Below lies a list of the works that inspired the Silent Hill series.
- Stephen King: "Carrie" and "The Mist" — Carrie is about a fictional girl who is born with psychic and supernatural powers, possibly an influence for Alessa Gillespie. Carrie also has a fanatical religious mother, similar to Alessa's mother, Dahlia. The Mist is about a town covered in fog with monsters lurking on the streets. As in The Mist, a pterosaur-like creature crashes through a diner window and the game features a radio that gives off nothing but static. Old Silent Hill's Bachman Rd. was also named after King's pen name, Richard Bachman. In Cafe 5to2, King's "Study, Dammit!" poster can be found next to the pinball machine and posters advertising the 1976 film version of Carrie and Pet Sematary can be found directly across from the Green Lion Antiques. An unused storefront texture reads "Misery". The pinball machine in the café is a reference to Children of the Corn.
- Kōbō Abe: "The Box Man" — Inspired the dangling legs symbolic of Cheryl and Alessa in Silent Hill 3 in the chapel. 
- Ryu Murakami: "Coin Locker Babies" — Tsuboyama has stated in an interview that the scenario for Silent Hill 4: The Room was influenced by this book.
- Daijiro Morohoshi: "Shiori and Shimiko's Incident Involving a Freshly Severed Head"
- Junji Ito: "The Town without Streets"
A list of authors whose names were used to name the streets in Silent Hill.
- Nathan Ave.: Robert Nathan
- Wiltse Rd.: David Wiltse
- Lindsey St.: David Lindsay
- Vachss Rd.: Andrew Vachss
- Martin St.: David Martin
- Katz St.: William Katz
- Sanders St.: Lawrence Sanders
- Neely St.: Richard Neely
- Harris St. Thomas Harris
- Saul St.: John Saul
- Munson St.: Ronald Munson
- Rendell St.: Ruth Rendell
- Carroll St.: Jonathan Carroll
- Finney St.: Jack Finney
- Matheson St.: Richard Matheson
- Bloch St.: Robert Bloch
- Bradbury St.: Ray Bradbury
- Midwich St. (a street from the film Village of the Damned)
- Levin St.: Ira Levin
- Bachman Rd.: Richard Bachman (pen name of Stephen King)
- Ellroy St.: James Ellroy
- Hawthorne St.: Nathaniel Hawthorne
- Sagan St.: Carl Sagan
- Koontz St.: Dean R. Koontz
- Crichton St.: Michael Crichton
- Wilson St.: Colin Wilson
- Simmons St.: Dan Simmons
- Shelley Rd.: Mary Shelley
- Navidson: character in House of Leaves
- Sandford St.: John Sandford
- Craig St.: Kit Craig (pen name of Lillian Craig Reed)
- Scott Boulevard: Ridley Scott
- Kubrick Avenue: Stanley Kubrick
- Carpenter Avenue: John Carpenter
- Craven Avenue: Wes Craven
- Friedkin Road: William Friedkin
- Lyne Street: Adrian Lyne
- Barker Street: Clive Barker
- Walton Avenue: Robert Walton, a character in Frankenstein
- David Lynch: Lost Highway, Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks and Dune. — Lost Highway is described as "A mystery that depicts psychological terror like a maze which the protagonist falls into after having lost consciousness from the shock of having seen a mysterious video tape". In the film, Patricia Arquette portrays two women with contrasting hair colors and personalities, like Mary Shepherd-Sunderland and Maria. In Blue Velvet, the scene in which the protagonist hides in a closet is suggestive of Silent Hill 2. The bar in Blue Velvet looks very much like Heaven's Night.
- Twin Peaks: Red curtains are seen in the Black Lodge of Twin Peaks, and similar curtains are seen in Silent Hill 3 around two sets of girls' legs. The Black Lodge has similarities with Silent Hill's Otherworld. Doppelgängers are often seen in Twin Peaks as well, such as Agent Cooper's at the end of the series, reminiscent of the Silent Hill 3 mirror room scene and the Mary/Maria duality. Characters like Mary and Maria have similarities with Laura and Maddy. Laura died before the series began, and the story revolved around solving her murder. Her cousin Maddy, portrayed by the same actress and looking very similar, comes to stay with the Palmer family. Laura was extroverted and blonde; Maddy is shy, dark haired, and wears glasses. She is eventually killed by the same person who killed Laura. Leland's recreating Laura's death through Maddy is similar to James Sunderland witnessing Mary's death again and again by seeing Maria die multiple times. Drugs are hidden in the gas tank of a motorcycle, like Michael Kaufmann's Aglaophotis. An overturned wheelchair with a single spinning wheel is seen in Season 2; the same can be found in the hospital basement in Silent Hill 3.
- Stanley Kubrick: Full Metal Jacket, Lolita, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining — In Lolita, the car driving through the fog in the beginning is reminiscent of the opening from the first game and there are many nods in the Silent Hill games to The Shining.
- Alejandro Jodorowsky: El Topo, The Holy Mountain and Santa Sangre — In Santa Sangre, the protagonist's mother, who is a devotee of a cult religion following a female saint, was also a model for Claudia Wolf. There is a church with paintings detailing the saint's life, much like the chapel paintings in Silent Hill 3. The end area with the bodies in Silent Hill 4: The Room is very similar to the scene with people from various planets in The Holy Mountain.
- Jacob's Ladder — The film has many settings in common with Silent Hill, such as the hospital and subway. In the first game, Harry Mason dies and everything was just a hallucination in the "bad ending". In the second game, James Sunderland shares the initials of Jacob Singer and his jacket is very similar to Jacob's U.S. Army jacket. In the third game, Heather Mason must find the Bergen Street platform. There is a scene of Jacob, strapped to a gurney, going down a nightmarish hospital hall that is reminiscent of the scene in which James is wheeled through a hall on a gurney in Brookhaven Hospital. In the texture files, the same poster Jacob Singer sees in the subway can be found. Among other things, the "twitch" that many monsters do with their heads, one example being Valtiel, was inspired by the film. The hospital scene in the movie depicts a bicycle's wheel turning by itself, similar to a wheelchair seen in Brookhaven's basement by Heather or the wheelchair Harry sees in the alley in the first game. A few moments later, a humanoid is seen in a sort of frame/box, which has also been seen in the series, such as the corpses in Pyramid Head's lair in the Labyrinth, and around bosses such as Mary and Abstract Daddy.
- Alice — The scene where Alice descends in an elevator is similar to Heather descending in an elevator to the Otherworld. The scene where Alice tries to open the drawer is also similar to when Heather uses the screwdriver to open the drawer in the Hilltop Center. Among other things, the "canned lightbulbs" from the second game were influenced by this work.
- The Exorcist III — Various aspects of this movie such as imagery and direction have been referenced since the first game. "What a wonderfull world" can also be seen in the third game, just before Heather passes by Valtiel in the hospital on a wall.
- Event Horizon — Members of a rescue team board the ship and have hallucinations based on emotional wounds from their pasts.
- The Cell — The Cell depicts the realm of the mind of a macabre killer with surreal and abstract surroundings. This bears a strong similarity to how Henry Townshend travels through Walter's Otherworlds in Silent Hill 4: The Room.
- Session 9 — The image of a wheelchair behind a sheet of glass in the film's opening sequence is found in Silent Hill 3.
- Solaris — A man is forced to deal with the memory of his deceased wife when a mysterious presence on a newly-discovered planet begins to generate hallucinations and imagery based on his deepest thoughts.
- Fantasma d'amore — A man is convinced his old lover is still alive and continuously chases after her spectre through the dark foggy streets. She appears to him in two versions; a sexy and gorgeous woman and a haggard sickly wretch. In the end, he learns her ghost came back for retribution and closure. In a couple of scenes Romy Schneider wears a hairstyle similar to Mary's and towards the end of the film, the main character rows a boat in a large fog-covered lake.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street — The idea that if a person killed in a dream, they are also killed in real life, is explored in Silent Hill 4: The Room. The dreamworlds and their transitions may have also served as inspiration for the Otherworld. Also, like the games, the original movie was praised for its ability to toy with the audience's perceptions and blur the lines between what is real and not real.
- Kindergarten Cop — The school appears to have been modeled after the Astoria school in the film. In addition to the exterior, many posters on the walls are taken directly from the film, such as the white dog poster. The reception area, along with the calendar and blue and white poster, is the same, as well as the cabinet in the infirmary.
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents - Director Christophe Gans lists this as an influence in the opening sequences of the Silent Hill film. He likens the story of Rose Da Silva leaving home and being isolated to themes seen in the show, as well as pointing out themes involving small towns and protagonists who must flee from police officers. In particular, Gans had Alfred Hitchcock Presents in mind when he filmed scenes of Rose arguing with her husband at Smitty's.
- Christina Maria Aguilera — Maria's outfit is almost identical to what she wore at the 1999 Teen Choice Awards.
- Mary and Laura's outfits are almost identical to wife and daughter characters of the main protagonist in the movie Con Air.
The series features references to old fairy tales, nursery rhymes and Shakespeare's works, whether it be in the form of a puzzle or findable item. They have become motifs in the series. 
- The Wizard of Oz — The three keys in the original Silent Hill are references to the characters in the Wizard of Oz. Lisa Garland was also named after Judy Garland, who played Dorothy in the film (and her daughter, Liza Minelli). The book can also found on Alessa Gillespie's shelf in her room.
- Alice in Wonderland — The four plates in the original Silent Hill are named after characters from the book, such as the Plate of Hatter or Plate of Queen. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was one of Alessa's favorite books. In Silent Hill: Homecoming, the boss Asphyxia resembles the Caterpillar. In Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, there is a shop named Wonderland Burger which has an Alice in Wonderland theme.
- William Shakespeare
- Macbeth — Referenced in the Shakespeare Anthology puzzle.
- Hamlet — Referenced in the Shakespeare Anthology puzzle.
- Romeo and Juliet — Referenced in the Shakespeare Anthology puzzle.
- Othello — Referenced in the Shakespeare Anthology puzzle.
- King Lear — Referenced in the Shakespeare Anthology puzzle.
- Twelfth Night — One of the answers required to reset the password of the Principal's computer in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
- The Tempest — Referenced in many monsters and notes in Silent Hill: Origins.
- Fairy Tales/Nursery Rhymes
- Snow White — In Silent Hill 2, Snow White has her own music box. She is found as a statue in Silent Hill 3, and the doll head must be placed in her hand in order to move on. Also near her statue are three of the seven dwarves. The other four are subtly hidden underneath transparent floor panels in the same room. In Shattered Memories, there are billboards that read "Sno-White" and show a smiling face, probably advertising a tooth-whitening product.
- Cinderella — In Silent Hill 2, Cinderella has her own music box. She is found as a statue in Silent Hill 3 and her red shoe must be placed in her hand in order to move on.
- The Little Mermaid — In Silent Hill 2, the Little Mermaid her own music box.
- Mother Goose — Found in Alessa Gillespie's shelf in her room.
- Ring Around the Rosie — Laura sings this to herself in the trailer for Silent Hill 2. Alex also hears children singing it while playing when he enters Shepherd's Glen's park.
- Tu Fui, Ego Eris — A Latin phrase that Heather speaks in Silent Hill 3, found engraved on tombstones
- The Bogeyman — A creature in folklore used to frighten children into behaving that Joshua mentions many times in his drawings. It appears in Silent Hill: Homecoming as Pyramid Head. It also appears in Silent Hill: Downpour, as a being which manifests as a large, cloaked individual with a gas mask and a Hammer.
- ↑ "I think that another obvious influence, at least in this first part, is the series Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which I love. This consisted, like the series The Twilight Zone, of tales with a twist, usually stories of wives running away from home, of isolated people in little towns, bumpkins confronted with certain problems, being chased by a policeman and so on. That was on my mind when I shot this scene, on the one hand because of Radha Mitchell’s “Grace Kelly” aspect, which really attracted me to her, and, on the other, by her action of taking her daughter without telling her husband, whereby she ends up in this state of feeling guilty that will cause her to make mistakes." Gans, Christophe (2009). Silent Hill: Metropolitan Édition Haute Définition [Blu-Ray; Disc 1/2].
- Side by side comparison of Silent Hill with the works of Jodorowsky
- Side by side comparison of Silent Hill with Blue Velvet
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Inspirations · Features