Pyramid Head

Pyramid Head

Pyramid Head is the nickname of a fictional monster from the "Silent Hill" video game series, primarily the game "Silent Hill 2".

Characteristics

Of the creatures that appear in "Silent Hill 2", Pyramid Head is one of the few that is overtly masculine in appearance, whereas the other monsters generally have feminine features to them, with the exception of the patient demon/laying figure and the doormen/abstract daddy. Pyramid Head resembles a pale man covered with an completly white, blood-soaked robe reminiscent of a butcher's smock. His most outstanding feature is a large, red, triangular helmet that covers his head completely. It was reportedly designed to appear painful to wear, suggesting that it serves as some kind of punishment, in interviews with the chief artist responsible for creating the character (found on the Silent Hill 2 bonus DVD) it is stated that the initial thought process behind the pyramid shaped helm was to create an iconography of 'pain'. In other accounts the helmet has been described as an elaborate executioners mask. Like the Nurses in the game, Pyramid Head wears plain white gloves with partially connected fingers, either to conserve polygons or for a unique effect. Early designs show him with a strange tattoo on his left shoulder, but this does not appear in the game. Pyramid Head is usually armed either with the Great Knife or a lightweight Spear. However, he can also attack with a strangle grip, during which a black tongue-like protrusion "stabs" and also he can perform a head butt which can cause an instant death. A similar attack is used by other creatures in the game, including the final boss. Pyramid Head does not speak, but grunts and moans painfully inside the helmet - his breath hisses through the helmet grilles in a fashion similar to the breathing of Darth Vader in the "Star Wars" films. His actions display shocking brutality - he rapes and violently kills monsters.

In all of his appearances Pyramid Head punishes his victims in extremely painful and violent manners both to the physical and mental aspects.

Name

Although the character is nameless, the game's protagonist, James Sunderland, usually refers to him as Pyramid Head. Since this is the only instance in which Pyramid Head has been named, it is regarded as canon. Some official sources refer to the creature as Red Pyramid Thing or Red Triangle Thing although, according to "Silent Hill" director Christophe Gans, the Japanese name is Triangle Head. He is credited in the "Silent Hill" movie also as Red Pyramid and additionally referred to during the first cathedral sequence as 'The Fiend'. Silent Hill: Homecoming refers to him as Bogeyman.

An interesting parallel to this otherwise unnamed antagonist within Silent Hill canon, is its relationship to the occurrence of the Flauros in the original Silent Hill for PS1. While this artifact has no direct link to the Pyramid Head per se, its representation in-game is that of a small red pyramid object, with each of its sides made up of four smaller triangles inside the larger one. The item (as a plot device) is played out when Harry Mason is tricked into using it against the manifestation of Alessa, as a neutralizing or containment device. The etymology of the term 'Flauros' though is actually the title of a Duke of Hell from the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum who can be brought into being by a summoner and apparently contained within a 'Magic Triangle'. This can perhaps also be related back to the Pyramid Head.

ymbolism

In the additional back story material created by the game's designers [ [http://www.translatedmemories.com/index.html Translated Memories - The Translated World of Silent Hill ] ] it was explained that the physical appearance of Pyramid Head was an effect of James' fascination with Silent Hill's history. As revealed throughout the game, Pyramid Head's appearance was a variation of the outfits of the executioners from times past, who wore red hoods and ceremonial robes to make themselves similar to the ", a sect of the Silent Hill cult (the "Valtiel Sect") wore the executioner's costume depicted in "Silent Hill 2".

His helmet is also a possible reference to Jimmy Stone (a high member of the cult of Silent Hill and Walter Sullivan's first victim), as when performing certain rituals he would wear a red triangular hood, which earned him the nickname "red devil", a term constantly mentioned throughout the series. It is more likely that Jimmy Stone and Pyramid Head are visually referencing the same historic individuals.

In "Silent Hill 2", his existence is directly tied to James Sunderland's subconsciousref|memories; James's repressed anger and desire to be punished for the death of his wife are what compels Pyramid Head to pursue him. Pyramid Head functions as both an executioner of Maria, but more importantly, as the constant tormentor of James. Watching Pyramid Head repeatedly murder a highly eroticized tulpa of his late wife brings a great deal of grief to James, thus completely satisfying his masochistic desires. Once these desires are fulfilled, Pyramid Head's power over James is removed. This is evidenced in one of the game's final scenes, where just before battling two Pyramid Heads simultaneously, James gains insight into his situation, admitting that he needed them because he was weak, and that he has no further use for them. It is only after James asserts this that the Pyramid Heads eventually impale themselves on their own spears and thus free themselves of their roles (it is mentioned that they are both punisher and victim of crime).

The entity that James encounters is a delusion of his own mind, a projection of the memories he has hidden away. Although it is unclear if the energies that formed the delusion come from Valtiel/Xuchilbara, it is suggested that others in the past have seen the manifestation. This is most likely due to the common faith in the community's history.

Game appearances

"Silent Hill 2"

James first encounters Pyramid Head in Wood Side Apartments. After finding a handgun on the upper floor, he hears a scream in one of the corridors and heads in its direction, only to see the monster, standing behind the grate. A nearby room contains a bloody corpse, which was not there before. Later, James sees Pyramid Head in Room 307's kitchen, simulating the rape of two Mannequin creatures. Terrified, James hides in the closet. After the scene, Pyramid Head begins to leave the apartment. As he passes the closet James had ducked into, he appears to stop and examine the closet, causing a panicked James to shoot it with his handgun a number of times. The bullets however, appear to have no effect on him, but do cause him to leave. James' next encounter with Pyramid Head is in the Blue Creek apartments. When James enters the door leading to a stairway, he witnesses Pyramid Head raping another creature. He turns to James and attempts to kill him, but his movements are severely hampered by the Great Knife he wields during the encounter. After a few minutes, sirens sound in the distance and Pyramid Head descends the flooded stairway, opening the door at the bottom and removing the water. James does not meet the creature again until later where it surprises him on the roof of the Brookhaven Hospital. It knocks James through a safety railing and he falls below, sustaining injuries. Pyramid Head does not pursue or continue the attack.

Later in the hospital, Pyramid Head appears to torment Maria, who is following James through a lengthy corridor. When James makes it to the end of the corridor into an elevator, the doors shut before Maria can join him. James struggles to open the elevator doors in order to save Maria, but only her screams of agony can be heard as Pyramid Head impales her with a spear. The elevator then takes James away. James next encounters Pyramid Head in the Labyrinth beneath Toluca Prison, after finding Maria alive in a scene where she is very openly seducing him from behind a locked grate. James meets his enemy as he patrols an octagonal corridor, now carrying a spear instead of the Great Knife. Outrunning the creature, James can enter a room where Pyramid Head lives where the player can take Pyramid Head's great knife and use it as a weapon for the rest of the game. James reaches the room behind the grate soon afterwards, but finds Maria dead, with what appears to be head trauma, as evident from the blood and deformities around her face. Pyramid Head makes his final appearance just before the final boss, where "two" Pyramid Heads (a 'red' one, for new blood, and a 'brown' one, for old blood) take part in the encounter. They kill Maria yet again and then attack James. After relentlessly pursuing James around the room for a while, eventually both Pyramid Heads commit suicide by impaling themselves in the head on their spears.

"Silent Hill 3"

Inside the Alternate Hilltop Center, you can find creatures that resemble Pyramid Head but without the pyramid helmet (they are part of the scenario and cannot be fought), hanging by one arm and holding a doll with the other hand. Their heads are completely black, and their vest is exactly the same as the "SH2" Pyramid Head.

Many times throughout the game Valtiel can be seen. Since the appearance of Pyramid Head is modelled after Valtiel in Silent Hill lore, the appearance is very similar to him except Valtiel's face is exposed and twitching violently.

Pyramid Head can also be seen in one of the pictures in the church.

"Silent Hill: Origins"

Pyramid Head appears in a painting at the top of the stairs in the Gillespies' burning house at the beginning of the game. In the painting he is seen holding spears. Another picture of Pyramid Head is over the bed in room 503 in Riverside Hotel, again holding a spear. In the Riverside Hotel level, it is possible to obtain a spear (similar to the one used in "Silent Hill 2") for use as a weapon. It is found in the bathroom of one of the rooms in the normal world.

"Silent Hill Origins" features a monster called The Butcher, who is more or less an incarnation of Pyramid Head. He echoes Pyramid Head in both actions and appearance, with very few and slight differences. He also seems to serve similarly as a punisher. The bad ending of "Origins" shows Travis being experimented on by the cult, with The Butcher in the background serving his role as a punisher. A file located in the theater depicts someone being stalked by The Butcher, and that person has noted that he looks like "HIM". The "HIM" is revealed to be the executioner, which was also an alternative name for Pyramid Head.

"Silent Hill: The Arcade"

Pyramid Head appears as a boss character in "", although his appearance is more like the movie's depiction. [ja icon [http://www.watch.impress.co.jp/game/docs/20070216/konami.htm 「AOU2007 アミューズメント・エキスポ」KONAMI編。シューティング「オトメディウス」など新規タイトルを出展 ] ]

"Silent Hill Homecoming"

Pyramid Head makes a few appearances in the game "". This incarnation also greatly resembles the film version, and is referred to as 'Bogeyman'. While protagonist Alex Sheperd crosses paths with the creature more than once, the creature doesn't seem to take much interest in him, apart from a nightmare sequence. In this game, the creature's role seems to be focused around that of an executioner, killing those who have sinned against the Order, including Alex's father, Adam. In a possible ending Alex becomes a Pyramid Head.

New International Track & Field

A super deformed Pyramid Head appears as a selectable character in the Nintendo DS title "New International Track & Field", the latest installment of the "Track & Field" series.

In other media

Comics

Pyramid Head also appears in the "Silent Hill" comic book "Paint it Black" during the attack on Ike and his rescue crew, but he serves no other purpose other than that of a common monster alongside the growler hounds. Their massive numbers and relative vulnerability suggest that Pyramid Head represents the chosen men who are the executioners of the town as there are many and appear to others. It also shows that even with different points of view most the monsters that already exist in Silent Hill (especially ones from Silent Hill's past) will only change a little in power, size, and symbolism. Another example would be the closers, newly added to the story, which replace a drawing of Alessa's. It's as if James sees the closers and in his otherworld they shape themselves into monsters based on his own subconscious guilt and anger.

Film

Pyramid Head appears in the 2006 movie "Silent Hill", listed in the credits as "Red Pyramid" and portrayed by Roberto Campanella, where he acts again as a tenacious antagonist first encountered by Rose DaSilva in Midwich Elementary School while looking for her daughter. Although he doesn't stand out among the monsters of the town, he is unaffected by attempts to stop him and displays his characteristic strength and brutality, as well as his Great Knife. However, Pyramid Head's appearance is somewhat different from the game. His helmet is a black and girded tetrahedron - a 4-sided version of the 5-sided one in the game - and appears much more sharp. According to Christophe Gans, the change is because it was impossible for the actor to wear the helmet from the game. The basic design principle of the game's designers is still there; they wanted the helmet to appear painful to wear. However, he makes no struggling gestures with his helmet in the movie as with the game. In the movie, his apron is worn from the waist down and appears to be made of human flesh.

Pyramid Head uses the Great Knife weapon to fillet a thick steel door in a failed attempt to kill the main character and her companion. He displays his strength when he catches Anna, holds her in the air using only one arm, tears off her dress, then grabs her chest and tears off her skin in one movement. He is 7 feet tall as mentioned in the behind the scenes commentary but lacks his signature gloves or melted fingers that most "Silent Hill" characters have.

The producers of the film have stated in making-of features that since the creatures that appear in the fake hell version of "Silent Hill" are punished human beings, Red Pyramid is being punished by having to wear the large, burdensome helmet. Director Christophe Gans has also stated that Red Pyramid's appearance is conjured from a female perspective, [ [http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/silenthill/productiondiary/archives/2006/04/on_the_red_pyra.php "Silent Hill": On The Red Pyramid, Carol Spier as Production Designer, and Exploring Society in Horror Films ] ] i.e. Alessa's.

Promotion and reception

"Computerworld" named Pyramid Head as one of the most terrifying villains in computer and video games, noting his role as both a plot device to terrify the player but also his role as an element of James's psyche. [Gagne, Ken (2008-09-16). [http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9022399&pageNumber=5 You can run, but you'll only die tired: Gaming's 'baddest' villains] . "Computerworld". Retrieved on 2008-09-16]

References


*Konami. "Silent Hill 2". KCET, 2001.
*Konami. "The Making of Silent Hill 2 DVD". KCET, 2002.
*cite web | title=Book of Lost Memories | url=http://www.translatedmemories.com/ | accessdate=2006-12-12
*cite web | title=On The Red Pyramid, Carol Spier as Production Designer, and Exploring Society in Horror Films | work=sonypictures.com | url=http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/silenthill/productiondiary/archives/2006/04/on_the_red_pyra.php | accessdate=2006-12-05
*cite web | title=GameFAQs Plot Analysis Guides | work=gamefaqs.com | url=http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/ps2/game/437029.html | accessdate=2006-05-05

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