Treehouse of Horror: The 5 Best Simpsons Halloween Episodes

Sunday, November 20 by John Coon

No Halloween celebration is complete with an annual skewering of famous horror classics—and pop culture in general—in "The Simpsons" yearly Halloween episode. These "Treehouse of Horror" episodes offer perfect satirical adaptations of famous horror stories in literature, film and television. More than two decades worth of Halloween-themed episodes of "The Simpsons" have given fans plenty of memorable moments. These five segments stand out above the rest:

"The Shinning" No other Halloween episode offers a better blueprint for horror satire than "The Shinning" segment in "Treehouse of Horror V." This parody of "The Shining" centers on Homer going crazy and attempting to murder his family after Mr. Burns cuts off his supply of beer and cable TV while he acts as caretaker of a mountain lodge. From Groundskeeper Willie getting an axe in the back to the words "No beer and No TV make Homer go crazy" scrawled all over the walls, the funny moments com fast and furious. Too bad the actual Stanley Kubrick movie isn't this clever. It might have actually been scary.

"Time and Punishment" Another inspired gem from "Treehouse of Horror V." This segment deals with Homer using a time-traveling toaster to muck up the past and presence. James Earl Jones gets the most memorable moment when he voices Maggie to remind Homer "This is, indeed, a disturbing universe" moments after putting an axe in Groundskeeper Willie's back. There are tons of great sight gags, including the donut "rain" and the various incarnations of the iconic Simpsons' house.

"Clown Without Pity" Back before the "Child's Play" franchise became a self-parody, the original movie was made into a great spoof with Krusty the Clown taking on the part of Chucky in this "Treehouse of Horror III" segment. Here, Homer buys Bart a new Krusty doll as a last minute birthday gift and neglects to flip the switch from evil to good. The result is a clown doll out to kill Homer in every way possible. Plenty of great jokes here, including Patty remarking that seeing Homer completely naked as he flees the Krusty doll has removed the last traces of her heterosexuality.

"Night of the Dolphin" Who knew that dolphins could be so evil? This "Treehouse of Horror XI" segment skewers classic nature gone awry films like "The Birds" and "Jaws" when Lisa released a captive dolphin from a water park only to have it lead a revolution that dooms humanity to a life in the sea. The climatic battle in the Springfield town square is flat-out hilarious in seeing how the dolphins kill various Springfield citizens. It is fun for once to also see Lisa's activism turn out to be a bad thing.

"Citizen Kang" Election year Halloween episodes are always good for a jab at politicians. This segment from "Treehouse of Horror VII" hits all the notes perfectly, with Kang and Kodos abducting President Bill Clinton and Bob Dole and impersonating them in a bid to take over the world. The best moment is when Homer unmasks the aliens only to have them declare the futility of opposing them because it is a two-party system and the voters have to elect one or the other. One voter says he will vote for a third party, only for the aliens to mock him and declare, "Go ahead: Throw your vote away!" Classic.

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