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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Silent Hill and the Lonesome Place

Matt Powers
Blog #3
Option #1
Terrifyingly Intriguing Environments

No matter how many times I watch it on thing remains true, Silent Hill will never get old. This movie is full of gothic tropes, and in many ways relates to our readings. While it relates to all of them in someway, the one that stands out the most is “The Lonesome Place”. While both stories use a variety of the same tropes to create suspension and better tell the story; I think the way their most similar is in their reliance on a sense of mystery and dread when describing the environments in the story and movie.
From scene to scene the movie Silent Hill draws in its audience and holds their curiosity through suspenseful environments and dramatic moments. While there are many examples of this, one stands out over the others. Early on in the movie Rosa awakes from a car crash on the outside of Silent Hill. As she comes to, she looks behind her in the back seat and realizes that her daughter Sharon has run off. She then looks forward and sees a thick black cloud of what appears to be fog.  Directly in front of her there is an old highway sign that reads “Silent Hill” and as she gets out of the car we realize that there is no fog, but in fact ash is blowing across the highway and falling from the sky. Rosa sees a little girl a few yards ahead of her and mistakes her for Sharon. As the girl takes off Rosa chases into the ashy fog after her.  This scene occurs rather early in the film and is constructed to both, foreshadow facts to come as well as captivate the viewer leaving him in a suspenseful moment as he wonders what will happen in Silent Hill.
In the “Lonesome Place” the author, August Derleth, relies just as heavily on the description and suspenseful nature of the environment surrounding the main characters. Early in the novel this becomes evident as the main character describes the lonesome place to the reader, he says “ with no house nearby and up beyond it the tall, dark grain elevator, gaunt and forbidding, the lonesome place of trees and shed and lumber, in which anything might be lurking, anything at all” (pg192).  In this quote we are painted a picture of the Lonesome Place that frightens the boys. When reading this passage I picture an area off in the distance, with a grain elevator and the infinite possibilities as to what type of creature lurks there. Reading this I see a similarity in the goals of both Silent Hill and “The Lonesome Place”; both describe the environment’s enough to evoke curiosity and suspense form the audience. They both take the main characters and create an atmosphere in which the reader is unsure of what’s about to come, but he is too intrigued to look away.  Whether its Rosa running into the unknown through the fog of ash or the boys looking at the grain elevator that houses a foul beast both use a sense of mystery and dread to terrify there audience.

Works Citied:
·      Derleth August. The Lonesome PlaceAmerican Gothic Tales. New York: Plume, 1996. N. pag. Print.


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