There’s been a lot of recent developments in the Silent Hill world lately, namely a potential reboot of the series and a Silent Hills revival on the horizon. Some are cautiously optimistic, while others are understandably skeptical about any announcements regarding future installments. With all of this uncertainty about the future of the Silent Hill series, we thought now’s the perfect time to take a look back at the past.
Perhaps best known for its psychological horror and visceral thrills, many people forget that the Silent Hill series also has its fair share of intensely sad, heartbreaking scenes. Throughout the iconic survival horror series, there have been a number of standout emotional tear-jerkers, and everyone has their own personal favorites. Below, our staff and other members of the community have compiled a list of their favorites. Here they are in no particular order:
Silent Hill 3 – Harry Mason’s Death
Most fans will no doubt choose any number of evocative moments from series favorite Silent Hill 2, but not me. While I certainly acknowledge the power and emotional weight of James’ tragic tale, for me the most powerful moment of the series was the death of Harry Mason in Silent Hill 3.
Following the events of SH1, Harry has raised the infant he was given at the conclusion of that game as his own. Flash-forward 17 years later, and Harry and his daughter (now renamed Heather) have moved to a new town, in an effort to evade the cult from the first game, who are still pursuing them. As the third game opens, we don’t know any of this yet. All we know is that Heather is on her way back home from the local mall.
After multiple horrific encounters, Heather finally makes it back to her apartment complex, only to find her father slumped down in a chair, in a pool of his own blood. The shot shows almost everything but stops short of revealing Harry’s face; it’s hidden, giving the scene a greater impact. His death happens off-screen and Heather returns home just in time to witness the grisly aftermath. It’s later revealed that Harry was murdered by the cult as retribution for previously thwarting their plans to resurrect their god. Heather slumps down, sobbing uncontrollably, with her head in his lap. After she gets up, her white vest is now permanently stained with Harry’s blood. The stain stays there for the remainder of the game.
It’s a heartbreaking scene and is what motivates Heather to go to Silent Hill on a deeply personal mission of vengeance. As tragic as it is, it’s also my favorite scene in the game. I was shocked when I first saw it. It was one of the few moments in the series that literally made my jaw drop. Not only at the revelation that Heather was Harry’s daughter, but also, after all these years, after all he had gone through and survived, Harry was gone. It was a lot to process. I had grown to love Harry through the first game, and he had become my favorite character. To have him dispatched so abruptly, so unceremoniously, was a real gut-punch. Not only was his death sad and depressing, but it also underscored the fact that no one ever really escapes Silent Hill.
– William Lockwood
Senior Editor, Rely on Horror
Silent Hill Origins – Confronting the Twisted Memories of Travis’ Parents
As you travel through the story of Silent Hill Origins you come to find out that lead character Travis Grady’s mother had attempted to kill both him and herself when he was a child and was put into the Cedar Grove Sanitarium as a result. She never regained her sanity. After visiting her for a short time, Travis’ father began telling him that his mother had died, so he could not see her in her damaged mental state. Eventually, she did actually die before Travis could ever see her again.
As if all this wasn’t sad enough, you also find out that after years of visiting her in the sanitarium and hiding her from Travis, his father also later hung himself to escape the pain of what happened to their family. A young Travis found his father hanging in their motel room later that day and went into shock, staring at his father in disbelief for 10 hours after finding his body, telling himself he was just asleep.
Both of these events lead to Travis confronting and defeating the twisted memories of his parents as boss battles, and on both occasions, exorcising them out of his mind, allowing him to continue on his quest for the truth and move on from his past. Getting rid of these horrifying manifestations of his memories is a cathartic release for Travis, making these battles and their conclusions more emotionally impactful than any others in the game.
– Steve Summers
Writer/Editor, Rely on Horror
Silent Hill – The Death of Lisa Garland
For me, the most emotional moment in the series is Lisa Garland’s “death” scene hands down. Out of all the deaths and iconic scenes we’ve seen in the series over the years hers is always the first to come to mind, and the music and animation still gets me a bit choked up to this day. I think what impacted me the most was just how unique it was given that it’s gruesome with the blood pouring out from every orifice but it’s also weirdly captivating and haunting beautiful somehow.
I really liked Lisa’s character while playing the game, so her sudden and bloody demise was heart-wrenching to witness. I still feel terrible that Harry chose to back away and shut the door in Lisa’s face instead of staying to comfort her.
So many Playstation 1 game CG scenes look stiff and downright goofy by today’s standards but somehow Silent Hill still looks really great despite its age. The way Lisa pushes herself off the walls stumbles towards Harry is so fluid it’s really hard to believe Sato did it all on his own.
– Whitney Chavis
Silent Hill Historical Society
Silent Hill 2 – Angela’s Fiery Stairway
I always found the sudden appearance of fire in the Lakeview Hotel to be especially haunting – heralding the change to Angela’s world, and the beginning of one of the most potent scenes in Silent Hill 2. I loved Angela as a character, and as I watched her tragic demise and wished I could save her – only to be told to my face by Angela herself that I couldn’t – I was hurt and her rebuke mocked my naïveté.
A character like Angela is hard to find. She’s a very sympathetic and realistic depiction of the horrifying realities of sexual abuse, and as a young person, the dangers of such things happening to me had been beaten into my head from a very young age. Angela was a glimpse into a horrifying reality of what could be – of who I might be – and of what people I knew who had suffered such things might have suffered. The reality of her situation made it hit so much harder and watching her disappear into the flames will never be easy for me.
– AJ Thompson
The Gaming Muse
Silent Hill Homecoming – Making the Choice to Forgive Alex’s Parents
Later on in Homecoming, after learning more about the nature of the strange happenings in Shepherd’s Glen and the town being tied to the cult known as The Order, you find out that Alex’s parents had chosen to sacrifice him to the Elder Gods of Silent Hill to allow the residents of Shepherd’s Glen to continue living in peace and not succumbing to the horrors of Silent Hill. Because of this, they chose to shun Alex from birth and withheld their love for him, knowing that he’d be sacrificed eventually. They didn’t’ want to get too attached to him and love him like they would a normal child.
Alex’s parents instead chose to let his younger brother Josh survive and loved him as a normal child, so by the end of the game, the strange absence of any memories of Alex in his childhood home and his distant interactions with his catatonic mother start to make more sense. They were coerced by The Order into choosing between making the life of one of their sons miserable and eventually sacrificing them or suffering worse consequences for everyone in the town by not obeying.
Eventually, you as the player must choose whether to forgive Alex’s mother and put her out of her misery or to let her suffer at the hands of The Order. The thought of killing a defenseless and catatonic woman who is overwhelmed by regret and sorrow over how she treated her son was a heavy decision to make, even as she begs you to kill her. Actually clicking the button to take her life felt extremely heavy, even if the other choice of letting her suffer the torture may have seemed like a worse option.
In a later scene, you must also choose whether to forgive Alex’s father for his choices and mistreatment of you, and these choices are again made with a heavy heart after knowing the story behind it all. Your father apologizes for all the mistreatment and the favoritism he had shown towards Alex’s brother and asks for forgiveness in his final moments. You must make the choice to open your heart and forgive him or let The Order have their way with him.
When encountering these moments in my first playthrough, I remember simply stalling and not wanting to make either choice, fearing the emotional weight of the decisions. The competent voice acting in Homecoming lends an extra layer of impact and emotion to these already dense emotional scenes. These moments have stuck with me ever since as examples of some of the most emotional moments from the Silent Hill series.
– Steve Summers
Writer/Editor, Rely on Horror
Silent Hill 2 – The Hallway Leading to the Roof of the Lakeview Hotel
One of the most impactful scenes to me in Silent Hill 2 is set near the end at the Lakeview Hotel. James Sunderland has discovered what he did to his late wife Mary and has confronted the manifestation of his guilt: Pyramid Head. Just before he arrives on the rooftop where his wife is waiting for him, a final exchange can be heard between the couple while walking down a long hallway.
“What do you want, James?!” Maria screams. Her voice is tinged with anger and sadness — the latter so subtly audible through the slight tremble in her voice as she utters her husband’s name. James has brought his sick wife flowers, which further frustrates her as she sees herself no longer worthy of such totems of love and beauty. Mary’s illness has taken its toll on her soul and she can’t help but snap at James’ well-intentioned — but purely sentimental — attempt at making her feel better.
“Leave me alone already!” Mary once again yells at her husband, attempting to push him away because she thinks she’s as good as dead anyway. “Don’t come back!” James, trying to abide by his sick wife’s wishes, ostensibly begins to leave. Mary, when faced with the reality of her husband leaving her side, breaks down.
“Please don’t go.”
“Stay with me.”
“Don’t leave me alone.”
“I didn’t mean what I said.”
“Please James… tell me that I’ll be okay. Tell me that I’m not going to die.”
This haunting one-sided exchange is not only a testament to Monica Taylor Hogan’s vocal performance as Mary but a crushing, realistic depiction of grief. It’s impossible not to empathize with Mary’s battle with a fatal disease. She knows she’s dying, that she’s wasting away, and her words cut deep. In that moment, you can feel what Mary is feeling. You can relate to her sorrow, even if you’ve not personally watched a loved one go through a fatal illness or faced the threat yourself. The performance is raw and human, and Mary’s behavior is completely understandable. This scene still makes my chest tight and my eyes warm, preparing for tears, to this day.
– CJ Melendez
Editor in Chief, Rely on Horror
What did you think of our list of the most emotional moments from the Silent Hill series? Did we miss any? What are some of your favorite moments from the series? Tell us in the comments below!