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Mon, 29 Oct '12

Scared Silly: The 5 Best Treehouse of Horror Segments

How many ways can Groundskeeper Willie die?

From the scare-themed credits to the inevitable appearance of Kang and Kodos, it just wouldn't be Halloween without another iteration of The Simpsons' "Treehouse of Horror." Each Halloween for the last 23 years, we've been brought three consequence-free forays into horror, science fiction, fantasy, and all-out insanity. While we tend to love all of them, we love five of them the most. They aren't our kids, so we can do that.

COMICSThe Homega Man - Many people have wondered what they'd do if they were the last person on Earth; In Homer Simpson's case, he just eats a lot, watches Chris Farley movies and dances naked in a church. The first story in the eighth volume of "Treehouse of Horror" is a pretty dead-on homage to the Charlton Heston classic The Omega Man, with most of Springfield's supporting cast having turned into flesh-eating mutants following a France-launched neutron bomb. 

COMICSNightmare on Evergreen Terrace - Damn the weather in Smarch! The middle story from volume six is another fine parody (start sensing a theme). Groundskeeper Willie has been visiting children in their dreams and killing them with gardening implements. Willie disappeared mysteriously and the adults in town do an awful job of trying to cover up the truth: that they failed to save him from complete immolation due to the bureaucracy of PTA meetings. 

COMICSThe Monkey's Paw - All the way back in the second "Treehouse of Horror," Bart, Lisa and Homer ate too much candy and each had a bad dream. Lisa's finds the family inexplicably in Marrakesh where Homer buys a gnarled monkey paw which grants four wishes with unintended consequences. All the wishes are silly, but Bart's is the best: to make the Simpsons rich and famous. The aftermath of this wish (that people in town get tired of them immediately because their faces are everywhere) is a lovely wink to the fact that the show, though only in its third season, had become a cultural touchstone and a merchandising phenomenon. Also, Homer wishes for a turkey sandwich...but the turkey is a little dry! The HORROR!!!

COMICSNight of the Dolphin - Alcohol and night swimming are our favorites too. By the year 2000, The Simpsons had started getting unabashedly weird and it led to this, the final segment to "Treehouse" number eleven. There are parodies of everything from Free Willy to Jaws to The Birds, and it even features an army of hopping dolphins led by a king named Snorky. This tale goes nowhere you'd expect and everywhere you'd hope, culminating in a land-based battle for the planet between the dolphins and the residents of Springfield. For mammals with blow-holes, they sure are violent.

COMICSAll of "Treehouse of Horror V" - Remember "The Shinning," the sped-up but still visually perfect homage to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining? Or "Time and Punishment" where Homer learns about the dangers of messing with prehistory via a souped-up toaster? Or "Nightmare Cafeteria," where Principal Skinner and the teachers decide to deal with their overcrowded detention hall and the lack of decent lunch food with the same ghastly plan? Yeah, those are all in the same episode. It's perfect! And if you're fan of Groundskeeper Willie dying (and who isn't?), you are in for a treat. "This is a very disturbing timeline."

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