THE X-FILES Season 4 Episode 6 – “Sanguinarium”

The X-Files celebrated its thirtieth anniversary this week. And while it is conventionally considered a science-fiction show, dealing with aliens, medical experiments, and even time displacement, it often doesn’t get enough credit for also being filled with horrors: monsters, zombies, demons, ghosts, and of course, lots and lots of blood.

The series follows FBI Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) on the X-Files, a classification of cases that are deemed too weird or paranormal to fit in with the bureau mainstream. Mulder discovered the X-Files when, as children, his little sister was abducted (by aliens, he believes) and thinks the answers to her disappearance are in the X-Files. Scully was assigned to “spy” on Mulder, but soon became caught up in his quest, saw too much, and despite being a strict scientist, she enjoys the “chase.”

We have compiled some of the goriest, bloodiest, scariest scenes in the whole series for you to check out to prove that this show is just as horrifying as any slasher flick.

Season 2 Episode 2 – “The Host”


There is a lot of gross going on in this episode about a mutant combination of a half-man, half-fluke worm, thanks to the radioactivity of the Chernobyl sewage system. First, most of it takes place in the New Jersey sewage system. Second, the flukeman (often called Flukie by old-school fans) looks like what a friend of mine called a “prolapsed anus.” And third, there is a scene in which a guy swallows an entire tube of toothpaste, trying to get the taste of sewer out of his mouth. It doesn’t work, and (unrelated to the toothpaste) minutes later, he vomits up a fluke worm – and drops dead.

Season 2 Episode 20 – “Humbug”


This generally comedic episode (a favorite of mine) is set in the carnie sideshow world and includes famous self-made “freaks” like Jim Rose and The Enigma. Mysterious murders occur among the community, and given the populace, Mulder is given to thinking it is the work of the Fiji mermaid, one of P.T. Barnum’s notorious “humbugs.” It turns out to be much weirder than that. The parasitic twin of Lanny, the town drunk, turns out to be more developed than most people think. It comes to life, detaches from its host, and runs around killing people. The tiny, deformed parasitic twin is weird, half-formed, and very, very bloody when he detaches.

Season 2 Episode 22 – “F. Emasculata”


This episode followed an entomologist into the rainforest to collect samples in hopes of finding something that could be used in pharmaceuticals. Instead, what he finds is something that causes throbbing, oozing pustules, spreads easily, kills quickly, and has contaminated a prison in Virginia – including a pair of prisoners who just happened to have escaped. These pustules were exceedingly gross, frequently exploded, and were just delightfully icky.

Season 4 Episode 2 – “Home”


“Home” is notorious as one of the scariest, grossest, most unnerving episodes of The X-Files. The only episode to air with a viewer warning, and the only episode to only air once on Fox before being banned. I describe it as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre if it were directed by David Lynch. Mulder and Scully head out to a tiny town in Pennsylvania to investigate a murdered, deformed infant and discover a trio of inbred brothers who are keeping their deformed, limbless mother under the bed. The child turns out to be the product of the mother and one of her sons. Every part of this episode is disturbing, but probably the creepiest part is when one of the sons chews some food and then “baby birds” it into his mother’s mouth.

Season 4 Episode 6 – “Sanguinarium”


This episode features witchcraft and occultism among a group of plastic surgeons. There are plenty of gross, bloody scenes in this episode, so much so that many critics condemned the episode for being too gory. This episode has everything from overzealous liposuction to mismanaged face peels to buckets of blood and playtime with leeches. But my favorite part is when Dr. Franklin cuts and peels off his face, leaves it in a tray, and replaces it with a shinier, younger version.

Season 4 Episode 11 – “El Mundo Gira”


This episode deals with migrant workers and rumors of a Chupacabra on the loose, but it turns out to be a man with an enzyme that causes a normally benign fungus to grow wildly, fatally out of control – and fast. In this case, it turns into a green, furry fungus consuming whatever flesh it finds in its way.

Season 8 Episode 11 – “The Gift”


An earlier episode reveals that the now-missing (abducted by aliens) Mulder had been suffering from a fatal brain disease. In “The Gift,” Agent John Doggett is investigating Mulder’s whereabouts leading up to his abduction, hoping to find him. What he finds is that Mulder has been investigating a creature, a soul eater, who consumes deadly diseases from a person, leaving them well. The soul eater is a disturbing-looking creature with a prominent brow, scabby skin, drooly lips, and a jaw that unhinges to consume the ill person. Perhaps most nauseating is that he then vomits up the person into a flesh-colored pool before it reshapes into a healed human being.

Season 8 Episode 15 – “Deadalive”


For about half of this episode, Billy Miles is comatose after being pulled from the icy ocean. Long story short, he should be dead, but instead, he appears to be in a severe state of hypothermia that has kept him alive somehow. Because he was in the water for months, his body is bloated, wrinkled, and barely recognizable as a human. When he wakes suddenly, the first thing he needs is a hot shower. This causes the thick layers of skin to slough off him in a bloody mess of flesh and gristle.

Season 11 Episode 9 – “Nothing Lasts Forever”


“Nothing Lasts Forever” combines a lot of different, gross aspects. It opens with illegal organ harvesting (complete with a quick lick of the stolen organ). Then there is a cult of Vitamin D-deficient young people who live off smoothies made of a blood and organs blend. Finally, one of the cult leaders discovers a way to “cure” aging by essentially sewing himself to a young person and absorbing their livelihood. All in all, it is a wholly disturbing episode.

Season 11 Episode 10 – “My Struggle IV”


The final episode of the series, the final episode of the revival series, and the final of a four-part mytharc episode series, the “My Struggle” episodes were not good. However, the final episode had some truly stellar examples of gore. In one scene, Scully and Mulder’s teenage son, Jackson, explodes several agents trying to capture him. He does this with his mind, Scanners-style, leaving him and the hotel room soaked in blood. He does the same in another scene, only this takes place in a car, with just one agent, and we only see the remnants of what happened – namely, a face left across a bloody car window.

Check out our interview with series creator and Executive Producers Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz, celebrating thirty years of The X-Files and our visit to The X-Files Preservation Collection.

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