The X-FILES: Most Terrifying Monsters Of The Week

Counting down ten of the scariest MOTW.

By Alyse Wax · @alysewax · March 28, 2023, 4:34 PM EDT

The X-Files is often considered a straight-up science fiction show, but it is really sci-fi/horror. For every alien, some unspeakable monster hides in the shadows, lives under the bed, something from a child’s nightmare.

The show follows FBI Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) as they explore the X-Files, a designation within the FBI for seemingly unexplainable, unsolvable cases. Mulder believes that his little sister was abducted by aliens when they were children, and the truth to her disappearance can be found in the X-Files. Scully is a scientist and doesn’t believe in aliens or monsters or any of the cryptids Mulder believes in.

We have gone through all 218 episodes and chosen the most horrifying monsters from the monster-of-the-week episodes (otherwise, this list would be full of the all too human evils like Cigarette Smoking Man and Alex Krycek). You might want to sleep with the nightlight on…

Eugene Victor Tooms: Episode 1x3 – “Squeeze” and Episode 1x21 – “Tooms”


A mutant so nice, he came back twice. The records for Eugene Victor Tooms go back at least 100 years, yet the man doesn’t look a day over 28. Every thirty years, he kills five people, eats their livers, then hibernates in a nest of newspaper and bile until his next feeding. Oh, and he can stretch himself out like Silly Putty. Which means that he can slide into the sewers or sneak into your house through your toilets. His favorite method of entry? Air vents.

The Eves: Episode 1x11 – “Eve”


The Eves were a genetic experiment gone right – or wrong, depending on who you ask. Clones created by a fertility specialist named Dr. Sally Kendrick — eight Adam and eight Eve clones, designed with an extra chromosome that gave them superhuman strength and intelligence but also a propensity towards suicide and homicidal psychoses. Only three Eves are left: Eve 6, Eve 7, and Eve 8. Eve 6 is still imprisoned in an old-fashioned asylum, while the other two have escaped. If hearing her describe biting into the eyeball of a guard doesn’t make you shudder, you have no soul.

Even scarier than the three remaining Eves are Tina and Cindy, a pair of eight-year-old twins who have never met until they killed their parents in identical ways, at the same time, on opposite coasts. One of the Eves has resumed the cloning experiments, and the young Eves are like the Shining Twins in modern dresses.

Tiny Glowing Insects: Episode 1x20 – “Darkness Falls”


If you’ve never been afraid of the dark, this episode will give you a reason to start. Mulder and Scully go out to a logging camp to investigate missing loggers and discover something far more terrifying: tiny, phosphorescent insects that only attack under cover of darkness. They are believed to be ancient insects that survived for centuries in the center of a tree, unleashed when an old-growth tree was cut down. As long as you stay within a field of light – sunlight or artificial – you are safe. Otherwise, the insects will attack, tuck you into a cocoon, and mummify you.

Flukeman: Episode 2x2 – “The Host”


The Flukeman – or Flukie, as the fans took to calling him in the 1990s – was the disturbing mutant hybrid of a fluke worm and a human man. You can thank Chernobyl for this little treat, as Agent Scully determined Flukie was born from a sludge of radioactive Soviet sewage. He smelled as good as he looked and was known to embed flukeworms into victims, where they would make their new host sick with sewage-flavored vomit until they died. That is, when he didn’t just tear his victims in half right away. At the episode’s end, Mulder slices Flukie in half with a sewer grate, which would presumably kill him, except that flukeworms can regenerate when cut in half…

Donnie Pfaster: Episode 2x13 – “Irresistible” and Episode 7x7 “Orison”


Donnie Pfaster is one of the most well-known villains in The X-Files canon. He is one of the few characters with no supernatural aspects; he is just a creepy dude. Originally written as a necrophiliac, the network insisted that was too much for broadcast television, so Pfaster was rewritten as an escalating “death fetishist,” someone who is obsessed with hair and fingernails. He quickly escalates when fired from his funeral cosmetology job and begins murdering to fulfill his desires. Scully, already suffering PTSD after returning from her own abduction, is deeply disturbed by this case, but pushes through. Pfaster becomes obsessed with Scully and kidnaps her, but Mulder saves her and Pfaster goes to jail. In “Orison,” Pfaster escapes prison, and goes looking for the one who got away: Dana Scully. She is just as disturbed by Pfaster, but she doesn’t need Mulder to save her this time.

Virgil Incanto (and the internet): Episode 3x6 – “2Shy”


Virgil Incanto is a handsome, educated man. He lives a solitary life, works in publishing, and is not particularly friendly… until he meets up with his blind date, then he is all charm. Virgil picks up overweight women he meets on the internet, suffocates them with a digestive enzyme, and consumes all their body fat to keep himself alive and healthy. By the time Scully gets to the corpse for an autopsy, it has liquified, with no fat holding it together.

In my house, the scary part wasn’t the fat-sucking; it was where Virgil found his victims. This episode taught my mother to fear everyone on the internet. To this day, nearly thirty years later, my mother still gets nervous about me meeting people from the internet, all because of this episode.

Gargoyle: Episode 3x14 – “Grotesque”


Like with so many episodes of The X-Files, there is an argument to be made over whether the killer is simply a man or something darker, more supernatural. In this episode, though the murders are eventually attributed to a man (an FBI agent, no less!), there is some question as to whether or not the murders were influenced by the presence of the gargoyle, which is very real and whose presence is plastered all over this episode. It is seen in the art of the first murder suspect – and in the way he disfigures his victims; it can be seen in the sculptures in which further victims are hidden. But then Mulder seems to be “possessed” by the ghastly gargoyle spirit when he begins drawing the same figure, until finally, his former boss takes the wrap for the murders. But even still, there seems to be a gargoyle haunting this disgraced agent in his jail cell….

The Peacocks: Episode 4x2 – “Home”


This episode was so disturbing, it only aired on Fox once. The network was so appalled by the episode and received so many complaints that they pulled it from repeats, and it didn’t air again until a marathon on the FX cable network a year later. This episode dealt with the Peacock family, a trio of deeply inbred men who lived in a family home that hadn’t changed since “the war of Northern aggression.” When an infant, riddled with every birth defect known to Scully, is found dead in a dirt lot, they must find the mother. They turn to the Peacock boys, thinking they have kidnapped a young woman, but the answer is much more perverse – and much deadlier – than they could have imagined. (It’s Mrs. Peacock. They keep their mom, Boxing Helena-style, under the bed. She is the mother of the infant.) If David Lynch directed Texas Chain Saw Massacre, you would get “Home.” It’s beautiful.

A Child’s Imagination: Episode 9x14 – “Scary Monsters”


Children are scary: they are germ factories, they are sticky, and they can’t put together logical thoughts. Their imaginations, therefore, are a terrifying hodgepodge of all this and more. In this episode, our agents are beset by bleeding eyes, insects bustling beneath the skin, arson, and other various problems, all because of one little boy’s wildly overactive imagination. The child’s imagination is only kept at bay by imprisonment in a psychiatric ward, seated before a wall of television screens.

Mr. Chuckleteeth: Episode 11x8 – “Familiar”

mr chuckleteeth

Mr. Chuckleteeth is a children's show character, but like most children's show characters, there is a dark side to him: his wide, unblinking eyes; his outsized teeth, frozen in an immoveable smile; all while silently doing a goofy jig. The fact that he is in black and white somehow makes him even more menacing when he kills a small child in the woods. Granted, the true cause of Mr. Chuckleteeth's coming to life is witchcraft, but he is terrifying enough to get his own entry on this list. Honorable mention goes to the demonic Teletubbies that also make a gruesome appearance in this episode.