Exploration Disturbia has been on hold while I wait for those hard to find films to amble their way towards me. A few weeks ago however during a discussion about disturbing films, the X-files episode Home was recommended to me by a friend. My memories of the X-Files go back a long time to when my Mom used to watch the show religiously and I would peer at the creepiness from behind the safety of My Little Ponies. I had not remembered Home however and my friend had mentioned that it seemed to have only aired one time on TV. It was about mutant inbred sons and their armless and legless mother who they had stashed underneath their bed and used for sex. That brief premise was enough to make me intrigued. A Wrong Turn scenario on the X-Files that had aired on cable? I must see this for myself.
The truth of the matter is--Home is incredibly disturbing. On many levels and all levels concerning the gag reflex you possess (unless you are inbred). It begins with the armless, legless mother giving birth to a writhing mutant infant. The three brothers cut the umbilical cord with a rusty pair of scissors and then bury the body in a muddy field. The next day or so, neighborhood boys are playing baseball and discover the bloody soil and arm of the infant.
Scully and Mulder are brought in and are intrigued by the body. It seems to possess every single mutation known to man and their investigation leads them to the Peacocks. A family that has been around since the Civil War era, and a family that keeps to themselves in more than one way.
After issuing an arrest warrant for the three brothers, the town's sheriff and his wife are brutally beaten to a pulp by the mutants, prompting the agents to take action against the Peacocks. After creating a diversion by letting the pigs run lose in the field, Mulder and Scully come across the mother strapped to a board beneath the bed.
She vehemently proclaims that this is what she wants. That she loves her boys and they would do anything for her. After a violent struggle leaves 2 of the sons dead, Scully and Mulder escape to find the eldest son (and presumably the father of the other 2 boys) and the mother gone. The episode concludes with the mother's voice rasping instructions about how they will need to make a new family now. The eldest son then emerges from the car's trunk, presumably after having just done the deed.
The whole episode can really be summed up with the term, "barf". It's also surprisingly creepy in its own right as well. It's brutal, it's gross and it's entirely disturbing. It's amazing actually that they did air this on TV and even more amazing that I did not see it. If I had seen it, I would probably still be hiding in my closet, terrified that three inbred mutants would beat me to death with a baseball bat if I emerged.
My one beef has to do with the standard darkness for an X-Files episode, although I would imagine without the darkness, this episode could not be shown on TV. Still though, it was entirely frustrating to not see what was going on. Even in the X-Files movie--it's so fucking dark. Not dark as in depressing but dark, but as in literally, I cannot see a fucking thing.
Then again, do I want to see details of 3 unclothed inbred mutants, or an armless, legless mutant mother giving birth?
Perhaps one of the more terrifying moments was when the mother in her husky, weird man voice, announces that she is hungry. One of the boys then eats a piece of bread, walks over to the mother and is heard regurgitating the bread into his mother's mouth. Mind numbing fear of puke or not--that is messed up.
The episode reads more like a short film than it does an episode of a series. It appears almost as an isolated episode, one where we do not need to know anything about the characters in order to understand the story. It's well done, suspenseful, horrifying and just plain creepy.
The best scene by far is when the three brothers take the car out to the sheriff's house. It's such a moment of anxiety, foreshadowed by the exchange between Scully and Mulder in a hotel room. Scully remarks that the lock on the door is broken, to which Mulder proclaims that you don't need to lock your doors here. After Scully leaves however, Mulder secures the lock with a chair. We then flash to the Sheriff's house, who is seen coming in and shuts the door---the camera focusing on the unlocked door, while the three brothers drive their 1950s car blasting old school music with bats in the trunk.
The violence in that scene, while not entirely shown is still implied--which remains a major importance when dealing with the X-Files as a whole. It reminds me that I need to watch more X-Files. The aftermath is enough to make me need to hold my cat.
Overall, Home is extremely disturbing. If you want mutant inbreeding shoved in your face, watch Wrong Turn 2. If you want a creepy, atmospheric and astoundingly well done portrayal--check out this episode, the 2nd in season 4 (On Instant Watch nonetheless!). It may not end up on the list, but it has got me thinking and wondering about how many people were scarred by the episode as a kid. I can only imagine the kind of cold fear that possessed someone once they laid eyes on that mother's face. A Zelda moment for sure, and one that I hope I don't see when trying to fall asleep tonight...