The Greatest “Treehouse of Horror” Segments

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The Simpsons’ Halloween special has become something of an annual tradition in its own right. With the 27th instalment hitting screens just a few weeks ago, these spooky spectaculars are still going strong. Over the years they have parodied beloved movies and TV shows, turned their hand to classic literature and even dabbled in political satire. The episodes are made up of three short segments, each one being a standalone piece that allows the writers to be as over the top and insane as they see fit. There have been plenty of memorable Treehouse of Horror stories over the years, but here is a selection of the very best:

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(Photo credit : Simpsons Wiki)

The Raven: S2

In only its second season, The Simpsons demonstrated that it was afraid to try new things and break the mould as it decided to use Edgar Allen Poe’s chilling 19th Century poem as the source of one of its finest Treehouse moments. The narration by James Earl Jones lends it a suitably dramatic feel as the segment blends the chilling nature of the original poem with traditional Simpsons humour. Homer takes on the role of the troubled protagonist, Marge his dear lost love and naturally Bart takes on the role of tormentor-in-chief, the raven. A wonderfully unsettling early example of the Treehouse of Horror at its finest.

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(Photo Credit : Entertainment Weekly)

Clown Without Pity: S4

In a parody of the Twilight Zone episode “Living Doll” as well as countless other evil doll horror offerings, we get to see some of Krusty’s typically shoddy merchandise being put to horrific use. This time, when Homer buys a talking Krusty Doll as a last minute birthday present for Bart, he fails to heed the shopkeepers warnings and the cursed toy soon turns against him. The doll is soon dead set on killing Homer and winds up chasing him with a butcher’s knife. It’s a great chance to see Krusty taking on an “evil clown” persona, and the segment also features an ingenious ending when it is revealed somebody simply set the doll’s switch to “evil” rather than “good”.


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(Photo credit : Simpsons Wiki)

Bart Simpsons’ Dracula: S5

The Treehouse of Horror episodes have often excelled at movie parodies but perhaps none come better than their homage to Francis Ford Coppola’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”. Mr Burns takes on the role of the count and the Simpsons family experience a creepy night as guests at his spooky mansion. While they are there, Lisa and Bart uncover the shocking truth, with Bart memorably getting caught due to his inability to resist a “super fun happy slide”. The parody is worked in to the classic Simpsons comedy seamlessly, with my favourite moment being Homer frantically plunging a stake right in to Mr Burns’ crotch.

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(Photo credit : Simpsons Wiki)

The Devil and Homer Simpson : S5

Another parody segment here, though this time the show takes on a lesser known fantasy movie called The Devil and Daniel Webster. The story sees Homer sell his soul for a doughnut with the big revelation being that the devil turns out to be Flanders all along. After spending a day in hell, a trial is convened to determine where Homer’s eternal soul will rest. The segment works perfectly and its depiction of hell is especially memorable with Homer’s experiences with the “ironic punishment division” being a particular highlight. It’s a neat and tidy standalone story that packs a great deal of comedy into just 8 short minutes.

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(Photo credit : AV Club)

The Shinning S6

One of the show’s finest movie homages of any kind, this take on Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel is filled with tension, humour and Homer going absolutely insane. Faced with a winter without TV or beer, it was only a matter of time before Homer went totally bananas. There’s notable appearances from Groundskeeper Willie and Moe, the latter of whom appears in an inspired role as the ghostly bartender that tips Homer into full on insanity. The haunting ending where Homer and the family sit frozen in the snow but bathed in TV’s warm glow is a memorable closing shot. “Teacher, mother, secret lover” indeed.


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(Photo credit : AV Club)

Citizen Kang : S8

This segment is such an ingenious piece of satire it still feels alarmingly relevant during any depressing election campaign to date. The story sees aliens Kang and Kodos impersonating Presidential candidates Bob Dole and Bill Clinton in order to ensure that one of them wins and thus will reign supreme over the earth. Homer stumbles across the truth and attempts to free the two real candidates and thwart the aliens’ evil scheme. There are so many classic lines throughout this episode, with my personal favourites being “Abortions for some! Miniature American flags for others!” and of course the immortal Homer closing line, “don’t blame me. I voted for Kodos”. A subtle and still extremely pertinent criticism of both the two party system and the pandering nature of politicians.


(Main Photo Credit : Simpsons Wiki)

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