There are plenty of episodes in the 90s/early 2000s hit The X-Files perfect to watch during spooky season leading up to Halloween. However, if you can’t swing watching all 11 seasons of the hit show starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, we’ve compiled a list of the five spookiest episodes to give you plenty of nightmares this October.
“Squeeze” (Season 1, Episode 3)
Any time an episode of television or a movie starts with glowing yellow eyes in a sewer, audiences just know that something terrifying is to come (thank you Stephen King and IT). The X-Files decided to use this tool early on in the series, because it is unnerving enough to see a pair of human eyes peering at you from a sewer drain, let alone the glowing yellow eyes of Eugene Tooms.
Agents Mulder and Scully join this investigation surrounding a bizarre string of murders that occur behind locked doors with no apparent entry points. The victims are left with their livers savagely removed.
“The Host” (Season 2, Episode 2)
For those who are less of a gruesome horror fan and more of a fan of ridiculously unsettling and disgusting monsters that wreak havoc, The X-Files has plenty to choose from but none quite do the job Season 2’s “The Host.” This episode’s monster, the Flukeman, is the result of radioactive fallout and lives in sewers.
The Flukeman hitches a ride across seas to New Jersey and in the sewers begins brutally murdering multiple victims. Agents Mulder and Scully, currently not assigned to the X-Files department, come together to hunt down this monster. If you regularly use Port-a-Pottys, you probably don’t want to watch this episode.
“Chinga” (Season 5, Episode 10)
What is it about dolls that terrify so many people? While humanity tries to continue to figure out the answer to this question, horror creative teams will continue to take advantage of the fact that just sitting a doll in a room tends to make viewers uncomfortable. This episode was set up to be infamously scary thanks to the writer of the episode, none other than esteemed author Stephen King.
In this episode, Agents Mulder and Scully encounter a doll named Chinga that, as some dolls do, can speak. Chinga has two different lines: “Let’s have fun” and “I want to play.” As you can imagine due to the nature of the show, when the doll chooses to say these things, bad events follow.
“Eve” (Season 1, Episode 11)
A horror trope that is likely to never go away due to its continued effectiveness when it comes to upsetting viewers is the creepy children trope. For The X-Files, one creepy child was not enough and the creative team elected to make a terrifying episode with two identical creepy children.
In this episode, audiences are meant to be confused as Agents Mulder and Scully work to solve at least two murders. Mulder initially believes these murders the work of aliens due to how strange they are, but as we come to find out he was wrong. The agents nearly meet their demise in this episode after uncovering a sinister project at a shady fertility clinic involving the identical creepy girls.
“Home” (Season 4, Episode 2)
Finally, you can’t make a list of the scariest X-Files episodes without putting season 4, episode 2 on the list. In fact, it is our opinion that you can’t really compile a list of the scariest episodes in all of television and not mention this episode. “Home” has been traumatizing audiences since it first aired in 1996, earning its title as the only X-Files episode with a viewer discretion warning. The Fox Network even had to pull this episode from airing rotation for some time due to the volume of complaints they received about its disturbing nature.
Agents Mulder and Scully investigate a terrifying family, the Peacocks, in the small town of Home in rural Pennsylvania throughout this episode. Have you ever found yourself wondering “What if the Sawyers from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre were worse?” If yes, this is the episode for you.
The X-Files is available to stream on Hulu.