The X-Files

20th Century Fox “Spooktacular” – 1990s: The X-Files

By Christina Pappous, Walt Disney Archives

Halloween is here at last! We are ready to don our festive costumes and fill up our Trick-or-Treat bags with delicious candy. But first, let’s glean a little investigative inspiration from the final installment of our 20th Century Fox “Spooktacular.” We are hot on the case of The X-Files, perhaps the spookiest television series of the 1990s!

Created by Chris Carter, The X-Files debuted in September 1993. While not an initial success, the series grew in popularity, eventually becoming a cult hit among audiences and resulting in 11 seasons, several spin-off series, and two films’ worth of the paranormal, the extraterrestrial, and the downright unexplainable! These creepy happenings make up the titular “X-Files” themselves, cases that the show’s fictionalized Federal Bureau of Investigation deem as unsolvable. FBI Special Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) joins fellow Special Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) to solve these cases; as a brilliant trained medical doctor, Scully is far more skeptical than Mulder, usually taking a more grounded, scientific approach. Even though Mulder is one of the Bureau’s best analysts, his belief in the cryptozoological, extraterrestrial, and inexplicable phenomenon—driven by his younger sister’s mysterious abduction during his childhood—informs his work and earns him the nickname “Spooky Mulder.” Although the duo’s supervisor, Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), is at first hesitant to acknowledge any paranormal possibilities, he ends up being a great support to Mulder and Scully in their investigations as they delve deeper into the X-Files.

Mulder and Scully examine all manner of strange cases, with her skepticism and his belief in the supernatural working in tandem to solve them. Some cases are what X-Files fans refer to as “Monster of the Week” episodes, wherein the duo investigate a singular monster wreaking havoc. Other cases end up being connected to a larger conspiracy involving extraterrestrial life that Scully and Mulder uncover over the course of the series. If you want to believe, join Scully and Mulder in solving The X-Files, now streaming on Hulu!