Written by Jonathan Wojcik
If you're only familiar with Silent Hill through the film adaptation, most recent installments and/or its internet fandom, you may be under the impression that it deals with spirits and demons, a common oversimplification of its much more abstract goings-on. The evil forces of Silent Hill are better described as living nightmares, usually appearing only to certain people and taking forms personifying their psychological scars. It's never even clear that anything in the series is really happening, at least not the way we see it, which is honestly a lot scarier than just telling us the forces of hell have broken loose for the umpteenth time.
Virtually all lists of Silent Hill monsters tend to be topped by its two most popular fiends, Pyramid Head and the "Bubble Head" Nurses , originally creatures conjured only by the memories of the second game's protagonist. While both are cool and their followings understandable, it's a shame how many other creatures tend to get shoved to the wayside in their favor, so for once, they are going to be disqualified from appearing.
The Schism has to be one of Silent Hill's most dangerous looking creations, an ordinary humanoid from the neck down and crazy hammerhead sword monster from the neck up. I really like the mouth that goes all the way up its flattened face, the teeth locking together like a big zipper. Of course, I may just like it because I can't help seeing a little killer mutant planarian in there.
#12: Raw Shock
Raw Shock is the one and only enemy monster in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, but employs a cool gimmick that was a long time coming to the series; throughout the game, choices made by the player will begin to change the physical appearance of the monsters along four different paths. There's the feminine Raw Shocks for sexually fixated players, the diseased form pertaining to alcoholism, the atrophied brought about by petty, selfish behavior and finally the abstract Raw Shocks encountered by compassionate players. That's not to say this system is implemented very well, works like it should or that there's much else of interest in this title, but it's a nice [i]idea.[/i]
Another one from Homecoming, I like the way these two bound and melded bodies form a quadruped with a "trunk" in profile. The design has had at least a couple of fans devoted enough to recreate it rather dramatically for a convention.
The last one I'm doing from Homecoming, Asphyxia demonstrates the rather unfortunate lack of subtlety in more recent Silent Hill titles, but also demonstrates how much cooler a Human Centipede could be than in the film of the same name. Originally, Asphyxia was going to have tentacles worming out of various orifices (including its breasts) but I guess they felt it was a little too much. Personally, I think if you're going to have a monster this explicit you may as well take it as far as you can.
#9: The Mumbler
There's something exceptionally creepy about a monster that reminds me of a headless teddy bear and "mumbles." In some versions of the original game, these monsters were famously also used as replacements for the knife-wielding, child-like enemies.
#8: The Bloodsucker
I don't have that much to say about it, but how could I honestly not include a giant, branching, sessile leech? Bloodsucker is a rare, oft-forgotten, [i]unkillable[/i] monster in the original Silent Hill, appearing only once in the hospital - where it has to be distracted with a blood pack - and once hiding in a refrigerator, which is exactly where I keep mine.
#7: The Night Flutter
Manifested from Alessa's fear of flying creatures, the Night Flutter appropriately combines aspects of bird, bat and possibly a bit of fuzzy moth, unless that's just me. The naked humanoid body and head made of "worms" are just about the creepiest things you could top that off with; not at all something you want silently descending on you on a moonless, foggy night.
#6: The Pendulum
Pendulums are among the monsters tormenting Heather Mason in Silent Hill 3, though your guess is as good as mine what they're supposed to represent. Resembling a couple of amputee torsos with scythes on their heads and rusty, spidery metal limbs, this thing floats through the air, spinning in two directions with an absolutely nerve-wracking metallic screech. It's far more frightening to witness in action; tough to even discern its shape as it whirls towards us.
#5: The Glutton
This one is also from the third game, and by far the most confusing thing to look at in the series. Everything you'e seeing in this picture is a part of this being's "anatomy," which doesn't attack, doesn't damage you and doesn't even move other than the constant twisting and twitching of the disk on its...chest? All it does is block your path until you find all the pieces to a childish story about the slaying of a giant monster, at which point you'll hear an Earth-shaking roar, and the Glutton will be gone.
#4: The Closer and Mandarin
As confirmed by the art team, both Silent Hill 3's Closer (above) and Silent Hill 2's Mandarin are basically the same design behaving two different ways. Both possess the same orifices on their massive, club-shaped arms concealing razor sharp blades, though the Mandarin reveals them far more often, swinging monkey-like under metal grating to attack from the below. The Closer, walking above ground, towers menacingly over the player, and also sports a bizarre, tubular face in constant twitching, writhing motion. It's hard to pick which variation is really more unsettling.
#3: Larval Stalker
These sad little shadow-babies from the original Silent Hill weren't even dangerous, but like every monster in the game, their presence caused your portable radio to go positively haywire, making them more of an atmospheric, disorienting threat than a physical one. Even when they toddled into view, squeaking like mice, there was still a brief moment of panic before you realized they were harmless. I really wish the series had continued to feature these or other harmless, mood-setting creatures - they really added an interesting dimension to the first game's menagerie. Silent Hill 4 at least comes close with its nearly-harmless slugs, or "tremblers," and easily avoidable "toadstools."
#2: Abstract Daddy
The most distinctive example of Silent Hill's personalized nature, the "abstract daddy" appeared to another character as her sexually abusive father, tormenting her for having presumably murdered him. Player character James Sunderland, however, saw the entity as just another monster, this one resembling one or more bodies squirming under a fleshy membrane in a rectangular frame, not unlike a couple under a set of bedsheets. It's easily the weirdest beast in the game, and you'll eventually find out exactly why all of James's monsters are mildly sexual, faceless humanoids.
#1: Puppet Nurse and Puppet Doctor
With Silent Hill 2's sexualized, tumor-headed nurses now recycled for nearly every Silent Hill game, it's easy to forget that the original game featured both nurses and doctors in an entirely distinct and incredibly disturbing form. Though appearing perfectly human, their violent, monstrous behavior appears to stem from something or other beneath their uniforms, growing from or attached to their backs. It's a terrifying concept with appropriately terrifying visuals, the slimy, unseen parasite protruding like a replacement head from its pained host.
OPINIONS TIME:what do you find to be the scariest creatures in Silent Hill? (If you've never played, go by the list or something!) Considering how many of them represent the fears and frustrations of the game's characters, what sort of monsters might live in your Silent Hill?
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