Has it really been 15 years since THE X-FILES originally premiered? The first time we received a TRAUMAFESSION regarding the show, my initial thought was that its author didn’t understand the concept behind KINDERTRAUMA. “These are supposed to be memories from your childhood!” I thought. Then I did some quick math in my head and experienced an extreme case of accelerated decrepitude. Between you and me, I was so shocked that I grew an instantaneous long grey beard and developed the need for a cane. Regardless, for many people of variant ages, THE X FILES was one of the greatest things that ever happened to television. Maybe not every fan stuck around for the series’ entire run but in it’s heyday, CHRIS CARTER‘s creation proved that the small tube was well able to carry ideas and indeed characters that far surpassed in complexity those that could usually be found in movie theaters. In its nine year run the show also proved time and again that when it wanted to be scary it could easily blow your socks off. I’m sure we’ll be getting many more TRAUMAFESSIONS concerning the series in the years to come. Holy crap, who can forget the episode “Squeeze” and the slippery, body morphing evolutionary freakazoid Eugene Tooms? Certainly not me!
Throughout its T.V. tenure, THE X-FILES had the opportunity to investigate just about every known and unknown monstrosity that lies within the human subconscious and yes, the show did indulge us with several episodes concerning “creepy kids.” The best example can be found in it’s very first season in an episode entitled “Eve,” in which our trusted agents investigate the death of a little girl’s father whose demise resembles a traditional alien cattle mutilation. Upon inspection it is learned that a similar unexplained bloodletting happened at the exact same time 3,000 miles away. Stranger still is the fact that that victim’s daughter is a dead ringer for the first little girl. Secret experimental cloning is involved and the mastermind behind the ungodly deeds is one Dr. Sally Kendrick played to the hilt by serious force of nature HARRIET SANSOM HARRIS. (The band EVE6 is actually named after one of this character’s psychotic clones). It turns out that the adult Eves (apparently there are Adams running around as well) are the least of Mulder and Scully’s problems, the two aforementioned little girls are not only near geniuses and psychically linked, but also homicidal soda spikers as well. The episode rather brilliantly leads the viewer down several false paths before revealing the true nature of its threat and ends on a truly ominous note that involves the girls’ catch phrase, “We just knew.”
The two young actresses ERIKA and SABRINA KRIEVENS who were 9 at the time of filming and YIKES, 24 today, are small marvels that bring to mind tiny bookend LILY TAYLORs. Unlike most creepy kid’s patented cold as ice deliveries, there is a routinely smirky tone to their performances that make you think they just love the evil they are partaking in. There are many outstanding stand alone X-FILES episodes, but few are as entertaining as this first season calling card.
Another far less successful creepy kid episode appears in the same season; “Born Again” brings us a little girl who is in actuality the reincarnation of wronged police officer who is out for revenge. Although she does sport some nifty CARRIE-type telekinetic powers, compared to the earlier “Eve,” this is all pretty humdrum. Highlights include death by scarf caught in bus door (have we done a death by scarf list yet?), an appearance by Janice from FRIENDS as an annoying cop who looks like AMY WINEHOUSE and a television image recording of the last thing a guy saw when he was being drowned in a fish tank (so why is the plastic diver suit guy not upside down?). The climax is filmed in a sort of herky jerky and mostly sloppy supernatural reenactment show style that THE X FILES had already outgrown at this point. It’s not a total disaster, but it is comparably skippable.
Season five brought a much-ballyhooed episode written by STEPHEN KING. As a lowly blog beast, I find it hard, if not ridiculous, to critique a man who is quite simply the greatest figure in the realm of horror since…ever (sorry Poe, but you’re dead). And yet, this episode?…not exactly his best work. Even though it does open with the exciting premise of a vacation in Maine for overworked Scully, it’s got to be the most clichéd killer doll story ever created. THE TWILIGHT ZONE‘s “Talky Tina” (yea I thought it was “Talking Tina” too!) can rest easy on her throne. Scully and Mulder’s phone conversations are a hoot, but the damned doll’s “Let’s play” charge is knee-jerk at best. Add that the killings tend to take place whenever the hokey-pokey song plays and you got something really well…hokey. Sorry Mr. King I hope I’m still welcome over at the homestead for Thanksgiving!
Throughout its run THE X-FILES continued with some decidedly less threatening male kids; Season 5’s episode “The End,” the last one filmed in Vancouver (sob!), had a telepathic boy and season 9’s MOTW episode “Scary Monsters” introduced us to a kid who could conjure up any creature that popped into his head ala THE TWILIGHT ZONE classic “It’s a Good Life” with BILLY MUMY. All in all, as far as creepy kids go SCULLY and MULDER hit their peak in season one with those endurable Eve girls. Don’t believe me? I suggest you watch them all again and see for yourself, thanks to the fact that all nine seasons are available on DVD, the truth is out there.