E.T.C > Story and visual influences on The X-Files : Season 8

- Season 8 [2000-2001] -

8X03: Redrum

- The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

‘Redrum’ is of course ‘Murder’ spelled backwards, since the protagonist of the episode travels backwards in time, but the episode’s title is most likely an homage to Kubrick’s “Shining”, an adaptation of Stephen Kings 1977 novel, which features a young boy (Danny Lloyd) who has visions and premonitions of dark events to come and paints “REDRUM” with red lipstick on a door.

8X08: Per Manum

- Quatermass II (Nigel Kneale, 1955)

The Syndicate worked for its own shadowy purposes but its members were always human; the Alien Bounty Hunter could take the appearance of any person it desired but he never intended to fully replace somebody for longer than what it took for a surgical strike. With Per Manum begins the seasons 8/9 mythology of replicant aliens, artificial or mutated beings that are destined to fully replace the human they look like -- and his position. This conspiracy of alien beings that progressively takes over high-ranked positions in the US Government is similar to the conspiracy of humans-turned-aliens that infiltrates the British Government in “Quatermass II”. In the BBC mini-series, the conversion happens when a person comes into contact with a meteorite; a rain of meteorites is the armada of invasion of that alien species. It was re-made by Hammer Films (in color) a few years later. See 1X08: Space, 3X02: The Blessing Way and 7X03: The Sixth Extinction for more “Quatermass” influences.

- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956)

This iconic science fiction film also plays with the theme of an alien invasion and alien duplicates that replace their human counterparts. Initially conceived as a random B-movie, interpretations have been assigned to it that were initially unintended: this would be a Cold War/McCarthy era allegory of the fear of invasion by communists and how communist ideas could “convert” or “corrupt” anybody and turn him “anti-American”.

8X10: Salvage

- The Fly (David Cronenberg, 1986)

The protagonist’s (Jack Forbes) progressive transformation from something human to something inhuman is portrayed in a similar way to the way Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) morphs into a fly as a result of his own experiments, like when he examines himself in the mirror.

- Tetsuo: The Iron Man (Shinya Tsukamoto, 1989)

The story of the episode could have been in part inspired by this crazy underground cyberpunk Japanese movie, where a ‘Metal Fetishist’ (the director himself) puts bits of metal in his body and acts his revenge by turning what he touches into scrap metal.

- Terminator 2: Judgment Day (James Cameron, 1991)

The episode could be a humorous twist on the fact that Robert Patrick (John Doggett), who joined the series this year, is famous among science fiction fans for portraying the T-1000 robot in the sequel to 1984’s “The Terminator”; the T-1000 is made of liquid metal and can shape its body any way it wishes. However, it seems the episode was conceived before Patrick joined the show and only one line in the final episode effectively refers to Patrick’s previous role: “What’re you saying? Ray Pearce has become some kind of metal man? ‘Cause that only happens in the movies, Agent Scully”!

8X21: Existence

- Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)

The anxious buildup to the delivery of the baby is similar in both works (and in some sense the entire season is like an X-Files version of the film too): the mother’s fears that the people surrounding her are conspiring against her, worries that the baby might not be entirely normal, going into labor as the people worrying her surround her. In the film, the mother, Rosemary (Mia Farrow), is sedated during her labor, whereas in the episode Scully delivers consciously, surrounded by the alien replicants. However, in the film the mother soon finds her baby that was taken from her, in a room where the “conspiracy” or cult is gathered in admiration of the newborn child, whom they consider a spawn of Satan; this gathering in admiration is similar to the reaction of the alien replicants as soon as Scully delivers. Despite these odd events, even though she knows not everything is normal, the film ends with Rosemary taking care of her baby, like Scully does.

- V (Kenneth Johnson, 1983) and V: The Final Battle (Richard T. Heffron, 1984)

“V: The Final Battle” features a subplot about an alien/human baby: we see the pregnancy and birth; the child has an accelerated growth and super-human powers that give it an aura of power. The child ultimately contributes in the aliens’ downfall. The worries during the pregnancy, the doubts over the nature of the child and the horror of delivering something that might not be fully human are similar to what we see throughout seasons 8 and 9 (not to mention similarities with the hints at William's special destiny to destroy the aliens' plans).

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