attack you — they just stand in the corner and emit squeaking noises, like little cries. Similar to the infamous “Prisoners” from Silent Hill 2, they can barely be seen and are all the more creepy for it — they simply stand by themselves, wander around and eventually disappear. They reappear in the excellent Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, screaming and running away when light shines on them.
8) Numb Body
Numb Bodies are horrible goddamn things encountered in Silent Hill 3, resembling giant sperm on legs with no arms or face, only a big gaping hole where a mouth or eyes should be. They make moaning sounds like the cries of infants and stumble around like a baby taking its first steps, or just something struggling in pain. To make matters worse, their cracked skin is similar to to the effects of the congenital disease harlequin ichthyosis, something you never ever want to see. Whatever interpretation you make of their presence in the game, they’re really messed up and will be pursuing you in your nightmares tonight.
From Silent Hill Origins, trucker Travis Grady never quite got over the suicide of his father Richard, and Silent Hill was just the place to bring that horrible memory out and manifest it as something truly disturbing. “Memory of Richard Grady” is one of those truly nightmarish creations that barely looks like something recognisable; hanging from each side is a split human abdomen with legs, and down the centre is some kind of horrific monster worm thing with tentacles. The way it just suddenly appears onscreen after the highly disturbing scene in which the hanging corpse of dad talks to his son is incredibly horrific and is one of the high points in a pretty decent game that few have actually played.
6) The Wheelman
From the latest in the series, Silent Hill Downpour, The Wheelman is a sickly, thin, faceless man who moves about slowly in a wheelchair. He is seen rolling past prisoner Murphy Pendleton’s cell, his bloated cancerous non-face seemingly mocking the convicted killer. Late in the game we see the grotesque image above of a very young girl talking to him at the end of the long hallway, stroking his arm gently while his face pulsates. The Wheelman is a standout character from Downpour, combining the ongoing series theme of physical manifestations of guilt with an incredibly creepy riff on one of the series’ most prominent icons, the wheelchair. It’s also disgusting to look at, which is why a much larger version of it serves as one of the games’ final bosses.
5) Grey Child
As seen in the original Silent Hill and in one of the few really effective scenes in the film, Grey Children are horrible little monsters that resemble vicious skinless children. They clutch knives and rush at their victims, holding them down while attacking and laughing. The seemingly kill protagonist Harry Mason when he first finds himself in the clutches of Silent Hill, and later reappear in the Elementary School alongside invisible version of themselves called Stalkers.
While most of the creatures from Silent Hill Homecoming were uninspired rehashes from previous games, Asphyxia is a special case of the terrible horrors that the town creates from people’s shattered pasts. The monstrous and vengeful manifestation of Margaret Holloway’s memories of Nora Holloway, Asphyxia resembles multiple female bodies gruesomely fused together in a chain, with a single pair of legs but no feet. She uses dozens of arms and hands to walk with and has no face, only a grimacing mouth. She’s symbolic of the child victim of strangulation whose favourite book was about a caterpillar, and, like many of the Silent Hill creatures, appears to be in constant pain (imagine your own Human Centipede reference here.)
Now we’re in MAJOR SPOILER TERRITORY, so turn back now if you want to actually play Silent Hill 3. The climax of Heather’s saga finds her facing the horror of birthing the demonic “god” gestating inside her, spurred on by the insane cult worshipper Claudia Wolf. If you’ve been playing the game intently and following the narrative, you know the only way to avoid her demise is using the gift from her late father: the necklace containing a small amount of Aglaophotis, a liquid which Heather swallows to expel the “god” from her body.
After vomiting up the unborn fetus, Claudia nails her status as “completely bonkers” by EATING IT HERSELF in one of the most ghastly scenes in any videogame ever, before falling through the vaginal floor into a pit to birth “god” into existence. And the result of that birth is.. whatever the hell THAT is. Seriously, what the fuck is that?! That’s what the Silent Hill cult worships, and wants to come to life to guide them into “Paradise”? What kind of “Paradise” would that even be? One that’s partially disemboweled, suffering from chronic necrosis and spurting blood and bits all over your family? And why am I trying to understand the thinking of cultists?
Silent Hill 4: The Room concerned itself with the nasty business of mass murderer Walter Sullivan, an insane man who believed that by killing 21 victims (his “21 Sacraments”) he could birth the aforementioned “God” and bring about Paradise, clearly a fantastic idea everyone should support. His seventh and eight victims were young twins Billy and Miriam Locane, mentioned in Silent Hill 2, and even by Silent Hill standards the murder of innocent children is a very bad thing indeed.
Whereas most of Walter’s victims were reincarnated as vicious ghosts, the death of the twins is so bad they manifested in the world as the Doublehead, the enormous twisted creature seen above. Unlike most from the Silent Hill bestiary, the Doublehead doesn’t look flayed or like it kissed a running lawnmower — instead, the two creepy baby faces extend from what appears to be a tattered smock, standing not on two legs but on two sizeable arms. In your first encounter, you will find them standing on one hand pointing at you. It’s one of the creepiest images the entire series pulls off, and you will come across many of them staring at you from a distance, pointing and whispering “receiver.” If this wasn’t bad enough, you will have to kill a lot of them across the game, and every single one of them cries like a child as it dies.
The final boss of Silent Hill 2 is an amalgamation of every twisted creature you’ve seen before — every manifestation of James’ broken psyche merged into one horrible… thing. Coming to terms with euthanizing his sick wife Mary some time prior, James must defeat “Mary” before he can leave Silent Hill and be free of his depression and guilt. Silent Hill 2 is considered by many to be the best game in the series, and the onscreen transformation and bizarre boss battle that follows is unnerving and among the scariest scenes ever found in a videogame.