The Silent Hill series is full of body horror monsters. They’re creatures of nightmare fuel. Generally each monster is the way it is, due to the character it is hounding. The monsters represent something of importance to those trapped within the foggy town. This idea is lost or muddied in later games but in Silent Hill 2, the theme shines bright.
This is going to go into spoiler territory, so if you want to play this game at any point, I recommend you skip this trivia. Believe me, I would love for you to read my tantalising words but I would prefer it if you experienced the game before I ruin the story. And for a horror game it does have a good, weighty story. You’ve been warned. OK! In Silent Hill 2, James receives a letter from his dead wife saying she’ll be waiting for him at ‘our special place’. James believes this to be a hotel in Silent Hill. Along his journey through the mostly abandoned town, James encounters several kinds of repulsive beings. Two of the most seen are the nurses and Pyramid Head himself. Pyramid head is like a force of nature. Unrelentingly looking for James and almost impossible to stop. Why the fixation on James though? As for the nurses, they first appear in the hospital, where nurses tend to be. Their uniforms are more on the revealing Halloween costume scale than work attire. The clothing is sparse enough to show ample breasts and legs. Sounds sexy but if you saw one of these things up close you’d run the other way and straight into an open grave. ‘My time on this Earth is done’. Like I said, the monster design isn’t just slapping limbs where limbs weren’t before. Even though, at times it looks like it.
James killed his wife. It gets revealed towards the end. His wife, Mary, was very ill and dying in a hospital. She was weak, frail and spent most of her time bedridden. Mary and James argued during this time and James decided to spend a lot of his time elsewhere, because of this. This went on for a few years before it became too much for James. He didn’t handle this very well and in the end he smothered Mary with a pillow. It’s a twist I never saw coming. When you have that knowledge though, the world of Silent Hill 2 starts to make more sense. Pyramid head represents James guilt. To go from a loving, close relationship, to fighting and hardly seeing each other. And the times when you do see each other, you aren’t close. That resentment builds and that’s why James did what he did. He buries the murder deep within him and goes on with his life. When James arrives at Silent Hill, he is stalked throughout the town by Pyramid Head. This is James’s subconscious want for punishment. Pyramid Head is here to dole out James’s sentence.
The nurses represent lust and desire. James is a man who was in a loving relationship. Rapidly that love and security dissipates and James is left with a husk of a relationship. He has feelings and needs. These aren’t being met but he tries to be a good husband and not to act on these sexual pangs. The nurse’s revealing clothes allude to his wants. The fact that they’re nurses is a smart design choice. James would have been visiting the hospital to see Mary quite often. He would have his urges and he would be in the presence of nurses. Most of whom will be women that he’ll see on a regular basis but will have no physical contact with, even though that’s what he desires.
And so, when you see Pyramid Head or nurses in other Silent Hill games or films, ask yourself if it suits thematically. These two monsters in particular are staples of the franchise now but most of the time they don’t have that connection with the protagonist, that the fantastic Silent Hill 2 had.