Any horror movie that captures the imagination, seizes the zeitgeist, wins big at the box office, scores high with critics, or punctures the pop culture consciousness is virtually guaranteed to be turned into a franchise as quickly as possible. As a result, standalone stories that exist independently are becoming increasingly rare, but it’s very easy to forget that one of the finest one-and-done tales ever told was an episode of The X-Files.
“Home” is the second episode of the sci-fi classic’s fourth season, and the only one to be given a TV-MA rating along with a viewer discretion warning for graphic content. A dark, gritty, and ultimately disturbing “Monster of the Week” installment, there’s a reason why it remains held in such high regard not just by X-Files fans, but the horror community at large.
Agents Mulder and Scully descend upon an isolated rural community after a baby is born with gruesome physical defects, which leads the intrepid investigators to discover that a clan of deformed farmers may be responsible for kidnappings, rape, unlawful imprisonment, and potentially even a string of murders dating back decades. As the story progresses, things take a string of shockingly dark turns.
It’s been 26 years since “Home” first aired to a combination of shock, acclaim, and unadulterated what-the-f*ckery, but a recent Reddit threat has reignited the flames of appreciation by showering the all-time classic 44-minute tale in renewed praise. Indebted (whether intentional or not) to the classic exploitation horrors of the 1970s, it’s a jarring deviation from the standard X-Files format, which is part of the reason why it packs such a powerful punch all these years later.
You don’t even need to have seen or enjoy the series itself to end up enthralled by “Home,” such is the power of its jaw-dropping narrative and impeccable execution.