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Guillermo del Toro’s SIMPSONS Cold Open References Everything

Horror maestro and all around cool guy Guillermo del Toro was put in charge of the title sequence for this year’s “Treehouse of Horror,” the 24th installment of the annual Halloween-themed episode of The Simpsons. To say that he’s had some fun with it is an understatement. In the 2 minute and 45 second sequence, del Toro has put in literally dozens, if not hundreds, of references to movies, horror and otherwise, that he himself has made or not. Below, I’m going to attempt to tally them all up. Surely I will miss some, so if you find some I miss, feel free to add them in the comments.

1. Three-eyed raven, likely a reference to Game of Thrones.
2. Buncha guys killing zombies. I feel like this is something specific but I can’t tell.
3. In the wide shot you can see a Jaeger fighting a Kaiju from Pacific Rim.
4. Chief Wiggum as the Cyclops is a reference to The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
5. Alfred Hitchcock throws birdseed on Ms. Krabappel.
6. Bart writes the famous line from The Shining on the blackboard.
7. Stephen King is insane.
8. Groundskeeper Willie is Hellboy fighting Kroenen.
9. Homer turns into a Reaper from Blade II.
10. Carl turns into Blade.
11. Godzilla’s skeleton is buried underground.
12. Mr. Burns is the Pale Man and Smithers is *ahem* a fairy from Pan’s Labyrinth.
13. Maggie is on the conveyor belt with the vampire devices from Cronos.
14. Bunch of references to Mimic, or possibly Naked Lunch but I think it’s the first one.
15. All the different versions of the Phantom of the Opera (Lon Chaney, Herbert Lom, Claude Raines, a fourth guy)
16. The Phantom of the Paradise playing organ.
17. Cthulu
18. On the sidewalk there are H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Ray Bradbury, The Illustrated Man, Richard Matheson, and a light-sensitive mutant from The Omega Man.
19. Everybody’s being chased by the Universal Classic Monsters (Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, The Mutant from This Island Earth in the background, not the Gill Man but something like it, Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man). That’s TWO Claude Raines references.
20. My favorite reference: Maggie drives the titular demonic automobile in The Car (and even kills Millhouse in a fashion from that film).

Here’s where I’m really going to get into trouble: From left to right –
21. Rod Serling.
22. The Robot from Lost in Space (not Robby from Forbidden Planet)
23. A weird green tentacle thing
24. The Xenomorph from Alien
25. Something spray painting “El Muerto.”
26. Graffiti of Hitchcock’s silhouette
27. Lon Chaney in London After Midnight
28. Skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts
29. Kang and Kodos way in the back
30. A Morlock from The Time Machine
31. The stupid creature from Robot Monster
32. Nosferatu
33. I think another Harryhausen creature (the lizard guy)
34. The Saucer Men from Invasion of the Saucer Men
35. The Fly
36. Gort and the ship from The Day the Earth Stood Still
37. I don’t know who that green guy in the foreground is
38. A couple of Freaks from Tod Browning’s Freaks
39. The Mummy
40. The Invisible Man
41. Rondo Hatton
42. The Grim Reaper
43. At the sofa, Homer is the kid from The Devil’s Backbone
44. Lisa falls through the couch and is all Alice in Wonderland-y
46. The end of Pan’s Labyrinth.

So, those are all the ones I caught, and clearly I missed some. I’d like to brag that I didn’t look any up, either, hence missing a few. Which ones did I not catch? Comment me, folks! And Happy Simpsonsween!


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  1. Stella W says:

    Just having Lon Chaney Sr. in there TWICE was awesome. That alone would have made my day. 🙂

  2. michaelalexkawa says:

    That was awesome .

  3. Stella W says:

    Correction: You were right, it’s a Reaper, not the Predator. Horrible gaping maw is shaped differently, lol.

    The other part of what I posted is correct, though. Johnny Eck and Schlitzee. Love that era. 🙂

  4. Stella W says:

    Homer is transformed into the Predator.
    The two people from Tod Browning’s Freaks are Johnny Eck and Schlitzee.

  5. joe anon says:

    tentacle, lovecraft , poe.. who are the rest of them don’t recognize them.

  6. Dave says:

    I think the green guy in the foreground is James Arness as the original Thing.

  7. Naughtyaelf says:

    in the background of the Kronus/donut boy, are there three Nazgul flying past?

  8. ThePlaidMan says:

    The three-eyed raven is actually from an earlier Simpsons into, specifically the one done by UK artist Banksy. It’s Banksy’s usual symbol crossed with Blinky the three-eyed fish.

  9. Eli says:

    RG says…”Eli either has Asperger’s, and we support him on his journey… or he’s just the worst.”

    Name-calling aside…I’m also right.

  10. Jesse says:

    I might be putting too much thought into it, but when the head of the statue lands on Ralph’s head it could be a nod to Hot Fuzz where the reporter’s head gets smashed it. He’s also eating an ice cream cone at the time. Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy reference?

  11. Craig says:

    This isn’t a cold open. It’s just a different intro. A cold open is when a show starts without the intro first. Breaking Bad starts with a cold open. Dexter does not.

  12. Rob says:

    Santi. The kid from The Devil’s Backbone was Santi.

  13. Shayde says:

    It was all worth it for Hypnotoad.

  14. Britney says:

    I was looking for something from The Orphanage del Toro did (btw: scariest. movie. ever). Did anybody catch anything?

  15. Britney says:

    The 3 eyed raven could be a cross between Edgar Allan Poe’s poem and the 3 eyed fish that frequents Springfield? Also, lots of references to other THOH episodes.

  16. Kim says:

    Your Gill Man is the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

  17. TrishZwei says:

    @ 2:06 there’s the mute girl from American Horror Story: Asylum

  18. Inno says:

    The car that Maggie’s driving – could it also be THE WERECAR from The Futurama episode “The Honking”?


  19. E says:

    The fish that jumps out and grabs Milhouse is frankenfish, I think.

  20. Mickey says:

    The Mummy and the Invisible Man both appear twice and always together, I guess because they are both wrapped up in bandages. The Mummy looks about the same both times, so I can’t tell if one is supposed to be the Boris Karloff and the other is the Lon Chaney Jr Mummy. [Anyone see difference?] The second appearance of the invisible man (2:06) looks like the classic Claude Rains character. But the first (1:54) invisible man (in that group of classic movie monsters, finally getting to chase the humans with torches and pitchforks, instead of the other way around), that invisible person looks like a woman. In fact, the leopard print trim on the robe reminds me of something Gloria Swanson would have worn in Sunset Boulevard. Does anyone know of an invisible woman from that era?

  21. Brian Why says:

    The 4th phantom is The Phantom, like from the comic strip.

  22. Luke says:

    Number 33 is Ymir (a Harryhausen creature as mentioned) from ’20 Million Miles to Earth’ 🙂 Awesome film.

  23. Mickey says:

    In the background behind the skeleton warriors from Jason and the Argonauts, isn’t that the Ymir from 20 Million Miles To Earth? (I had to look up the name.) The cyclops, skeletons and the Ymir are all Ray Harryhausen creations.

  24. Lard Lad coming to life with his big metal doughnut is a reference to an earlier THOH episode where all of the town’s signs and mascots came to life.

  25. Matt says:

    Zooming in on the school, house from Psycho in the background.

  26. Res says:


  27. Zach says:

    I believe that’s the old Simpsons character designs from the Tracy Ullman Show just above the godzilla skeleton.

  28. scott says:

    Those clasic monster chasing everyone may be the monsters from the movie Monster Squad, with the water monster being creature from the black lagoon.

  29. Megan says:

    One of the portraits on the wall as Lisa plays out looks like the Sinister Squashling from World of Warcraft… Or the great pumpkin from Charlie Brown!

  30. LukeTuesday says:

    The 4th phantom in is likely an Homage to Fantomas. The fictional burglar who was the original inspiration for the The Phantom of the Opera

  31. RG says:

    “It’s not a cold open. It’s the regular opening with theme song.”


    Eli either has Asperger’s, and we support him on his journey… or he’s just the worst.

  32. Karen says:

    Wow, I’m impressed you got all that without looking up anything. Kudos! Also, best Simpsons THOH opener EVER.

  33. Turambar says:

    Also, I think the guy with the lantern, next to the xenomorph is Mr Hyde.

  34. Turambar says:

    When Lisa’s playing the sax there’s an Island of Dr Moreau painting and a Raven painting.

  35. Brian R says:

    Maggie scanned in the grocery store as $666.

  36. Emily R says:

    Also, I believe Clive Barker posted that Pinhead was in there but I didn’t see him, it went really fast at some points.

  37. Emily R says:

    Number 2 is from Resident Evil: Apocolypse (2nd one) “use of live ammunition has been authorized”

  38. Dave says:

    Zombie horde killing is hard to discern these days but I’m going with World War Z. Runner up option is Resident Evil 1.

    Also, Johnny Eck (that’s my guess anyway) was perched on the barrier beside The Fly.

  39. DocDetroit says:

    *Er Kang and Marge’s off-spring

  40. DocDetroit says:

    You missed the portrait of Maggie as and Marge’s off-spring

  41. rudie says:

    did I see Skeleton warriors from Army of Darkness?

  42. saya says:

    oops i meant in the horde of no. 19!

  43. Jesse says:

    That Phantom of The Paradise reference made me so happy 😀

  44. saya says:

    no 33 could be the creature from the black lagoon

  45. amoxy says:

    You mentioned Godzilla’s skeleton, but there was also a Godzilla roar

  46. Eli says:

    It’s not a cold open. It’s the regular opening with theme song.

  47. damocles74 says:

    That. Was. FANTASTIC!

  48. Jason says:

    The green tentacle-y thing is from ‘Hellboy 2: The Golden Army’!