This will come as a surprise to some of my newer friends (and not at all for the older ones), but I used to watch The X-files religiously. I saw some episodes during the first season and was completely underwhelmed, went on my mission, came back and went to grad school and by then episodes from the first three seasons were playing every night at 11 or 12pm, about when I got home from studying/working/drinking way too much hot chocolate every night (I was in lactose allergy denial then), and I fell in love. I followed it to the bitter (and not so good) end. I also tracked gossip on websites and bought badly written fan books and printed out episode guides and wished for Mulder and Scully to hurry up and get it on already and avoided the icky fan fiction and got gifts of posters and prints from knowledgeable friends and coveted mtg's Mulder and Scully action figures and developed all kinds of theories about the conspiracies and deconstructed episodes with like-minded friends and, occasionally, freaked myself out watching all alone in my bedroom late at night. I told you, I loved it all.
Well, that's not quite true. One benefit of reading episode guides and reviews and starting well into the series' run was that I got to avoid many episodes that were heralded (though that's not quite the right word) as being particularly scary, since I am not much for the abject terror/horror genre. And I was largely successful in ignoring those episodes that were truly over the top and in turning the channel when a new episode seemed to be heading too much in that direction for my delicate sensibilities. However, in retrospect, I think I was actually able to handle much more frightening stuff than not, because I just looked at TWoP's list of the top 10 scariest X-Files ever, and I remember seeing all but one of them and only being really freaked out by a few. (I missed the #1 contender, Home, which is truly, truly, the most awful piece of vileness in the whole run, and I never saw it, though I did end up having to hear more of it than I wanted to when one of my roommates insisted on watching even though I warned him repeatedly this was a really, really bad idea. The house wasn't big enough to escape the putrid dialogue entirely, you see, and the fact that he absolutely regretted ignoring my advice was small consolation.) Indeed, two of the episodes that freaked me out the most (both about a guy who may or may not have been the Devil) didn't even make the cut. The husband once bought me many seasons of The X-files, and we watched several together...until one about a chupacabra overwhelmed him, and he declared that the show was too scary for him to watch.
Which brings me, the long way 'round, to my current dilemma: the newest X-files movie comes out today and, by all accounts I can find, it's supposed to be pretty scary. But, is it really scary or just scary weird, which tends to freak out the uninitiated more than it would a true X-Phile like myself? Reviews of the current movie are maddeningly ambiguous. For example, the NYT notes that "As production neared, Mr. Carter wondered if a PG-13 would render the movie too tame. “I didn’t want to be hemmed in,” he said. “I remember saying to Tom Rothman: ‘Look, we’re in a new world now, we’ve got the “Saw” movies, the “Hostel” movies. I want to do something that scares people in a big-screen way.’ He was very thoughtful about the evolution of that particular appetite. And in fact that period of horror seemed to run its course with audiences in a very short time.” What does that mean?? Because if the new movie is like Saw and Hostel (!!), I am definitely out out OUT because, well, yuck! But if it's not, because "that period of horror [has] run its course," then we may still be in business. Or the Charlotte Observer observes "the plot involves a missing persons case, severed body parts and some creepy hunts and chases through the snow." Umm, okay, check, but how frightening is all this? Or Reuters claims "Rather than a creepy supernatural thriller, "X-Files" creator Chris Carter, who directed "I Want to Believe" from a script co-written with producer Frank Spotnitz, spins a second-rate "Silence of the Lambs"-type serial killer mystery." Again, what are we saying here? Second-rate actually sounds promising as far as scariness factor goes, but "Silence of the Lambs" terrified me, even though I saw it many years after the fact and on TV no less (it was the girl in the pit more than anything else).
And all this matters because I'm most likely going to have to go see this movie alone. All my X-philiac companions live elsewhere now and the husband has left the Pentagon, as it were, so I'm left with few options. And the idea of going to a thriller by myself? Now that is scary!