Reflected Images

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Title: Reflected Images
Creator: Carol S (vidder)/Basement Productions
Date: 1999
Format: VHS
Fandom: X-Files
front cover of videocassette box

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back cover, click to read. Originally printed on green paper, a thematic color to the TV series

Reflected Images is a songtape collection of X-Files vids created by Carol S. The collection contains 20 of vids and was offered in a professional-style VHS plastic box with green and black coloring to match the X-Files theme. It also came with a booklet with the lyrics and vidder notes. The back cover contained an accurate, but somewhat tongue in cheek, warning:

WARNING:This tape contains vids that include images of or may be construed to imply the following: blood, guts, insects, alien oozes of various sorts, medical procedures and romantic relationships between Mulder and Scully, Mulder and Krycek, Mulder and Skinner, and Mulder and inanimate objects. This tape also contains vids sympathetic to Spender, CSM, Krycek as well as Mulder, Scully and Skinner and comedy based on the physical abuse of a partner in a physical/romantic relationship. If any of this is likely to offend you, view with care. Further information provided on request."

The booklet offered song lyrics, comments and notes about each vid, starting with the vidder's overall philosophy on the nature of vidding:

"Reflections. That’s what vids really are. Reflections of and on the show, the music and the vidder. Sometimes they have the illuminating accuracy of a telescope’s reflector, sometimes the amusing or disturbing distortion of a fun house mirror, and occasionally, when the elements aren’t lined up quite right, the utter incomprehensibility of a foggy, half-open medicine cabinet door. I hope this tape contains more of the first than the last."

Songtape Contents

  1. The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati
  2. When I Change Your Mind -- M/K
  3. Welcome to the human race
  4. Someone To Love
  5. Patterns
  6. Someone keeps moving my chair
  7. Mommy and Daddy
  8. Gravity kills
  9. No more
  10. Lucky Ball and Chain
  11. We Care A Lot
  12. Seed of a lie
  13. Rhino skin
  14. Crybaby
  15. Friend is a four letter word
  16. Fonemate
  17. Promises in the dark
  18. So hard
  19. Veli -- Black Oil

Review of the Packaging

Shoshanna said:

front cover of the booklet
"Carol's tape of XF vids, "Reflected Images," arrived in the mail over the weekend; it was waiting for me when I got home today. I haven't watched it yet (except that I've seen some of the vids on it already, and pretty much liked or loved them all), and unfortunately I probably won't have time to for a while; work is very high pressure right now. But I just had to mention it here, because it's visually the most beautiful vid tape I've ever seen. Beautifying the packaging of vid tapes is a fairly recent part of vidding. When I first started collecting vids, they were generally passed around on a sort of fan circuit, duped by one person for the next (bootlegged, I suppose, except that that was the only way any of us knew to get them), and it was a struggle to make people tuck in a note saying whose vids they'd copied for me. Then I started getting vids from the vidders themselves, and they usually included a label or title sticker or something, and a playlist on a piece of paper tuckedi nside. My tapes of DJ Driscoll's vids, for instance, are hand-labeled by DJ "DJ's Vids, tape #1," "tape #2," and "tape #3." The Media Cannibals' first tape was hand-labeled as well, but their second one has a printed sticker with their logo on it, and the third tape hasnot only that but a handy little plain-text booklet of the songs' lyrics and some creator notes. Evolution before my very eyes.
sample page of the booklet
Carol's tape is a thing of beauty. It's in one of those oversize black plastic boxes, not a cardboard sleeve; the box's front cover has pictures of all the relevant XF characters and the tape's title and provenance ("Basement Productions"). The pictures on the front have jaggies (poor resolution), but that's probably deliberate. The back cover lists all the vids, giving time marker (00:36, 02:55, etc.),title, and artist for each, as well as a couple more pictures and a mildly tongue-in-cheek content warning. The design is as good as professional, better than the sort of thing you so often find on commercial video boxes. And inside . . . inside is a beautiful booklet, repeating the front and back cover designs of the box (with sharp resolution on the front this time), containing lyrics, artist credits, and notes from Carol about the vids, all overlaid on grayscale photos light enough not to make the text hard to read but still dark enough to be seen, and laid out beautifully. It's a work of art in itself. Did I mention that these front and back covers are light green on black? It works.
The tape itself is green, and stickered with a playlist. I'm just sitting here looking at it in its box, green against black, with the booklet next to it. Like I said, I haven't watched the tape yet, though I'm happily anticipating re-encountering vids I remember loving, like "Mommy and Daddy" (creepily brilliant), "We Care a Lot" (excellent cuts and timing!), "Friend is a Four-Letter Word" (having seen a couple of drafts, I'm curious to learn what the final version looks like), and"Fonemate" (come here so I can slap you, Carol); and looking forward to the ones I haven't seen, like "Rhino Skin" (a Skinner vid; the lyrics certainly look promising). But the packaging was so wonderful that I just had to post about it right away."[1]

A Contemporaneous Review

even the videocassette tape was green keeping with the X-Files color theme

On Dec 16, 1999 Sandy Herrold posted on the Vidder mailing list an extensive review of the Reflected Images songvids. It is reposted here with permission.

A watchers review of: Reflected Images, a collection of X-Files song vids by Basement Productions.
First, the presentation -- as Shoshanna said, this is the nicest presentation of a songvid collection I've seen yet. The tape comes in a clamshell box with a printed paper cover (cool green ink on black paper).The tape itself is a lovely X-Files green. The booklet is equally impressive: shaped to fit in the box, formatted one page per vid -- leaving room for author comments for each vid, *lyrics*, and often, beautiful imagesof the main chars of the vid. The presentation continues once you put the tape in the VCR -- the credits for the tape as a whole and for each individual vid are very impressive too: artistically setting the mood for each vid, and also clear, easy to read, and nicely timed.
But we buy vid collections for the vids:
1 -- The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati -- Everybody
This vid is *very* well made! Especially early on, I was amazed how well shemarried every character movement to the strange sounds of the song. Despitethat, I didn't love the song, and it just came out (for me) as cute clipsset to music. Technically A+, though.
2 -- When I Change Your Mind -- M/K, K's pov
Fun song with a lot of movement, which she did a fantastic job with. For most of the vid, it's less a Mulder/Krycek song than a Skippy/Mulder vid.Totally obvious why she chose the song, with lyrics like, "You won't think I'm such a creep when I change your mind" and "You don't want me, at least not in the way, you don't want me, and that drives me crazy" from K's pov- -- but the fluffy tone of the song undercut the clips, especially when she ran out of Skippy clips and started using Krycek from later seasons. Cute, well made, possibly for Krycek fans only.(Also had an annoyingly abrupt ending.)
3 -- Welcome to the human race -- Scully, Krycek, Consortium (or possibly CSM), Mulder
Beautiful theme, touching song and perfect ending (except again, it cut off too quick). Interesting choices, too: the vid more or less puts M, S, K and CSM as emotional (if not moral) equals-- i.e., they all need to be taken down a few pegs, and made to realize that we all suffer and we all need to connect... I liked this one a *lot*.
4 -- Someone To Love -- Mulder
I love this song, and I love this vid. Perfect starting clips set up Mulder's 5th season disillusionment, there's first-rate movement, and wonderful building of emotion. Then I dislike the first chorus jump cuts (not because they're jump cuts, but those *specific* jump cuts) so much they throw me out of the vid, but the fade between sad Mulder and sad Scully at the end of the first chorus is absolutely perfect, and drags me back in. The rest of it is very well done, but another small quibble: for the line, "Your friends treat you like a guest," I might have liked visually weaker, but emotionally stronger clips when both Scully and Skinner disbelieved him, rather than Mulder going to jail. Clever use of the Ketamine episode shots, great ending. The song and clip choices really capture the almost hallucinatory nature of Mulder's experiences.
5 -- Patterns --Mulder
(Cybel also did a impressive Mulder vid to this one. I wanted to watch them both back to back and see how much they had in common, but I couldn't find Cybel's tape last night. Maybe someone else would like to compare them?)
Consummate Mulder vid -- perfect music, great build of intensity throughout the first 1/2, lovely repetitive use of flashing red lights throughout the vid. Really a wonderful Mulder wallow, with just the right end shot. (And I want to thank the vidder for not using clips of Mulder artificially(and terribly) aged for "the day that I grow old...")
6 -- Someone keeps moving my chair -- Krycek
Typical They Might Be Giants song -- you either go with the insanity, or you don't. I thought it was enormously clever, and grounded enough in the show (Krycek really is horrible, CSM really is the Ugliness man) that it worked for me on a much deeper level than funny clips set to funny music.
7 -- Mommy and Daddy
Strangely perfect lyrics, (including "ask your daddy who really killed JFK", and "Mommy's pills" -- I've always thought Mrs. Mulder was doped to the gills...). The way the song bounces between Mommy and Daddy, worked beautifully with bouncing between Bill Mulder and CSM for the Daddy shots, too. Excellent cutwork on this, and lots of opportunity to use rarely seen footage. The first part of the vid is creepy and strangely emotionally gripping -- when the song changes, the vid has to too, of course, and it becomes less charged for me, but still good.
8 -- Gravity kills -- Krycek
Interesting that she uses a lot of clips that are not the 'usual K clips', but then she reuses them herself between her vids. Hard not to, I know. I liked the tone of the song, and the cut work, but I couldn't understand enough of the words to be completely happy. Loved the end. Here I paused to muse: I noticed that I liked almost all of these better this time, as was I watching them alone. These vids tend to be on the dense side, and they repayyour attention.
9 -- No more -- Spender, CSM
Interesting, but superficial and short.
10 -- Hey! Mr. Spaceman -- Duane Barry, and lots of others
"Hey Mr. Spacemen, won't you please take me along, for a ride" Gotta say this vid annoyed me. I wanted to make sense out of it, but all I got was,"aliens are evil, but people still write happy songs about them." I guess I wanted the irony to be stronger, or something.
11 -- Lucky Ball and Chain
Another They Might Be Giants song, this time used to make a constructed reality vid of Scully leaving Mulder. Perhaps because I think this is a real possibility -- Scully coming to her senses and leaving -- this one worked wonderfully for me. Another terrific ending clip (though the music cuts a little abruptly).
12 -- We Care A Lot -- Consortium
I love everything about this vid (except the first 25 seconds, which seem interminable). Some beautiful cutting in this; very effective use of the almost bombastic beat of the song. Hits some of the very familiar high points (Bill Mulder, Melissa and Skinner getting shot, Skinner getting beaten up), but lots of clips that I'm willing to believe will never show up anywhere else. Remarkable transitions, enormously witty song choice -- a really wonderful vid that works either as a con vid or a living room vid. All of that praise doesn't mean I don't have quibbles: Krycek running from the car? -- in a vid that wasn't centered on Krycek, I wouldn't have used a clip that overused without a much better reason. Weird that it starts out consortium, and then ends up all K -- I think it feels unbalanced, and leads to over use of some of the same old K shots -- Maybe if he'd been in it more in the beginning it would have felt more balanced? Maybe I missed a transition between them and him.
13 -- Seed of a lie -- Mulder, about Samantha
I liked it, but didn't love it -- couldn't hear enough of the words to let the song carry the story, and I couldn't construct the story solely from the clips (you know, treat the song as an instrumental...). It had some beautiful parts that didn't add up to something greater than its pieces.
14 -- Rhino skin -- Skinner
First -- four stars for the song choice. All of the Skinner people agree on how hard it is to find Skinner songs (or worse, Sk/M songs). Although I know people who hate Tom Petty's voice, these lyrics are written about the Skinner that I love. Now that I think about it, four stars for the whole vid. Clever recasting of the "usual K clips".
15 -- Veli -- Black Oil
Not an instrumental, but the next best thing -- all of the lyrics are in Swedish or something (hmm, maybe we should ask torch what *she* thinks of it...) Life cycle of the black oil and the grays through the series. I've enjoyed it every time I've watched it, but heck if I could explain it. Again, great ending. And a fascinating choice to end the tape.
In general: An amazing two hours of vids. Cuts are never less than competent, some are frankly brilliant. Astounding variety of moods, characters and song types, with something for any X-Files fan, gen or slash. Enough variety that if you don't like one vid, you're almost sure to like the next. And except when she's her own worst enemy by not cutting the sound smoothly, she has a real flare for endings, and that's not faint praise. Recommended for any overall X-Files fan, or Krycek fan.

Fifteen Years Later: A Fragile Format

One of the many drawbacks to using videocassette tapes as a method of distributing fanvids is their susceptible to heat. This copy of Reflected Images, found in 2015, is badly warped.



  1. ^ Shoshanna, posting to the Vidder mailing list, October 4, 1999 (quoted with permission, 25 March 2011)