The X-Files

Season 4 Episode 6


Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Nov 10, 1996 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
271 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When a series of bizarre murders take place in a hospital's plastic surgery unit, Mulder finds a link to the four witches Sabbaths. This leads Mulder and Scully to question if supernatural forces maybe responsible when they begin to suspect a nurse of practicing witchcraft and causing the deaths of the patients.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • Sanguinarium

    Sanguinarium was a great episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was pretty interesting, there was some action, drama and intrigue. It was fun watching Mulder and Scully investigate this case. Cosmetic surgery can have many consequences, it was nice to see the topic explored in this series. Every thing played out the way it could be expected but I was still entertained. I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Too many plot holes, and so much disbelief had to be suspended that the thin plot thread holding it up snapped somewhere in the second act.


    Several things bothered me about the plotting in this episode, but the thing that bothered me most was its internal inconsistency. If Franklyn was really succeeding in exerting magical influence over his victims, then why did Nurse Rebecca Waite's magical protection fail? We are to assume that only "bad" magical systems work and "good" magical systems fail? Where's the logic in that? If I'm going to suspend logic in order to buy the premise that magic works, I need the universe I'm being asked to accept to make at least as much sense as the one I'm abandoning. Dream logic is still logic.

    Neither Mulder nor Scully had much to do here--one looked up drugs in the Physician's Desk Reference and the other looked stuff up in an occult handbook. In between murders, Mulder looked at his face a lot. Especially his nose. But comic relief is supposed to relieve me from something, and there was little or no suspense here from which to be relieved.

    In what is becoming a tiresome lack of respect for the character of Dana Scully, we are given no idea how she viewed or explained these strange events. She watches a team of surgeons extract scalpels teleported into a woman's stomach and all she can call it is "unexplained"? I can do that, and I didn't have to spend two years at Quantico. Scully is smarter and more capable than this. It is the backbone of the series that we are given not only Mulder's explanation for events, but some credible rationale from Scully. Leaving her slack-jawed with obtuse denial (or worse, ignorance) in the wake of wonder undermines her character.

    Several things went wrong with "Sanguinarium": there was not enough material here to suspend my disbelief in magic, there was insufficient explanation of why Dr. Scully was not doing her job (examining bodies), there were too many leaps of illogic on Mulder's part (most of us would connect a ring of dots in...well, a ring). Again, the lack of fundamental cohesion in the main premise (good magic v. bad magic) worked against my acceptance of this episode on anything but the most superficial level.

  • Bad day in the X-files

    The more I watch this episode the less I like it. Or enjoy it. This episode reminds me a little bit of that of season 2 "Die Hand Die Verletzt", where it was all a conspiracy, everybody knew what was being done and no one did anything to prevent it or to finish it. Except, apparently for the nurse who becomes one of the victims.

    The crimes were also kind of disgusting. The only scenes I enjoyed where the ones of Mulder and Scully in the hotel's room, with Mulder looking at himself in the mirror probably considering plastic surgery. Also, Mulder realizing how tired Scully was was kind of cute.moreless
  • Already done, inaccurate portrayal, too much gore, empty episode.

    Awful episode. Possibly one of the worst. I can't think of anything good to say about this episode at all, except that I like Scully's suit and how they finally seem to have found out that Scully is a woman with a figure. Other than that, this episode lacks anything remotely original. The idea of the demonic possession has already been done (and better) and the Wiccan tradition, something already so misunderstood by both historic and modern religious cultures, was further slandered. It seemed like this episode served as a mere reason to pour blood on everything and made me gag several times. I can appreciate certain amounts of blood and gore, but I've come to expect a higher standard of mystery and CLASS from the X-Files than some B-level horror flick. Awful, awful.moreless
  • Mulder and Scully look after a guy who's using witchcraft to kill plastic surgery patients.

    While this doesn't quite reach the ridiculous depths of the previous episode, it comes close. It just doesn't make any sense to me how they get from the beginning to end. I suppose you could figure it out with time and maybe by reading the plot on the Wikipedia page, but without it, it's ridiculous.

    The plot itself is eerie enough and worthy of some promise.. people going into surgery for plastic surgery are being killed by the doctors, who seem to be under some sort of trance as they kill the patients. Mulder believes right away that it's possession and even Scully seems to be willing to put aside her skepticism.

    But from here, we get some really confusing and insanely complicated scenes involving witchcraft and the Sabbath and all sorts of weird things. It's so hard to explain it, and I really wish I could. There's references to medicine being a common factor among the killers, but it's never re-referenced.. and one nurse is shown to dabble in witchcraft... but she's NOT the killer?! So that means there's two practicing witchcraft people in the hospital? Like I said: confusing and insane.

    The plot itself had some promise but the writing just completely ruined it.moreless
O-Lan Jones

O-Lan Jones

Nurse Rebecca Waite

Guest Star

Richard Beymer

Richard Beymer

Dr Jack Franklin

Guest Star

Arlene Mazerolle

Arlene Mazerolle

Dr Theresa Shannon

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Twin Peaks connection: Richard Beymer plays a prominent role in this episode. Six years earlier, he played Ben Horne in Twin Peaks, which also featured David Duchovny in several episodes.

    • Episode Title: Sanguinarium

      This is Latin for "Place of Blood". 'Sanguinary' means carnage, bloodthirsty or consisting of blood. Finally, 'Sanguinaria' means "Bloodroot".

    • Nurse Waite's name is most likely a reference to the 19th Century Occultist Arthur Edward Waite, whose name is still on Rider-Waite tarot decks.

    • The book that Mulder reads and learns that witches can make people vomit needles is the Encyclopedia Of Witchcraft & Demonology by Russell H. Robbins

    • Mulder says that belladonna is only found in one drug in the PDA (Physicians Desk Reference) but even 1996 there were more than that. Many Eye Doctors use it to dilate patient's pupils, amongst other things.

    • When Mulder and Scully are discussing the nurse's ingestion and subsequent vomiting of pins. Scully mentions pica which is a condition that makes people eat non-nutritious and non-edible things, such as rocks, glass, metal etc. Mulder then goes on to describe allotriophagy, which he suggests is a condition, possibly even a spell, that causes people to vomit things they never ingested in the first place. This is completely untrue. Allotriophagy is similar to pica in that it is defined as a depraved appetite or desire for improper food.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Mulder: Looks like she took a pretty good shot at you.
      Dr. Franklyn: Yes. Apparently.
      Mulder: Nothing that a little plastic surgery won't fix up though, huh?

    • Scully: What could she have been doing in here?
      Mulder: Probably not tax returns.

    • In the operating room, Dr Lloyd is violently stabbing liposuction tool into unconscious patient, who at this point we see has lines drawn on his balding head. Fat being sucked through tube turns bright red.
      Nurse Waite: Doctor Lloyd!!
      Dr. Lloyd: (pulling down his mask) I think this patient is finished.

    • Scully: So this man committed these murders in order to make himself beautiful?
      Mulder: Everybody wants to be beautiful, Scully.

    • Scully: Well, he started taking the drug 5 years ago and he went through . . . ooh, he took a lot of it. 19 100-tablet refills.
      Mulder: (checking out a passing nurse) Wow.
      Scully: (Thinking he's commenting at pill numbers) Yeah.

  • NOTES (3)