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How Kindergarten Cop Inspired A Major Aspect Of Silent Hill

Since its release in 1999, "Silent Hill" has long endured as one of the giants of horror games thanks to its creepy environments, iconic character and enemy design, pioneering use of camera angles, and Akira Yamaoka's simultaneously industrial and heavenly soundscape. The game has lingered long in the minds of its fans and has been brought sharply back into focus by the Silent Hill transmission, which teased a "Silent Hill 2" remake and two new titles, "Silent Hill: Townfall" and "Silent Hill: f," among a host of other goodies.


Meanwhile, "Kindergarten Cop" is a 90s film that stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as, you guessed it, an undercover cop working in a kindergarten. It's very silly and has a lot of yelling. Arnie beats the baddies, gets the girl, and fosters a close relationship with the kids in his school. Which, if you close your eyes and put your fingers in your ears, is exactly what happens to Harry Mason. Two heart-warming tales in perfect tandem! But in all seriousness, could there be a connection between this kids' movie and the beloved survival horror franchise?

Silent Hill is full of references

Fine, fine. Maybe Harry Mason and John Kimble aren't wholesome blood brothers. However, "Silent Hill" was full of references to other pieces of media, which the "Silent Hill 2" team happily admitted to in an interview with IGN in 2001. They list fiction, namely manga and movies, as primary inspirations, and Western media was not an exception to this rule. Bachman Road, for example, has often been taken to be a reference to Stephen King's pen name, Richard Bachman, and a reference to Buffalo Bill from "Silence of the Lambs" has been discovered in the game's newspapers, as noted by dedicated fans on the Silent Hill Heaven forums.


These references make perfect sense, a tribute from one set of horror giants to another. Others, like South Park making an appearance on the "Resort Area" map, or the fact that Midwich Elementary School is weirdly similar to Astoria Elementary School, where "Kindergarten Cop" was filmed, do not.

Why Kindergarten Cop?!

Okay, don't get too excited. This connection has never officially been confirmed, with "Silent Hill" artist Masahiro Ito being characteristically cryptic when asked outright about the similarities. This has not stopped fan speculation, nor has it stopped the fairly convincing visual comparisons that eagle-eyed players have made.


But of all the things to use as inspiration, why a school in an Arnie movie for kids? Folks have plenty of ideas about that as well. The conceptual camp likes to think of it as a creepy subversive tactic — how better to spook Western audiences than by letting them walk around the set of a movie from their childhood, except the school is falling apart and has bodies falling out of lockers?

Then you have the pragmatists, who have surmised that the designers, looking to find an American school to base Midwich on to help with player immersion, landed on Astoria Elementary in Astoria, Oregon, the location of the school in "Kindergarten Cop." This theory is backed up by the fact that it was also used as the school in "The Goonies," so it's clearly a popular location.


Whatever the reason, this, along with the many other references and easter eggs in the game, has kept fans engaged long after they set the controller down.