Between 1966 and 1990, there was one constant for cartoon lovers everywhere when it came to Halloween: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. On October 25th, 1990, something new came along to knock the Peanuts gang off their tower. Of course, I am talking about The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror.
The Treehouse of Horror is, if you weren’t aware, the yearly Simpsons Halloween special. It is an anthology episode featuring three different shorts. They are a mixture of original stories and adaptations of classic horror. Each story is also set in its own continuity. Nothing that happens in these shorts has any ramifications for the rest of the show, so these are usually the most creative episodes of the year. Looking back over the last 25 specials, I’ve narrowed my favorite segments down to this top 10 list. These are the best of the best of the Treehouse of Horror.
10. The Devil and Homer Simpson (Season 5)
Homer makes a deal with the Devil (Ned Flanders, of course) to get a donut in exchange for his soul. After foolishly eating the last bite, Homer is put on trial with eternal damnation on the line should the jury find him guilty. This is a parody of The Devil and Daniel Webster.
9. Terror at 5 1/2 Feet (Season 5)
Based on the classic Twilight Zone episode Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, Bart channels his inner William Shatner (Or John Lithgow, depending on your preference) to convince his fellow bus riders that there is a monster trying to destroy them all.
8. Night of the Dolphin (Season 12)
When Lisa sets free a dolphin from captivity, she doesn’t realize this dolphin wasn’t wanting freedom…but REVENGE. Springfield is then thrust into a war with the dolphin kingdom, with the right to stay on land as the prize.
7. The Island of Dr. Hibbert (Season 14)
In an adaptation of the Island of Dr. Moreau, Dr. Hibbert transforms the citizens of Springfield into Human/Animal hybrids. I am glad they didn’t try to adapt the 1996 movie version. Ugh, that movie still makes me angry.
6. It’s the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse (Season 20)
After 20 years, The Simpsons finally adapted the classic Peanuts story. In this version, Milhouse is Linus, Lisa is Sally, and probably because Milhouse couldn’t be two characters, Bart is Charlie Brown (in a shirt only, because if anyone is Charlie Brown, it’s Milhouse). Unlike its predecessor, the GRAND Pumpkin is real. In typical Simpsons fashion, the results aren’t what Milhouse had hoped for.
5. Citizen Kang (Season 8)
Usually making cameo appearances between segments, alien invaders Kang and Kodos take center stage to rig the 1996 Presidential election in a bid to take over the planet. Taking over the bodies of Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, this sketch was also a commentary on politics, as no one seemed to tell the difference between the real candidates and the tyrannical alien invaders.
4. Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores (Season 7)
When a lightning storm causes all the gaudy billboard mascots in Springfield to come to life and wreak havoc, it’s up to Lisa to show the town that advertising doesn’t control us – we control it. Great to think about as your are fast forwarding on your DVR.
3. King Homer (Season 4)
In this send up to the 1933 original King Kong, Homer portrays the famous ape as he causes chaos in Springfield, all while trying to win the affections of a human (Marge. Who else would it be? I mean, c’mon). This sketch did a great job of mirroring some of the iconic shots from the film.
2. The Shinning (Season 6)
In this adaptation of the Stanley Kubrick film (I won’t mention its name. Ya don’t want to get sued, do ya?), Homer goes insane at a hotel when the cable TV and beer are taken away. Only Bart and his special power, the Shinning, can ensure the family’s survival.
Before I reveal my number 1, let’s look at some others that almost made the cut.
- Homer3 (Season 7)
- Fly vs. Fly (Season 9)
- Easy-Bake Coven (Season 9)
- Send in the Clones (Season 14)
Best Couch Gag: Guillermo Del Toro (Season 25)
For the Treehouse of Horror XXIV, Guillermo Del Toro took the reigns and, true to form, turned it into an ode of all things horror.
And now here is, of all 25 Treehouse of Horror episodes, the best of them all.
1. The Raven (Season 2)
Th best is the last skit from the very first Treehouse of Horror, the classic poem by Edgar Allen Poe brought to life. While it has its own “Simpsonizing” throughout, this is the truest to the source material of any other skit they’ve done. Add Darth Vader himself, James Earl Jones, to recite the poem, and it is clear why The Raven is number one.
There you go, everyone. If you are prepping a Simpsons marathon this Halloween, this list will definitely get you headed in the right direction.
So what do you think? Would you change the order of this list? Are their sketches that you feel deserve to be on here more? Let me know on Twitter or sound off in the comments below. Be sure to check out all things Nerdoween right here on Nerdist.com!