Monsters at home: The Silent Hill nurses

Oh, you’ve never played any Silent Hill, you say. Well this brilliant game series, pitched somewhere between David Lynch and the best of Japanese horror cinema provides some of the most unsettling interactive experiences you’ll ever have, outside of a spin on chatroulette. The nurses are among the series’ most recognisable recurring opponents*, and like all its horrors they exist as symbols of unresolved anxieties in the deepening stories of the protagonists. BUT THAT SOUNDS LIKE HARD WORK. So how do they relax?

WHAT DO THEY EAT The cardigan-wearing nurses from the original game, with the slug-parasites growing out of their backs, are found wandering gloomy hospital corridors, waving scalpels around. But with only a scalpel to use, they’re going to be limited to food that can be jabbed. So their staple diet is cocktail sausages, cheese and pineapple cubes, and those olives with things stuck in them.

HOW DO THEY SOCIALISE In Silent Hill 2 the nurses got sexy. Of course when I say sexy, I also mean facially disfigured, twitching succubi lashing out at you with iron bars, but still, you know, voluptuous. Fetishy. It’s a representation of the guilt and sexual frustration the main character felt during his wife’s long hospitalisation. So these nurses save their pennies for trips to the mall to get those too-tight, bloodied uniforms just right, and then hit the wine bars.

WHAT DO THEY DRINK The nurses in Silent Hill 3 are best remembered for how bloody noisy they were. All that heavy breathing, and those horrible screams. I hear a similar racket outside the flat when the windows are open on warm Saturday nights. It’s generally fuelled by Jagermeister. So if they can’t get formaldehyde, that’s what the nurses are on too.

WHAT DO THEY WATCH ON TELLY The nurses in Silent Hill: Origins seemed to have surgical masks melted onto their faces. But it would be lazy to see that and assume that they just sit around watching medical dramas. No, as figures of control and repression, they’re far more comfortable with the overbearing likes of How To Look Good Naked and The Biggest Loser. 

WHAT DO THEY DO FOR FUN In the live action Silent Hill film, the nurses were fantastically choreographed. All their jerky lurching was brought to life in as horrible and disorientating a way as us fans could have hoped for. So clearly there have been some dance classes along the way. Lambada, perhaps.

HOW DO THEY REPRODUCE In the recent Silent Hill: Homecoming, you could — unpleasantly — see a foetus growing in the nurses’ wombs when you shone a light on them. But it’s anyone guess how it got in there. This is a game series in which someone vomits up God’s foetus and someone else eats it, after all. To be honest I’d prefer to write the whole thing off as an optical illusion. I don’t want to see any more nurses. They scare me.

*Ok, obviously the most iconic Silent Hill monster is Pyramid Head. But nothing I write is going to improve on the video below, which appeared on YouTube a few years ago, and to be honest has pretty much inspired this whole Monsters At Home strand. Respect.

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