Of all the holidays celebrated worldwide, no single day is loved by the Substream staff more than Halloween. With October’s arrival, the time has finally come to begin rolling out a slew of special features we have prepared in celebration of our favorite day.
31 Days Of Halloween is a recurring column that will run throughout the month of October. The goal of this series is to supply every Substream reader with a daily horror (or Halloween-themed) movie recommendation that is guaranteed to amplify your All Hallows’ Eve festivities. We’ll be watching every film the day it’s featured, and we hope you will follow along at home. Reader, beware, you’re in for a… spooky good time!
Day 25: The X-Files: Fight The Future (1998)
As a recent veteran of The X-Files, I tell you—I could write sonnets about Fight The Future. I was a newbie when I started recapping the show for The Mary Sue last year, going through each of the 200-odd episodes and two films and finding myself increasingly enamoured with this bizarre and ridiculous world. I remember falling properly for the show somewhere around the second season finale and, by the time I finished season 5 and watched Fight The Future, I was unbridled fannish glee in human form. I watched this movie with a perma-grin strapped to my face and squealed my way through every word of my review. It is delightful. It is daring. It’s a roguishly charming synopsis of the show’s first five seasons and a perfect mix of levity and intrigue for Halloween.
The basic gist of the plot is this: UFO enthusiast Mulder and skeptical medical doctor Scully, who moonlight as FBI agents, find themselves on the trail of an alien virus. This eventually takes them to Antarctica and a face-off with mutant alien monsters which are birthed from people’s guts in a manner not dissimilar to Alien itself. The perennially boo-hissable Smoking Man takes antagonist duties, the slightly more likeable Well-Manicured Man goes boom, and our heroes must overcome the usual threats of being shut down/reassigned/potentially double-crossed by informants who live in the shadows. My only issue with this film is the lack of cameo by a certain Alex Krycek, Esq., but a rat does scuttle across the screen at one point so I guess he’s adequately represented.
Those who know the show know that it took four years of scaling the conspiratorial walls to get to this point, but the beauty of Fight The Future is that you barely need to know what any of that entailed. Critical reception was divided with some commentators condemning the makers for stretching a familiar storyline to feature length. I find this baffling. This isn’t just a great summation of the wit, heart, and murky grey darkness that makes The X-Files great; it’s also an excellent way of introducing newcomers to the show. Mulder and Scully are as brilliant and lovable as ever and there’s an exciting allure to disappearing down the dark alley of truth alongside them. It doesn’t matter that they barely ever seem to get anywhere (or expose anything). The bond and searing chemistry of our heroes makes every step of the journey enjoyable.
For the romantics among us, this movie also includes the closest thing to a kiss between Mulder and Scully for quite a while. A beautiful and iconic moment is interrupted by the most unfortunate bee-sting of all time but it’s a seminal embrace, and one which cements the show’s inherent cinematic values on a big screen. The movie embraces this wider scale admirably, most notably by unveiling a massive, full-on alien mothership near the end. The ship rises elegantly from beneath the Antarctic ice and floats majestically through the air before vanishing into the clouds. It’s practically a metaphor for our heroes’ experiences that they’re turfed off the side as it ascends. Scully passes out before she can see either the ship or Mulder’s childlike expression of sheer delight. Tis the story of Dana’s life. She never looks up. She never sees.
If you’re looking for a break from your slasher movies, ghost stories, and demonic possessions this Halloween, look no further than The X-Files: Fight The Future. Its storyline may not be creepy in the traditional sense but its tales of mass meddling and Machiavellian psychopaths will resonate in this, year of our increasingly flabbergasted Lord 2016. It’ll remind you of simpler times, when plucky redheaded heroines saved the day and the end of the world was a rather quaint alien virus instead of Donald Drumpf. It lets you relive everything you love about this most iconic of television shows and all in just under two hours. Don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise. In fact, you should wave your hand dismissively and just say, “Sure, fine, whatever.” Stay spooky!