Now that Open Road has concluded their New York Comic-Con panel presentation for Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, in theaters October 26, Bloody Disgusting’s Lonmonster had the chance to sit down with some of the cast and crew to talk about the latest video game adaptation.
Below you can read roundtable interview bits with director Michael J. Bassett, who talks about how he’d like to do his “own” version of Silent Hill, along with stars Adelaide Clemens and Kit Harington.
“For years, Heather Mason and her father have been on the run, always one step ahead of dangerous forces that she doesn’t fully understand. Now on the eve of her 18th birthday, plagued by terrifying nightmares and the disappearance of her father, Heather discovers she’s not who she thinks she is. The revelation leads her deeper into a demonic world that threatens to trap her in Silent Hill forever.“
*DIRECTOR: MICHAEL J. BASSETT*
Speaking on the Red Pyramid’s role in Silent Hill: Revelation: “He appears in the movie and he has a reason to be there but I can’t give too much away, obviously. The notion is that the monsters in Silent Hill have some psychological resonance with the characters; one of the big things is that people compaling that Red Pyramid belongs in game number two. But he was in the first film, so I couldn’t just ignore this amazing character in the sequel. He’s our Pinhead, our posterboy. But he needed to make sense within the story. He represents Masculinity to me, and the film is about heather’s search for her father, while the first was the parent searching for the daughter, so we’ve reversed roles. Pyramid is not what you would expect him to be. You think he’s a bad guy, but whether he really is or not, is something you’ll have to see in the film. He’s also just a cool monster, so he operates on many levels, which is true for a lot of Silent Hill. There will be people who say I completely fucked it up and the film is lousy, but it’s there for people who want to explore it.
On shooting in 3-D: “From the very beginning it was going to be a 3D movie. I came to the project a bit leery about it, to be honest. Animation and 3D work beautifully because it’s bright and vibrant and it works with the depth. This is a horror movie; it has a dark world, so how do you make dark and 3D work together. So it was a huge challenge. It was all shot in 3D; there is not a single post-production 3D frame in the film. The 3D cameras allow you to control the amount of 3D, sort of like focus pulling. There is a guy who controls the 3D, so I got to control how deep a given shot was. But it makes it harder to do handheld and steady cam, which eliminates some aspects of horror filmmaking. My problem is a lot of the audience won’t want to see it in 3D, they will say “I’m going to see it in 2D”, but there is no 2D version of this film, you can see it that way, but it’s not how it was made. I framed and cut it for 3D. You may not like 3D, but that’s the version I made.
“The film is about the psychological, draw you in, step-by-step horror as you follow Heather into Silent Hill. But am I going to tell you I don’t use 3D in a gimmicky way? No, of course I have 3D shit popping out of the screen. But I wanted to draw the audience into the world, and that’s how 3D worked for me.”
Supposedly, Revelation carries quite a few practical effects: “There are some monsters and things you can’t do without digital effects, unless you have a huge amount of time on set. This film has a modest budget by modern standards, but more than anything, I like to make monsters. Then having that creature step onto set with the great atmosphere there. Talking to Adelaide, Pyramid steps on set, he’s 8-feet tall with a huge, bloody axe behind him and even though she knows the actor, when he puts the costume on, it becomes more real, and easier to work with.
“There is only one pure digital monster in the movie, the Mannequin Monster. We experimented with practical ways of doing it with puppets, but it would never work the way I wanted it to look.”
When asked about how the environment and levels from video games come into play Bassett said, “When I was writing this, I knew I was adapting game 3, making a sequel to movie 1, and making a stand-alone film. Once I knew the narrative would be taken from game 3, I looked at those environments. The amusement park was a key place, the carousel was a key set piece, Heather’s battle with Dark Aleesa is a key moment. I wanted to go back to the hospital cause they’re fun and everyone loves them, the insane asylum fit in the story as well. The fun thing for me is building those sets and stepping into Silent Hill. The weird thing is that all the fog is digital, so we dressed the ground with fallen ash, but when we went to shoot in Toronto, there were still cars and people in the background, and the atmosphere closes in with the addition of the fog.
“Generally speaking 2 is the best game, but for me 3 worked because it continued the story from the first film. That narrative cohesion made a lot of sense to me. If I want to go back to Silent Hill and make another movie, I’m going to write my own story and just use that universe.”
*STAR: ADELAIDE CLEMENS*
On being familiar with the “Silent Hill” franchise: “I’d seen the [first] film, which I was scared by and my two younger brothers played the games. I used to walk over them to get to my bedroom as they were on the living room floor. My brother’s, I needed their approval, and my younger brother said, “You have to be in the film.” We had the console on set with the game and I played that. I’m not a gamer; I played Mario Kart back in the day. The game is petrifying, with the psychology and the guilt and everything.”
SPOILER In film she plays “Dark Alessa.” She speaks on playing both roles: “It was so much fun, but one of the most challenging characters to play. I had to channel some evil, and I’m not that bad of a chick. I really had to pull it all out to get into that character. I tried to change my voice and my walk and a different energy. One scene is on the amazing carousel, and going one way I would be Heather, then the other way I would be Alessa.”
When asked if it followed the same path as game 3, the star said, “No, I think if we followed the path from the game we wouldn’t be doing our job. It’s horror, we want to do a certain amount of things in terms of bringing out a horror film, but if we followed the normal patterns the way they’ve been done before, there would be nothing stimulating about the feature, nothing to make you want more.”
On a physically demanding role: “I’m very physical, I’m a runner, I played basketball, volleyball, hockey growing up. We were shooting in like negative 16 degrees in Toronto, so it was brutal at times. It became more physically demanding as we went on, but I got immersed in the role and got a feel for what it was like to be a girl on the run.
“One of the final scenes we shot, I didn’t wear my contacts or glasses, and we were on this big platform that we had to wet down, then we had a fire ring around it, then Red Pyramid double my size with an axe and another monster I can’t name and I had to run though these people to get to Sean Bean. So there were some days that were just insane.
“I screamed before every take to give me an adrenaline rush. It would also give me something to go on.”
*STAR: KIT HARINGTON*
He speaks on the difference between the game and movie: “What I love about Silent Hill are the elements of not being sure, of insecurity, the fear created rather than just being about jumps. In the game you can choose different paths, so we try to bring that to the film, whether the characters have made the right or wrong choices. The idea of not knowing if it’s real or not.”
On his experience with Revelation: “I can’t say to much about my character. Of everyone in the film, I have the one character I cant really talk about, there will be some surprises about who he is, even for the gamers because he’s different from the game. Put it this way, I liked him as a character, I liked him as a human being. There was a lot of freedom with my character and being able to start fresh with him.”
When asked about the gore, he jokes: “You just have to see it [laughs]. There’s no way you can make this film with anything under an R-rating, the people who are going to watch it want an R-rating, they want to be shocked.”
Silent Hill: Revelation 3 opens in theaters October 26.