The X-Files A-Z: K is for KILLERS

Baz Greenland continues the alphabetical breakdown of The X-Files by looking at the many killers the FBI has faced over the years…

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The X-Files is a world populated by some of the most memorable killers ever seen on television. Hannibal might have delivered a chilling adaptation for the modern TV age, Criminal Minds might have seen the FBI profiling the darkest aspects of humanity and crime dramas from CSI to Castle might have delivered some memorable serial killers, but they are all influenced heavily by The X-Files, which gave audiences some of the worst monsters from the small screen.

Some of these were literal monsters, like Eugene Victor Tooms with his need to kill his victims for their livers but there were also some very human monsters too; people driven by the need to kill. And then there are those characters driven to murder, traitors and villains like Alex Krycek, who killed without impunity, either at the behest of the shadowy masters of their own nefarious schemes. I could write ten articles about all the many killers audiences have witnessed over ten seasons and two movies, but here are some of the most memorable ones…

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Eugene Victor Tooms: No killer ever quite got under our skin than this monster, with his ability to squeeze through the tightest spaces, up through the toilet or down the chimney and when he caught you he would rip out and devour your liver. A terrifying killer indeed…

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Luther Lee Boggs: We never saw Brad Dourif’s character kill on screen, as he was already behind bars when the season one episode ‘Beyond the Sea’ began. But with his psychic connection to a new case and the death of Scully’s father and an utterly chilling performance, this was one killer that certainly got under the audience’s skin.

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Donald Addie Pfaster: This death fetish was one of the creepiest killers ever seen on the show. Nick Chinlund’s deeply unsettling performance and the horrifying subject of necrophilia made Pfaster one of the most memorable killers in the show’s history, so much so that they brought him back again five years later.

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Alex Krycek: Mulder’s former partner was a traitor working for the Cigarette Smoking Man, who not only enabled Scully’s abduction, but also had a hand in her sister’s murder, killed Mulder’s father William, tortured Skinner and killed without hesitation, making him one of the most dangerous recurring characters in the show’s history.

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Robert Patrick Modell: Imagine if Derren Brown decided to become a serial killer. That’s what you would get in Modell, a man with the ability to suggest his victims deaths without physically killing them. Aside from the tense Russian roulette scene in ‘Pusher’, which put the lives of Mulder and Scully at stake, his best kill has to be suggesting FBI Agent Burst have a fatal heart attack while on the phone. Another killer so great, they brought him back once more.

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John Lee Roche: Perhaps the most understated killer on this list and the most disturbing, this very human monster kidnapped and murdered children, keeping trophies of cloth hearts cut out of his victim’s clothing. The possibility that he murdered Samantha made ‘Paper Hearts’ one of the most chilling episodes of season four.

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Detective Van Allen: While The X-Files still had plenty of great stories to tell in its later years, there were few killers as memorable as those on the lost above. But Van Allen from season nine’s ‘Hellbound’ might be the most interesting, a reincarnated soul of a skinned victim from the 19th Century, and his modern acts saw him skin the reincarnated killers alive in an act of revenge. The discovery of the skinned victim strung up and still alive might be one of the most horrifying moments the show ever did.

The list of The X-Files killers goes on and on. Who were your most memorable ones?

You can follow Baz at @BazgGreenland on Twitter or follow his Facebook page www.facebook.com/BazGreenlandWriter

Baz has spent 18 months working his way through The X Files, revisited classic episodes and reviewing them at http://www.Thedigitalfix.com

Next time… L is for LUUUUUUURVE…

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REVIEW: The X-Files Season 10 (comic) – ‘Pilgrims’

Tony Black reviews issues #11-15 of The X-Files: Season 10 comic run, ‘Pilgrims’…

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Written by Joe Harris

Art by Matthew Dow Smith

For the second major five-part story in the Season 10 comic run of The X-Files, Joe Harris is joined by his most frequent collaborating Matthew Dow Smith to craft, with ‘Pilgrims’, a sprawling mythology tale in the best traditions of Chris Carter’s show – globe-trotting, expansive, action-packed and filled with surprises, recurring character appearances and at times maddeningly unresolved plot points. If ever you could throw that ‘fan service’ claim out there at Harris, this is the story you would point to as proof, but those who have levelled that accusation seem to miss the fact Season 10 has been all about reconstructing the show as we remember it in the Nineties; nebulous, labyrinth, and filled with the kind of anticipatory stories you couldn’t wait for because your favourite characters would be popping back up. Even more than ‘Believers’, this felt like The X-Files of old.

Perhaps because it has so many reference points and call backs, many of them intentionally as Harris is deliberately using an in-story enigma to play on and reconstruct classic characters and situations; bringing back Alex Krycek serves to deepen the ongoing mystery of how presumed dead nemeses of Mulder & Scully are reappearing seemingly as alien clones of some kind, and here it becomes clearer they’re in some kind of waking dream state as they recall past moments in their lives. It gives Dow Smith the excuse to draw Krycek coughing up black oil from the silo in ‘Apocrypha’, while Harris plays out a nearly identical scene as in ‘Tunguska’, only with Scully delivering a captive Krycek to a shirtless Skinner’s apartment. Crucially, the characters are aware of how events seem to almost be replaying in a sense, while from an audience point of view Harris is touching back on elements and beats that people loved from the original mythology; you only have to see Krycek, captive, in the same orange boiler suit Jeremiah Smith wore in ‘Talitha Cumi’ being interrogated viciously by the Cigarette-Smoking Man to feel these are the glory days on a loop.

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It gives Dow Smith the excuse to draw Krycek coughing up black oil from the silo in ‘Apocrypha’, while Harris plays out a nearly identical scene as in ‘Tunguska’, only with Scully delivering a captive Krycek to a shirtless Skinner’s apartment. Crucially, the characters are aware of how events seem to almost be replaying in a sense, while from an audience point of view Harris is touching back on elements and beats that people loved from the original mythology; you only have to see Krycek, captive, in the same orange boiler suit Jeremiah Smith wore in ‘Talitha Cumi’ being interrogated viciously by the Cigarette-Smoking Man to feel these are the glory days on a loop.

Not that Harris immediately launches us into old ground complexity, as the tale does begin with a classic mytharc mystery as the black oil reappears, appropriately, in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and Harris spends a good couple of issues with Mulder & Scully involved in military conspiracy & espionage in the locked down state, struggling with ritual & custom (there are a few nice moments of Scully struggling with the rampant sexism) as well as figuring out what’s happening with what they know to be a sentient alien virus. It’s when we come to know more about the oil do events take a surprising turn, with Mulder possessed by ‘Sheltem’, a being who seems to be the intelligence behind the oil, or at least part of it.

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This is a major development for the mythology, giving the black oil a character beyond Purity & being the essence of the colonizing force, and Harris manages to retain the mystery among blinding UFO lights, alien rebels burning abductees with fire, and terms like ‘cradles’ and ‘forsaken ones’. It’s exciting given he’s unafraid to push the mythology forward by expanding on elements the show left out there for twenty years or more, and while we don’t have all the answers yet, you feel as though he’s building to revelation. Certainly by the end, with a reconstituted Syndicate under the control of the mysterious new leader, the show is now operating in the way we always remember.

‘Pilgrims’ still does manage to cram in, despite all the aliens and mythology and story elements, character work for Mulder and specifically Scully, who is still grappling with her own level of belief after what happened at Yellowstone in ‘Believers’. She also remains haunted by William, and his absence, as is Mulder, so Harris touching on these elements keeps our leads moving forward while a ton of other plot points are going on. While it may be enormous fan service, ‘Pilgrims’ without doubt gives the people what they want – a big, sprawling, international conspiracy thriller which makes the mythology as slick and fun as it was in The X-Files heyday. The finale is, no question, going to be off the hook!

Rating: 8/10

You can follow Tony on Twitter @Mr_AJ_Black.