Written by Patti Pauley
Gather ’round you screwheads! The King of Chins is celebrating another year around the sun and this week’s edition of Retro Rewind is dedicated to the grooviest flesh of man meat in the genre baby- Sir Bruce Cambell!
Yes, we all know the REAL Bruce Almighty is mostly recognized for that loveable, Deadite decapitating Ash Williams from the Sam Raimi films and Starz show. But what about his lesser talked about TV roles such as in Burn Notice, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., and even a stunning performance guest starring in a monster episode in X-Files as a demon fetal harvesting polygamist.
Written by series newcomer David Amann and directed by Rob Bowman, the 1999 episode entitled “Terms of Endearment” is a typical X-Files monster-of-the-week story that serves as a breather to the series’ broader storyline. We open up to Wayne Weinsider (Campbell) and his pregnant wife Laura (Lisa Jane Persky) at an ultrasound scan where the couple learns the baby Laura is bearing is riddled with strange abnormalities. The pair, Wayne especially, are obviously distraught upon hearing the results. I mean, I’d be freaked the fuck out too if my scan showed my offspring protruding a set of demonic horns from his head too. Though if it were to result in such a case, naming the kid Adrain would be a no-brainer. Of course, when one of your parents is a full-fledged demon aka Bruce Campbell, a set of horns supplied at birth shouldn’t be much of a shocker.
Speaking of which, the whole episode is absolutely a throw-back to Rosemary’s Baby in the form of demon baby producing with the signature X-Files twist. Complete with demon baby-making nightmares throughout the episode involving both Laura and later, Betsy Monroe (Grace Phillips). Oh yes, Wayne has another pregnant wife on the side to increase his chances of having a “healthy” child. What Wayne deems as healthy however, is not what one would assume a demon is looking for in his offspring. His goals are to have a NORMAL child. As Wayne turns out to be your not so typical devilish entity.
Of course, Laura’s brother is the local sheriff and when Laura awakens from her demon inducing night terror to find herself covered in blood and the baby missing, he turns the case over to Mulder and Scully given the unusual circumstances.
While there is some dark comedy in the episode, I mean IT IS Bruce, Campbell shows his more dramatic range of acting chops in “Terms of Endearment” as we’re taken on an emotional roller coaster with Wayne Weinsider’s struggle within himself and his very un-demon-like agenda in wanting to have a normal, happy family. Also, it’s worth noting the use of prosthetics rather than computer generated effects for the demon Wayne sequences are quite fantastic and the perfect display in bringing this X-Files monster to life.
Season 6, Episode 7 “Terms of Endearment” can be viewed streaming on Hulu for subscribers of the streaming site, as I recently learned Netflix cut the series from their queue of programs, “shakes fist”. In the meantime, check out the original promo for this special edition of monster-mania X-Files starring Groovy Bruce!