Crampton


 Thomas Ligotti and Brandon Trenz, "Crampton" a script of an unproduced episode of "The X Files," 1998. 

This feels exactly like the script you’d expect if you asked Thomas Ligotti to write an X-Files episode! It includes a strange town, stage magic, clowns, mannikins, a psychic hotline, ventriloquist dummies, and plenty of philosophical pessimism. The script is terrifying, but, at the same time, the humorous banter between Scully and Mulder is spot on. Specific scenes masterfully inform the abstract themes of the episode. Illusion becomes reality when the FBI concocts a fake cover story that spins out of control. The themes of solipsistic idealism—that nothing exists except what is currently conscious—are reiterated when a restaurant eerily shuts its lights off and closes once Scully and Mulder leave the parking lot. At one point a costume is stripped away, revealing no one underneath. There is a telling dialogue where a retired FBI agent, who used to work fraud cases, fondly remembers “[b]eing able to point my finger and say, with all the authority of the Justice Department behind me, ‘Look, this is all a fake, none of this is real, it’s all a con.’” With those words, that agent is more right than perhaps he intends!


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