What better way to celebrate Halloween than looking back at 20 years of Halloween episodes from The Simpsons? Let’s face it — watching sex-crazed teens get butchered is always a blast (thank you, John Carpenter), but sometimes you need something more! So let’s take a look at our favorite ten segments of The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror” episodes.
Let’s get the ball rolling, starting with #10….
#10: Nightmare Cafeteria (ToH V)
One of the sickest Treehouse segments is a twisted riff on “Soylent Green” with the school finding misbehaving children to be the best source of meat for the cafeteria. And the “Chorus Line” song and dance number at the end remains a classic (”The family dog is eyeing Bart’s intestine….”).
Lisa: Bart, does it strike you as odd that Uter disappeared and suddenly they’re serving us this mysterious food called “Uterbraten”?
#9: The Night of the Dolphin (ToH XI)
Earlier this year, a documentary called “The Cove” came out examining the horrific practice of slaughtering and exploiting dolphins for profit. This segment certainly accurately envisions the dolphins’ revenge on humanity if it was possible. When dolphins get fed up with being used for mankind’s amusement, they fight back with surprising violence. Fans of Lenny may want to shut their eyes.
Quimby: People, please! We’re all frightened and horny. But we can’t let can’t let some killer dolphins keep us from living and scoring.
#8: Starship Poopers (ToH IX)
The shocking truth is revealed that Homer is not Maggie’s dad — rather, it’s alien Kang, who abducted and mated with Marge while doing laundry. The secret comes out when Maggie loses her “baby legs” and sprouts a fang and has Dr. Hibbert prescribing “”Fire, and lots of it!” When Kang decides he wants Maggie back, they go to the one person likely to help them solve their problems — “The Jerry Springer Show,” where a full-on alien vs. human riot breaks out.
Marge: I can’t believe it. Jerry Springer didn’t solve our conflict.
Lisa: And now he’s dead.
#7: G-G-Ghost D-D-Dad (ToH XI)
Homer dies in an unfortunate accident caused by eating broccoli, which Dr. Hibbert points out is “…one of the deadliest plants on earth. Why, it tries to warn you itself with its terrible taste.” Upon seeing that Homer doesn’t have a single good deed by his name, Saint Peter sends him back to Earth for 24 hours to try to save his soul.
Homer: Marge, you have to help me. I have to do one good deed to get into heaven.
Marge: Well I have a whole list of chores. Clean the garage, paint the house, grout the …
Homer: Whoa, whoa, whoa. I’m just trying to get in. I’m not running for Jesus.
#6: Homer3 (ToH VI)
This one generated cult status from its use of 3-D computer animation that not only had Homer looking like a claymation character, but actually brought him into the real world (where erotic cakes lovingly exist). While the gimmick is what got the episode noticed, it’s genuinely hilarious with some choice Selma and Patty moments (”He’s disappeared into fat air!”)
Homer (in the 3-D world): Man, this place looks expensive. I feel like I’m wasting a fortune just standing here.
#5: Clown Without Pity (ToH III)
This wild spin on “Child’s Play” has Homer going to a one-stop evil shop to pick up a last minute gift for Bart — in the shape of a cursed Krusty doll. It’s full of bizarre but hilarious one-liners (Bart: “I’d say the pressure has finally gotten to Dad…but WHAT pressure?”) and manages to push Patty out of the closet (”There goes the last lingering thread of my heterosexuality.”)
Owner of the thrift shop: Take this object, but beware — it carries a terrible curse!
Homer: [worried] Ooooh, that’s bad.
Owner: But it comes with a free Frogurt!
Homer: [relieved] That’s good.
Owner: The Frogurt is also cursed.
Homer: [worried] That’s bad.
Owner: But you get your choice of topping!
Homer: [relieved] That’s good.
Owner: The topping contains Potassium Benzoate.
Owner: That’s bad.
#4: Dial “Z” for Zombies (ToH III)
Not based on any particular classic movie or book, this tale of forbidden knowledge finds Bart stumbling across the occult section of the school library after he’s forced to re-do his failing book report (”From A-Apple to Z-Zebra, Baby’s First Pop-up book is 26 pages of alphabetic adventure!”). Raising the dead, chaos, and laughs all ensue in plentiful amounts.
Bart: Dad, you killed the Zombie Flanders!
Homer: He was a zombie?
#3: The Homega Man (ToH VIII)
A wickedly brilliant take on “The Omega Man” with Homer surviving a nuclear blast while sitting in a bomb shelter with a Gary Larson calendar (”I don’t get it. I don’t get it. I don’t get it. I….don’t get it.”). Seriously, this is the best adaptation ever made of Matheson’s classic “I Am Legend.” God bless lead paint.
Comic Book Guy: [walking down the street] But Aquaman, you cannot marry a woman without gills. You’re from two different worlds!
[as a nuclear missile closes in on him] Ohhhhh, I’ve wasted my life…
#2: Bart Simpson’s Dracula (ToH IV)
Forget the title — this one spoofs ALL things vampiric, from “Dracula” to “Salem’s Lot” to “The Lost Boys.” It all starts when Mr. Burns invites the Simpsons to his beautiful castle in….Pennsylvania! In addition to showing that Burns is a vampire, Homer learns that beer kills brain cells (”Now let’s go back to that…building…thingy, where our beds and TV…is.”) and why super happy fun slides aren’t always a good idea.
Homer: Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American dream?
#1: The Shinning (ToH V)
The crown jewel of the Treehouse of Horror episodes. This parody of Stephen King/Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” is spot-on from start to finish, and has countless belly laughs. From mocking Tyne Daly to Marge remarking that, after Willie’s murder, she hopes the carpet is Scotch-guarded, it’s pure insanity.
Homer: So what do you think, Marge? All I need is a title. I was thinking along the lines of “No TV and No Beer Make Homer” something something.
Marge: [timid] “Go Crazy”?
Homer: Don’t mind if I do!
So what do you think? Disagree or agree? Let’s hear YOUR choices for best ToH episodes ever? Or even your favorite lines from the episodes above.