It's difficult to imagine what the current state of television would be like if it wasn't for The X-Files. Arriving on the scene in 1993, the show was revolutionary for its time, managing to splice multiple different genres into a (somewhat) cohesive narrative that had near-endless possibilities for storytelling.
The one genre that the show truly excelled in though was horror.
And nowhere was the show's knack for the spooky stuff better on display than with its cornucopia of creepy creatures. In what became known as the 'Monster of the Week' episodes, Mulder and Scully would take a break from chasing flying saucers to investigate increasingly strange and dangerous cases that pitted them against some of television's most imaginative monsters.
Some of these one-shot villains were so terrifying and brilliantly realised that they've become an integral part of the show's legacy. Today we will be exploring which of these spine-chilling monsters deserved their time in the spotlight outside of the show and could have potentially become icons within the horror genre on their own merits.
So turn down the lights, put on your tin-foil hat and blast out that banger of a theme song, because we're re-opening The X-Files.
Even in its earliest days, The X-Files was not afraid to tackle taboo subject matter and season two's 'Irresistible' is undoubtedly one of the show's most disturbing chapters. In which Mulder and Scully were tasked with capturing Donnie Pfaster, a man with a rather troubling fascination with corpses.
Donnie is what's known as a 'death fetishist', not an outright necrophile (although, in the original script he was) but someone who actively derives pleasure and stimulus from the dead; as well as the inherent theatricality of funeral practices, i.e. coffins and wreaths. It's this fascination and attraction to corpses that drives him to do the things that he does, which could make for an interesting - if not incredibly macabre - character study if handled correctly.
Whilst there's nothing inherently supernatural about Pfaster, there are moments where his victims hallucinate that he's an imposing, demon-like figure. This element isn't fully explored in the episode, so we're left wondering whether Pfaster is truly human or not, which would make for an unsettling mix of both psychological horror and traditional monster movie tropes if he made the leap to the big screen.
A sequel episode was made, but the less said about that the better...