A lot of people hold the first ten seasons of the show as its prime era which I wholeheartedly agree with the exception of my enjoyment of the 11th season. This would mean there are ten Treehouse of Horror episodes and included would be 30 stories. I thought I would choose the superior half of those and list them here. In no way does this discredit the other half’s content, but merely that I personally found the 15 in this list more enjoyable. In this list I have included at least one story from the first ten Treehouse of Horrors.
15. The HΩmega Man (Treehouse of Horror VIII)
A homage to ‘The Omega Man’ famously starring Charlton Heston sees Mayor Quimby mocking the French calling them ‘frogs’ and results in a direct nuclear attack on Springfield. Conveniently Homer is shopping for a bomb shelter in the event of a strike and so avoids any injury whilst being inside one of them. Thinking he is the only one alive, Homer proceeds to do whatever he wants but little does he know there are mutants ready to kill him! Don’t worry though, humans and mutants could never live in harmony.
Memorable quote: “All the layers of lead paint in this house made the perfect bomb shelter!” – Lisa Simpson
14. Clown Without Pity (Treehouse of Horror III)
Child’s Play meets the Simpsons when Homer rushes to purchase a late birthday gift for Bart and buys a cursed Krusty doll (which comes with a free cursed frozen yogurt). The doll tries to murder Homer which nobody believes at first and even after Homer stuffs the Krusty doll in a sack and throws him into a bottomless pit, he still returns in a ‘Cape Fear’ style. After Marge sees the doll trying to kill an hysterical Homer she calls the store who inform her that the doll was set to evil on its back switch!
Memorable quote: “Marge, Marge look, the doll’s trying to kill me and the toaster’s been laughing at me” – Homer Simpson
13. Homer’s Nightmare (Treehouse of Horror II)
Bart, Lisa and Homer eat too much Halloween candy and after being warned by Marge, they end up having nightmares which are all loosely based off of Twilight Zone episodes. Homer’s nightmare is Frankenstein themed and after taking a job as a grave digger due to being fired from the power plant, he happens to fall asleep in the open unmarked grave he was digging. Mr. Burns is building a larger than life robot labourer and needs a human brain to motor it to which in believing Homer is a fresh corpse, takes him. When planting the brain inside the robot, the machine operates just as Homer would and locates the nearest box of doughnuts. In dismay of his pointless creation Mr. Burns returns Homer’s brain to his body after being persuaded by Mr. Smithers and ends up having the robot fall on him. To avoid his own death Burns is stitched to Homer’s neck and when Homer wakes up he sees that his nightmare is actually his reality!
Memorable quote: “Bad corpse! Bad corpse! Stop scaring Smithers” – Mr Burns
12. Hell Toupée (Treehouse of Horror IX)
After smoking in the Kwik-E-Mart, Snake is arrested and it turns out it was his third strike and under the third strike law he is sentenced to death. Snake vows to kill all the witnesses in the store who are Moe, Apu and Bart. After Snake’s death Homer reads there is a hair transplant with Snake’s old hair and his new do infects his brain with Snake’s sociopathic tendencies and begins talking and acting like him. As Snake promised, through Homer he murders Apu and Moe and then aims to kill a worried Bart, fighting within himself of whether to choose the boy or the hair Homer ends up ripping the hair off of his scalp.
Memorable Quote: “Homer Simpson, you’re under arrest for the murders of Moe Syzslak and Apu Nahassa… passa… well, just Moe, just Moe.” – Chief Wiggum
11. I Know What You Diddly-Iddly-Did (Treehouse of Horror X)
A parody of the film ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ sees the Simpson family accidentally mow down Ned Flanders after Homer forgets to put the fog lights in the car on a very foggy night. Worried about what to do Homer comes up with a plan for Ned to die accidentally. He fails at one attempt to get Maude to see Ned fall off the roof after Homer moves his ragdoll-like body around. Instead he throws Ned into the house and impersonates him telling Maude he’s having a heart attack. After attending Ned’s funeral the Simpsons come home to their house covered in bloody writing saying ‘I know what you did’ and see a hooded hook hand figure. The family drive out and decide to run away to stereotypical haunted places to hide at before they’re interrupted by Flanders being alive. It turns out Flanders was mauled by a werewolf and hit by Marge whilst as a werewolf himself. As it cuts back to modern day, Marge and the kids have ran off and Homer hasn’t noticed Ned turning into a werewolf again. Diddly.
Memorable quote: (Homer impersonating the deceased Ned) “Hi, Maude! (pause) Diddily! I’ve been having fun with my pal Homer! (pause) Diddily!” – Homer Simpson
10. Terror at 5 1/2 Feet. (Treehouse of Horror IV)
This is definitely one of the most gripping Treehouse of Horror stories as it starts off with Bart having a premonition of his death on his way to school which is caused by a bus crash from a missing wheel. In a nervous state he gets on the bus and the day is of a similar climate to his dream. He looks out of the window and sees a gremlin damaging parts of the bus, he starts acting hysterical to which he is restrained as no one believes him. He is put next to Uter and after convincing him to untie the ropes binding his hand, he takes out a flare which has been placed in Martin’s shorts and pulls back a window to throw it at the gremlin. The weather causes chaos inside the bus as Principal Skinner and Groundskeeper Willie try to pull Bart back inside the bus. At the last moment he launches the flare at the gremlin and hits it. The bus rolls to the school and everyone sees the damage to which if one more screw had been taken out, the wheel would have come loose. Bart is wheeled away into a mental asylum van and thinking he has nothing to worry about sees the gremlin with a decapitated head of Ned Flanders who rescued it from falling off the bus.
Memorable quote: “I’m doin’ all of the pullin’, you blouse-wearin’ poodle-walker!” – Groundskeeper Willie
9. The Raven (Treehouse of Horror)
Beautifully narrated by James Earl Jones (Darth Vader, Mufasa), Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven’ is re-illustrated with Homer and Bart. Homer plays the man in Poe’s narration and Bart plays the Raven. Whilst mourning the loss of his love Lenore (Marge) Homer is tortured by a raven who he can not get rid of and causes havoc throwing books at him and only ever speaking the word ‘nevermore’. It is a depiction of the man’s fall into madness and Jones’ deep voice make for a chilling story.
Memorable quote: “Nevermore” – The Raven
8. Nightmare Cafeteria (Treehouse of Horror V)
This story is loosely based on Soylent Green and is definitely one of the most creative and interesting Treehouse of Horror moments. With detention being out of hand, the capacity has outgrown the detention office and has children spilling into the cafeteria. Bart is sent to the cafeteria and sits next to Jimbo who trips over Lunch Lady Doris resulting in food falling onto him. Skinner picks up Jimbo but tastes the substance from his arm and finds it delicious. Skinner has found a solution to the detention issue along with their poor food stock (grade F meat) and that is to murder and cook the children. This results in children being picked off one by one with the teachers all being in on the scheme and grow in size. Bart, Lisa and Milhouse are some of the last ones alive and try to escape. In doing so they end up being cornered and fall into a giant blender. The scene then cuts to Bart waking up from a nightmare and he has nothing to worry about…except for that fog that turns people inside out.
Memorable quote: “Oh relax kids, I’ve got a gut feeling Uter’s around here somewhere hahahahaha, after all isn’t there a little Uter in all of us? hahahaha… hahaha, in fact, you might even say we just ate Uter, and he’s in our stomachs… right now! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!… Wait, scratch that one.” – Principal Skinner
7. Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace (Treehouse of Horror VI)
A Simpsons homage to ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ sees Bart have a dream where he is attacked by Groundskeeper Willie and is raked across the chest. He wakes up to find those rake marks are actually on his body. When telling the other kids about his incident at school they also reveal that Willie attacked them. Principal Skinner passes this off as nothing but later on Martin finishes a test before the other students and falls asleep and is murdered in his dream by Willie. Marge explains to the kids what happened to Willie where he had been burned to death due to Homer turning up the thermostat on a cold Smarch day and then the parents ignoring Willie’s cry for help in a PTA meeting. Bart plans to attack Willie in his dream after he and Lisa realise they cannot stay awake forever but Lisa also falls asleep and enters the same dream as Bart. When it looks like both of the kids are at their doom they are saved by Maggie who places her pacifier into Willie’s bagpipe spider body trapping his airwaves. The kids walk outside thinking they are safe but are met with Willie getting off a bus…only he has left his gun on the bus!
Memorable quote: “It’s a story of murder and revenge from beyond the grave. It all started on the thirteenth hour of the thirteenth day of the thirteenth month. We were there to discuss the misprinted calendars the school had purchased.” – Marge Simpson
6. The Thing & I (Treehouse of Horror VII)
Bart and Lisa hear a noise coming from the attic and question Homer and Marge if there is anything up there. The both of them say no however Homer has to go and feed ‘something’ in the attic some fish heads. One night when their parents are out, the Simpson children go and investigate to which they see the shadow of something as it breaks loose from its chains and runs downstairs. When Homer and Marge return they are informed of the events and go to check the attic to see their creature has escaped. Marge calls Dr. Hibbert and tells him ‘Hugo’ has escaped. Bart asks Marge who or what is Hugo and it is revealed he had a conjoined twin at birth to which Dr. Hibbert informs him Hugo was an evil twin. Everyone besides Bart goes out in search of Hugo but he was in the house the whole time. He aims to sew himself and Bart back together after sewing a pigeon and a rat together due to his madness longing for the two of them to be reattached. Everyone returns just in the nick of time with Dr. Hibbert knocking out Hugo. It is revealed the scar on Bart’s side is the side of the evil twin and Bart ends up being in Hugo’s place in the attic.
Memorable quote: “But what to do with poor Hugo? Too crazy for Boys Town, too much of a boy for Crazy Town” – Dr. Hibbert
5. Bart Simpson’s Dracula (Treehouse of Horror IV)
In this parody of ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ there have been attacks on people resulting in bite marks on their neck. Lisa believes they are from a vampire but no one else does. Mr. Burns has purchased the Springfield blood bank and his seen licking blood from off of his face. There is a business opportunity and Homer applies for it which results in Mr. Burns inviting the family over to his mansion in Pennsylvania. The family are served blood to drink and Lisa pours it on Bart and herself so they have to go and clean up. They discover Burns’ secret lair which results in Bart going down a sliding staircase to be bitten and turned into a vampire. A couple days later he has turned many children into vampires and aims to attack Lisa. He is stopped and the Simpsons decide they have to kill the head vampire (Mr. Burns). They kill with a stake to the heart in his slumber and all seems well. However it is revealed the next day that Marge is the head vampire and all the Simpson family besides Lisa are vampires. The episode ends parodying ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’.
Memorable quote: “Homer, we gotta do something. Today, he’s drinking people’s blood. Tomorrow, he could be smoking!” – Marge Simpson
4. The Devil and Homer Simpson (Treehouse of Horror IV)
This is a parody of the 1941 film ‘The Devil and Daniel Webster’ where Homer is so desperate for a doughnut he says he would sell his soul to the devil just to have one. The devil appears and it is none other than Ned Flanders. He gives Homer a doughnut but just as he is about to finish it, Homer realises the devil won’t have his soul until he finishes all of it. Later that night in a sleepy state Homer opens the fridge and finishes off the doughnut. The devil appears and Marge pleads for a fair trial, Ned reluctantly accepts but says Homer must spend the day in hell where he eats and infinite amount of doughnuts that was supposed to be torture. At the trial Homer’s lawyer is Lionel Hutz who basically absconds as soon as the trial starts. Devil Ned chooses the jury which depicts some of history most sinister characters such as Lizzie Borden, Blackbeard, Benedict Arnold and Richard Nixon. It looks as though the devil will win when Marge reveals a wedding photo where Homer had signed on the back claiming Marge owned his soul. The devil loses the trial but curses Homer to have his head as a doughnut for all eternity. The next morning Homer is about to leave for work and has been picking at his sweet and tasty noggin. He cannot leave the house though, because hungry police officers are out there waiting for his doughnut.
Memorable quote: “I watched Matlock in a bar the other night. The sound wasn’t on, but I think I got the gist of it.” – Lionel Hutz
3. Homer3 (Treehouse of Horror VI)
We’re now into my top three and this episode has to be in it for its groundbreaking animation of 3D computer animation. The episode is based loosely off of the ‘Twilight Zone’ where to avoid a visit from Patty And Selma, Homer hides in a mysterious vortex behind a bookcase. The world is the third dimension which changes Homer’s physique and is full of different mathematical items. A cone gets stuck in Homer’s butt and he throws it into the ground which opens up a black hole. Many popular Simpsons characters are called in to try and save Homer from his peril such as Reverend Lovejoy, Ned Flanders, Professor Frink, Chief Wiggum and Dr. Hibbert. Bart enters the dimension to try and save his father who is on the other side of the planet, he tells Homer he’ll have to jump an impossible feet and Homer replies “Piece of cake.” Homer ends up falling into the hole where he is split up into dust and Bart is pulled back safely before the dimension collapses. Homer ends up falling into a live action world where is image is once again altered. He is scared and everyone is looking at him, he finds comfort seeing a store that sells erotic cakes and runs inside.
Memorable quote: “This place looks expensive. I feel like I’m wasting a fortune just standing here. I better make the most of it.” [Homer burps] – Homer Simpson
2. Time & Punishment (Treehouse of Horror V)
This episode is almost good enough to be in first place because it is an exhausting roller-coaster of events and we just want Homer to get back home! This is a heavily Sci:Fi based episode where one morning Homer gets his hand stuck inside of a toaster where he has to break it apart to free his hand. He decides to fix it which takes him all night and when morning breaks he has accidentally built a time machine. He takes the machine for a test toast which transports him to prehistoric times passing Sherman and Mr. Peabody. He remembers his father telling him if he ever went back in time to not touch anything is it would bring alterations to the future. Homer squashes a bug and is transported back to the present day in a Ned Flanders-ruled-dystopia. Homer travels again and accidentally kills a fish and subsequently goes back and forth through time trying to get to his timeline. He finally believes he’s back to his timeline after questioning Marge and all seems well as they sit down for food but the rest of the family have reptilian-like tongues. Homer decides this is close enough.
Memorable quote: ” I’ve gone back in time to when dinosaurs weren’t just confined to zoos.” – Homer Simpson
1. The Shinning (Treehouse of Horror V)
I imagine a lot of people have this episode very high up on their list and with Treehouse of Horror V being my favourite I just have to have it in first place! This is a parody of the Stephen King novel and Stanley Kubrick film ‘The Shining’ where the Simpson family are employed as caretakers for Mr. Burns over the winter at his mansion. When Burns and Smithers are leaving the house they are taking crates of beer with them and Burns informs Smithers he has cut the cable to ensure hard work. Smithers questions if doing this every time is what has turned the previous caretakers into sociopaths.
Bart cuts through a hedge maze which angers Willie who reassures himself in his head. It turns out Bart can read his thoughts so Willie advises him if Homer ever goes crazy that he should mind call Willie to save them. Homer seems pretty calm at first with the fact two of his favourite things are inaccessible but snaps slightly and says he is going out for a while. Homer is in a bar which is like the bar seen in the movie, Moe who is the bartender says he will give Homer a beer if he murders his family. Marge walks into a room and reads the typewriter which says ‘feelin’ fine’ but after a bolt of lightning the room is lit up with erratic writing and Homer enters the room. His madness takes hold and the stairs scene from the movie is recreated only Homer falls down the stairs. Marge stores him in the food cellar and the ghouls have to convince Homer once more. He recreates the axe scene breaking through many doors to find his family.
Willie tries to save the family but is murdered and Homer then chases The Simpsons outside into the cold. Luckily on the ground is a portable TV that Willie through when he was running to the house. Lisa throws it in Homer’s face which calms his rage. The scene ends like the movie but instead of just Jack Torrance frozen in the snow it is the whole Simpsons family.
Memorable quote: There are so many good quotes in this episode but I have chosen one of my favourites
“Feelin’ fine.’ Well, that’s a relief.
[Lightning flashes and illuminates the room, showing “NO TV AND NO BEER MAKE HOMER GO CRAZY” scrawled again and again all over the walls in wild letters]
“Mmm… this is less encouraging.”
Post your favourite Treehouse of Horror moments in the comments below!