Whenever Halloween arrives, I’m always reminded of one of my all-time favorite episodes of television. For all the subverted horror tropes, gore, and twisted sexual perversions in Ryan Murphy’s The American Horror Story, it has nothing on what may be considered the most disturbing episode of television in network history, the X-Files episode, “Home,” which holds up as well now as it did 17 years ago.
If you haven’t seen “Home,” stop whatever you’re doing and track it down. Watch it tonight. In the dark. By yourself. It will f*ck you up and haunt you to the core of your soul. It will give your willies the willies. It’s not scary in the sense that it will make you fear for your life, or jump out of your skin. It is scary in the sense that visions from the episode will stick with you for days, months, maybe years, and come to you in your sleep and stir you awake in a cold sweat covered in your own piss.
You will never look under the bed in the dark again.
A refresher: “Home” was a stand-alone “monster-of-the-week” episode that had Mulder and Scully investigating the discovery of a deformed baby buried near the home of the Peacocks in a small town in Pennsylvania. During the course of the investigation, Mulder and Scully end up questioning the Peacock brothers, who live in an old shambling house without electricity or running water that had apparently missed out on the 20th century. During the course of the investigation, Mulder and Scully discover the deformed baby had been buried alive, and that its deformities may have been the product of inbreeding.
Mulder and Scully are stumped because their lead suspects, the Peacocks, are all brothers, so how could they breed? They arrive at the conclusion that the Peacock’s must have kidnapped and raped a woman, and after the local sheriff issues a warrant for the Peacocks’ arrests, the brothers flee. Ultimately, the Peacocks escape and bludgeon the Sheriff (Andy Taylor) and his wife to death with baseball bats. The next day, when arrest warrants are served at the Peacock home, the Deputy is decapitated by a booby trap.
As Mulder and Scully investigate the inside of the home, they eventually find Mrs. Peacock hiding under the bed. She is a violently deformed quadruple amputee who, it turns out, has been breeding with her sons for years. Though Mulder and Scully manage to kill two of the brothers, the eldest son and Mrs. Peacock escape, presumably to begin a new family elsewhere. Ew.
With that out of the way, here are ten things you may not know about “Home.”
1. “Home” was the first episode of The X-Files to get a viewer discretion warning. In fact, it was the first network television episode in America to ever receive a TV-MA rating.