What exactly do black oil and killer bees have to do with the price of corn in Tunisia? We get to the bottom of all "The X-Files" mysteries -- sort of.
Let’s get this straight. Aliens from outer space have been hiding on earth for millions of years, hatching a secret scheme to colonize the planet by infecting swarms of killer bees with Gooey black stuff that turns humans into zombies. meanwhile, a shadowy quasi-government group known as the Syndicate has been helping the aliens by bombing buildings in Texas and growing corn in Tunisia. It all makes perfect sense—except for the part about the aliens, the killer bees, the black gooey stuff, and those cornfields in Tunisia.
Maybe we’re thicker than Martin Landau’s hairpiece, but we’re still trying to figure out what the heck happens in the X-Files movie. Of course, some degree of enigmatic uncertainty is to be expected when X marks the spot—it’s one of the things that has made the Fox TV series so irresistibly eerie these past five seasons—but we doubt even Cancer Man could unravel all the twisty plotlines coiled into this film. Ambulance-driving assassins? Flying saucers buried in Antarctica? Glenne Headly playing a bartender? If the truth is out there, it’s sure playing hard to get.
Not that anyone cares. As amusing as it is confusing, the X-Files film has grossed more than $55 million since its June 19 opening, pretty much guaranteeing that at least one more X flick is sure to follow. Before that happens, though, we’d like to take this opportunity to raise a few dozen nitpicky (and not-so-nitpicky) questions. Be warned: If you haven’t seen the film, keep an eye out for the !, which indicates answers giving away key plot points. At least we think they’re key plot points—we’re not entirely sure.
WHAT’S THE BEE STORY? The aliens spend millions of years cooking up a plan to colonize Earth—and this is what they come up with? Getting killer bees to cross-pollinate with corn that’s been infected with a zombifying black-oil virus, then presumably having them buzz around stinging every person on the planet? Well, we checked into it. In reality, bees don’t cross-pollinate with corn. What’s more, according to experts at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, it’s impossible to grow corn in the arid terrain of Tunisia. Even more incredible: Are we really supposed to believe that Mulder and Scully could have been trapped in that huge artificial hive with hundreds of thousands of bees and not get stung?
“I’m telling you, we did it,” insists the man who is Mulder, David Duchovny. “We ran through that scene 15 times and never got stung. What they do is take away the queen bee—put her in a nice trailer and let her kick back—and the worker bees aren’t as aggressive.” His costar Gillian Anderson backs up the story: “The bee wrangler was throwing buckets of bees at us,” she says. “But it wasn’t so bad. The only people who got stung were the people who were most afraid of being stung.” As for bees cross-pollinating with corn, X-Files creator Chris Carter says sure, it could happen. “Remember, it’s mutant corn,” he points out. “It’s been genetically altered to attract bees.” He doesn’t think cornfields in Tunisia are such a stretch, either. “We filmed that scene in Bakersfield, California,” he says. “Believe me, it was plenty hot there.”