Silent Hill (SH) Ambiance – Benchmark DesignJust vacationed with the family, the key destination being the natural dye making workshop in Monticello, Virginia (to boost my dye making hobby--Link). After traveling through the Appalachian Mountains and renting a hotel overlooking an abandoned Sanitarium, I began to feel the “Silent Hill” experience.
Although not a proper Sword & Sorcery world, SH allows for an awesome degree of supernatural exploration– a feature once integral to the originating pulps that inspired the genre (Howard, Smith, Lovecraft); the Hill does have the prerequisite elements: ruins, creatures, alchemy (witchcraft). The series sacrifices some action elements to amplify the horror of battling the unknown. It grounds readers in abandoned towns filled with ghosts, only to use that foundation as “reality” to take readers into the next level of horror (“nightmare realm”) in which the cracked paint peels of walls and flies away, and hell (in multiple carnations) overwhelms all. Silent Hill pushes the boundaries of horror in every way, from its character designs, settings, and story.
Room 307 of Wood Side apartments: Pyramid Head rapes headless mannequins in Silent Hill 2 game–very spooky
The Appalachian Mountains
The below aerial imagery from the Silent Hill movie shows a road in the Appalachian Mountains; in the leading car are a mom (Rose Da Silva) and daughter (Sharon), driving toward the titular town to confront the haunts that plague Sharon’s dreams. A police car follows.
Our recent drive through West Virginia (our images below), sets the stage; map included in case you want to trek over.
So after hours of driving in the mountains, we stop at a Hotel in Staunton, VA. Staunton is not haunted, but we unexpectedly chose a hotel overlooking a beautiful boarded building (~the intersection of highway 81 and route 250 near the Frontier Museum); From our hotel view (below, looking eastward).eugenics project, many inmates were reportedly sterilized in the basement against their will (his butchery and sexual motivations reeks of Pyramid Head). Ghosttowninfo.com - Dejarnette Sanatarium (link) offers interior images and Project Energia Buran offers as a video tour (embedded below)! To be clear, my family did not tour the facility! It is riddled with asbestos and is hardly a family destination. This is not Silent Hill! There is nothing explicitly terrifying about this image; implicitly, it is creepy as hell!
Virtual Tour of the Sanatorium
Persistent, Amplified Silent Hill FeelingsEvery SH game visits a hospital; I think every one has ghost- or living-children running amongst them. Alchemilla Hospital (left image below) and Brookhaven Hospital (right image) are fictional hospitals that are frequently visited in the Silent Hill games. A blog post cannot due these justice…I suggest you get the games and explore them. You will be scared…and you can pretend you are experiencing the haunted (possibly) DeJarnette Sanitarium! Be careful. Once you play the games, you may not be able to stop thinking about the horrors the evoke! Awesome!