Happy Halloween, X-Philes! Since it is such a special day for everyone (really, who doesn’t love Halloween?) I’ve decided to do a special post for The Review is Out There. I thought it would be fitting to do a list of the scariest episodes of The X-Files.
However, there are literally dozens of those lists, and honestly when reading one after the other you start to get tired of the same episodes popping up over and over again. You start to wonder if any of the authors of these lists really went back and watched every episode of the show again just to make sure they didn’t miss out on any. After all, there are episodes of The X-Files that don’t get as much hype or attention but are still really scary, gross, or just plain freaky.
So on this list, you’re not going to see episodes like “Squeeze” or “Home.” No “The Host” or “Irresistible” and definitely no “Die Hand Die Verletzt” (really, guys? Really? That episode is a joke). These are my picks for the Top Eight Most Underrated Scary Episodes of The X-Files. So – pull out your X-Files DVDs and shake the dust off a few of these episodes. Give them a watch this year and you’ll see they definitely still hold up as Halloween gold.
(WARNING: This list will contain episodes I haven’t reviewed yet, so if you’re following along with the blog, there will be spoilers. Sorry.)
8. “Eve” (Season 1, Episode 11)
Okay, so this one is low on the list, not because it isn’t scary or a damn good episode, but because I actually have seen it on one or two other lists. The thing is, it should be on every list. I mean, just looking at a picture of Eve 6 gives me the shivers, so watching her is a somewhat terrifying experience. The episode itself is just fantastic, and is in my opinion the best MOTW to come out of Season 1 (yes, that includes “Squeeze” and “Tooms”).
7. “Theef” (Season 7, Episode 14)
Again, I have seen this episode on one or two lists, but not nearly enough. Voodoo is freaky in and of itself, and there’s something terrifying about someone able to hurt you by stabbing a pin into an ugly doll-sized replica of you. The music and atmosphere of “Theef” make it a truly creepy episode and it is one of the most underrated episodes to come out of Season 7. Whether it’s blood on the wall, skeletons lying in beds, or creepy voodoo man, “Theef” will certainly give you the chills.
6. “Milagro” (Season 6, Episode 18)
“Milagro” is mostly remembered for its superb writing and philosophical nature (as it should be), but people seem to forget sometimes that people’s hearts get ripped right out of their chests in this episode and you have to watch it happen. Not only is that gross, it’s also terrifying as hell. I suppose you could say, then, that “Milagro” is the full X-Files package: great writing, great character development, and gross, frightening horror.
5. “Fresh Bones” (Season 2, Episode 15)
I may be cheating a little here, because “Fresh Bones” is really only terrifying in one scene. But oh, what a scene it is. Basically, Scully is sitting in the car and she starts to have some sort of terrifying mental experience – or did it really happen? We can’t be sure – and suddenly these two fingers start to come out of a hole in her hand, and there’s a lot of blood, and she starts screaming in a very not-Scully fashion, and it’s kind of horrible to watch. Very creepy, but more than that, really, really weird.
4. “Aubrey” (Season 2, Episode 12)
Villains are scary, but what’s even scarier is a likable protagonist that does villainous things without knowing it. Poor BJ is a murderer but she doesn’t know she is; she ends up in strange locations with blood all over her and has no recollection of how she got there or that she killed anybody. What’s terrifying about “Aubrey” is that it suggests that humans have no control over their nature – that BJ kills people because her grandfather was also a horrible murderer, and no matter how nice a person she is normally, she can’t control her dark, terrifying side. “Aubrey” is psychologically scary as well as having some frightening horror moments, and that makes it a worthy choice for any Scariest X-Files Episodes list.
3. “War of the Coprophages” (Season 3, Episode 12)
Yes, every X-Files episode list needs some Darin Morgan. While looking through “Scariest Episodes” lists I was surprised to find that of all Darin Morgan episodes, “Humbug” was the one that showed up the most. That’s strange to me, because I honestly don’t find “Humbug” all that scary – yeah, there are some gross moments, but the episode’s mostly just a smart comedy. “War of the Coprophages” had cockroaches crawling into people’s arms. Not only is that unbelievably nasty, it’s terrifying as well.
2. “Roadrunners” (Season 8, Episode 4)
What is it about The X-Files and parasites? Of all the monsters in this show, the parasites are among the worst and the creators go out of their way to make them as gross as possible. It baffles me that I don’t see “Roadrunners” appear on more lists. I thought at first that people mostly wanted to pull their picks from “classic” X-Files (Seasons 1-7ish), but I see Season 8’s “Badlaa” appear all the time and I just don’t understand what makes “Badlaa” more terrifying than….than that.
You see, what always kind of set “Roadrunners” apart from the other episodes involving parasites was the cult-worship aspect of it. If there’s one thing that’s just as terrifying as…as that, it’s a group of crazy religious nutcases who willingly slice open the necks of random people they meet and insert the parasite inside of them, all in the name of their crazy nutcase religion.
And the number one Underrated Scary Episode of The X-Files is….
1. “Travelers” (Season 5, Episode 15)
I’m sorry. I just really don’t want to look at it.
Okay. (*takes a deep breath*)
I’m not good with horror movies, but for whatever reason, I’m usually okay with the horror in The X-Files. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’m just familiar with the show and its characters.
I can sit through “Home.” I can sit through “Irresistible.” I can sit through “The Host.” Provided I don’t eat right beforehand, I can sit through “Sanguinarium” and “Roadrunners.”
I can’t sit through “Travelers.”
The first time I watched it, I had to turn it off. It was revolting. It was atrocious. It was terrifying. No X-Files episode had ever done that to me before. And yet, no matter how hard I tried, I could not find a list of scariest episodes that included “Travelers.” Not one.
I love my fellow X-Philes to death, but WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?
Are you telling me that you can’t handle Darin Morgan in a wetsuit but a giant spider emerging from a guy’s mouth and devouring people is kid’s stuff? Or a spider crawling out of a dead guy’s wound? I can’t even think about this episode without feeling like something’s going to attack me.
And no, the picture I included doesn’t do it justice, because when I looked this episode up in Google Images I didn’t get anything useful, so I had to go to the episode itself, skip to one of the horrifying parts, and screenshot it. I did it as quickly as possible and without much care, because I didn’t want to have to watch the episode again. That’s how much this one scares me.
Maybe it’s because the episode is set in the 50’s, with no Mulder and Scully, that people don’t remember it. But that’s what makes it scarier. We don’t know these people and therefore we can’t tell if they’re going to make it out alive.
In my book, not only is “Travelers” the most underrated scary episode of The X-Files, it’s also, for me, the show’s scariest episode. Or, if not the scariest episode, it’s the scariest monster. Period.
And, well, that’s really what makes it – and all of these – a perfect Halloween watch.
Remember, The X-Files is such a phenomenal show that great stuff can be found anywhere (with few exceptions), not just the iconic episodes like “Squeeze” and “Irresistible.” So, if you can find time for more X-Files than usual on Halloween this year, try to squeeze (no pun intended) one of these lesser-remembered episodes in. If you’re looking for a scare, you won’t be disappointed.