All-time scariest TV characters -- #5: Eugene Tooms
Show: The X-Files
Episodes: "Squeeze", "Tooms"
Eugene Tooms is, hands down, the scariest monster I've ever seen on television (including my fear of some Muppets). He showed up twice during the first season of The X-Files, in episodes called "Squeeze" and "Tooms". He was a freak show who was more than 100 years old. He went into a long hibernation every 30 years after eating five human livers. Tooms had evolved so that he could lengthen his body and squeeze himself into the smallest of places, such as a toilet or an air vent. Part of what scared me about him was that he could easily bypass typical safety features in your home!
Why does Tooms stand out more than any other MOTW (Monster of the Week) on The X-Files? I suppose it's his demeanor. The actor who played him (Doug Hutchison) did so delicately and with patience. Every time Tooms would get hungry for a liver, he'd get a creepy look on his face and his eyes would turn yellow because his body was producing too much bile. Plus, Tooms rarely said anything and mystery can be super scary. I think what's so disturbing about him is that he was a normal looking guy who people wouldn't even notice, yet he was a true monster on the inside.
While Tooms still scares the holy hell out of me, the two episodes about him are among my all-time favorite X-Files episodes. I really get a thrill out of that frightening character. Also, those episodes have some of the best one-liners from Mulder that break the tension for me. An example: Mulder gets bile on his hands when he discovers Tooms next and says, "How can I get this off my fingers without betraying my cool exterior?"