Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Top 5 Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Segments

Top 5 Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Segments:

I remember first seeing the Treehouse of Horror episodes as a younger lad and I was immediately awestruck by the hilarity and gore. Here was my favorite television show mixed with horror, sci-fi, and all the craziness and more I would expect from a Simpsons episode. I am, and always will be a huge fan of the Simpsons, but these non-canon episodes allow us to experience the violence and gore we can't receive in a normal episode. In that way, they hold a special place in my heart. Let me just preface these picks. These are my personal favorite segments, and many may disagree. This was a tough choice because there are so many gems, but I must make a choice. I must also say that in my opinion, the episodes went way downhill after season IX, which is coincidentally when the whole series went downhill.

5.Treehouse of Horror II-Homer's Nightmare.

The last segment in Treehouse of Horror II excels brilliantly in the mixing of horror, comedy, and some sci-fi elements. While not particularly gruesome, this story is just flat out hilarious from start to finish. Homer and Burns always seem to work well together. Spoilers Ahead: Homer is promptly fired from his job for being lazy and sleeping on the job. Is this new? Good way to set up the story however. He quickly finds work as a grave digger via Bart's instruction. On the other side, Mr. Burns is tired of these lazy employees. He is bent on creating a super worker from a robot / human hybrid. All he needs is a fresh brain. Mr. Burns and Smithers travel to the graveyard looking for fresh corpse for their experiment ala Frankenstein and Igor. They find Homer sleeping on the job again (inside the grave he was digging) and mistake him for a corpse. This leads Mr. Burns to humorously exclaim " Smithers, get him out quickly. The stench is overpowering." Genius. Back at the lab Mr. Burns hilariously cuts open Homer's skull, takes his brain out with an ice cream scooper, and briefly wears his brain with spine attached proclaiming he's Davey Crockett. How can you go wrong? They soon find out that the robot / homer hybrid is no different than the original incarnation. He won't listen to commands, devours donuts, and wants to sleep all day. Burns quickly laments his failure and at Smithers request, puts Homers brain back in. He curses the robot and kicks it. It falls over on him, crushing everything but his head. He then asks Smithers before he dies to get some surgical tools and some ether. Homer wakes up screaming due to Bart biting him. Homer goes to the bathroom only to see Mr. Burn's head attached to his shoulder. He tries to stay calm and re-assure himself it's all a dream. Mr. Burns diabolically says, "Oh that's right. It's all a dream.....or is it." They then cut to a parody of a sitcom where Mr. Burns and Homer fight over which head gets priority in daily life. This episode is a solid and memorable classic. I would highly recommend. 

Best Line:

Smithers: You hear that, sir? Burns: No, I didn't. Who is it? Frankenstein? The Booooger Man? 

Smithers: It's the man in the bag, sir. I think he's alive.

Burns: Oh. [walks over to it, and thwacks it with a shovel] Bad corpse. [thwack] Bad corpse. [thwack] Stop [thwack] scaring [thwack] Smithers! [thwack]

4.Treehouse of Horror I-Hungry are the Dammed.

This is Kang and Kodos's first appearance in the series, and they have made an appearance in every Treehouse of Horror episode since. This episode was based off of the Twilight Zone episode To Serve Man, which scared the crap out of me as a kid. I felt this segment had a generally more scary tone and was better written than that of the more recent offerings. The comedy between the Simpsons and the aliens is solid and works well with the storyline. My favorite part being when Homer needs three beams just to lift him onto the spacecraft. Spoilers Ahead: The Simpson family gathers together in the backyard for a barbecue. To my never ending amusement, Homer puts a whole bottle of lighter fluid in the barbecue to get it started. I think many of us have been there. He throws the match in, and boom, a huge mushroom cloud erupts over the house. Nice. Any who, the family is promptly abducted. Kang and Kodos appear to them and tell them they wish them no harm. They shall take them to Rigel IV, where they will have "infinite delights". They are brought all they can eat and are told to "grow large with food". Lisa grows suspicious of Kang and Kodos's intentions after a few odd remarks. She proceeds to wander around the ship. Meanwhile there are a couple of funny lines between Kang / Kodos and the Simpsons regarding HBO costing extra on their cable plan and them thinking pong is awesome. Lisa overhears the cook saying "This will give the humans the perfect flavor", whilst looking over a cookbook. She of course then interprets this to mean that they are being fattened up to be eaten, as such is the reveal at the end of the twilight zone episode. She runs to tell her family. Homer becomes furious and lets them know " nobody, but NOBODY, eats the Simpsons". They are flabbergasted and reveal that the cookbook was covered in space dust. The true title no being "How to Cook Humans", but "How to cook for Forty Humans". Kang and Kodos are disappointed in the Simpsons and return them home, lamenting the fact that they could have had paradise. Everybody blames Lisa at the end for being nosy and a know it all. What's new? Great episode and a classic. Fun fact, Matt Groening wanted the title for the Alien book to be ``How to Cook for Forty Humans and then Eat them,'' but it was vetoed.  

Best Line:

Kang: Anyone from a species that has mastered intergalactic travel raise your hand. [raises his tentacle] Kodos [raises his tentacle]  
Bart: [raises his hand]  
Homer: [slaps Bart's hand]  
Kang: All right, then.  
Marge: I'm sorry. Your game is very nice.(Regarding Pong)

3.Treehouse of Horror IV-Bart Simpson's Dracula.

I simply love this episode. Very funny lines. Great animation and well directed. Plus, who doesn't love a good vampire story? I must mention the wraparounds for this episode. They were extremely well done and directed by Conan O' Brien. The last one leading into this segment was especially funny, with Homer screaming " Aah! They're dogs...and they're playing poker"! Bart then explains "We had a story to go with this painting, but it was far too intense. So we just threw something together with vampires. Enjoy"!Good stuff. Also, this has some of the funniest opening dialouge to any segment of a Simpsons episode ever in my opinion. See below. 

Brockman: Another local peasant has been found dead -- drained of his blood with two teeth marks on his throat. This black cape was found on the scene. [Cape has "DRACULA" written on it] Police are baffled.  

Wiggum: We think we're dealing with a supernatural being, most likely a mummy. As a precaution, I've ordered the Egyptian wing of the Springfield museum destroyed. 

Spoilers Ahead: Lisa is convinced Mr. Burns is a vampire and behind the recent murders. Possibly because he just bought the blood bank and was seen with blood dripping from his mouth? Hmmmm, I wonder. The family is then seen driving to Mr. Burns's country house in.........PENNSYLVANIA! One hilarious part here is when Marge asks everyone is they washed their necks like Mr. Burns asked, Homer shouts "I did"!, and shows a disgusting dirty rag covered in dirt. Gold. They proceed to the mansion for dinner and are served glasses of what appear to be blood. Lisa spills some on Bart so they can be excused to go wash up. She snoops around the mansion looking for clues. They find Mr. Burn's lair, complete with coffins. Vampires quickly arise and chase them out of the lair. Bart can't resist the super happy fun slide once he reaches the exit. He slides down into the arms of the Vampires. Mr. Burns then arrives and comicly says, "Why, if it isn't"! Lisa runs back to the family to tell them Mr. Burns is a vampire and he has Bart. Only for Mr. Burns to show up with Bart in hand exclaiming everything is fine. Another gem follows:  

Bart: [droning] Hello, Mother. Hello, Father. I missed you during my uneventful absence.  

Homer: Oh, Lisa, you and your stories. "Bart is a vampire." "Beer kills brain cells." Now let's go back to that...building...thingy, where our beds and 

Cut to Lisa trying to sleep in bed. Bart arrives outside her window floating in the air ala Salem's Lot (Which is one of the scariest scenes in the history of movies) with some of his newly turned friends. He tries to get her to come out and joining them as vampires. She refuses, but Bart forces his way in. As he is about to bite here, Homer stops him and in the process figures out that he is actually a vampire. Bart turns into a bat (beautiful animation there) and flies off. Lisa suggests that to get Bart back to normal, they must kill the head vampire, Mr. Burns. The travel back to his mansion and find him sleeping in his coffin. My favorite scene follows as Mr. Burns is first staked in the crotch by Homer, and then finally his heart.Mr. Burns dies, but not before firing Homer. Back at the Simpson house all seems back to normal. Grandpa flies in wearing a cape and some false teeth with fangs crashing into the wall. Lisa befuddled asks, "Grandpa is a vampire"? Marge exclaims, "We're all vampires". They then go after Lisa. Then in a genius moment of parody, they re-enact A Charlie Brown Christmas. Complete with singing and Santa's Little Helper dancing like Snoopy. Great episode all around and brilliant ending. 

Best Line:  

Homer: “Take that, vile fiend!" he cries, hammering the stake into the still body.

Lisa: "Uh, Dad? That's his crotch.” 

2.Treehouse of Horror V-Time and Punishment.

This was almost my first pick. Brilliant writing, beautiful animation, and funny as hell. Some of the funniest dialogue I have ever seen is in this segment. The premise follows the Butterfly Effect theory that if you change something in the past, something drastic will change in the future. Homer carries this story arc with gusto. The opening scene is a work of perfection. Please see below.

It's another beautiful Springfield morning.  Homer waxes philosophical
around the breakfast table.

Homer: You know, Marge, I've had my share of troubles, but sitting here
       now with you and the kids in our cozy home in this beautiful free just makes me feel that I'm really a lucky guy.
 Lisa: Dad!  Your hand is jammed in the toaster!
        [everyone screams; Homer runs around]
Homer: Aah!  Get it off!  Get it off!  [slams it into things] Get it off
       of me!
        [throws it off, sighs, slumps down to floor]
 Bart: Dad!  It's in there again! 
Spoilers Ahead: So Homer goes to fix the ruined demon toaster in the basement. He works on it all night and morning, and when finished somehow creates a time machine toaster. Once he tests it out, he is transported back in time to the land of dinosaurs. Hilarity ensues. He recalls advice given to him by Grandpa about how to not touch anything, because even the slightest change can alter the future in ways he can't imagine. I'm not sure why Grandpa knows this, but it was a way for the viewer to know it, so it doesn't matter. He tries to avoid touching anything, but he ends up squashing a mosquito. He doesn't' think it will make a difference. He travels back home to see nothing looks different, although it is soon apparent that this is a dystopian future. An alarm goes off and the floor morphs up into a TV with Flanders on the screen. Homer calls Flanders a nerd and an alarm goes off. Flanders orders the Simpsons to be detained for Re-Neducation. The rest of the family are lobotomized and Homer escapes to try and go back in time and change whatever changes he made. He is chased by a T-Rex and accidentally sits on a fish walking on land for the first time. He arrives home again and to his horror Bart and Lisa are giants that try to squash him like a bug. Back again to the past, he sneezes on the T-Rex causing a chain reaction of death for all dinosaurs. Homer famously says, "This is gonna cost me." Back to the present. Things are looking up for Homer. The family seems to be rich and live in luxury. However, to Homer's horror when he asks for a donut, Marge says "What's a donut?. Homer screams and runs back to the basement to go back in time once again. Once he's gone, ironically it starts raining donuts. Poor Homer. Back and forth once more, Willie tries to help, only to be brutally murdered with an Ax to the back of the head by Maggie. Yes! Once back in time once again, he proceeds to bash the living hell out of everything out of frustration. He goes back and forth in a series of comical views of how the house and world change. Everything from underwater, Bart as the Sphinx, and the original McDonald's design for a house. Finally Homer is travels back to the kitchen where everything looks back to normal. he sits down for breakfast, only to notice that everyone is eating with long frog like tongues. He shrugs, "Eh, close enough." 

Best Line:

Ned: [on a TV] Now, in case all that smiling didn't cheer you up, there's one thing that never fails: a nice glass of warm milk, a little nap -- and a total frontal lobotomy.  

Moe: [slowly] It's not so bad, Homer. They...go in through your nose and...they let you keep the piece of brain they cut out. 
Look! [holds up a jar with a piece of brain in it] Ooh! Hello! Hello there! Who's that big man there? Who's that?

1.Treehouse of Horror III-Dial 'Z' for Zombies.

And now we come to # 1. My favorite segment of all time. Actually the whole episode is mind blowing. I love zombies and the Simpsons, so this is bliss for me. Again, great animation, story, and killer dialogue. The story takes many cues from Night of The Living Dead, including the ending message of American life. Spoilers Ahead: Bart is sent to the library to find a book to do a report on. He stumbles into an occult section he never noticed before. He finds (or does it find him) a black magic book. Once at home, Lisa is lamenting Snowball I's loss. Bart tries to cheer her up by offering to try and resurrect her beloved pet. they go to the cemetery and Bart recites the incantation with some hilarious lines ala Army of Darkness. The spell goes wrong and the dead rise from their graves as zombies hungry for brains. They terrorize the town and the Simpsons. The Simpsons are trapped in their home, but they realize they must get to the school so they can find an incantation to reverse the spell. The zombies crash through the barricaded door. Homer tries to offer himself up to save his family, but they find no brains in his head. they then escape the house. In one of the best moments in Simpsons history, Homer shoots the zombie Flanders. Quotes at the bottom. They reach the library after taking out some historical zombie figures such as Washington and Einstein. How good is that? The find the incantation and turn everything back to normal. Again, awesome episode. Good violence and gore. I would recommend thoroughly.  

Best Line: 

Zombie Flanders: Hey Simpson! I'm feeling a mite peckish. [sinisterly] Mind if I chew your EAR? 

Homer wastes him. 

Bart: Dad, you killed the Zombie Flanders! 

Homer: He was a Zombie!? 

Honorable Mention: Quite honestly I like pretty much all of the segments I-IX. The above were just my favorites. I will mention four others that could have easily been in the top five notwithstanding the first spot.

Treehouse of Horror II-Bart's Nightmare: This is a brilliant take on the Twilight episode It's a Good Life. Funny story and ending and it stands out among other episodes for it's strange vibe. Plus Homer thinking about smashing Bart's head in with a chair is priceless.

Treehouse of Horror V-Nightmare Cafeteria: This whole episode is one of my favorites all of time. Mainly because it was the most gory and violent. The episode was also quite inventive and unique. This particular segment was quite creepy and the ending is flat out brilliant and out of control. Bart getting ripped apart by Santa's Little Helper=Priceless!

Treehouse of Horror VII-The Genesis Tub: More comedy and sci-fi than horror, this episode is still a favorite because of its commentary on life, religion, and morality. There is some great animation is this episode and some funny exchanges between Bart and Lisa. Also the fat guy asking Lisa (because they think she's God), "Why am I so fat"? Gold.

 Treehouse of Horror II-The Devil and Homer Simpson: Simply put. The Devil as Ned Flanders, Homer Simpson, Soul Donut, Lionel Hutz, and Homer going to hell. Simply awesome.

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