When we attended the sneak preview of Welcome to Silent Hill, we knew it’d be an amazing new addition to Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood. With a big fan base, successful films, and unique theme – we knew the fans would absolutely love it.
In Hostel: Hunting Season in 2011, the Horror Nights team brought something unique to the fans – if guests said a password to specific actors near the entrance of the maze, they were given a prize. We even participated, and were given a “business card” that said “Elite Hunting”. Not only did it tie-in with the films, it was a neat souvenir for fans to keep (I still have mine in my wallet). It proved to be successful and loved by the fans; the concept was brought back to Welcome to Silent Hill. This time, a character named Howard Blackwood, the postmaster in numerous of the Silent Hill games, is giving out different prizes to fans who say the password of the night. In order to know the password, fans must follow Creative Director John Murdy on Twitter, where he creates and tweets different passwords every night. We participated again this year, but unfortunately, most of the prizes consisted of posters from the new film, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D. We would’ve loved to keep the poster, but it was too big to carry and we didn’t want it to get wrinkled. We wish Horror Nights had given out prizes similar to the business cards that tie-in with the maze experience, such as fictional admission tickets to Lakeside Amusement Park from Silent Hill.
The overall experience of Welcome to Silent Hill is solid. Luckily, we were able to experience the maze twice before the lines became outrageous (around 8pm, it was a 60-minute wait). By going through twice, we were able to really judge the maze and admire the sets and scares. As a Silent Hill fan, it was easy to pinpoint the smaller details and obscure characters from the franchise – I can only imagine how awesome it was for the hardcore fans!
In the game, the use of a flashlight is common, and is given as the only way of sight in the dark. In the maze, the designers were able to manipulate the “flashlight” look throughout different rooms, which really gave the sensation of playing Silent Hill! It is minor, yet an effective effect, that I’m sure many fans took notice of.
The monsters in Welcome to Silent Hill are what complete the experience. There is a healthy mix of obscure characters from the games, to known characters that became famous through the Silent Hill films. The most famous one – Pyramid Head – lurks in several locations in the maze. Not only is he freakishly scary on his own, Pyramid Head is on stilts, making him 9 feet tall! And let’s not forget about the Nurses – there were many of them as well throughout the maze. Kudos to the talent for nailing those moves! And good job to Boneyard Effects for creating such beautiful and faithful prosthetics! Another monster I’d like to note is Colin the Janitor. Colin the Janitor is an original character from the film Silent Hill (2006) and disturbed me when I first saw him on screen! The way his feet are tied behind him… with barbed wire around his head… sends chills up my spine! When we went through the maze and encountered Colin, I was disturbed all over again! The way he was flicking his tongue at me! Argh! Of course, it was a distract-and-scare room – a monster totally startled me from the other side of the room. The funny thing is, I knew the maze already from attending the sneak preview and I still got startled! TWICE! My only question is why was he surrounded by colorful fluorescent paint? His original surrounding is dull, dark, and rusted, and comes alive in the Otherworld? Perhaps it was to see the talent better.
The only criticism we have is that we wish the maze was slightly longer and have bigger rooms/sets, but overall – the experience of Silent Hill at Halloween Horror Nights was a good one. Even though we aren’t fans of returning mazes at Halloween Horror Nights, if Welcome to Silent Hill comes back, we hope it returns as a brand-new experience. There are still many elements from the games and films to be included. We only ask that the scare zone improves!
- Johanna Atilano