P.T. (2014) | History of Horror

P.T. (2014) | History of Horror

Pierce Turner

Welcome to Spinnaker’s History of Horror. Here we will be taking a look back at everything spooky in both film and video games and analyze how horror has evolved over the last century. Check back at unfspinnaker.com every day for a new installment!

A lot of people criticize movie trailers for giving away too much of the film. They try so hard showing you all the greatest parts that you end up seeing the whole thing by just watching all of the trailers. Wouldn’t it be awesome if instead of having footage from the film, movie trailers were more “proofs of concept”? A bunch of footage not necessarily in the film but representing what the film is trying to do. Same thing applies to video games. That’s what “P.T.” set out to do when it released summer, 2014. It released for free, with no explanation, disguised as an indie game, but was actually a teaser for a new Silent Hill game. Sadly, that game never came out and “P.T.” ended up being the world’s biggest tease for horror fans.

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The game opens in a dark room with nothing but a door. Opening it leads to a L-shaped hallway and this is where the entire rest of the game takes place. Sounds ridiculous? Trust me, it works. When you make it through the hallway nothing sticks out except for a radio broadcast talking about a man killing his wife and children. That old chestnut. Opening the door at the end takes you back to the start of the hallway.

Walking through the hallway again takes you back to the beginning once more. Get used to this. Eventually, you’ll walk through and find that the bathroom door is cracked open. Peeking through, someone slams the door shut. Go through the hallway one more time and you’re greeted to this:

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The hallways keeps escalating from there with that lovely lady eventually stalking you. You’ll hear extra footsteps and see a tall shadow overtaking yours. The voice of the radio will then say, “Look behind you.” You can imagine what happens when you do it. You’ll probably play “P.T.” for about an hour, or at least you’ll get stuck in an hour. The game was meant to be extremely difficult to finish because it hid such an incredible secret at the end. Someone accidentally discovered the ending the night the game was released, but it wasn’t until a month later that proper way to activate it was found. You have to decipher code, read things upside down, do research, and eventually, all of that leads you to the name, Jareth. Then, you must speak this name into a microphone at the end of the game and a phone will ring. Picking it up leads to the ending.

You see foggy streets as a name appears on screen: Hideo Kojima. This blew fans’ minds. He made all of the “Metal Gear Solid” games and is known for cinematic storytelling and mind-bending game design. Then, another name: Guillermo del Toro, a filmmaker famous for having a dark, gothic style with Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy. After that, you see the face of the character you’ve been playing this whole time: Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead! Finally, the game’s title appears: Silent Hills, with the original theme of the series playing in the background. It was literally too good to be true.

What could have been.

Sadly, Kojima had a devastating falling out with publisher Konami and the game was cancelled. So cancelled, in fact, that “P.T.” was actually removed from PS4 and anyone who didn’t download it will never be able to play it. It really was too good to be true. “P.T.” was the most horrifying hour of gameplay ever made. It was simply unmatched it its ability to build dread and it did so with only one damn hallway. “P.T.”, or, “Silent Hills” will never see the light of day, but something good did come out of it. The playable teaser acted as a martyr, inspiring every developer aspiring to make a horror game. Countless indie games copied it and even the biggest horror game of the year, “Resident Evil 7” took massive inspiration. It may be gone, but its presence will be felt in all horror games in the future. Here’s to you, “Silent Hills”.

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