Despite my absence due to personal work matters, it’s still Halloween Specials Week here at Richard’s Weekly Journal! The Simpsons has one of the greatest yearly Halloween specials of all time, the Treehouse of Horror. Even the most hardhearted Simpsons fan admits to tuning into this wonderful special every year. There are dozens of fantastic segments that have been shown in these episodes. But which are the best? I have no idea. What I DO know is there are quite a few I would consider my favorites. These are my Top 13 Favorite Treehouse of Horror Segments!
13. I Know What You Diddly-Iddly-Did
In a parody of I Know What You Did Last Summer, the Simpsons accidentally run over Ned Flanders and try to cover it up. A year later, they start getting threats. Admittedly, this isn’t one of the Simpson’s best parodies. (Trust me, we’ll get to a few.) The reason I love this segment all comes down to the twist ending. Just what is that ending? I’ll give you one clue. It involves a werewolf. And if you know me at all, you know I love werewolves.
12. Bart Simpson’s Dracula
In a parody of a well known story, the Simpsons are invited to Burns’s manor as dinner… Er, FOR dinner. Lisa and Bart, however, discover a nefarious secret: Burns is a vampire! After Bart gets bit and turns into the undead himself, it’s up to Lisa to save her brother without getting bitten. This special is actually a little tense and has some good character designs with the vampires. It also has great gags that are based off the source material, such as Burns’s shadow playing with a yo-yo. But again, what elevates this for me is the twist ending that leads to a great parody for a completely different kind of special. This segment had some good bite to it.
11. Reaper Madness
Homer somehow kills Death and, much like in The Santa Clause, takes on Death’s job once he tries on the robe. I like this one because it’s hilarious. Watching homer as he abuses his power to benefit himself is comedy gold. Other than that, it’s a really good story. Having someone take on Death’s responsibility just leads to a lot of interesting developments. Bonus points go for, again, the ending. I know, I keep teasing that these things have good endings, but I won’t dare spoil them. You’ll have to find out for yourselves.
10. Easy Bake Coven
It’s the time of the Witch Trials and it turns out that Marge is a witch. She’s run out of town and has to leave her family, turning to the comfort of her sisters. In retaliation, the small coven of witches go to town in order to kidnap and eat their children. Instead, the townsfolk bribe them with candy and baked goods to keep their children safe. This is a great segment because I love that it gives a story to the invention of trick-or-treating. It’s a different take on a tradition that’s often overlooked in Halloween tales.
9. House of Whacks
The Simpsons get an upgrade to their house. It comes with all the trimmings: self-cleaning floors, robotic servants, and even a homicidal computer program. The program, voiced by Pierce Brosnan, falls in love with Marge and decides to get rid of Homer in order to keep her for himself. This one has great jokes and Brosnan does a fantastic job as the evil house. Also, it helps that Marge has a scene in a bath and I think I have a thing for her… There was a Playboy issue with her, right?
8. It’s the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse
This is a fantastic parody of a well known special. The jokes are all good homages to that special and the animation is even changed a bit to better emulate those loveable Peanuts characters. The best part of the segment for me was the Grand Pumpkin himself. I like his simple design and his hilarious attitude. The whole “racism” joke came out of nowhere and its bluntness had me laughing. Not to mention the way he’s ultimately defeated. Everything about this one just felt right for a parody of Peanuts.
7. School is Hell
The most recent Treehouse of Horror episode was absolutely fantastic and this was my favorite segment out of all of them. The Simpsons children find a portal to Hell and find out about Hell’s school system. Bart realizes that he truly has an aptitude for torture and wants to go to school in Hell permanently. This all leads to some very funny scenarios, yes. But above all else, this segment was visually fascinating. All the hell creatures were interesting to look at, even Bart’s half goat form. Every single shot looks like it was put together with great care to details. Hell is just awesome looking. Though I probably wouldn’t want to go to school there.
6. I’ve Grown a Costume on Your Face
The citizens of Springfield piss off a witch and are all cursed to become the costumes they were wearing on Halloween. Marge becomes a skeleton, Lisa is Einstein, Bart is a wolfboy, the list goes on. I just liked the idea for this episode. It reminds me of the Halloween episode of Fairly Odd Parents. (HA! This is one case where the Simpsons DIDN’T do it first!) Anything that can remind me of one of my favorite Halloween specials ever is doing something very right. Not to mention all the character costume designs and jokes were fantastic.
5. Clown Without Pity
This is truly one of the classics. It’s got everything you could hope for in one of these specials. Memorable lines, hilarious moments, a fantastic antagonist, it’s got it all. Not to mention it’s a perfect double parody of both Gremlins and the Twilight Zone episode of Talky Tina. I don’t know what to say about this segment that hasn’t already been said. Special mention, however, should go to the fact that this has some of the best facial expressions in all of Simpsons history. Well, this and my number 1 pick.
4. The Island of Dr. Hibbert
As you have no doubt figured out, I’m a sucker for a good character design. This segment is full of them. I’ve never read the Island of Dr. Mureau, but I’ve seen plenty of parodies of it. And this one takes the cake. It’s got good jokes, a good set up, and one of the better pay offs of these segments. Also, full disclosure: Cat Marge is kind of hot. Just the growls and the noises and… I’m not a furry, I swear.
3. Unnormal Activity
Paranormal Activity has become one of my favorite horror franchises. The Simpsons version of it, therefore, is one of my favorite parodies they’ve done. Yes, at the risk of being horrendously repetitive, it’s funny. But, more than that, this is well animated. Everything actually looks like it’s being recorded with sort of crappy cameras. Everything moves really well and the pacing of the episode is well done. I even like the overly long peeing gag. If you can get me to laugh at toilet humor, you definitely deserve some praise.
This segment is awesome. Everything about it is great. The jokes are hilarious. The set up is a fantastic parody of a Twilight Zone episode. And, holy macaroni, the animation. Even all these years later, that 3D animation still holds up pretty well. It’s quotable, it’s memorable, it’s all around great. If you’re a fan of Simpsons, or hell, just a fan of good comedy, and you haven’t seen this, shame on you.
1. The Shinning
Everyone knows that this was going to be number 1. Everyone loves this episode. I don’t need to talk about why it’s great. So I won’t. Suffice to say that it’s everything I praised about all the other segments on this list amped up to 100. This is the perfect parody, bar none.
There’s my list! If you have your own favorites that I didn’t mention, feel free to let me know about them in the comments. Otherwise, I’ll see you next time here on Halloween Specials Week!