Silent Hill

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Enjoy your stay. Or die trying.

The fear of blood tends to create fear for the flesh.

Silent Hill is a Konami video game franchise in the survival horror genre consisting of the following:

And a handful of para-game material such as artbooks, comic books, and a "making of" DVD.

The titular setting is an American lakeside resort town with a long history. American Indians called the area the "land of the spirits," and may have considered it cursed. The history of Silent Hill is rife with disappearances, murders, and mysterious activity, mostly owing to the existence of an unnamed demon-worshiping cult.

The Silent Hill games have largely dealt with the repercussions of that cult's actions, including the existence of multiple "layers" of the town itself. The normal town is an average American tourist attraction. On another level, it is long-abandoned and empty, save for the lost and damned who stumble onto its streets. On deeper levels, it is a crumbling ruin, or the full-fledged Otherworld: a burning, rusty Hell.

A new entry in the series was announced for Sony's recently revealed Playstation Vita called Silent Hill: Book of Memories, which is a multiplayer hack and slash game starring player-created characters.

Along with Resident Evil, it is considered one of the defining examples of the Survival Horror genre, and is famous for the high quality of its story and background music.

Tropes used in Silent Hill include:
  • Abandoned Hospital: A staple of the series.
    • Subverted in Homecoming, where the game starts in an Abandoned Hospital that is also a Continuity Nod, but it's just a dream. Later on, you can find an item or two on the grounds of the familiar Alchemilla Hospital and it's labeled on the map, but you don't actually go inside.
    • Completely averted in Silent Hill: Downpour, which lacks a hospital level entirely.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • A lot of them, but Dahlia Gillespie takes the cake. Poor, poor Alessa...
    • And who could forget Angela? Her dad sexually abused her and her mother said that she deserved it.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Pretty much a staple of the franchise.
  • Acrofatic: The Insane Cancers from Silent Hill 3 would trick players into believing they're rather slow - they even get up from serious injuries quite fast and attack.
  • Action Survivor: All the protagonists of the games and movie, presumably to give the audience relatable leads from various mundane walks of life.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: Pyramid Head in the alternate hospital basement in SH2, and the infamous Advancing Red Light of Doom in the Borley Haunted Mansion in SH3.
  • Alien Geometries: Common in the lower levels of the Dark World, like the Historical Society, Labyrinth, and the alternate Hotel at the end of SH2.
  • All Just a Dream:
    • After getting stabbed to death by Grey Children, Harry wakes up unharmed in the diner.
    • The worst ending from the first game reveals the entire game to be Harry's Dying Dream.
    • Heather in the third game wakes up in a restaurant just after getting run down by a roller coaster car in the nightmare.
    • Alex in Homecoming wakes up in a semi-trailer truck after being skewered by Pyramid Head's knife in the Nightmare Hospital.
    • The "Hospital" ending of Homecoming.
  • All There in the Manual: The Book of Lost Memories (1-3), Another Crimson Tome (4), the victim files (4), and the diaries (5).
    • In another sense, the series ironically could provide an inversion of this trope as well as playing it straight, as the additional material sheds a lot of light on the nature of the cult, the history of the town, and the in-game mythology. The inversion comes when you realize that nearly none of the speculation referring to metaphors, symbolism, and the meanings of certain things has ever been confirmed anywhere, yet a great deal of it is accepted as fanon. Mostly, this has been treated with the occasional Shrug of God, but nothing is ever made specific. Arguably, to some, this makes the series even more frightening, as it literally causes you to come to the horrifying conclusions yourself.
  • Alternate Universe: Silent Hill seems to exist on multiple levels: the normal, unhaunted town, a demon-haunted, deserted town, and a nightmarish Dark World. At least, this is how it works in the movie: how many realities there are and how they're connected in the game is the subject of much debate.
  • Always Night: A bit unclear, since the fog makes it just about impossible to see. It's certainly always night in the Dark World. In Silent Hill 3, the game starts off at sunset and stretches over two nights: the daylight portion's spent almost entirely inside an Abandoned Hospital and its Dark World counterpart.
  • And I Must Scream: Several of the monsters, particularly the humanoid ones. Silent Hill 2 is pretty much dominated by these guys; Even Pyramid head, the most invincible of the bunch, was animated to suggest great pain under his helmet.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Puppet Cybil, Pyramid Head Alex, Butcher Travis, and Bogeyman Murphy. Note that these are all Bad Endings.
    • An enemy in Homecoming is alluded to be James/Mary, still wandering about the Otherworld.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Starting from Silent Hill 3, you can earn alternate outfits for the player character (or Eileen and Cynthia until her death in the case of Silent Hill 4).
    • Alex gets a new outfit for every ending he gets in 'Silent Hill Homecoming', too.
  • Anti-Villain: Alessa, Claudia, and Walter Sullivan.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The heavier melee weapons (hammer, great knife, mace, etc.) and the hunting rifle, particularly in the second game (can't move with it drawn, too slow to fire and reload, only useful for the last two bosses). In the hands of a skilled player, though, the hammer is one of the better melee weapons available.
  • Ax Crazy: Walter. Travis looks like this whenever he has the fireman's axe equipped.
  • Bad Samaritan: In the first game, Dahlia turns out to be a dark version of this trope. To a first time player, she seems enigmatic and obtuse, but her advice and clues tend to steer you onto a path to progression regardless. That she turns out to be pure evil after Harry has given her the benefit of the doubt is a pivotal point in the plot.
    • Vincent from the third game has shades of this as well.
  • Beware of Hitch-Hiking Ghosts
  • The Blank: The bubble-head nurses, Grey Children, Lying Figures/Patients, Valtiel, Lurkers, and Rawshocks.
  • Bloody Handprint: Part and parcel of the decor in certain parts of Silent Hill. In Silent Hill 4, it also doubles as Foreshadowing.
  • Bottomless Pits: Usually used as an Insurmountable Waist High Fence, but you can fall to your death down them in harder difficulties in Silent Hill 3.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Done visually - some truly horrendous sights are scattered around Silent Hill with such subtlety that you can pass right by them if you don't slow down and examine your surroundings.
  • Breakable Weapons:
    • Silent Hill 4 has the golf clubs that hog inventory space after they break.
    • Every non-special weapon in Silent Hill: Origins is breakable.
    • Played with in Downpour, as while the melee weapons break after prolonged use you can use the metal parts of objects as more durable weapons.
  • Burn the Witch: Happens to Cybil in The Movie.
  • Butter Face: The nurses.
  • Camera Screw: A major source of Fake Difficulty during boss battles, especially the Dual Pyramid Heads in 2.
  • Chainsaw Good: Usually a bonus weapon in the series, although its usefulness varies from game to game.
  • Chaos Architecture: The few times in the series when you can return to a location that was visited previously, it's usually different, sometimes radically so. Even though the town looks abandoned, it seems that there's still life in it in some way, as if you're in some sort of shadow-dimension mimicking the real world.
  • Closed Circle: Played straight most of the time, except in 2 and Homecoming. In 2, the player can pretty much always backtrack to the starting area with James's car, but James himself refuses to leave until he finds out what happened to his wife. The developers stated that they made the path from the parking lot to the town in 2 "so long that you wouldn't want to go back". In Homecoming, you can backtrack almost anywhere, but occasionally you're trapped in an area until you find the exit; similar to the second game, the character simply refuses to leave until he's found the person he's looking for.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In the Silent Hill 2 bonus scenario "Born From a Wish" (which shows Maria's point of view just before she meets James), Harry's name is written on a dumpster as graffiti.
    • In Silent Hill 3, Heather will stumble across Harry's notes in the exact style of the Silent Hill 1 save points just before the last section of the game.
    • The UFO endings of each game typically have some nod to the previous games (see below).
    • Homecoming has some interesting nods with its achievements. Beating a Feral is Eddie's Legacy, using health-enhancing Serum for the first time is Kaufmann's Handiwork, beating a Siam is Shades of James, and beating the game on Hard means The Old Gods haven't left this place.
    • Silent Hill Shattered Memories is full of these, mostly to the original game, but also to 2, 3, and Origins.
    • The plot of the fourth game and The Arcade are based around minor articles from the second game about Walter Sullivan and The Baroness.
  • Controllable Helplessness: Aside from the portions of the game where the player can't do anything except watch horrific things happen around them, all of the games can be argued to be an extended exercise in controllable helplessness. This counts especially if you get the bad ending, as you're effectively forced to herd the player character to their own doom.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Ink is at a premium in Silent Hill, because everyone writes in blood.
  • Creepy Child
  • Creepy Doll:
    • Various bloodied dolls are scattered about Silent Hill in 1 and 3.
    • Silent Hill 2 has a creepy voodoo doll apparently left by an insane prisoner, and although it's not strictly a doll, there's a ruined, creepily-staring teddy bear sitting outside what is implied to be Angela's sealed-off childhood bedroom.
    • In Silent Hill 3, Heather finds various dolls next to diary entries written by a Brookhaven Hospital patient with a crush on her.
    • Silent Hill 3 also introduces Lakeside Amusement Park mascot Robbie the Rabbit, who reappears in 4 and Homecoming.
    • In Silent Hill 4, Walter gives one to Henry that causes an additional apparition to appear by his chestbox.
    • In Homecoming, Scarlet's dolls and herself during her boss fight.
    • The doll monsters in Downpour
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted in Shattered Memories, where Harry noticeably starts limping more and more when he's been tackled enough times.
    • Also averted in Downpour, where Murphy will hold his side and limp after taking a large amount of damage.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • Happens fairly often, but one of the most notable is Richard getting slowly electrified to death in The Room.
    • The Movie features Anna getting skinned alive, Cybil getting slowly burned alive (in full-on gory detail), and Christabella being ripped in half with Alessa's living barbed wire - after it has punched through her crotch and come out through her mouth. Ouch.
  • Cutscene Incompetence:
    • Henry breaking his arm at the end of the Good ending or getting possessed by Walter in the 21 Sacraments Ending.
    • Harry's offscreen death in the third game and a few of the instant deaths that happen to Heather.
  • Dark World: The alternate, dark and evil(er) Silent Hill with the air raid sirens and the (tougher) monsters and screaming and blood and the running and the huge gaping holes of fire and rusty steel grating. And hot, demon-on-demon rape action. And breathing organic walls with heartbeats. And... many other things. *shudder*
    • Shattered Memories changes up the formula a bit by making the Dark World be covered in ice rather than rust and blood. And indestructible monsters.
  • Deadly Lunge: A favourite attack of the simian-type monsters such as Rompers and Mumblers.
  • Dead All Along:
    • Lisa. She is pretty much the same as the demon nurses that stalk the hospital. She retains some of her humanity, as Alessa remembers her as an odd yet kindhearted nurse, but begins to gradually lose it once Alessa's captured by Dahlia.
    • Harry himself is one of these in the worst ending.
    • A major part of The Reveal in Silent Hill Homecoming reveals this to be true of Alex's little brother, Joshua.
    • From Silent Hill Shattered Memories, Harry died in a car crash more than a decade ago. Which is also how he died in the worst ending of the original Silent Hill. Hmmmmm...
  • Degraded Boss:
    • The Abstract Daddy/Doorman of SH2.
    • The Caliban from Origins.
    • The Missionary in SH3.
  • Demonic Possession:
    • Cybil late in the original game.
    • Room 302 in the fourth game; around the halfway point, it slowly becomes possessed with "hauntings", which will hurt Henry if he stays too close to them.
    • Eileen at the end of The Room, making the boss fight harder.
    • Heather at the end of SH3, depending on what actions the player took.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: At least half the games end with the hero confronting and defeating some incarnation of the "God" that the cult worships (which may be prematurely born each time, or simply not really a god at all). Heather even makes a dour remark about it in the third game:

Heather: It must not have been much of a god if it could be killed by a human being.

  • Difficulty Spike: The hospitals, where the nurses are much tougher than previously encountered enemies, notably in SH 2 and SH 3 on the higher difficulty levels.
  • Distress Call:
    • James gets a letter from his dead wife to kick off the second game. He also gets calls from her on the radio after he picks it up and after watching the tape in the hotel.
    • In the first game, Harry gets a wall of department store televisions with the same image of his own daughter asking where he is. She says the same thing on the phone in the alternate school.
    • Likewise, early on in Homecoming, Alex receives a call for help on his radio intended for somebody else.
    • In the fourth, Henry gets a call on his disconnected phone from Cynthia after losing her mere moments after agreeing to an Escort Mission.
    • Harry gets these quite frequently in Shattered Memories - including one that was, surprisingly, not from Cheryl.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In quite a few places. Of noteworthy mention is Pyramid Head, who eventually gets a long, jagged spear with which to penetrate his victims. He goes on to penetrate Maria.)
  • Driving Question: At least one per game, usually in the form of "What the hell is going on?" and/or "Have you seen X?" The first game even lampoons it in the bonus UFO ending, as the first thing Harry starts to say to the aliens is "have you seen a little girl around here" (they stun him before he can finish).
  • Drone of Dread: The air raid sirens signify an impending world-shift.
  • Dual World Gameplay: Done with a Dark World. Transition points between worlds are generally not under the player's control, except in Origins.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In most of the games, you have to go out of your way to get the very best ending.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The things that you have to fight or run from, and possibly the entire town itself.
    • *Cough-cough* Every boss battle and larger-than-the-average-Mook in the game. *Cough-Cough* Incubus, Flesh Lips, Abstract Daddy, Sephulcher. *Cough-cough* Every boss from Silent Hill 2 (save for Eddie), and Silent Hill Homecoming. *Cough-cough*
  • Elemental Powers: Book of Lost Memories adds this trope to the series. The titular book gives information about the seven elements: Light is born of the Heavens, blood is born of this world, and steel is born of mankind and the strongest of the elements. The other four elements are the Chinese Wu Xing elements, and are considered less important and less powerful by the writers of the book. It also obeys the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors trope of the Wu Xing elements; the Earth Sword is super effective in the Water Zone, the Water Sword is super effective against monsters in the Fire Zone, the Wood Sword is super effective in the Earth Zone, and fire and steel change up the usual weaknesses because the Fire Sword is super effective in Wood Zones and the Steel Sword is super effective in both Light and Blood Zones and the Steel Zone have no weapon which is super effective inside of it. Also, the Karma powers use the elements of blood and light. Blood attacks use rays and waves of blood to deal damage whereas light abilities focus on using beams of light to steal health and heal. The thing that powers the abilities is the spilled blood of the monsters, which is aligned with either light or blood.
  • Empty Room Psych: Some rooms contain no monsters, items, or any of the fun Silent Hill surprises.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: The radio is an audio version, but it's nigh-useless - it tells you how far away the monsters are depending on the intensity of the noise, but not from which direction.
    • Unless you play with headphones on. At least in 3 anyway.
  • Escape From the Crazy Place: The premise of the fourth game and how the player feels in the others.
  • Escort Mission: Protecting Maria in 2, Elle in Homecoming, and Eileen in 4. Eileen's is the worst, since the ending you get depends in part on how much she got attacked throughout the whole freaking game. The more she's been attacked, the faster she'll walk towards Walter's death machine, making it nigh-impossible to beat Walter before she's killed if she's been beaten up badly.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: The town is mostly devoid of human life, except for the typically small cast of characters the player meets.
  • The Everyman: The protagonists tend towards this. The original game's Harry Mason couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. (His successors have improved aim.)
  • Everything Trying to Kill You:
    • It's hard to think of a better instance of this than an entire freaking town.
    • Most obvious in the third game, where Heather can fall to her death via ladders and holes. Certain parts have:
      • The Bloody Mirror Room Death Trap.
      • The insta-kill red fog during the escape from the amusement park's haunted house.
      • The hallway that suddenly turns to meat in a New Game+.
    • In the fourth game, after Henry's apartment becomes haunted, the walls, furniture, and fridge (among other thing)s can harm you.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Industrial-sized fans are a recurring motif. The last battle against the Big Bad of the fourth game takes place against the backdrop of a giant rotating death machine. And whether or not Eileen walks into said death machine is part of what determines your ending. The other part is whether you get rid of the aforementioned hauntings or leave them be.
      • Made even better by the fact that Gyromancy is spinning around in place while in a circle of letters until you fall down, and choosing the letter you fall on.
  • Evil Albino: Claudia (of note, the drug used in the first game to make cult followers hallucinate was called White Claudia).
  • Evil Is Visceral: Many of the monsters are based on this - if not visually, then with their sound effects.
    • A theme of rust and blood pervades the Otherworld. A notable exception is Silent Hill 2, which opted instead for mold and urban decay. Shattered Memories is another thing again.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: In the Otherworld sequence at the very beginning of the first game, you have to let the enemies "kill" Harry in order to continue. Trying to escape doesn't work, as the only escape route is blocked off.
  • Fetus Terrible:
    • Heather/Alessa is pregnant with the cult's God.
    • Done bizarrely in Homecoming, where Amnion is "pregnant" with the corpse of Alex's dead little brother, Joshua. Whether this is ultimately a positive experience for Alex or very, very bad depends on the ending received.
  • Fission Mailed: A staple of the Silent Hill series. 1, 3, and Homecoming start out with a nightmarish sequence that turns out to be a dream for each respective player character.
  • 555:
    • All the phone numbers in The Room and Shattered Memories.
    • Averted with the Konami help line in Shattered Memories. That really is their number.
  • Footprints of Muck: Stepping in monster remains results in the player character leaving a trail of bloody footprints. Some games even keep track of the length of said trail.
  • Foreshadowing: All part of the Mind Screw, though most of it isn't obvious until subsequent playthroughs:
    • "Know what you're shooting, and don't go blasting me by mistake!" Spoken by hot cop Cybil, who gets possessed and will have to be killed if you don't have the red liquid to exorcise her.
    • The bits and pieces of what James gets about what happened to Mary before The Reveal.
    • The recurring headaches and flashbacks Heather gets as the third game progresses.
    • The numbers carved on the victims' chests in the fourth game and the corresponding increase in the bloody handprints on the wall. Plus, one of the hauntings can be Henry, with 21/21 carved in his neck staring through the eye-hole on the outside of the door.
    • A recording in Homecoming has Alex's dad stating that Alex doesn't always see things the way they are. The first dog enemy also receives a lot of foreshadowing, starting with the empty dog house in their backyard.
    • Shattered Memories is full of this, right down to the names of the enemies. Raw Shocks = Rorschach, as in a Rorschach test. You are literally trying to fight off the therapy Cheryl is receiving (or perhaps fighting off the resistance she is giving to the therapy itself?)
  • Freud Was Right: In-Universe, as the town seems to draw from its victims' subconscious and twists them.
  • Gaiden Game: The Silent Hill Play Novel revolves around Cybil's adventures in Silent Hill during the course of the first game. The game's not referenced by the rest of the series and generally isn't considered canon, though.
    • Supposedly, The Room was originally meant to be one, before being integrated into the main series partway through production.
  • Genius Loci: The town itself is arguably alive. More than alive, the town's image is unique to its inhabitants, reflecting upon their personality and past experiences, good or bad.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: A popular theory states that the reason for the sheer void of implicit information in the first game is because the Moral Guardians would never have otherwise allowed the publication of a game whose plotline contained so many satanic elements.
  • Ghost Town: An unclear example, actually. No one outside of the town ever says it's abandoned, but we never find out just where the hell the townsfolk are. One very popular idea is that there's an unseen "level" of the gameverse town that's normal and inhabited (an idea that, at the least, makes the most sense for the prequel game Silent Hill Origins). The movie and comic books present Silent Hill as being completely abandoned, although they disagree on whether the "foggy" town is reality.
  • Giant Mook: The Large Numb Bodies in the third game.
  • The Greys: The aliens that show up in the UFO Endings.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • While most of the puzzles have in-game clues, it's still nigh-impossible to get some of the endings without consulting a walkthrough.
    • Silent Hill 3 and Silent Hill Origins avert this by having the canonical ending be impossible to avoid on the first play-through.
    • Special shoutout to the hard mode puzzles in 3, which require you to have a working knowledge of Shakespeare's tragedies and know a specific fact about a particular species of bird. Though even possessing such knowledge may not help much.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: Robbie the Rabbit.
  • Hand in the Hole: A particularly disgusting version is present in the 2, and 4 is essentially this every level. Also, several instances pop up in in Homecoming, where something may rip off your hand if you don't pull it back out fast enough.
  • Happier Home Movie:
    • James's videotape of his wife that also shows him smothering her with a pillow.
    • The videos of Cheryl and Harry in Silent Hill Shattered Memories, though which of the Multiple Endings you get will sometimes cast that first Happy Home Movie in a very different light.
  • Happily Adopted:
    • Cheryl, who was found on the roadside by Harry and his wife. Harry adopts Cheryl again by the end of the first game.
    • Laura in the "Leave" ending of the second game, perhaps.
  • The Heartless: Silent Hill's hideous inhabitants.
  • To Hell and Back
  • Hellevator: JAAAAAAAAAMES SUNDERLAND! The original psx title had two examples of this trope, as well.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: Aglaophotis.
  • Hotter and Sexier:
  • Human Sacrifice: A recurring theme except for Silent Hill Shattered Memories.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal:
    • Almost every protagonist in the series is capable of carrying an array of knives, holy swords, stamina drinks, and keys with only the clothes on their backs.
    • Since Origins features breakable items, this means that Travis is often stashing quite a number of improbable weapons in his vests.
    • Somewhat averted in 4, where Henry is given a limited inventory system and has to play around with it in order to progress.
    • Averted for the most part in Shattered Memories. All Harry has are the clothes on his back, the flashlight, his cell phone, and any memento he can lay his grubby little hands on.
    • Averted in Downpour. Murphy can only carry one melee weapon at a time and will have to swap for particular weapons needed for puzzles.
  • Idle Animation: Every protagonist has one or two.
    • Henry's will change depending on his equipped weapon.
    • In the second game, James will strike a pose reminiscent of Ash in Evil Dead II if you're holding the chainsaw and - according to some - standing over a dead enemy. He'll laugh/yell, too. It's unsettling if you've had to set the controller down to concentrate on something else for a minute.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Happens to Maria - twice - in Silent Hill 2.
    • Christabella in The Movie.
    • Judge Holloway in Homecoming, when Alex impales her through the jaw with her own electric drill.
  • Implacable Man: Red Pyramid a.k.a. Pyramid Head until the end. Walter counts as well.
  • Improvised Weapon: It'd be easier to list the melee weapons in the series that don't fall under this trope.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: Starting from Silent Hill 4 onwards (except for Silent Hill Shattered Memories), player characters have limited inventory slots.
  • Infinite Flashlight: There's a certain moment in Silent Hill 2 in which James's flashlight battery dies on him - it is part of a puzzle.
  • Insurmountable Waist High Fence: Everywhere you go, you are blocked by doors with broken locks, police barricades, and points where you can't proceed unless you have the right MacGuffin.
  • The Ishmael:
    • Almost all of the playable characters are at most nominal protagonists, while the real focus of the plot lies elsewhere. Silent Hill 2 is an exception, considering that most of the game is caused by James's subconscious mind.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: One of the basic premises of the series. It's hinted that the town itself has the power to manifest people's personal demons literally. So we're treated to Alessa's mental landscape in the first game, James's in the second, a weird mashup of Alessa's and Claudia's in the third, Walter Sullivan's in the fourth, Travis's with some of Alessa's in Origins, and Alex and the parents of Shepherd's Glen in Homecoming.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Crops up as a Justified Trope - see Improvised Weapon above.
  • Karmic Death:
    • In Silent Hill 1, Dahlia gets fried by the very god she was trying to summon, and Kaufmann, if you saved him earlier, gets dragged to hell by Lisa.
    • Done rather bizarrely in Silent Hill 2 when the twin Pyramid Heads commit suicide on their own weapons once James comes to terms with the truth.
    • In Silent Hill 3, Vincent insults Claudia, ordering Heather to kill "this demon", and earns a knife in the back with a cry of "Go to hell!"
    • In Silent Hill 4, Andrew DeSalvo is locked into a cell of the prison where he had acted as its sadistic warden, and later is brutally murdered by one of its former prisoners, Walter Sullivan.
    • In Silent Hill Homecoming, Judge Holloway has her own electric drill shoved through the bottom of her jaw after torturing Alex with it.
  • Last-Minute Reprieve: Murphy Pendleton, the protagonist of Silent Hill: Downpour, is spared from execution when his transport bus runs into one of Silent Hill's trademarked massive road fissures.
  • Late to the Party
  • Lovecraft Country: Or at the very least Stephen King Country.
  • Malevolent Architecture: In addition to being alive, Silent Hill is quite the sadist entity.
  • Marionette Motion: The nurses.
  • Meaningful Name: Raw Shocks, the monsters in Shattered Memories.
  • Mind Rape: Silent Hill's stock in trade.
  • Mind Screw: The major premise of the series.
  • Mind Screwdriver: While not official material, there are several plot analyses on GameFAQs that make sense of all the Mind Screw and symbolism.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: As Zero Punctuation put it, a lot of the game involves trying various interpretations of keys on various interpretations of doors.
  • Multiple Endings: Some of which are real downers and some of which are pure comedy.
  • New Game+
  • No Canon for the Wicked: The series usually follows this, with the occasional exception.
    • Silent Hill 1 - The third game follows either of the best endings, where both Harry and Cheryl escape the town. In the best ending, Cybil survives as well, but according to Word of God, she dies.
    • Silent Hill 2 - James's fate isn't stated for certain, but in the fourth game, his father notes that he and his wife disappeared after visiting Silent Hill.
    • Silent Hill 3 - The fifth game reveals that not only did Douglas survive, he also took down most of The Cult.
    • Silent Hill Origins - The main character Travis makes a brief cameo at the beginning of Homecoming.
  • No Communities Were Harmed - The movie's foggy setting is inspired by the real-life town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, a town mostly abandoned decades ago when a fire started burning beneath the town. To this day, smoke burns out from the ground.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Many outdoor areas, where the player is herded along a linear path from Point A to Point B by locked doors, impassable roadblocks and Bottomless Pits, as well as the Abandoned Hospital in most games, and the alternate mall, sewers, and amusement park in the third game. Made worse by dead-end rooms that don't contain anything important but ammo-consuming Goddamned Bats. While you could wander about outside, you'll eventually run out of ammo and get killed.
  • Nonstandard Game Over:
    • Harry meets a gruesome death by tentacle if he fails to use an item before proceeding in the original.
    • Heather, in keeping up the family tradition, meets the same fate if she crosses a bridge without first dealing with the tentacle residing in the sewer muck.
    • Heather births the god if she tries to shoot Claudia near the end of SH3.
    • In SH2, if Maria is killed before she's supposed to die, including during the chase immediately before her first Plotline Death cutscene, it's Game Over. And sometimes, when James is killed during the Hanger boss battle, the creatures lift him into the ceiling.
  • Nothing Is Scarier
  • Notice This: Starting with the second game, the characters will look at any and all objects they can pick up in the area. They also look at monsters.
  • Offing the Offspring: In addition to all of the instances of attempted Human Sacrifice, Travis's mother becomes convinced that Travis has been replaced by a demon and tries to commit murder-suicide.
  • Old Save Bonus: Having a Silent Hill 2 save file on the same memory card as Silent Hill 3 gives you a couple of extra scenes:
    • Inspecting a mailbox will net a joke about having no mail, not even a letter for a dead wife.
    • Inspecting the rail on the top of the roof will get a comment about how unsafe the whole thing looks.
    • A cutscene in which Heather will approach a filthy toilet to retrieve an item, but recoil and wonder out loud who would do such a disgusting thing.
    • The nightclub in Silent Hill will have a poster advertising performances by Maria.
  • Ominous Fog: Originally used in the first game as a cover for the technical limitations at the time. Has since become a staple of the series, even with improved technology.
  • Ominous Chanting: Heard, for example, during the Split Worm battle, and during the Possessed Ending cutscene of SH3.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: Most of the monsters run on this trope, usually combined with Nightmare Fuel.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: Along with providing telephone voiceover via the Wii Remote's speaker, Harry's in-game cell phone's battery meter in Shattered Memories will match the Remote's current charge.
  • Papa Wolf: Harry Mason. He'll go To Hell and Back for his little girl. The third game reveals that he outright killed a cult member to keep Cheryl safe.
  • Path of Greatest Resistance: Occasionally, it can be easy to get turned around or unsure of which direction to go. When you are attacked by one of those damned nurses when you open a door, you know that yep, this is the way.
  • Perverse Puppet:
    • The Mannequins from the second game.
    • Ariel from Origins.
    • Scarlet from Homecoming.
  • Pipe Pain: A staple of the series.
  • Point and Click Game: The Cell Phone spinoffs.
  • Premiseville: Silent Hill, Wherever It Is.
  • Psychological Torment Zone
  • Rape as Backstory: Angela in Silent Hill 2, Alessa in the movie.
  • Recurring Riff/Leitmotif:
    • Several of the riffs from the first game's opening theme recur throughout the series.
    • Silent Hill 2 does this the most with its own soundtrack, eg. Theme Of Laura, White Noiz, Forest (Angela's theme, also heard combined with Promise, etc.), Null Moon (sort of Maria's theme, reprised in Fermata In Mystic Air), and Promise (itself based on the series's main theme).
    • Dahlia (Claw Finger and Never Again) and Kaufmann's themes from the first game. The music played when Lisa dies is a variation on the series theme.
    • The main theme of the first game is the basis for "Hometown", Silent Hill 3's ending credits song.
    • A melodic line from "Theme of Laura" from Silent Hill 2 is used in a guitar solo in "Waiting for You" from Silent Hill 4.
    • Part of the guitar solo from "I Want Love (Studio Mix)" from 3 reappears in both "Your Rain" from 4 and "Hell Frozen Rain" from Shattered Memories.
  • Reincarnation: Alessa/Heather/Cheryl.
  • Religious Horror: The occult elements as well the cult.
  • Road Runner PC: Outdoor segments are a breeze, as enemies aren't particularly speedy. The most irksome ones are the air screamers, the only (to-date) airborne enemies, and difficult to outrun.
  • Say My Name: Got a missing loved one? Your Escort Mission ally is in danger? In Silent Hill Shattered Memories, you can even call for Cheryl whenever you feel like it.
  • Sensor Suspense: The radio starts playing static as dark things draw near. Silent Hill 4 instead uses this to indicate that the room is haunted.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Every game got one. Especially in the opening, when you can hear a somber, mellow tune, or even upbeat song... which can distract you from the fact that the games are fueled with Nightmare Fuel. To quote IGN's review of the DVD:

"Akira Yamaoka's soundtrack, taken from the videogame series itself, is both warm and terrifying. Think of the sweet smell of grandma's delicious cookies, then imagine a pinch of cyanide awaiting that first bite instead of cinnamon."

  • Scare Chord: In some parts of SH 2, it takes the form of a high-pitched screeching or ringing noise.
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black: Alessa is usually seen wearing her school uniform.
  • Scenery Gorn: True to the tagline, there are a lot of wall-mounted corpses in this series.
  • Second-Hour Superpower: The static-emitting radios are all obtained rather early in the games.
  • Self-Inflicted Hell: Although the hell is less self-inflicted, and more the town itself actively customizing its horrors to fit the people who enter. In Silent Hill 2 especially, the town is essentially Hell on Earth.
  • Shock and Awe:
    • Heather can use a taser as a weapon.
    • Travis can earn a freaking laser gun once the player unlocks the UFO Ending.
  • Shrug of God:
    • The creators are frustratingly coy about which of the endings are canon. A few of the additional releases only available in Japan do shine some light on things, but real answers are as rare as ampoules.
    • Although to many, this simply makes the games more scary, since the games are one of the few instances in media where pretty much everything is symbolic of something. It causes many players to simply speculate even more about the series. Since there is no true answer to many of these questions, it makes the nature of the town that much more unsettling.
  • Sigil Spam: The Order's official seal, the "Halo of the Sun." It's practically wallpapered all over SH1's Otherworld, and functions as a save icon in SH3.
  • Sinister Geometry: Pyramid Head.
  • Something Completely Different: Bonus Endings are a Silent Hill tradition:
    • Silent Hill 1 can end with Harry being abducted by aliens - after he asks about his daughter, of course.
    • Harry makes a cameo in the UFO ending of Silent Hill 2 (complete with retro blocky graphics) to abduct James after a Catch Phrase exchange.
    • Another alternate ending of Silent Hill 2 is a shiba inu dog did it.
    • The UFO ending of Silent Hill 3 has Harry (and James) getting angry about Heather being picked on by the cult members and unleashing lasery death on the town with an entire UFO armada.
    • Silent Hill Origins has an alien with a dog - a suspiciously familiar shiba inu - offering Travis a ride in his UFO.

Travis: Can I drive?
Alien: You drive stick?

    • Silent Hill Homecoming can end with Alex and Elle being abducted by aliens while Wheeler watches in amazement.
    • Silent Hill the Arcade can end with the Big Bad flying away in a UFO and one of the heroes giving chase in a Vic Viper... zooming out to Robbie, playing on an emulator.
    • Silent Hill Shattered Memories has the biggest Mind Screw UFO ending of all time: Cheryl claims her father was abducted by aliens, saying Silent Hill is really a giant spaceship. Then James comes into the therapist's office having gotten the day of his appointment wrong (He's one of Kaufmann's couples' therapy patients; Kaufmann notes how he hasn't seen his wife recently). Then the camera zooms back to Cheryl, who's turned into the shiba inu dog and begins talking about how her mother was a bitch to Dr. Kaufmann, who has turned into an alien.
    • Silent Hill Downpour has a rather different joke ending: After digging his way into a room, Murphy is suddenly greeted with a surprise birthday party from the other characters in the game. Then Pyramid Head shows up to cut the cake, and accidentally breaks the table it is on in half while doing so.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: It's Silent Hill. Even the puzzles hate you. According to "The Book of Lost Memories", many of those are meant to represent various fears. For example, the key you get from the vending machine represents the fear of machines not working the way they're supposed to.
  • Spooky Painting: Frame pictures in Silent Hill often depict the impossible -- like the exact room you're standing in, complete with slumped corpses.
  • Spring Loaded Corpse: Any corpse not properly given one last kick/stomp can stand back up and continue menacing the player character.
  • Stock Sound Effects:
    • The air-raid siren, some of the monster sounds, the sound of the fan in the first game, the door opening/closing sounds, the demonic moaning sound, and other effects heard in the ambient musics in the series, etc.
    • The sound the sniffer dogs make when they die is the common "cougar roar" sound, the Insane Cancers use a guttural stock sound when awakening, Air Screamers and Pendulums make red-tailed hawk sounds, Hummers make a "bee buzzing" sound, and the Numb Bodies use some of the zombie moaning sounds from the Resident Evil series.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome:
  • Survival Horror:
    • Silent Hill Homecoming pulled a Resident Evil 4 and, according to some critics, somewhat switched to an Action Horror gameplay style by increasing the emphasis on the combat.
    • Shattered Memories, on the other hand, abandons combat altogether and forces the player to have to run, hide, and barricade entrances to defend oneself against monsters, heavily emphasizing the "survival" aspect.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity:
    • Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill Origins (as a Shout-Out) both have an absurd number of save points arranged in a pattern as a very unsubtle hint that it might be a good idea to save right now. Depending on your interpretation, it's also symbolic.
    • The town as a whole is also suspiciously "generous" with weapons, ammunition, and healing items, considering that everything else is trying to kill you. Then again, there's no fun in having a plaything die horribly within the first 30 minutes of fun, now is there?
  • Tank Controls: A notable offender.
  • Tarot Motifs: In the story supplement "Book of Lost Memories", pretty much every aspect of the town and the characters are associated with Tarot cards - Heather is The Fool, The Sun is the games' bonus features, Pyramid Head is Judgement, The Eye of Night (created specifically for the third game, as no Eye of Night appears in the tarot) is The God, and so on.
  • This Is a Drill: You can unlock a rock drill as a weapon in the New Game+ of the original game, and Judge Holloway wields a nasty looking drill in Homecoming.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Silent Hill's primary method of Mind Rape. Several times it is hinted that the "monsters" you're killing may actually be innocent human beings.

"Monsters? They look like monsters to you?"

  • Tomato in the Mirror:
    • James, you killed your wife.
    • Heather, you're the reincarnation of Cheryl, who in turn is the reincarnation of Alessa.
    • Travis, you're a sociopath serial killer. But only in the Bad Ending.
    • Alex, you were never in the army, the whole game was just a delusion. But this assumes that Villains Never Lie and that you get the Hospital Ending.
    • Harry, you've actually been dead for about 18 years - you're just a figment of your traumatized daughter's imagination.
    • Murphy, you are the Bogeyman.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Weapons in general, especially the bigger guns with more limited ammo.
  • Tortured Abomination: Many of the monsters can be interpreted this way.
  • Uncanny Atmosphere: The beginning of almost every game in the series.
  • Uncanny Valley: Purposely invoked in the monster designs, but the characters themselves seem a bit unreal given their Dull Surprise.
  • Updated Rerelease: The Greatest Hits Playstation 2 version and Xbox version of Silent Hill 2 were released not too long after the original, adding a new playable scenario and several other extras.
    • The Silent Hill HD Collection for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 features ports of Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3. It has however, caught a bit of flak from both fans and the original developers, for changing the look and feel of the games too much.
  • Urban Legend of Zelda:
    • A persistent rumor abounded about a supposed "Ambulance Ending" in the first game where Harry rampages through Silent Hill Grand Theft Auto style
    • A common fan art sight gag is to make or draw fake screenshots of the "lost" SH4 UFO Ending. It doesn't have one.
  • Unreliable Narrator: James Sunderland, come on down! From the second game onwards, all of the protagonists are very obviously not honest with themselves. James just gets namechecked because his Player Punch reveal is that memorable.
  • Variable Mix: Most of the games feature dynamic music which seamlessly changes according to the action, such as the number or proximity of monsters in a room, entering or exiting a room (eg. going back through the clock room in the apartments, jumping down the final hole to the labyrinth), activating a switch (eg. the Alchemilla Hospital generator), or completing some other objective.
  • Video Game Remake:
  • Violation of Common Sense: Jump down this possibly bottomless hole? Stick your hand in the toilet? Reach into a dead guy's pocket? Wander around an old insane asylum filled with monsters? Sure, why not!
  • Visual Novel: Silent Hill Play Novel, as the title might suggest.
  • "Wake-Up Call" Boss: The first boss in each of the first three games, all of which have an instant-death attack that will catch inexperienced players off guard.
  • Walls of Text:
    • The reams and reams of information you get from reading stuff picked up in Silent Hill get quite wordy.
    • One LPer made fun of the use of blacked out words in Silent Hill Origins by pretending to play Mad Libs with the blanks.
    • Mostly averted in Shattered Memories, in that while you do get text messages on the cell phone, few of them (the exception being The Experience in the mall) are overly wordy.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The games never explicitly spell out where Silent Hill is, other than somewhere in New England. Circumstantial evidence strongly implies it to be in Maine, but this is never confirmed in-game.
  • Womb Level: The boss battles of the first and third games and Nightmare level of the third game are composed of pulsating flesh. Arguably, the entire fourth game applies as well.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: Besides the generic death animation, several games feature unusual means of getting horribly murdered.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: Frequently happens when protagonists 'wake up' in the Otherworld. Following an indoor boss fight in Silent Hill 2, James somehow warps to a forbidding-looking outdoor area with insurmountable walls (Labeled "Courtyard" on the real world map).

"The lock is jammed, this door can't be opened."