Wednesday, 24 October 2012

I Love The 90s: The Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors

The other week, I wrote about how much I loved The Simpsons in the 90s - what a great show it was, its cultural impact, influence and its many identifiable characteristics - but I forgot to mention one thing (and by forgot, I mean deliberately chose to write about it separately) and as it's October and Halloween is nearly here, I thought it was perfect timing. I am of course talking about The Simpsons annual treehouse of horrors Halloween specials. Some of my favourite Halloween pastimes are to dress up, eat lots of chocolate, try to contact the dead and sit down and watch some classic Simpsons Halloween episodes, obviously from the 90s of course. But what makes them so special? What is it about these episodes that we all look forward to each year? Lets find out...

No one does Halloween like the Simpsons; these Halloween episodes gave the writers free range to let their imaginations run wild and break the rules even more than normal. Anything could happen in these episodes, that contain three short unrelated sections, from seeing Homer die to him being a giant bloody ape in the next, madness! And they did it all; zombies, the Salem witch trials, vampires, time travel and they even delved into other dimensions like the mind blowing (at the time) world of 3D and the film parodies after film parodies after film parodies.
The opening sequence sets the tone as the iconic Simpsons clouds are gone and there are stormy ones in their place. In the early days, Marge would  break the forth wall as we were warned that this episode is not for children and are urged to change channels, well I'm glad I didn't. With each year, they became  more outlandish and elaborate, soon dropping the warnings they went straight into the good stuff. Ah, you can't beat a good slow zoom through the grave yard with some comic head stones.
This world without rules has given us some of the Simpsons most famous characters, but none more than the aliens Kang and Kodos, who were first introduced to us in the original treehouse of horrors episode way back in 1990, where they abducted the Simpson family. Although they started out with good intentions, feeding the Simpson's delicious food and taking them to their home planet to live in paradise, the Simpsons paranoia seems to have left the pair bitter and angry at the earth and its inhabitants as from then on, they seem hellbent on taking over the world.  Kang and Kodos have appeared in all of the Halloween episodes since the first, one of my favourites being when they attempt to hitchhike to 'Earth Capial'
"Remember the story. we're newlyweds on our way to Earth Capital."
The Simpsons is well known for its parodies of films, TV shows and books, but it's the Halloween episodes where they went all out, with no holds barred piss take of some classics, from multiple twilight zone episodes like the gremlin on the bus to the Krusty doll that comes to life and attempts to kill Homer. The more recent specials have stepped away from the horror genre but you can't beat the classics, from 'King Homer' where we see Homer as King Kong to the Shinning, where he attempts to kill the entire family because he's been deprived of TV and beer. Understandable for anyone to react that way.
I remember being so excited as I sat down in the living room to see what film they would pay homage to each year, and I still do. Even if the Simpsons has lost some of its freshness in more recent years, they can still deliver a great Halloween episode, from the creepy openings to the creepy staff names. Do you remember the monkey paw that grants wishes? When homer sells his soul for a donut? Or when Bart finds his evil twin living in the attic? There are so many classics from the treehouse of horrors, I wonder what this years will be?
What do you think? What was your favourite Halloween episode? Let me know, feel free to comment, follow, plus and share. Thanks.  

No comments:

Post a Comment