Eat My Ten Favorite Shorts from the Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror

One of my favorite parts of each October is the Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror episode. Major League Baseball wreaks havoc with it, forcing it to air on a different date each year, but it’s never been a reason for me to miss it. Including this year’s episode, which aired on October 7th, there have now been 24 Treehouse of Horror episodes, each possessing a trio of horror shorts. That’s a grand total of 72 Simpsons‘ horror shorts. Here are my ten favorite.

The Raven, Treehouse of Horror I
This was from the Treehouse of Horror that started it all in 1990. It had everything you could want, either from The Simpsons or the holiday. It was narrated by James Earl Jones, it featured Bart heckling Lisa for thinking it was scary, it derives straight-on from classic source literature, and the whole thing is peppered with Homer behaving like a frightened buffoon.

Attack of the 50-foot Eyesores, Treehouse of Horror VI
You have to love a short that has Paul Anka’s guarantee (guarantee void in Tennessee).

Bart Simpson’s Dracula, Treehouse of Horror IV
The writers created a pitch-perfect parody of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), all while allowing their characters’ personalities to shine. The goof on Dracula’s shadow was one of the first (if not THE first) among many that came later in other TV shows and movies. It’s still one of my favorite moments on the show. And of course, it ends with Marge revealing that she’s the head vampire and another spoof, of Peanuts‘ Christmas special of all things.

Homer’s Nightmare (If I Only Had a Brain), Treehouse of Horror II
You may recall this short as the one where Mr. Burns removes Homer’s brain with an ice cream scoop and implants it into a robot body. The creation of Robo-Homer goes disastrously, and the whole thing ends with Homer and Mr. Burns sewn together in a parody of The Thing with Two Heads (1972).

Married to the Blob, Treehouse of Horror XVII
It’s a great parody of The Blob (1958). But beyond that, there’s something hilarious about Homer’s first reaction being to eat the green goo from space. And there’s something heartwarming about seeing a giant blob Homer demolishing Springfield. Plus, there’s one of the writers’ weird digs at Arby’s. It’s a recurring bit on the show and it makes me laugh every time.

“…and the rest”

The Homega Man, Treehouse of Horror VIII
What makes this short stand out for me is Homer’s obliviousness to the world ending, up to and including when he punches a charred corpse in traffic for not moving at a green light. Once he realizes what has happened, he laments the loss of “Little Bart… little Lisa… little Marge… and the rest”. In Homer’s mind’s eye, “the rest” includes the television, the pets, and Maggie.

Citizen Kang, Treehouse of Horror VII
It’s better as a political parody than it is horror parody, and that’s just fine with me. It featured the following great one-liners: “I don’t want to serve out my term naked in a tube” (the real Clinton); “That’s slick Willie for ‘ya” (Marge, after hearing alien Clinton- Kodos- say “I am Clin-ton. As overlord, all will kneel trembling before me and obey my brutal command. End communication.”); and “Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others.” By including this, I can now say “Don’t blame me. I voted for Kodos.”

Starship Poopers, Treehouse of Horror IX
The best part in this vignette was Marge’s description of how the aliens (Kang and Kodos, naturally) impregnated her. They offer her a chance to mate in the three most common places: “an airplane bathroom, a friend’s wedding, or the alley behind a porno theater.”

Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace, Treehouse of Horror VI
If you want to talk about great parodies, nothing tops this one of the Nightmare on Elm Street series. And it features this excellent brief segment as the impetus:

The Genesis Tub, Treehouse of Horror VII
The short where Lisa creates a civilization around her tooth is a bit of a relay race of references. It started with a Twilight Zone episode with a similar theme, parodied by The Simpsons, and then later parodied by South Park in an homage to The Simpsons. It’s still one of the first shorts I think of when I think of the Treehouse of Horror episodes.


20 Comments

Filed under Humor, Television, TV Shows

20 responses to “Eat My Ten Favorite Shorts from the Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror

  1. Love this list. Love being reminded how much I used to look forward to this every year.

  2. Those parodies are my favorite episodes of the Simpsons. I also like the one with the Krusty doll!

    • heyzeus

      “The topping contains potassium benzoate.”
      “…”
      “That’s bad!”

      Love, love, love that sequence.

      • It’s funny… I assumed that scene was a nod to Gremlins. And it sort of is… but it could also be a nod to a few Amicus horror anthologies. I’m really not sure which is accurate.

  3. Victor De Leon

    I’ve been re-watching the Treehouse episodes all month. I love them. Great list. These are all great entries. I get a larf from “Send in the Clones”

  4. These Halloween specials are part of what makes The Simpsons great!1 Nice post John

  5. goregirl

    Look at me Smithers; I’m Davy Crockett! These are all great…you really can not go wrong with Treehouse of Horror…love Homer in 3D…mmmm erotic cakes!

    • Haha… the Davy Crockett line was hilarious.

      Your idea was the impetus behind this. I would’ve done a full-on infographic but I would’ve had to re-watch all of ’em to make that happen.

    • Thanks!

      If you get a few minutes, and if you’re not a SUPERFAN of the show (i.e. if you don’t name the episodes by number), you can have a lot of fun checking out the full list of episodes and vignettes on the Simpsons wiki.

      • KLK

        I rewatched some Treehouse of Horror episodes for Halloween and it has gotten my on another Simpson kick. I’ll be checking the Simpsons wiki out today, thus being much less productive than planned!

  6. Pingback: Reading Digest: Halloween Hangover Edition « Dead Homer Society

  7. Awesome stuff, John. I would love to marathon all of the Treehouse of Horror episodes. I think VI may be my favorite — you can’t go wrong with that trifecta, including 3D Homer.

    • A marathon would be amazing. It’s kind of like watching all the Itchy and Scratchys all at once. I’d pay to own all the Itchy and Scratchys on Blu/DVD.

  8. Ben

    My favourite by far is The Shinning. When Homer goes crazy is one of the best Simpsons moments and it has so many classic gags in there! Great list!

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