In honor of my favorite holiday, Halloween, this week’s Top 10 Tuesday examines my picks for the top 10 segments from The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Halloween specials. As a reminder, every episode of The Simpsons can be streamed from the FX Now app and The Simpsons World Website. First I want to address 3 runner-ups to the list, which brings us to an appropriate top 13. In 13th place, from Treehouse of Horror XIII, the 1st episode of the 14th season of The Simpsons, is The Fright to Creep and Scare Arms. In 12th place from Treehouse of Horror V, the 6th episode of the 6th season of The Simpsons, is Time and Punishment. Lastly, in 11th place, from Treehouse of Horror VII, the 1st episode of the 8th season of The Simpsons, is Citizen Kang. Now on to the list.
10. Treehouse of Horror XXV – Season 26 Episode 4 – A Clockwork Yellow
Shocked, floored, absolutely stunned; That was my reaction to Treehouse of Horror XXV. After 10 years of mediocrity, suddenly the old Treehouse had its mojo back. I could have easily picked any of the 3 chapters from Treehouse XXV, they were all good, but my pick goes to a loving homage to late director Stanley Kubrick. Filled with references to many of his best films, and even a few inside jokes about the director himself, A Clockwork Yellow was a passionate love letter to the director, filled with everything The Simpsons has been lacking for years.
09. Treehouse of Horror XIV – Season 15 Episode 1 – Reaper Madness
Perhaps the last good Treehouse segment (until the return of quality this year), Reaper Madness had Homer taking on the role of Death. Working the job, and enjoying the perks, Homer is distressed when his next target is that of his beloved wife Marge. The material was similarly covered by Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy, but The Simpsons did it better. Homer, touch killing his way to the best seats at a game, remains a hilarious scene I will always remember.
08. Treehouse of Horror XIII – Season 14 Episode 1 – Send in the Clones
Send in the Clones was a great spoof of the 1996 Michael Keaton movie Multiplicity. Unlike Multiplicity, Send in the Clones was actually seen by people. Send in The Clones features Homer creating clones through his hammock to handle the mundane aspects of his life, only to find the clones making clones of their own. Eventually the clones come after the original, and a last ditch effort is made to get rid of them all. The ending reveals that the one remaining Homer is, in fact, one of the clones.
07. Treehouse of Horror II – Season 3 Episode 7 – The Bart Zone
Like many Treehouse of Horrors segments, The Bart Zone owes its existence to an inspiration from the classic science fiction anthology series The Twilight Zone. Based on the episode It’s a Good Life, The Bart Zone features an omnipotent Bart Simpson and the state of the world that must keep him happy. The terrifying theme gives way to parental bonding between Homer and Bart. Bart wakes up screaming, revealing that the nightmare was actually the bonding. The Twilight Zone episode upon which this segment was based also served as inspiration to one of the best episodes of Supernatural, the Season 3 finale No Rest for the Wicked.
06. Treehouse of Horror V – Season 6 Episode 6 – Nightmare Cafeteria
This parody of Soylent Green and the book Make Room! Make Room! upon which it is based is one of the most memorable Treehouse segments, in my opinion. In Nightmare Cafeteria, the staff of Springfield Elementary resort to cannibalism as a singular solution to both budget cuts and misbehaving children. The greatness of this segment is the joy it takes in representing the food that is derived from each child. From Sloppy Jimbos to Üterbraten, each child meal was celebrated in hilarious fashion. As you would expect, once the teachers gain a taste for “Long Pig” the killing escalates and any lingering guilt is replaced with jubilance.
05. Treehouse of Horror I – Season 2 Episode 3 – Hungry are the Damned
Hungry are the Damned was our first introduction to Treehouse regulars Kang and Kodos, the 1 eyed tentacle aliens that always pursue the conquering of Earth. The segment follows the alien abduction of the Simpson family into a seemingly peaceful trip to their home planet, “a world of infinite delights”. During the travel, Lisa grows suspicious of the aliens’ agenda, which leads to the segments most memorable, and hilarious, gag. Lisa finds a book titled How to Cook Humans, and together with her family confronts the aliens about it, the aliens reveal a dusty confusion, showing the actual title of the book to be How to Cook For Humans, Lisa counters by removing more dust to reveal How to Cook Forty Humans, before the aliens finish of the dust revealing How to Cook For Forty Humans.
04. Treehouse of Horror II – Season 3 Episode 7 – The Monkey’s Paw
This spoof of the classic short story of the same name sees Homer obtain a mystical monkey’s paw that grants wishes. Unfortunately, aside from Maggie’s wish, all of the the Simpsons family’s wishes backfire on them. First, Bart’s wish for wealth and fame which leads to the scorn of their friends and neighbors. Lisa attempts a wish for world peace, but that leaves Earth vulnerable to invasion from Treehouse regulars Kang and Kodos. Lastly, Homer wishes for a turkey sandwich, which turns out to be a little too dry. With all of the wishes used up to ill effect, Homer spitefully gives the paw to Flanders who finds immediate and lasting success with his wishes, driving away the aliens, and improving his home.
03. Treehouse of Horror VII – Season 8 Episode 1 – The Genesis Tub
The Genesis Tub, another The Twilight Zone spoof comes in 3rd on this weeks top 10 list. Based on the episode The Little People, The Genesis Tub sees Lisa’s Science Fair project, an experiment to see if cola can dissolve a tooth, become the origin of a rapidly growing ecosystem. The ecosystem soon becomes more advanced than Earth itself, and shrinks Lisa down to their own size to bring her to their world, where she is revered as their god, and Bart is feared as the devil. Discovering she is stuck forever in her shrunken form, Lisa grows to become a bitter ruler of her people. The segment, and the Twilight Zone episode upon which it is based, also influenced one of my favorite episodes of South Park, Simpsons Already Did It.
02. Treehouse of Horror V – Season 6 Episode 6 – The Shinning
This amazing parody of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of the Stephen King novel The Shining, was a loving tribute to the classic film and hilarious segment of Treehouse’s 5th special. Focusing on Homer’s gluttony, The Shinning saw the character driven insane by a lack of television and beer. The best scene of the episode, and a testament to Dan Castellaneta’s performance as Homer, had Marge finding Homer in a room covered with red writing and telling her “No TV and no beer make Homer something something,” “Go Crazy?” asks Marge, “Don’t mind if I do,” Homer responds before having a full on comical psychotic break. The segment ends with Homer calming down with his family as they freeze outside with Willie’s portable TV, until they cannot change the channel as The Tony Awards start, at which point Homer begins to go crazy again.
01. Treehouse of Horror IV – Season 5 Episode 5 – The Devil and Homer Simpson
The Devil and Homer Simpson tops our list thanks in large part to it’s hilarious representation of Hell, and Homer’s continuing stupidity. In the episode, Homer sells his soul for a doughnut after his colleagues leave him none at work. The devil, in the form of Ned Flanders, seals the deal, but Homer realizes he can avoid Hell by not finishing the doughnut. Unfortunately, Homer is an idiot and a glutton, and during a late night fit of hunger, Homer finishes the doughnut. The devil tries to torture Homer by making him eat countless doughnuts, which backfires as Homer never tires of eating them. A trial is eventually held with Marge disputing the faustian deal since Homer pledged his soul to her. Homer is freed, but the devil gets a little revenge by turning Homer’s head into a doughnut, a doughnut that Homer is ever so hungry for. This segment was a parody of the 1941 film The Devil and Daniel Webster, about a poor man who summons the devil after declaring he would sell his soul for 2 cents.
What is your favorite segment of The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror? Tell us in our comments, and stay tuned to TVEnthusiast for more coverage of all of your favorite shows. Happy Halloween!