Black October 4: The X-Files, HomeOctober 4, 2009
No, it isn’t a horror movie. It’s an episode of a TV show. But I have it on DVD, so it counts.
Home is one of the long-running X-Files series’ most controversial episodes. I know that Canadian broadcasters chose to never show it again once it originally aired, but if I think back, that was announced before it came out, so it might have been marketing. It worked on me. My X-fascination was tapering off by the time this episode aired, but I was interested in watching it. I knew I wanted to see The X-Files slither back to its horror roots after the alien mythology had dominated for so long.
And did it slither back? Oh, yeah.
Watching it again, it’s surprising how lighthearted parts of the episode are. The sheriff is named Andy Taylor and his deputy is Barney, and Mulder wastes no time in pointing this out. There are all kinds of goofy little moments, which is good, because the true horror of what is going on highlights the need for the occasional smile.
This is a kidnap story. Mulder and Scully take a break from chasing aliens and fighting conspiracies to investigate a vanishing in a small prairie town called Home. There, they hear about a strange family named Peacock, three inbred, disfigured hermit brothers from a long line of hermits. They live in a ramshackle old house on a ramshackle old farm. And there’s something under the bed.
When Mulder and Scully sneak into the Peacock house to investigate, they find evidence of a legacy of despair, and a person whose appearance on screen — less than a minute — is one of the most haunting, terrifying scenes in broadcast television history.
Without spoiling, I can tell you that the episode ends with a hint of even more horror to come. This aired around Halloween, if I recall correctly, and is an excellent example of the multifaceted success The X-Files could achieve when everything came together. Monster of the week, conspiracy, aliens … fans know X-Files episodes by the easy label that can be applied to them. Very few are pure horror, and this one is the best of those.