Written by Jonathan Wojcik

DECEMBER 1: Silent Hill at Universal!

   Welcome back! After a four week break from Halloween, I'm just going to pick up right where I left off, while the rest of you hopefully continue to whip me up some good old fashioned internet spook tales! Our Halloween bonus round will be having a more focused fear and horror theme, and to kick it off, I'd like to talk a bit about the Silent Hill franchise and the one noteworthy thing we did manage to do for the season: Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios in Orlando. This minor advantage to living in America's crotch is allegedly the largest Halloween event in the world.

   Though there's a lot to see around the park, this is my only photograph clear enough to share, which is interesting because I don't remember taking it and I don't know who this man is. I must have snapped this thoughtlessly as I walked by, but just look at how immaculate this guy is. It's like he exists in a higher resolution than the reality he occupies. It's like Heaven reached down and photoshopped him into the scene. I don't know you, guy, but I hope you don't mind me showing everyone how supernaturally photogenic you apparently are...assuming you're even real.

   The focus of Halloween Horror Nights, of course, is its ever-changing selection of haunted houses, and while 2012 offered zombies, ghosts, movie monsters, gargoyles and more, the big attraction for me personally was the Silent Hill house. This is my own crappy video attempt, which I've cut down to just the parts you can almost see. It's a pretty good recreation of the game's feel, even if it's condensed into a faster pace. It even included a little more than just the expected Nurses and Pyramid Head.

   Someone else took this night vision footage of the entire house if you'd really like to see everything in full detail, though it's nowhere near as impressive that way. These are costumes and sets intended to lurch out at people in near total-darkness. They look a lot better in the fog, under a strobe light. The final bonus nurse wasn't around when we went through, but I appreciate knowing that she was ever there at all.

   It's just too bad that a mainstream Silent Hill Haunted House is something that probably only happened as a promotional tie-in for the release of Silent Hill: Revelation 3d. I chose the above image because if you haven't seen the movie, you can save yourself the trouble and just stare into this primate's distended posterior for 90 minutes. My fellow horror fan and cartoonist, the late, great Ricky Garduno, posthumously sums up our experience watching this film with a comic he posted three years before this movie came out and two years before he finally got sick of our inferior universe. It's like he saw through time.

   There are three things that make the good Silent Hill games good: atmosphere, mystery, and isolation. Silent Hill is a series that thrusts its characters into personal nightmares that may or may not be real. It's quiet, lonely, confusing and dreadful. Revelation 3d went so far out of its way to avoid anything resembling these key elements that a better script could have been written by a third grader familiar exclusively with the series box art.

   The dark forces of the town are flatly explained away as teh demons. One of the creepiest human antagonists of Silent Hill 3 is transformed into a doe-eyed teenage love interest. The heroine in a Silent Hill story is GIVEN a doe-eyed teenage love interest. Everyone can see the same monsters. Pyramid head busts in like an action hero and saves all the good guys for no explained reason. No pendulums, numb bodies, insane cancers or any other creatures from Silent Hill 3 actually appear. There is seldom any breathing room between brightly lit, CG action scenes. The town is "healed" and its people "freed" in the end. Nobody at any point ever regurgitates, ingests, or even mentions the fetus of an unnatural god-being. The film would have only made the slightest sense if it had gone with one of the famous gag endings of the game series.

   Okay, I got off track there a bit. On a much brighter note, I took home a whole handful of these free event guides because I love me some cheap mementos, and when is a free pamphlet or brochure of any kind ever again going to feature a bubble-head nurse? There isn't anything else pertaining to Silent Hill past the cover, but that cover is enough. Bubble head nurse pamphlets might never have existed at all if not for Noisome Hump: Revlemations, and that's just not a version of our reality that I want to be a part of. Thank you, Michael Bassett, for the kick-ass pamphlets. You did one thing right!

OPTIONAL QUESTION: have you any experiences with haunted houses, horror rides or other "scary" attractions you feel like sharing?