During the summer of 2002, I was offered by a friend to play a game called Silent Hill 2. After I accepted and spent around a week trying to beat it, it became one of my favorite horror games of all time. It’s use of atmosphere, symbolism, and psychological horror are truly astounding, creating a terrifying experience that I haven’t felt in either horror games, as well as most modern horror movies. What makes Silent Hill unique is it’s ability to make you feel like you are really in a town that wants to kill you, and the intricate designs of the monsters are done in a way that makes them truly inhumane, thus making them more terrifying. Also the visuals in Silent Hill are done in a way as to psychologically torture the protagonist, as he trying to either find a loved one, or escape from the town. An excellent example is Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, while it is really a rehash of Silent Hill 2, it makes excellent improvements to the game, and even has the ability to psychologically mess with your own head in real life, by allowing alot of interaction with the game. It’s difficult to truly say how without giving away spoilers, but all I can say for now is that Silent Hill deserves to be considered one of the greatest horror franchises of all time.
In 2006, a Silent Hill movie was released in theaters. Even though video game movies have a terrible reputation (examples include Street Fight, Resident Evil, Mortal Kombat, House of the Dead, Etc.), Silent Hill actually had potential. Unlike most video game movies, Silent Hill already had an actual story, you really could simply cut and paste the script for any of the Silent Hill games, and a great movie could already be there. When I saw the movie, my hopes and dreams were crushed within the first half hour. Not only was the acting bad, but the film removed the symbolism and horror aspects that the game perfected. The movie removed the feeling of isolation that one feels when playing the game, and thus, removed the fear. This movie had such strong potential, but of course, hollywood fucked up.
Years later, now that I had played Silent Hill: Shattered Memories with my friend, David Lebovitz, I began thinking of how a good Silent Hill movie could be made. Like I said, the idea of a good Silent Hill movie is very possible, but great care needs to be taken in terms of how the movie is made. I have come up with a list of the people needed in order to make a truly scary silent hill movie:
Producers, Writers, and Directors (This movie would be best with collaborations so these people can all give their best work).
1) William Peter Blatty
Will Blatty is producer of one of the greatest horror movies of all time, The Exorcist, and was also the writer of the original Exorcist novel. He has a strong specialty in creating atmosphere and realism in horror movies. While his abilites as a screenwriter haven’t been shown to be the best, he has shown strength as a producer, primarily with The Exorcist and the Ninth Configuration. Hence forth his strength will come from work as a producer. He will have some influence as a writer, he won’t have as strong control as my next choice:
2) Christopher Nolan
Everyone knows who this guy is. Every movie he produces, writes, and directs seems to be gold. Insomnia, The Prestiege, The Dark Knight, Inception, he is amazing at both visuals and content. His specialties are creating amazing and inventive scenarios. His re-imagining of the Joker should be proof that he can do horror if he was given the opportunity. He will have the strongest influence in the movie, as he has shown strength in producing, writing, and directing. He will also be used as a filter for the ideas brought to the table by Blatty and my next choice.
My third pick will be the most controversial, and even I am very skeptical of this last pick:
3) M. Night Shyamalan
Before anyone trying to kill me, let me first state two things. 1) I know he is in a downward spiral and I even call him the Frank Miller of the movie world (starts amazing but now descends to crap). 2) I saw and hated Last Airbender also. However, many people forget Shyamalan also created Unbreakable, Signs, and The Sixth Sense (which is on the list of AFI’s Top 100 greatest movies of all time). Shyamalan does have a strong specialty, and that is the twist ending. One of the important aspects of Silent Hill is the twist ending, and the build up that leads to it. That is where Shyamalan has a chance to shine. Most of his recent bad movies (Last Airbender, The Happening, Lady in the Water) did not have twist endings, and most of his good movies (Sixth Sense, Signs, Unbreakable, and Devil (sorta, it wasn’t good but not bad either, really just okay)) did have twist endings (except for The Village, which was kinda bad and still had a twist). If Shyamalan was able to work with Nolan and Blatty, then they can help be the filter for Shyamalan’s impute, and help him go back to his mastery of the twist ending. This way they can bring the best out of this fallen star.
Those are my choices for the people needed in order for a good Silent Hill movie to be created. I am aware that more is needed, primarily actors and cinematographers, but for now, those are the people I feel can make a truly memorable and horrifying Silent Hill movie.
(Thank you David Lebovitz for letting me play your Silent Hill game. You are awesome).