Many of The X-Files episodes are more than just spooky — some are absolutely terrifying. In a popular online forum, fans of the show discussed which X-Files scenes still freak them out. Here are 14 of the scariest scenes in the series that make sleep seem impossible.
1. Tooms Stalking His Victims
The 21st episode of the first season is when Eugene Tooms returns to finish his plan. The episode is called “Tooms” and will haunt you forever. Most of the episode is scary, but the scene where he is standing in the dark in his next victim’s room, with his eyes leering after them, is the most horrifying and creepy.
2. The Ghost of Scully's Father
In season 1, episode 13, “Beyond the Sea,” Scully is sleeping in her parents' home and wakes up to her father sitting in her room mouthing something. She tries to talk to him, confused about why he’s even awake, only to get a phone call a minute later that informs her he just died moments ago.
3. The Man in Black Yelling
Season 3, episode 20 is easily one of the scariest episodes for me, as one scene makes me wildly uncomfortable and nervous. The episode is called “José Chung’s From Outer Space” and features a scene where a mysterious and very large man in black begins loudly yelling at someone in a menacing tone that is way scarier than it sounds.
4. Mrs. Paddock Burning Her Hand
Season 2, episode 14 is one of my all-time favorite episodes, but it also gives me the heebie-jeebies. It’s called “Die Hand Die Verletzt” and is about a satanic cult made up of high school teachers. One teacher performs a spell, holding her hand over a burning candle while profusely sweating. It’s disturbing and perfectly creepy.
5. Mulder and Scully Aging on the Submarine
“Død Kalm” is the nineteenth episode of the second season of The X-Files. It will make you terrified for Scully and Mulder as they deteriorate on a mysterious submarine. The scariest scene is later when Mulder and Scully look 90 years old and rapidly die.
6. Banton Being Tested Over and Over Again
Season 2, episode 23 of The X-Files is called “Soft Light.” This wild episode stars the incredible Tony Shalhoub as a man tormented by his shadow. Toward the end of the episode, scientists are testing him, and we see a single tear fall from his eye in an excruciating and terrifying moment that showcases his immense pain and turmoil. It haunts me.
7. The Flukeman Emerging From the Water
“Soft Light” is scary on a mental level, but “The Host,” which is the second episode of the second season, is visually disgusting and frightening. It’s the introduction of the Flukeman, a grotesque and massive monster that lives in the New Jersey sewer system. When he rises out of the water, his first appearance will make your stomach turn.
8. The Liposuction Gone Awry
Season 4, episode 6, of The X-Files is called “Sanguinarium” and is one of the most horrifying episodes ever. It revolves around satanic incidents in the cosmetic surgery wing of a hospital. There are several disturbing moments, but the one at the beginning when the doctor is manically liposuctioning a patient to death is sickening and terrifying.
9. The Bug Boss After Skinner
“Folie à Deux” is the nineteenth episode of the The X-Files’ fifth season. It’s about an office being terrorized by a gross bug monster, who happens to be the office manager and keeps turning everyone into zombies. The scariest scene is when the bug boss tries to attack Skinner, but Mulder saves him.
10. The Ventriloquist Doll in the Woods
In episode eight of season 11, a creepy ventriloquist doll wreaks havoc. The episode has the same vibe as Stephen King’s It and always terrifies me. The scariest scene is when the doll keeps popping out from beyond trees in the woods, taunting us with terror. The episode is called “Familiar” but feels wholly alien.
11. The Small Town Trying to Take Scully's Baby
“Roadrunners” is another one of my all-time favorite episodes that has me cowering behind my comforter. It’s the fourth episode of the eighth season and follows Scully as she gets stuck in this strange small town. It’s a crazy tale, but the scariest scene is toward the end when they pin her down and try to extract the fetus from her stomach.
12. Donnie Pfaster Kidnapping Scully
Donnie Pfaster is a recurring creep on the show, which never fails to give me the chills. In season 2, episode 13, “Irresistible,” he kidnaps Scully and tries to give her to aliens. The scariest scene is when he binds and gags Scully, and she watches him change demonic forms and prepare to give her to the aliens.
13. Tooms Squeezing Through Vents
Season 1, episode 3 is the first time we meet Eugene Tooms, the worst creature in The X-Files universe. His first appearance shows his mutant abilities in full effect. The scene where he stretches his fingers to squeeze through a vent and attack his victim is chilling.
14. The Peacock Family Massacre Scene
“Home” is one of the most disturbing X-Files episodes, as Mulder and Scully’s investigation leads them to an incestual family. The family reveal scene is bad enough, but there’s also a gruesome massacre scene involving bats that will infiltrate your nightmares. It’s the second episode of the fourth season.
Veronica is a food, fashion, and entertainment writer from Boston, MA, with a passion for all things lifestyle and culture. She graduated from Boston University in 2019 with a bachelor's in English literature. From Anna Wintour to Angelina Jolie to Alton Brown, she has her finger on the pulse of all things Hollywood and celebrity.
If she's not in the kitchen crafting new recipes, then she's binging the latest HBO series and catching up on the hottest trends in Vogue.
She has written for and been syndicated by publications like The Weather Channel, The Daily Meal, The Borgen Project, The Good Men Project, The Express, MSN, Wealth of Geeks, and Not Deer Magazine. Her writing experience ranges from global news articles to celebrity gossip pieces to movie reviews to homemade recipes and more.