The Great Knife is a recurring object in the Silent Hill series, first appearing in Silent Hill 2 as the signature weapon of Pyramid Head. It is a heavy half-scissor manifested from James Sunderland's psyche, wielded by Pyramid Head to symbolize his role as a reflection of James' inner thoughts. It can obtained as a usable item later in the game.
The weapon has been adapted and reworked into various forms of Silent Hill media, including the film and its sequel, Silent Hill: The Arcade, Silent Hill: Homecoming, Silent Hill: Book of Memories, comic books, Dead by Daylight: Chapter XVI - Silent Hill, and in artwork by Masahiro Ito.
Silent Hill 2
The Great Knife is an huge blade similar in design to Angela Orosco's kitchen knife, despite obvious size differences. The Great Knife was carried by Pyramid Head, but he later switches to a lightweight spear as his weapon of choice. The weapon is extremely heavy and rusty and is often seen being dragged across the ground by its wielder, making severe screeching noises. The sheer weight of the weapon is enough to cause terminal damage to its victims, with even Pyramid Head himself swinging this weapon fairly slowly. An overhead swing from Pyramid Head can kill James Sunderland in one hit, even on the Beginner difficulty.
One strike from the Great Knife deals a colossal amount of damage to enemies, killing most in a single hit. In fact, it is so powerful that even Pyramid Head can be momentarily stunned when hit with an overhead swing, although actually accomplishing this can be tough. However, it is a slow and cumbersome weapon to use, and James cannot run while it is equipped or move beyond turning when in combat pose. Even James's walking speed slows considerably. James drags it behind him and handles it with both hands, unlike Pyramid Head, who holds it single-handedly due to his supernatural strength. James's use of the weapon is limited to lurching horizontal swings and a strong but slow overhead swing. A good tactic when using the Great Knife, if the player wishes to move quickly, is to have a light weapon out, and upon reaching the desired target, quickly switch to the Great Knife. This can only be done on the PC however, as the other versions do not have a "quick switch" feature. Due to how inconvenient it is for James to carry and attack with the Great Knife, there are very few times in the game where the weapon is actually useful. One of the most notable exceptions is when fighting Eddie Dombrowski in the first room of the boss fight with him, as just one hit with the knife will immediately send him fleeing into the second, larger meat locker. Using the knife here is highly beneficial, as James can quickly evade being shot in such tight quarters, so long as the player acts swiftly.
The handle of the Great Knife is continuous with the sharpened edge of the blade; considering the weight of the weapon, such a design would make the weapon rather top-heavy, and thus the carrier would require considerable grip and upper body strength just to prevent the weapon from flipping upside down. The size of the Great Knife and the tremendous strength it requires to drag and attack with can also be a metaphor for the burden James carries for murdering his wife, or perhaps the burden of caring for her.
Silent Hill: Homecoming
In Silent Hill: Homecoming, a similar weapon, the Bogeyman Knife, is used by the Bogeyman, but has a different design, similar to a military-issue combat knife, having a serrated edge on one side and a tapered point at the end. This provides a symbolic connection for the Bogeyman to the protagonist and his father. It cannot be used as a weapon by Alex Shepherd, but it retains the characteristic rusty texture and great mass. It can be heard being dragged across the ground, even in areas where the Bogeyman does not appear.
Silent Hill film
The Great Knife as depicted in the film appears as a solid blade with a handle shaped at one end.
Silent Hill: Revelation
Pyramid Head uses his Great Knife again in the film sequel, Silent Hill: Revelation. However, the blade isn't as thick and more resembles a katana, very similar to its appearance in Silent Hill: Homecoming. Although its form has changed, its wielder proves it is no less lethal. Unlike in the games and the first film, the weight of the Great Knife does not seem to affect Pyramid Head, and he is even able to swing the knife through the air with great speed while fighting the Missionary.
Silent Hill: Book of Memories
The Great Knife appears in Silent Hill: Book of Memories, found in certain rooms or randomly dropped after defeating Pyramid Head himself. It's usually close to breaking when obtained via the latter method and requires a repair tool to put it back into good shape.
Though powerful, the Great Knife also has very low durability and should be saved for difficult fights. If this weapon is used to defeat 25 Pyramid Heads, the player will earn the "Pyramid Scheme" trophy.
In the final issue of Sinner's Reward, Finn Conway prepares to shoot Jack Stanton, but the town will not let him interfere with Jack's potential path to redemption; Pyramid Head appears and impales Finn with the Great Knife.
See also: Pyramid Head#Appearance and symbolism
Creature designer Masahiro Ito specifically had the "In Water" ending of Silent Hill 2 in mind when creating Pyramid Head, a manifestation of James Sunderland's guilt and desire for punishment. The Great Knife can first be seen in Pyramid Head's possession after James stops Angela Orosco from killing herself with a kitchen knife. He himself considered using it for suicide shortly after.
It takes the shape of half of a pair of scissors. The developer's intent was for James to obtain the other half of the scissors later in the game, symbolizing Pyramid Head's role as a reflection of his psyche. However Ito did not have enough time to put a second Great Knife in the game. James ultimately obtains the same knife wielded by Pyramid Head. Pyramid Head's mannerisms while carrying the Great Knife imply that he is in pain, mirroring James' emotional state.
Ito's drawings of Pyramid Head outside of Silent Hill 2 have featured a differently shaped Great Knife.
- According to Masahiro Ito, picking up the Great Knife in Silent Hill 2 can affect what ending the player receives.
- The concept of a monster wielding giant scissors would again be used by Masahiro Ito in NightCry. However, he has stated that the design similarity was a coincidence rather than an intentional callback to his earlier work.
- Many scissors hang unnaturally from the table in Pyramid Head's lair where James obtains the Great Knife.
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