THE X-FILES has always been classified as science-fiction. But horror fans know that the distinction between the two genres is often superficial. Among the aliens and conspiracies are a collection of some of the most memorable monsters and terrifying episodes ever seen on television. In honor of the new miniseries, I have picked out five of scariest episodes of THE X-FILES. No aliens, just monsters and psychotics and things that go bump in the night.
Home (Episode 4×2)
One of the darkest, most intense hours of any show on television, “Home” shares a lot of the same themes with hillbilly horrors like TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and THE HILLS HAVE EYES. When Mulder and Scully are called in to investigate the murder of a deformed infant who was buried alive, they discover the Peacock family: three deformed brothers who have been inbreeding with their mother, a quadruple amputee who they keep in a box under the bed. “Home” was the first episode of THE X-FILES to come with a viewer discretion warning, and was so violent that, after the initial airing, Fox never aired the episode again. (It did, however, get played in syndication on more forgiving cable networks.)
Squeeze (Episode 1×3) and Tooms (Episode 1×21)
I have to group these two first-season episodes together because it is really Eugene Victor Tooms who makes these episodes so scary. Tooms is a genetic mutant who can stretch and squeeze himself to fit through tight spaces. He is frequently found hiding in pipes and air vents so that he can sneak up on people, kill them, and eat their livers – the enzymes of which have allowed him to remain young and flexible for the better part of a century. Tooms is like a Stretch Armstrong doll with glowing yellow eyes.
The Host (Episode 2×2)
Flukie is still one of the most hideous television monsters I have ever seen. Thought to be a hybrid of a man and a flukeworm, thanks to the radioactive sludge from Chernobyl, Flukie moves through the sewers and attacks humans in the hopes of using them as a host for his parasitic offspring.
Eve (Episode 1×11)
The death of a single father who has been exsanguinated is initially considered to be the result of aliens, especially when another man dies in the exact same manner, at the exact same time, 3,000 miles away. It quickly turns out to have a much more terrestrial – though still weird – explanation when it turns out both men have daughters that are identical. The girls were the result of a secret human cloning project that had been going on for decades. Unfortunately, the clones have a tendency to become psychotically violent. In addition to a crazy, institutionalized adult clone, this episode features homicidal twin children. Always good for a nightmare or two.
Die Hand Die Verletzt (Episode 2×14)
This episode has it all: wannabe devil worshippers; real devil worship; details of recovered memory syndrome and “satanic panic;” a pig fetus that moves during its dissection; ritualistic murder; a python that swallows a man whole; and a well-placed storm. It’s a horror film jammed into 42 minutes.