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Focus on the Frightful: Pregnancy and Silent Hill

Hello! We’re taking another trip back to Silent Hill and the comparison of themes and stories of Silent Hill 3 and Silent Hill: Revelations. Such as they are in the movie. This is a continuation of the post from last week – Focus on the Frightful: Parenthood and Silent Hill.

Again, this post will be covering topics that may be troubling or triggering so I would like to put a content warning here about pregnancy, and consent issues.

Also, spoilers for Silent Hill 3

Silent Hill 3 Game

Silent Hill 3 picks up seventeen years after the events of Silent Hill. Heather (the child Alessa created from herself and gave to Harry to take care of) is now seventeen. She doesn’t know anything about her birth and Harry has raised her as his own. She runs into Douglas at the mall. Douglas has been hired to find her but doesn’t know why. He creeps her out so much that she hides in a ladies restroom to get away from him.

This sets off the chain of events that lead to the main plot of the game. Heather, who is a part of Alessa, carries the God of Silent Hill inside her. Claudia, the main villain of the game, was Alessa’s childhood friend and has been desperately trying to find ‘Alessa’ (Heather). She also kills Harry as a dual purpose. The first is revenge for ‘stealing’ Alessa from the cult and the second is to foster hatred in Heather’s heart to nurture the God and aid in its birth.

Which works. From the moment Harry is killed Heather vows to kill Claudia in retribution. Douglas, who feels bad for helping Claudia find Heather drives Heather to Silent Hill and aids her in her quest as much as he can.

Heather fights her way to Claudia and they have their final confrontation. However, instead of killing Claudia, Heather purges the God from herself (which Claudia promptly picks up and swallows so she can give birth to it instead. Yeah, it’s a whole thing.) Interestingly, at this point in the game if you try to attack Claudia Heather will start to birth the God and it’s a Game Over screen. You have to figure out the correct way to do it. Which is probably easier if you’ve played the first game since it uses an item that’s prominent in the first game so you’re more likely to connect the two. If, however, you’re like me and play the games all out of order it might take a bit to figure it out.

The subtext of Silent Hill 3 is growing up and becoming an adult. It also is very specifically geared toward the fears of women (and women identifying people). The monsters are very phallic looking with the Split-Worm being one of the first bosses you must defeat.

There are also monsters called Numb-Heads that are quite literally walking penises. The subtext is the fear of growing up and the fear of sex. It can be scary for a young person to face. And Heather is also dealing with a ‘pregnancy’ (for all intents and purposes) that she neither consented to nor wants. It has been forced upon her and its growth encouraged by someone outside of herself.

It is also interesting that the male characters fall into a variety of roles. There is Harry, the protective father that we mostly get a sense of in the first game but even in 3 where we never really see him onscreen until he’s murdered. But we do get an idea of him through Heather’s grief for him.

Douglas

The other two male characters are Douglas and Vincent. Douglas was hired to find Heather but really doesn’t know what’s going on. He tries to help Heather because he feels bad that he basically set everything into motion and seems to be trying to redeem his past. But when he first meets Heather to try to talk to her he comes off as creepy. The type of guy a girl should avoid, especially alone. But he does end up redeeming himself and trying to help, even though, in the end, he really can’t.

The other male is Vincent. He is a member of the cult and seems to be its present leader. He seems to have grown up with Claudia and Alessa in the cult and has known Claudia for a very long time. He wants to stop Claudia from bringing about Paradise as he’s got a very good gig. Money and power and he doesn’t want it interrupted. So he tries to ‘help’ Heather, in a very hands-off way, to stop Claudia. He messes with Heather’s mind (whether it’s purposeful or not is up for debate) tells her some information while withholding vital pieces of her past. He tries to use her to do his dirty work throughout the game.

Vincent

Another minor character that I think deserves to be mentioned is Stanley Coleman. You meet him in Brookhaven Hospital. I put meet in quotes because you never actually meet him in person. You find notes from him, along with creepy little dolls that he ‘made’ for Heather. They’re creepy love letters but what feels the creepiest is that he seems to be actively watching Heather as she moves throughout the hospital. He knows that she’s not taking his ‘gifts’. He sees everything she’s doing but we never see him. It really evokes that fear of being stalked. Most women have had an encounter that, even if it wasn’t violent, but was unsettling and put you on edge.

Silent Hill 3 is a game about growing up. About facing death and unwanted truths about the world. It’s also a game about fear. Very specific fears. And the way Team Silent did them was great. It was subtle, in the background. They never needed a banner to say what their game was about or make it explicit in dialogue. It came through because it was finely in-tune with the background. It wasn’t crass or in your face.


Since this has become a little long I’ll split this into a third part and wait until next week to tear into Silent Hill: Revelations and how much they screwed up.

Published inFocus on the Frightful

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