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Cataloging the 'X-Files' websites

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Yes, X-Files aficionados, the truth is out there. Boy, is it out there. As Fox’s cult hit — the Star Trek of the ’90s — enters its fifth season this Sunday, Nov. 2, sites devoted to the show are spreading over the Web faster than an alien fungal growth: 482 and counting, according to Yahoo! There’s an official site, of course (http://www.thex-files.com), although any real X-Phile knows that you have to go beyond the official dossier to get the whole story. Indeed, the enthusiasts’ preternatural obsessions manifest themselves — in languages from Danish to Greek to Portuguese — in para-abnormal sites that are light-years beyond the typical FAQs and episode guides.

Still going strong are the famed David Duchovny Estrogen Brigade and Gillian Anderson Testosterone Brigade fan clubs — not to mention such outposts of the infatuated as the David Duchovny Page of Lust (http://www.geocities.com/Area51/7810/X-Files.htm); the acronymically named Genuine Admirers of Gillian Anderson Association (http://www.cyberbeach.net/~jonmg/GA/GAGA.html); and Gillian’s Island (http://www.blarg.net/~miri/xf/ga/). Even the cast’s lesser-knowns have a following: Darin Morgan, a writer for the show who also portrayed the monster Flukeworm Man in one episode (www. geocities. com/Hollywood/2990/Darin.html); William B. Davis, the villainous, all-powerful Cigarette-Smoking Man (a.k.a. Cancer Man), who has inspired both the Black Lung Association mailing list (http://www.chaos. taylored.com/home/blacklung/) and the moody, philosophical gray-on-black site called Cancerman’s Lungs (http://www.the grid.net/magray/XFiles/home.html). Meanwhile, Dean Haglund, who plays Lone Gunman‘s Langly, launched his own home page (www. deanx.com) this spring. Turns out he’s a lone gunman on the Web, too, updating the page himself, doing his own HTML coding, and handling all the E-mail personally.

Fan adoration has also spawned some 20 sites by and for ”relationshippers,” such as the X-Files Institution for Relationshippers (pages.prodigy.com/KYOUSE/xf-love.htm), where sentimental fans — usually female — share subtle hints of Mulder and Scully’s unacknowledged passion. Moreover, at least two dozen fanfic sites — call them the Triple X-Files — devote themselves to the erotic cavortings of Scully and Mulder, Scully and assistant director Walter Skinner, even Mulder and Skinner. And since music is the food of love, the M&S Soundtrack Project (http://www.geocities.com/Area51/7008/) has so far compiled a list of 207 songs, such as Whitney Houston’s ”I Believe in You and Me,” that pertain to the pair’s situation.

All this veneration has also galvanized plenty of would-be satirists. The XXY-Files (users.aol.com/hytritium/xxy.html), featuring Fox Boulder and his ”beautiful yet mysteriously masculine partner,” Dana Scally, is a cross-dressing hoot. Even more amusing are the pages that lampoon realistic plots, including As a Nazi (http://www.cyberway.com.sg/~patr1ck/xfspoof.htm), a spoof of the Navajo-themed ”Anasazi” episode; the site embroils the reader in a nonsensical quest, reveals that Skinner is both an alien and Cancer Man, and pokes fun at the series’ X-cessive use of coincidence. Elsewhere there hover some X-centric pop-culture hybrids: X-Files top 10 lists (http://www.wcc.net/~donner/xlist.html) and a Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment of the X-Files (http://www.scifi.com/mst3000/). A list entitled Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned From the X-Files (users.aol.com/msrxfiles/everything.html) offers such tidbits of X-File sagacity as ”Never leave highly sensitive documents in your motel room” and ”Don’t blame the aliens for everything — most of it’s the government’s fault.”

But can all these species of fan tributes survive in the face of an establishment onslaught that provides a weird echo to the show? Fox lawyers have forced some unofficial sites to close down in the past year (see story at right). As Scully and Mulder have found over the past four years, not all explorations are sanctioned by the powers that be. Stay tuned.

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