The Split Worm is a giant monster which attacks Heather Mason at Central Square Shopping Center. It is the first boss monster encountered in Silent Hill 3, and is the first to be battled in the Otherworld Toluca Lake in Silent Hill: The Arcade.
The Split Worm is a gigantic, vile worm that is covered with a protective, lavender-colored outer layer. This thick skin splits vertically to reveal a fleshy head without any visible eyes or nostrils. It has a massive set of jaws with gigantic teeth, which are its primary attack method. In terms of shape and arrangement, its teeth greatly resemble those of a human adult, rather than an animal. It has many strips of gooey flesh connecting its head to the protective layer of skin. While it is massive in size, it is not as long as the word "worm" would suggest.
It attacks by burrowing in and out of the holes surrounding its lair. Its thick outer hide is invulnerable to any attack, including gunfire, however the flesh inside is its weak point. When it decides to attack, it lashes out with its massive jaws to bite Heather, but leaves her with a huge window of opportunity to open fire against its vulnerable head before it does so. It can also strike the ground and cause it to quake, unbalancing Heather and causing a small amount of damage. This is a vulnerable point for the player, as Heather can stay down for a small amount of time before finally recovering and standing up. In the arcade version, it keeps jumping in and out of the bloody waters, lunging at the player. It must be killed fast, or Eric Lake and Tina will be thrown into the lake.
The Split Worm is patterned after the "Split Head" creature that appears in the first game. It is also the first boss of the game, further mirroring the Split Head. It represents Heather giving birth to God in a more vulgar aspect. It may also carry phallic symbolism, and possibly Heather's sexual experience as such. This is reinforced by the various holes that the Split Worm enters and exits throughout the battle, as well as the teeth in its 'mouth', which may indicate that Heather's first sexual experience was a painful one. Another interpretation suggests Heather's reservations or fear of sex in general. It also has a similar meaning to the Double Head, but without the meaning of Alessa Gillespie being hospitalized. Yet one more possible understanding of the Split Worm's symbolism can relate to both pregnancy/childbirth, the reoccurring theme of the game. The support of this is vast, first seen at the Moonstone door. This short poem is written on it:
- "Piling up the 300th day and night
- From beyond the door,
- cries of pain are heard
- And the final destination
- has become real
- Though not a blessed beginning"
Human gestation lasts around nine months, and via multiplying this number by 31 (seven out of the 12 months contain 31 days), the conclusion is 279 and, if rounded, can be replaced by 300. This numerical proximity almost sets it in stone that Split Worm is meant to symbolize pregnancy and childbirth, and the line of "cries of pain are heard" only continues to allude the evidence of association. The poem aside, Split Worm himself bears physical traits agreeable to the situation of maternity and a child's bearing. The outer, protective "shell" Split Worm has can austerely represent the safety of being cradled within a mother's womb, as he is completely unharmed by any of Heather's attacks aimed towards his exterior. His head opening up to reveal its mouth is attached to gooey material, which could very well be symbolic of humans giving birth head-first and the afterbirth that comes with the newborn itself. Heather's fighting him as a boss could potentially represent her disdain at her supposed to be birthing the Order's God (although then she did not know she herself was carrying Her).
In The Arcade, it may represent Hanna's wish to be protected by a layer of sorts when she was drowning, or possible the less desirable effects of her death, as worms are a symbol of decay.
- Defeating the Split Worm in under 2 minutes in the HD Collection awards the trophy/achievement "Pest Control".
|Eric Lake - Tina - Bill - Jessie - Ryan - George - Emilie Anderson - Frank Anderson - Michelle Anderson|
Hanna - Lorraine - Captain Lake - Scott Fairbanks - Greys
|Creeper - Double Head - Greedy Worm - Gum Head - Insane Cancer - Mama - Mothbat - Numb Body - Nurse - Phantom - Pyramid Head - Robbie the Rabbit - Scraper - Split Worm - Tremer - Tuberculosis|
|Brookhaven Hospital - Central Square Shopping Center - Hazel Street Station - Jacks Inn - Labyrinth - Lakeside Amusement Park - Silent Hill Historical Society - Spiral Staircase - Toluca Lake - Toluca Prison|
|Flashlight - Fog World - Little Baroness - Monster - Otherworld - Radio - Real World - Siren - Welcome Sign|