The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror episodes are as much a part of Halloween traditions as pumpkins and trick or treating.
These episodes are among some of the funniest and most inventive in the series, with the writers clearly in their element when referencing and parodying horror movie motifs.
Groundskeeper Willy in Treehouse of Horror VI: Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace genuinely creeped me out, while Ned Flanders as Satan in Treehouse of Horror IV: The Devil and Homer Simpson made me laugh out loud.
From Edgar Allen Poe to Stanley Kubrick, the Salem witch trials to alien visitations; The Simpsons certainly know their yellow onions when it comes to reimagining horror history, Springfield style.
And way back in 1989, a decision was reportedly made which would ensure 2019’s Treehouse of Horror would have a little extra sprinkling of spookiness.
Executive producer Al Jean told Entertainment Weekly:
Next year, Treehouse of Horror XXX will coincidentally be Simpsons episode 666, As we planned it in 1989!
To mark 30 years of the long, long running animated series; the 2019 Halloween trilogy will be the 666th episode, ie. the number of the beast.
Now, it’s unlikely the team really believed the show would still be running after three decades but this is still a very cool and creepy coincidence.
The show has not yet been given the all clear for a – can you believe it? – 31st season, however a renewal is reportedly looking likely.
Jean joked to Entertainment Weekly:
I’d like to do more seasons, just to ensure that that doesn’t cause the end of the world.
One of the most fun things to marathon in October and for Halloween is The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror Specials. pic.twitter.com/Ujd1H1k7NP
— goode (@JAYYTiiZZLE) October 16, 2018
31 Days of Halloween Day 16: The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror III pic.twitter.com/ge2tE9GWtX
— Jared Petty (@pettycommajared) October 16, 2018
So what does the Treehouse of Horror have in store for us this year? Well, in another recent Entertainment Weekly article, Jean revealed how one segment – Geriatric Park – would be influenced by Jurassic Park, with Mr. Burns attempting to wind back the ageing process using DNA.
Another segment, entitled Intrusion of the Pod-Y Snatchers, sounds very Black Mirror, where ‘everybody is just mesmerised by their phones, and they’re getting destroyed by the aliens’.
The third segment, Multiplisaty, will draw from classic mystery drama The Three Faces of Eve; with the smartest Simpson, Lisa being front and centre.
Jean told Entertainment Weekly:
Yeardley Smith [the voice of Lisa] has a real showcase of her talents, doing different voices and singing, where all her personalities want to murder Bart except one that likes him.
And don’t forget about the opening of the episode, during which ‘Cthulhu, the ancient creature of the sea, gets into an eating contest with Homer, I’ll leave you to guess who might win.
— Brett White (@brettwhite) October 14, 2018
Meanwhile, Simpsons fans from all over the world are celebrating the countdown to Halloween by bingeing through old Treehouse of Horror episodes.
Some episodes remain stronger than others (The Diving Bell and the Butterball admittedly failed to land many good jokes) but many have stood the test of time; still endlessly quotable and more fun than a cauldron full of toffee apples.
— jack (@trashdungeon) October 17, 2018
The Simpsons (1989), “Treehouse of Horror IV” pic.twitter.com/DGYr1Vjh2L
— Roy Batty Replicant (@Roy_Batty_Reply) October 17, 2018
— CinemaGrids (@CinemaGrids) October 22, 2017
For many children of the nineties, nothing says Halloween quite like Marge Simpson defeating a demonic house by telling it to be more polite. Time to jump on the sofa and hit play.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.