Today, we have an exciting interview with one of the most passionate Silent Hill fans, Whitney Chavis, whose enthusiasm has featured her in the Guinness Book of Records for the ‘Largest Silent Hill Collection’, much of the content available to view over at ‘Silent Hill Collection‘. She manages ‘Silent Hill Historical Society‘ as a fascinating trove of fan creations relating to Silent Hill, including an affiliate community for interesting discussion, as an iconic figure in the fandom itself. The interview itself was conducted with text for convenience.
Interviewer: What would you say was the catalyst for your massive interest in Silent Hill?
Whitney: Mainly just playing the games themselves! I got into the series way back when the first game was released in the US. My interest was piqued when I read a short preview of the game accompanied by a screenshot of Harry standing over a dead dog in a bloodied ally in one of my brother’s random game magazines. I was really into playing survival horror titles and since Silent Hill was referred to as a “Resident Evil clone” at the time it was a give in I would at least give the game a try.
Once I actually played Silent Hill, it became obvious to me that outside of play mechanics and being in the horror genre Silent Hill and Resident Evil were completely different experiences. After beating the game once, I had so many questions left over that I knew replaying and getting all the endings was a must! Once I was done, that game’s unique music, atmosphere and stunning CGI still stuck with me months later and since then has been one of my most treasured and favored games.
Interviewer: What is interesting about Silent Hill for you over other franchises?
Whitney: Hmm, it’s kind of hard to put into words… I think I just really love the atmosphere and the the types of stories the Silent Hill series aims to tell. It’s interesting how lines between good and evil are blurred. We play these broken characters who are just everyday people struggling to survive and even though some have committed terrible crimes, we are still able to sympathize with them. I like how the franchise doesn’t shy away from tackling super dark subject matter and it makes no apologies. There are some fucked up people and situations in this world and it’s super interesting to see how they are manifested within the town when the right person walks through.
Interviewer: Do you think Silent Hill must be successful any further or the cult status it has attained will produce more memorabilia?
Whitney: Well, Silent Hills has been canceled for a little over two years now and we are still seeing new official merchandise in the form of shirts, statues, records, and posters, so I think that kind of answers that question! But, I do believe that if Silent Hills was released, we would have seen a lot more by this time.
Interviewer: Apparently, you’ve been collecting now for 17 years – when was the most exciting time in the fandom to you personally?
Whitney: Most exciting time was definitely the lead up to Downpour’s release between 2010-2012. We had three Silent Hill game releases to look forward to, new merchandise from Gecco Corp, and a brand new movie in the works! There seemed to be something new to talk about almost every other day and the Silent Hill fandom was super active. I know I was certainly talking with fans a lot more around that time in my own excitement over things to come!
The next most exciting time would definitely be Silent Hills reveal back in 2014. Watching fans dissect the teaser for clues on what the new installment was going to be was so much fun. It still breaks my heart that we will never see what Guillermo del Toro and Kojima were thinking of making.
Interviewer: What was the most difficult item to acquire in that lovely collection?!?
Whitney: Definitely, the retailer incentive edition of Silent Hill: Dead/Alive #1. This particular comic has cover artwork by Loïc Zimmermann is the rarest single issue of any of the Silent Hill comics printed to date.
According to Chris Ryall Chief Creative Officer and Editor-in-Chief of IDW Publishing, this particular series didn’t have huge orders so not many of these covers were shipped.
I found how rare it was myself trying to track one down for my own collection. I contacted over 100 comic shops across the world and wasn’t having any luck. Most shops didn’t order enough to receive an incentive cover from IDW and those that did only managed to score one and sold it years before my search started. I really thought I would never find this particular issue but some friends of mine somehow found copy surprised me with it. I was so thrilled to check it off my want list!
Next item would have to be the Silent Hill Cold Heart pitch document. It was first shown on Climax’s FB page back in 2013 as part of a FB fan giveaway. They had eight at the time but only gave away one or two before they stopped giving them away all together. I think maybe Konami got upset at them or something? Not sure. I figured I missed my chance but three years later they ended up giving away a few more I was one of their last winners! I was so happy.
Interviewer: Have any of these items produced strange occult phenomenon or ever disturbed you in any manner?
Whitney: Hell no, lol.
Interviewer: Foremost, and very important to any collection- what is your favourite item, or series of items, in the collection itself?
Whitney: I’m always asked this and it’s always so hard for me to choose! I’m really fond of the Silent Hill 2006 and Revelation movie props as well as my Heather with the custom base, but if I had to pick just one item, it would have to be my Japanese Silent Hill Retail Banner. I love the design and it was one of the first stand-out items I added to my collection… plus it’s one of the few items that consistently comes to mind whenever I’m asked to name a favorite over the years. As for series of items I’m quite proud of my complete collection of Silent Hill comics (single issues and tradebacks) and official strategy guides as they all took awhile to track down!
Interviewer: As a final note for this interview, what is your favourite Silent Hill entry?
Whitney: Even after all these years I still call the first installment my favorite as it is the one that got me hooked on the series. Silent Hill 2 would be my second favorite followed by Downpour!
That’s the conclusion of the interview with Whitney and I’m certain we could all agree Silent Hill’s legacy persists – it has achieved a cult status among fans that not only inspires the most impressive collection, it motivates incredibly comprehensive theories on the mythos behind the installments. It has a huge resonance to the darkness within each of us, or merely as a phenomenon in society, and that appeal is universal along with permanent. Please don’t hesitate to see a more detailed overview of Whitney Chavis’ vast collection from 2013 as a Facebook video (music included compared to Youtube version):