The X-Files gave us some of the greatest, most memorable villains in TV history. It also gave us some real doozies. Martian face ghosts, teenage vampires, and aliigators, – some of the villains Mulder and Scully investigated were more farcical than frightening. Read after the jump for our top ten least scary antagonists.
In the grand scale of “things you shouldn’t make an antagonist from”, garbage is pretty high up the list. Gross? Yes. Scary? Nope. Even the tulpa’s creator Mr. Gogolak isn’t at all frightening, just another old white man with a God complex. The thing that really undid the garbage tulpa was the squelching noise it made when coming up the stairs which sounded closer to the Classic 1970s Doctor Who villains than anything truly scary.
“The ubermenscher wants you, Laura. Your husband– he’s broken way too many rules. I’ve been hiding in the sewer. I tried to warn him.”
“Quagmire” makes for an interesting case, as whether or not it has a non-scary villain depends entirely upon who you think the villain really is. Throughout the episode the deaths and disappearances are blamed on the legendary monster Big Blue, a creature who, as it turns out, is not responsible for anything except trying to live its life in peace out of the way of nearby humans. However, the real villain – a giant alligator – is indeed pretty terrifying unless you’re a braver person than I, but even then is still not exactly on the same scale as Eugene Tooms or Pusher.
“How can you be disappointed? That alligator would have gone through half the local population if you hadn’t killed it.”
“I know. I guess I just wanted Big Blue to be real. I guess I see hope in such a possibility.”
8. “The Post Modern Prometheus”
While the overall story in “The Post-Modern Prometheus” is dubious at best, the episode’s supposed villain is anything but. The Great Mutato is nothing more than a lonely figure forced into hiding by the judgemental nature of others. If anyone could be considered a villain in this piece it is his creator Dr. Pollidori who conducted unethical research then abandoned the results, or even his adoptive father, Pollidori Senior, who although noble in his intentions to create a “mate” for his son, attempted to fulfil this endeavor by kidnapping and forcibly impregnating multiple women.
“Twenty-five years ago, my father, having only one son, a spiteful, hateful man of science incapable of the deeper sentiments. He came to realize that this son had been conducting secret experiments of which I was the most unfortunate product.”
7. “The Amazing Maleeni”
Some of the most interesting, and often scariest, episodes of The X-Files happened when there was in fact no paranormal aspect to the crimes being committed at all. Irresistable and Paper Hearts both show us that it is often far scarier to see a killer who could easily be real, than one killing through methods which can easily be dismissed as impossible. At the other end of this scale “The Amazing Maleeni” also featured two completely ordinary men, otherworldly only in their skill at show magic, yet who remained entirely non frightening through the entire 42 minutes.
“You could have escaped, stolen the money framed Alvarez and been back here in time for breakfast.”
“Scrambled eggs and sausage. That would be the world’s greatest trick, wouldn’t it?”
“One that would be forever remembered in the annals of magic.”
6. “First Person Shooter”
Unlike the computer villains from “Ghost in The Machine” and “Kill Switch”, Maitreya could only attack human who actively entered her space, making her fairly easy to contain. What was more scary was the level of rampant testosterone she created around her which caused more deaths and injuries as one person after another attempted to prove his manliness by defeating “the ninja babe”.
“I was creating my own game in my own computer. It was totally secret. I never told anyone. But somehow she jumped programs and she’s feeding off the male aggression. It’s making her stronger and stronger. I need your help. You’re the only one who can understand.”
5. “Sunshine Days”
While the ability to force others to see whatever you want them to see could indeed be a useful weapon (it was even used as such in Twilight: Breaking Dawn), Oliver Martin never used his special skill that way. Instead he chose to use it just to make his own life less lonely, only using it on others when specifically requested to by the FBI. The deaths he causes are all accidents, which makes him more a tragic figure than a villainous one.
“I went through Mulder’s reference books. Van Nuys, California, 1970, one of the best documented cases of what was initially thought to be poltergeist activity. It focused on a young. boy, Anthony Fogelman, who has since changed his name. And Doctor Reits was the parapsychologist who investigated it.”
4. “The Rain King”
The X-Files’ comedy episodes always provide rich pickings for non-scary villains and “Rain King” is no exception. What could be scary about a weatherman named Holman whose only “crimes” are committed purely by accident, and who when faced with an actual death on his hands – albeit of a bovine nature – is visibly devastated? His taste in fashion perhaps?
“I don’t think it works that way. I don’t think you don’t do it on purpose. I just think you bottle up your emotions– anger, grief, or love or whatever– and then, as a response, it rains or hails or there’s a flying cow.”
“That poor animal.”
3. “Bad Blood”
“Bad Blood” is considered one of the best episodes of The X-Files, but it fails on one account: giving us a truly terrifying antagonist. No matter whose perspective you take about what happened in Chaney, Texas, there’s simply nothing scary about a teenage boy with curly ginger hair who drives a bright orange car and delivers pizza – even if he is a vampire.
“I did not overreact. Ronnie Strickland was a vampire.”
“Space” has a reputation for being one of the worst episodes of The X-Files ever made, and this is in large part down to its primary villain, a floating “space ghost” that materialises from fog and bad ceiling spackle. The face, as those of us who were around in the early ’90s will remember, was the talk of conspiracy theorists and paranormal researchers the world over when it was spotted in an early photograph of the Martian surface. That same area has since been photographed in far higher resolution revealing that the face is nothing more than a collection of mountains, making this episode’s villain even more ludicrous today.
“There’s something out here!”
“Can you repeat that Commander Belt?”
“It’s coming at me! Holy God!”
1. “The Jersey Devil”
The Jersey Devil is a classic myth in the North East of the USA and many locals were excited to see how it would be presented on the show. Local legends describe it as a “kangaroo-like creature with the head of a goat, leathery bat-like wings, horns, small arms with clawed hands, cloven hooves and a forked tail” which is way many were bemused to see the creature appear on the show as nothing more bizarre than a wild human being. This one tops the list for its sheer disappointment factor.
“Ever hear of something called The Jersey Devil?”
“Yeah, it’s a beast that’s supposed to come out of the woods and attack cars, right. Kind of like an East Coast Bigfoot.”