Television Opening scene from Treehouse of Horror

Published on October 31st, 2014 | by Anthony Price

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Halloween T.V. – The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror

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Well, it’s that time of year again for tricks, treats and more importantly, Halloween T.V.  Over the years, Halloween has become like every other public holiday in the world of T.V with schedules airing special episodes of their most beloved shows containing spooky, or often ghoulish themes.  One of my favourites of all time is The Simpsons Halloween Special, Treehouse of Horror.  Every year (On top of the mountain of horror films I’ll pick out for a marathon) I’ll sit down and watch the Treehouse of Horror episode with giddy excitement.  Just because it’s Halloween that doesn’t mean that everything has to be outlandishly gory or scary and sometimes, Treehouse of Horror isn’t.  Sometimes.  Often, it’s so well written, I’d put some of the stories up there with the best of Poe and Lovecraft.

For those of you not in the know, The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episodes, also known as The Simpsons Halloween specials, is a series of Halloween specials in the animated series The Simpsons. They each consist of three separate, self-contained segments. These segments usually involve the Simpson family in some horror, science fiction, or supernatural setting. They take place outside the show’s normal continuity and completely abandon any pretense of being realistic. The first, entitled “Treehouse of Horror”, aired on October 25, 1990, as part of the second season and was inspired by EC Comics horror tales. As of 2014, there are 25 Treehouse of Horror episodes, with one airing every year.

It's a chance to see the darker side of certain characters.

 

If you’ve never seen an episode of Treehouse of Horror then you’ve never lived.  They’re often darker and more violent than an average episode, typically consisting of four parts; an opening and Halloween-themed version of the credits, followed by three segments. These segments usually have a horror, science fiction or fantasy theme and quite often are parodies of films, novels, plays, or television shows.

I’ve been watching the show for years.  In fact, I think I’ve pretty much watched every Halloween episode since they started.  It would take me forever to go through all of them, so here’s a rundown of my top 5 segments from the 25 years it’s been running.

No. 5 Treehouse Of Horror VII – The highlight of the episode is “The Thing and I” – a creepy tale of a monster in the attic. Bart and Lisa become suspicious when they begin to hear gruesome noises coming from the ventilation. Taking it upon themselves to investigate, they find that something has indeed been living in the attic and has managed to escape! It turns out that the monster is actually Bart’s twin, Hugo, and the two were born conjoined.  As a whole, the episode flows well together and is a great choice to top off our list.

 

Wallpaper_Hugo

 

No. 4 Treehouse of Horror VI – The first segment is “Attack of the 50-foot Eyesores” in which a cadre of killer mascots causes chaos for Springfield. Like most occurrences, the citizens of Springfield have Homer to thank for the terror wrought upon their city.  But the best here is “Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace” – a parody of one of the greatest horror films of all-time, A Nightmare on Elm Street. Groundskeeper Willie takes on the role of snarky Freddy Kreuger killing the children of Springfield in the most gruesome, and diabolically hilarious ways. The doomed kids have Homer Simpson to thank for Willie’s vengeful bloodbath.

Groundskeeper_willie_freddy

 

No. 3 Treehouse Of Horror IX – Without a doubt, this one has the best opening credits throughout the entire series of specials. Waiting for the Simpsons are Jason Voorhees and Freddy Kreuger (voiced by Robert Englund himself!) but they never make it as each meets a horrid demise during the introduction. What follows are three hilarious and spooky segments to improve your Halloween experience.  A hair transplant sees Homer become possessed by a criminal beyond the grave in “Hell Toupee” and Bart is his intended victim. This is topped only by the best segment of the episode, “The Terror of Tiny Toon” in which Bart and Lisa become trapped in the television with Itchy and Scratchy, and a murderous game of cat and mouse ensues. Some are more prone to favour “Starship Poopers” which sees the Simpsons thrown into a battle on the Jerry Springer show when it’s discovered Maggie is actually the alien offspring of Kang and Marge.  Each segment offers something unique that makes it one of the best.

Homer wearing his possessed toupee...ToH, both spooky and funny.

No.2 Treehouse Of Horror VIII – In the first of the three segments, Springfield is annihilated by none other than France and for once it isn’t down to Homer’s antics! However, Homer is seemingly the last man alive until he discovers that some familiar faces have been mutated into gray-skinned monstrosities with a taste for human skin. “Fly Vs Fly” is a parody of body horror classic “The Fly” as Bart’s head is exchanged with that of a housefly leaving him susceptible to its murderous rampages.  The reason ToH VIII ranks so high on my list is because these two good segments are featured alongside one of the best segments the series has offered: “Easy Bake Coven.” This segments has it all. It’s a clever parody of a literary classic, relates directly to Halloween, and puts fan favourite characters in the blackest of comedies. We’re introduced to new spin on how Halloween began with Marge and her sisters as witches who go door to door demanding delicious children, but are offered sweet treats instead. A pretty clever idea all round.  And finally…

Definitely one of the best.

No. 1 Treehouse Of Horror – Nothing beats the original that created a holiday tradition for a whole generation.  This is where it all began, with Bart, Maggie and Lisa sharing spooky stories in a Treehouse on Halloween.  Awesome.

Back where it all began.

So, if you fancy something that doesn’t involve copious amounts of corn syrup, or teenagers being torn to shreds, check out the list above and you’ll be in for a real treat.

Until next time…Keep Consuming.

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