Silent Hill is a fictional town in the United States of America which is home to many strange paranormal phenomena which may be related to a strong flow of mystical energies. It could be seen as a gateway point between the so called “normal” world and an alternate reality or realities.
Geography and Location
The town of Silent Hill could be located somewhere in California since it is supposed to be located at the shores of Toluca Lake and there is such a Lake in California. Other possible locations suggested for Silent Hill are Michigan and Maine. In the movie “Silent Hill” the town is located in West Virginia.
Wherever the location of the town might be, it is clear that this is a small and -one would expect to be- quiet little town on a landscape of forest and mountain and, of course, the Toluca lake. Silent Hill combines the rural landscapes with small semi urban settings.
Housing and Businesses
The urban development seems to be mild, since the town presents all of the basic accommodations of modern urban life and even some leisure and entertainment. There are a few hotels and motels; there are several stores; two hospitals; a school; houses and apartment buildings; gas stations; a bowling alley; an orphanage; and at least one church.
A Haunted Place
Silent Hill is sometimes referred to as a convergence point between realities. It’s a place where mystic energies flow so freely that reality, fantasy, and worse mix together and successfully turn this once peaceful town into a horrible land governed by the dead and by forces that humans are not able to understand.
Not a Haunted Place
Silent Hill is also considered by some to be nothing but a point in which stories of mentally ill beings take place. All in their heads, the town only provides a setting for the dreaded stories their minds come up with to unfold in.
A common theme in the comics, books and games of Silent Hill is the hinted or sometimes outright told possibility that none of it is real. But never is it confirmed. An important aspect of the town is this very doubt. You never know if you’re witnessing a ghost story or a reality created by a madman in himself.
Every story about the town is different. However, most of them exhibit certain elements that together create the ambience of the stories and that make it very distinctive as a Silent Hill story and not just any other horror tale.
Among these themes are:
Silent Hill often makes references to passages and characters named in the bible. Such is the case of demons or verses that can be interpreted in certain ways to fit the story or to aid the characters on their journey.
One of the many “powers” the town has is the ability to present apparitions of what is inside a character’s mind. One of the most common apparitions is that of loved ones that are no longer living, as a form of psychological torture.
Spells and incantations are often part of Silent Hill’s stories. Some characters are knowledgeable in the arts of witchcraft and there are many manifestations of it both in the games and comics. One of the most common forms of magic use by the characters is the use of symbols or seals. Sometimes these work as ways of blocking evil out or protecting someone. Sometimes their purpose is to hurt people in some way or control them.
Numbers and Riddles
A person inside Silent Hill will most likely be presented with certain riddles that may give a sense of hope to the character, be it false or true hope. Many times, these riddles present themselves as mathematical or numerical problems that a character must either solve or memorize.
There are two main roles that children take in the Silent Hill world. One of them is to represent innocence and a worry free life. The other one is as sinister beings that haunt or somehow try to harm the main characters.
Children are rarely just normal people in Silent Hill. They may be undead, or ghosts. Some are magical in nature.
Along with children per se, there is also the subject of infancy since some grown up characters have been shown to have some particular trauma or very specific memory from childhood that plays a part in the stories of Silent Hill.
Most of the main characters in the stories of Silent Hill are somehow troubled souls and some of them are suffering from past mistakes. Regret is usually one of the subtexts of the story. Some characters are too burdened with guilt to live a normal life and Silent Hill plays on these regrets by manifesting guilty images straight from the character’s subconscious mind.
Since Silent Hill can be seen as a sort of psychological purgatory, characters are often atoning for their misdeeds.
Stories in Silent Hill
Among the Damned
This comic tells the story of Jason a tormented soldier that wants to kill himself. He dreams about Silent Hill and his old unit. They’re all there fighting the demons of Silent Hill.
He arrives at the town to have some food before he goes up the mountain and kills himself.
We hear about Dahlia, a singer that is often in Jason’s dreams. Somewhere a radio is playing and we hear some speculation about Dahlia killing herself.
Apparently Jason had some sort of accident and he wakes inside his upside down car. He seems to remember seeing a girl in front of the car before the accident happened. He goes back to town to get help, but the town seems empty. He finds a payphone and intends to use it, but it isn’t working properly. Then he is attacked by the monsters of his dreams. He runs and finds himself a pistol shop where he gets a shot gun and uses it against the creatures.
He finds Dahlia in an amusement park and helps her escape from the monsters. She is wounded in the process. They are helped by Aaron, Jason’s dead friend from the military.
Dahlia and Jason retreat into a store where people are hiding. It appears that the demons are kept out of this place because of some sacred signs painted in blood. Jason takes Dahlia to the infirmary where she begins having strange visions of herself surrounded by monsters, she’s some sort of a queen or goddess. She wakes up and has sex with Jason.
When daylight comes the beasts retreat so Jason and Dahlia leave the sanctuary to try to escape from the town. Soon they encounter the dead soldiers from Jason’s unit Aaron is calling out to Jason, telling him that it is time. Jason shoots him and runs with Dahlia. They go into a church. There they are attacked by more monsters and Dahlia turns into a monster herself, yet she saves Jason, throwing him out of the church and she gives him her heart (literally). Outside Jason meets his soldier friends again. Aaron tells him that the reason that he’s alive is that Aaron made some sort of deal to exchange his life for the life of his friend so that Jason could go on.
Jason and Dahlia both leave Silent Hill and it is hinted that they might start a new life.
Famed psychiatrist named Troy Abernathy is called on his talent wasting ways by a coworker of his. Dr. Abernathy used to be a great therapist; he used to connect with his patients. However, after his wife’s suicide, he’s not the same. The guilt and grief changed him.
He takes a new patient. A young film student named Lynn who had recently gone to Silent Hill to take stock footage and sell it to major companies. He tried every method he new, including heavy medication but nothing worked.
As a last measure, he decides to take Lynn back to Silent Hill; to make her confront her fears and finally be able to come to terms with whatever she had suffered that had traumatized her so.
To Troy’s surprise, Silent Hill receives him with imagery of his dead wife, Juliana, and hellish beasts. Lynn snaps out of her sedative induced state and both of them try to run. They find a little girl named Christabella who seems to be controlling the beasts. She tells Lynn that she let her go in the first place and that she was supposed to bring people with the footage she had shot.
They are saved by a man named Brett, who is revealed to be Juliana’s ex-husband. Lynn and Troy run from Brett, as he was also supposed to be dead and exhibits a fracture in the back of the skull.
It is explained that Troy had killed Brett because he had abused Juliana when they were married. Juliana, upon learning that, killed herself.
They are again confronted by Christabella. Troy offers himself in exchange for his patient’s safe passage. Christabella accepts the deal.
The footage Lynn had initially shot is stolen by a group of young rebels. Clown, as he called himself, tells his friends about how the tape had changed from the first time he had seen it. And he, along with Lauryn (his girlfriend), Payne (his brother) and his large group of friends embark on a journey to Silent Hill at the request of Lauryn.
When they arrive, they are attacked by the beasts. And Lauryn takes out a few books on magic and demons that are supposed to help them in their journey. Little by little they are confronted with what the town has to offer and what was inside Dr. Abernathy’s mind. Eventually, Lauryn casts a spell to rid herself of Christabella, who is explained to be Lauryn’s dead sister. As a young girl she had been brutally murdered in Silent Hill and Lauryn blamed herself for it. The spell fails and she is forced to run.
She finds the deceased Dr. Abernathy and comes to realize that the monsters that are in control of Troy are different from the ones her sister controls.
The dead friends that Christabella calls back to her aid had been marked by Lauryn prior to their trip. And thus become Lauryn’s beasts instead.
After realizing that she must destroy her sister, she finds Dr. Abernathy again, who tells her that behind a certain door there is a patient that must be awakened for Christabella’s existence to cease.
The door is locked, however, by a mathematical problem. The armies of Christabella’s beasts fight against those Abernathy and Lauryn control.
Finally, she opens the door and the story Troy had told her is revealed false.
Lauryn then realizes that the town is actually under her control. That it’s all in her mind due to her guilt of Christabella’s death. She casts every monster off with a thought and leaves a now powerless Christabella under the care of Dr. Troy.
She tells Clown and Payne, the only surviving friends, to leave. Lauryn had been born in silent hill, her sister had died there. That’s what caused it all. Clown and Payne leave and Lauryn stays in Silent Hill, the only town in the world that made sense to her. She stays there to make sure that what happened to her sister wouldn’t happen again to anyone.
Christabella finds herself longing to hold the power she once held. The creatures in Silent Hill, though still existing are under the rule of Lauryn. They are prohibited to harm any tourists that might come into town.
The little eight-year-old, though, feels that things should go back to the way they used to be: Herself holding the power. She wakes up one day, finds that the mist that used to cover the whole town is back, and that the beasts roam free again. She finds Lauryn’s room locked and chained and knows that the book inside will grant her the power again.
She orders a beast to aid her, but is bitten instead and finds she’s no longer her ghouly self, but flesh and blood once again. Chistabella runs, but soon comes to a dead end and is confronted by many beasts with whom she offers to deal.
Meanwhile, famous actor Kenneth Carter, who enjoys collecting paintings of a place called Silent Hill, receives a phone call. He is told of the disappearance of his lost love, Connie.
That same night, he sees his very bathroom bleed. The walls turn to flesh and monstrous beings form from it. His whole house is like this; except for the places his paintings used to occupy… they’re blank empty spaces now.
In comes a woman who identifies herself as Lenora. She says she will allow him to search for Connie. Kenneth enters one of the paintings following Bear, his dog, and finds himself inside Silent Hill.
He runs into a lost girl who’s looking for help. Her name: Christabella.
The two of then explore the town, where the beasts seem to notice their presence, but do not attack. They reach an old office where they find files and pictures regarding Kenneth’s life before adoption. Information he had been paying large sums of money for to no avail.
They reach a movie theatre, inside; a projection of Connie appears on the screen. She’s been turned into a monster by Lenora and sends Dr. Abernathy after them, also informing Kenneth that he has killed his current girlfriend, Jessica. Christabella finds herself with power once again and destroys the doctor.
Thy run out and find a heavily armed man named Ike Isaacs, he’s the painter of the pictures Kenneth collects, and tells them a “hot goth chick” sent him to help them.
They team up and run through own, destroying the beasts as they come. They reach a festival filled with monsters and Ike finds a Keris, an ancient mystical Indonesian dagger that absorbs souls. It is, however, rendered ineffective by the monsters.
Lenora, the witch, arrives and presents Kenneth with a choice. He must murder Christabella, Bear or Connie or the three of them will die.
Christabella attacks Lenora with the Keris, however this doesn’t work. Bear runs away and Kenneth, using the axe with which he is supposed to kill one of his companions, breaks Connie’s chains instead. She also runs and the fated hour is postponed.
It is later reveled that Lenora is actually Lauryn working undercover to fight the Whatelys, a group that is somehow responsible for the evils of Silent Hill.
Kenneth gets hold of the book and Christabella is confronted by a monster the Whatelys have sent disguised in the flesh of Connie.
Kenneth’s real father, a dead man, tells him that he is the son of a monster (his mother) and himself and that his purpose in the world was to ring the terror and nightmares of Silent Hill to everyone.
Lauryn fights the Whatelys and is in time saved by Kenneth, using he book as a weapon.
The beast inside Connie now attacks them and Lauryn fights head on. While Kenneth discovers that killing Connie is the only way out. He does, and wakes up from a dream. He’s not Kenneth Carter, the actor. He’s a dirt farmer and is living happily with Connie somewhere else.
Paint it Black
This comic tells the story of Ike Isaacs, a slacker and artist that is always leeching off his friends while he dedicates to his paintings. He is attracted to Silent Hill and he goes there to live. He finds himself a place to live and the town itself seems to provide him with everything he needs. All of the monsters that attack every other person that come into the town leave him be and allow him to work on his paintings. They seem to be interested in being portrayed as art pieces by the hands of the artist.
Ike has been in Silent Hill for several months when he finds out that someone has been selling his paintings, and that he’s made a name for himself in the outside world. He tries to leave town to cash in on his newly acquired fame, but it is forced by the town to remain there, as every time he gets close to the exit the fog drags him back to the center of the town. Somehow he accepts this and goes back to his work and his lonely life.
One day a group of cheerleaders, leaded by decisive Cheryl, arrives at Silent Hill. Ike is unwilling to help them and he wants them to leave as soon as possible and let him be. He feels the cheerleaders have invaded his personal space and he warns them that the beasts in his paintings are in fact real, and that they will kill them. The girls take the warning very lightly and after locking Ike away in a room, they continue to make themselves at home. Then a couple of the girls (Missy and Chrissy) are kidnapped by the monsters so Cheryl asks for Ike’s help to get them back. He tells them what he knows about the monster’s hiding places and he points out to a bowling alley as the probable spot for them to keep the girls.
Ike and the cheerleaders go to the rescue. The girls have found guns and ammunition and they are heavily armed. They face the demons fearlessly and they make it to the interior of the bowling alley. There Ike and Cheryl go to help Missy while the rest of the girls is in charge of getting Chrissy.
Ike and Cheryl find themselves cornered by the monsters without a way out until Ike paints a black hole on the wall and they exit through it. He explains later that he sort of felt like the hole was already there and he just painted on it. They find themselves in a place filled with Ike’s paintings and after fighting some monsters they set the paintings on fire. Then they walk through a hallway and they spot some of the monsters. They are working in some sort of assembly factory. They continue on until the find both Missy and Chrissy tied up and about to be eaten by the monsters. One of them is talking about how fear flavors the meat.
They engage the demons in combat and Cheryl is hit and looses her weapon. Ike tells the demons to stop, he tells them that if they want him to keep painting, that they should let them go. They get mad at him and get ready to attack, but Ike’s bought enough time for Cheryl and the other two cheerleaders to get a hold of a flamethrower. They use it and Ike throws a can of red paint against the wall. The girls escape through the hole and he stays behind to hold off the monsters. Cheryl told Ike that she would come back for him, but in the end she decides to leave him behind. As the cheerleaders are driving off away from Silent Hill, Missy and Chrissy are consoling Cheryl. They tell her that soon there is going to be so much going on that she won’t even remember his name. We see that the two of them have been turned into monsters themselves.
The Grinning Man
The story begins with a mysterious grinning guy who after blowing up someone in a mine hitches a ride towards Silent Hill.
Robert Tower has been a state trooper for years. He’s on his final day before retiring and getting a new life in the Keys. He’s familiar with the town of Silent Hill and knows of the stories about ghosts and demons that supposedly inhabit the place. However in all his years of patrolling he’s never seen anything paranormal so he believes that all of the strange disappearances and deaths are due to drug lords taking over the town’s abandoned buildings.
He gets a call to a murder scene on the road where he meets FBI agent Mayberry who tells him that this crime scene was obviously staged to divert the police attention from the people that are missing. Tower suggests that the one responsible might be in Silent Hill since the treads on the road seem to be headed that way.
He goes there with Mayberry who tells him about his believes that the town is haunted and inhabited by some creatures that are of paranormal nature. He’s quite exited about exploring the place.
As this goes on we see that the Grinning Man is killing the monsters in Silent Hill, he rescues some people from the creatures and then he tells them that he’s got plans for them.
Meanwhile, inside the Lakeview Hotel, some policemen are preparing to play a joke on Mayberry. They’ve disguised as monsters and they expect to scare the FBI agent. Instead, they are murdered by the Grinning Man who was chasing some of the creatures.
Mayberry and Tower see a light coming out of the Lakeview Hotel. They go to check it out and they are met by the monsters that recognize Tower and they let them go. Then they find a couple of girls in a room unable to leave because of some seals that the Grinning Man has drawn on them and on the walls. Mayberry says that those look like druidic drawings or maybe kabalistic. Tower shoots at the seals on the walls, destroying them and thus setting the girls free. Then outside the hotel they are met by “Sawbones” and “Stiff” who ask Tower to kill them as they have been under the control of the Grinning Man for quite some time. Tower abides and goes looking for the man responsible for all of it.
When they find the Grinning Man they notice that he is not being attacked by the creatures. They cannot harm him but he can harm them. They escape from the grinning man and Tower tells Mayberry to stay behind as he’s going back to save the rest of the people. He realizes that the reason the monsters had let him live and had not manifested themselves to him in the past was because he was helping them by spreading the word that the town was nothing out of this world.
Tower finds more people that seem undead. They tell him that is too late for him to help them but that they will help him to get back at the Grinning Man. He shoots the seals on the walls to finally set the people free and one dead kid tells him that the monsters do not want to harm him because they want him to help them defeat the Grinning Man, but also that the magic that this guy exerts on them is making them mad and hungry and they might eventually attack him.
Tower finds the Grinning Man and he has just killed Mayberry. They go into one final showdown in which tower kills the Grinning Man who cannot believe that his magic has been beaten.