Tuesday, October 11, 2016

31 Days of Halloween: The 10 Best Treehouse of Horror Segments - by Beth

The Simpson's Treehouse of Horror episodes are in institution dating back to 1990. They're usually gory, and often fun parodies of horror movies and TV shows. I've enjoyed them for as long as they've been on, and even though the past few years have been a little lackluster I still look forward to them every year. As we get ready for the 16 year I thought it might be nice to take a look back at not the best episodes, but the best segments from those episodes. I went with segments rather than episodes because honestly there are some great segments hidden in otherwise not overall fantastic episodes.

So what criteria did I use to pick the best? I'm not rating them based on some arbitrary scoring system I just made up. Okay, I sort of am, but my decisions are based on more than most seem to use. I chose based on how memorable they are. The imagery that sticks in my head no matter how old they are. How good a job they did with the parody. The quotes Mr. Tibbs and I use in everyday conversation to this day.  The quotes being the most important part really since Mr. Tibbs and I speak in Simpsons quotes all the time anyway.

10) Dial 'Z' for Zombies - Season 4
Bart and Lisa try to bring their old cat Snowball 1 back from the dead, but instead end up reanimating the human corpses in the cemetery, As the town is overrun by zombies the Simpson family heads to the school library to find a book to reverse the spell, while Homer shoots the zombie Flanders (not realizing he was a zombie). In the school Homer dispatches the reanimated bodies of famous people who have inexplicable appeared in Springfield. Like George Washington, Albert Einstein, and William Shakespeare.

Lisa: Dad, we did something very bad!
Homer: Did you wreck the car?
Bart: No
Homer: Did you raise the dead?
Lisa: Yes!
Homer: But the car's okay?
Lisa and Bart: Uh-huh.
Homer: All right then.

9) Attack of the 50 Foot Eyesores - Season 7
Homer steals the giant donut held by the mascot of Lard Lad Donuts. That night a freak storm hits the town bringing to life all of the mascots and advertisements in town. The Lard Lad shows up looking for his donut, and Marge convinces Homer to give it back and end the horror. Unfortunately, the horror doesn't end. Lisa turns to the ad agency that created to mascots for a way to stop them, and finds out that not paying attention to them will make them go away. She and Paul Anka (which may not be the most relevant cameo since even my old ass barely knows who that is) sing a jingle that makes everyone ignore the ads and they begin to die. All except Lard Lad who is being kept alive by the attentions of Homer.

Lisa: It worked! They're all dead.
Bart: Well, except for chubsy-ubsy over there.
(everyone turns and gasps and Lard Lad tempts Homer with the giant donut)
Homer: Mmm...sprinkles.
Marge: Homer! Stop looking.
Lisa: Don't make us poke your eyes out, Dad. (they drag him away)
Homer(groaning) Oh!
(Lard Lad collapses)

8) The Raven - Season 2
An absolute classic from the very first episode. It's what most people think of first when they think of the Treehouse of Horror. It's basically James Earl Jones reading the famous Edgar Allan Poe with Bart playing the part of the raven while Homer is the lead character. It's beautifully done, and Homer's delivery of "take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door" is brilliant. It's a poem so there's not much to quote unless you really want me to quote poetry to you (which you don't) I don't have a good line section to put at the end of this. It's just overall a really good segment that deserves a place on my list.

7) The Genesis Tub - Season 8
Lisa's science project is about putting a tooth in soda to ruin that for everyone too. After a static shock from Bart the tub begins growing life that evolves into a tiny civilization. They eventually develop the technology to shrink Lisa down, and pull her in to the tub where she discovers that she's their god. Since Lisa is stuck in the tub Bart takes it and turns it in as his science project where it beats out Martin's milk carton ukulele for 1st prize. This one just has a ton of great lines, and that's really what earned it's place on the list.

     Lisa: Science has already proven the dangers of smoking, alcohol, and Chinese food. But I can still        ruin soft drinks for everyone!

Lisa: Oh, great. I'm stuck in this lousy tub for the rest of my life.
(People stare at her)
Lisa: Shouldn't you people be groveling?
(Everyone starts groveling)
Lisa: (noticing that her slippers have gone) And bring me some shoes. Nice ones.
Man: She'll want socks, too. I'll get socks.

6) Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace - Season 7
When kids at Springfield Elementary start dying in their sleep it's revealed that their parents killed Groundskeeper Willie (sort of, it's more that Homer is an idiot and the other parents didn't help), and now he's back for revenge. Bart decides to fight Willie in his dream, but Willie is too strong for both him and Lisa to beat. He ends up being foiled by Maggie, of course, but is it really over? The various forms that Willie takes on are hilarious, as are a ton of lines.

Marge: It all started on the 13th hour, of the 13th day, of the 13th month. We were there to discuss the misprinted calendars the school had purchased.
Homer(shivering, looking at the calendar) Oh, lousy Smarch weather.

Lisa: Bart! Do you realize what this means? The next time we fall asleep, we could die!
Grampa: Heh! Welcome to my world!

5) The Devil and Homer Simpson - Season 5
Homer wants a donut so badly that he offer to sell his soul to get one. Beacause "it's always the person you least expect" the devil turns out to be Ned Flanders. Homer gets his donut, but with the knowledge that as soon as he finishes eating it he'll be consigned to hell. Homer being Homer he eventually eats the last bite of the "forbidden donut", and spends the day in hell while awaiting trial. No thanks to the incompetent lawyer Lionel Hutz, Homer is found innocent, but Flanders condems him to wear the donut on his head forever. Many, many more super funny lines in this one, and if you'll recall that's pretty much my biggest decider.

Marge: Homer, don't pick at it!
Homer: But, Marge, I'm so sweet and tasty! 

Lionel Hutz: I watched matlock in a bar the other night. The sound wasn't on, but I think I got the gist of it.

4) The Monkey's Paw - Season 3
In the nightmare episode Lisa dreams that Homer buys a money's paw in Morocco that grants four wishes. They obviously all go horribly awry (except for Maggie's wish which simply gives her a nice new pacifier). Bart wishes for fame and fortune which makes everyone hate the family, Lisa wishes for world peace that brings Kang and Kodos down on the planet, and Homer receives a turkey sandwhich that's a little dry. Homer gives the monkey's paw to Flanders in disgust, and he quickly saves the world. After seeing the improvements Flanders then makes to his house with the paw Homer wishes he had a monkey's paw. It's getting harder and harder to justify my choices with mere explanations so here's some more quotes.

      Homer: What is this?
      Merchant: A monkey's paw that will grant its owner four wishes.
      Homer: Wow! How much?
      Merchant: Sir, I must recommend against buying this. It carries a bad omen. Take me for example,       I was once the President of Algeria...

Marge: Homer, where'd you get the monkey's paw?
Homer: I got it from the stand...over..there. (points to an empty space. A gust of wind is blowing sand around)
Homer: Oh, wait. It's over there.

Kodos: They constructed a board with a nail in it, but they won't stop there. They'll construct bigger boards with bigger nails, and then they'll construct a board with a nail in it so large, it will destroy them all...

3) Citizen Kang - Season 8
Kang and Kodos abduct Homer to learn more about how to take over the world.       When he tells them about the upcoming the elections they decide to replace Bill Clinton and Bob Dole to ensure that they'll take over the world. After dousing him in rum so no one will believe his story they set him lose, and proceed to vie for the affection of the American voting public. Kang wins, and enslaves humainty, but don't blame Homer "he voted for Kodos". The great thing about this segment is that it works for Halloween, 4th of July, and election season.

      Kodos: (as Clinton) We must go forward, not backward. Upward, not downward. And always                 twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.

      Kang: Hmm... Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others!

Clinton Aide: People are becoming a bit confused by the way you and your opponent are… well… constantly holding hands.
Kang: (as Dole) We are merely exchanging long protein strings. If you can think of a simpler way, I'd like to hear it.

Kodos: It's a two party system! You have to vote for one of us!
Man: He's right, this is a two-party system.
Man 2: Well, I believe I'll vote for a third-party candidate.
Kang: Go ahead, throw your vote away.

2) The Shinning - Season 6
Mr. Burns hires the Simpsons to care for his hotel on the off season. By removing the TV and alcohol he thinks that he'll get more work from the family, but Smithers wonders if that was what made the last caretakers go insane. Without TV and beer Homer quickly goes something something...and tries to kill the rest of the family. Bart's psychic connection with Groundskeeper Willie, or shinning, could save the family if Willie weren't so bad at saving people (he dies with an axe to the back in all 3 segments of this episode). They only survive by finding Willie's portable TV in the snow which causes Homer's urge to kill to finally fade. I pretty much know this segment by heart, but in case you don't, here's some more quotes.

Burns: Yes, by cutting off cable TV and the beer supply, I can ensure an honest winter's work out of those low-lifes.
Smithers: Sir, did you ever stop to think that maybe it was doing this that caused the previous caretakers to go insane and murder their families?
Burns: Hmm... perhaps. Tell you what: we come back and everyone's slaughtered, I owe you a Coke.

Willy: Shh! You want to get sued? Now look, boy: if your Da goes gaga, you just use that... "Shin" of yours to call me and I'll come a running. But don't be reading my mind between four and five. That's Willy's time!

Homer: What do you think, Marge? All I need is a title. I was thinking along the lines of "No TV and no beer make Homer... something something..."
Marge: Go crazy?
Homer: Don’t mind if I do!

Homer: Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover. Urge to kill... fading... fading... fading... rising! Fading, fading... gone. Come, family. Sit in the snow with Daddy and let us all bask in television's warm glowing warming glow.

1) Clown Without Pity - Season 4
It was a tough choice, but in terms of hilarity, and longevity I had to go with this one. Homer forgets to buy Bart a birthday present and ends up in a currio shop where he buys a cursed Krusty the Clown doll. The doll is alive, and spends the rest of the segment trying to kill Homer. It turns out that someone had set the doll to "evil", and once it was set to "good" the doll does whatever Homer wants. There's gonna be a lot of quotes. As I said, it's my favorite for a reason.

Owner: Take this object, but beware it carries a terrible curse...
Homer: Ooooh, that's bad.
Owner: But it comes with a free Frogurt!
Homer: That's good.
Owner: The Frogurt is also cursed.
Homer: That's bad.
Owner: But you get your choice of topping!
Homer: That's good.
Owner: The toppings contains Potassium Benzoate. [Homer stares] That's bad.
Homer: Can I go now?

Grampa: That doll is evil, I tells ya. Evil! Eeeeeeviillll!!!
Marge: Grandpa, you said that about all the presents.
Grampa: I just want attention.

Homer: The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughin' at me!

So how could I ignore things like Homer3, Night of the Dolphins, or Nightmare at 5 and 1/2 Feet? Well, I'm not ignoring them. I only have so much room, and this thing is already pretty long. I also want to assure you that I'm not a snob about later episodes. It's just that the earlier ones are more memorable. Not saying that it makes them better, but well, they are better. I'll still watch every year as long as they're on. It's still better than almost anything on network TV. And not to get in too much trouble with the rest of the world, but besides "mmmm...erotic cakes" there isn't much about that segment I really like. Do you agree, disagree, want to cut me? Bring it on (except for the cutting. I'm not as tough as I talk).


Beth got her start writing for a site called Movie Criticism for the Retarded (which has been reborn as dorkdroppings.com. Check it out sometime), but was pulled out of an early retirement to write for Needless Things. When she isn't writing she plays video games and watches bad horror movies while eagerly awaiting the zombie apocalypse. She may try to save her husband and/or their cats, but luckily hasn't had to make those tough decisions yet. Follow beth0rama on Instagram or on Twitter @NeedlessBeth where she doesn't post often enough to be annoying, but updates way more than Google+

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