Treehouse of Horror
- "Tuck your children into bed tonight instead of writing us angry letters tomorrow."
- ―Marge Simpson
| "Treehouse of Horror"
| Episode Information
"Treehouse of Horror", also known as "The Simpsons Halloween Special", is the third episode of season 2 of The Simpsons and the sixteenth episode overall. It is also the first installment in the Treehouse of Horror series and consisted of three parts. It originally aired on October 25, 1990. Part one was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Rich Moore, part two was written by Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky and directed by Wes Archer and part three was written by Sam Simon, with writing credit given to Edgar Allan Poe, and directed by David Silverman. It guest stars James Earl Jones as Serak the Preparer, the narrator and the removalist.
- "The first of the annual Halloween spook-fest. In "Bad Dream House", the family move into an old haunted house, are possessed by an evil spirit, and attempt to kill each other. In "Hungry are the Damned", the family's abducted by aliens Kang and Kodos and are fattened up to the extent Lisa questions their motives. In "The Raven", a poem by Edgar Allan Poe is recited with the family as characters."
Act I: "Bad Dream House"
Marge warns viewers The Simpsons may give their children nightmares, so she suggests the adults "tuck your children into bed tonight instead of writing us angry letters tomorrow." However, the viewers ignore her and let their kids watch it anyway.
The Simpsons move into a new home at a great price. Lisa and Marge are scared there's an evil presence lurking in the house. However, Homer says there's nothing to worry about, despite a vortex in the kitchen. Homer throws an orange into the vortex, and the ones who live in the vortex throw it out with a note asking them not to throw stuff in. In the living room, Bart's strangled by a lamp cord, the house threatens the family to leave, and the family's thrown up to the ceiling. When everyone tries to settle in to sleep, the house brainwashes everybody into killing each other.
When they stop what they're doing (thanks to Marge not being brainwashed), the house threatens them they'll die horribly. Marge ends up angrily telling the house to shut up, and, after a few moments, it complies. She explains since they're living in the house, the house is gonna have to accept this. The house asks them to leave for a moment as it decides what to do. It determines it'll rather die than host the Simpsons and implodes into nothingness.
Act II: "Hungry are the Damned"
The Simpsons are having a barbecue until an alien ship abducts them. When they arrive on the ship, they meet Kang, Kodos, an unnamed alien, and Serak the Preparer, who treat the Simpsons extremely well by giving them countless amounts of food to hold them over until the great feast at Rigel IV. Lisa becomes suspicious, and thus, one night, wanders around the ship and heads into the kitchen when Serak leaves. She mistakes the book How to Cook for Forty Humans as being titled How to Cook Humans and accuses the Rigellians of plotting to eat the family. They're shocked at the accusation and are angry at the Simpsons. The aliens take them back home to live out their normal lives on Earth, and tell them they forfeited a blissful existence where they'll have been treated like gods. Lisa speculates they, the Simpson family, may be the true monsters as everyone gets mad at Lisa.
Act III: "The Raven"
Lisa reads a classic tale of terror, "The Raven", penned by Edgar Allan Poe
Homer, a wealthy, yet distraught lover lamenting the loss of his Lenore, sits, asleep, with a book titled "Forgotten Lore Vol.~II" on his lap. He's soon disturbed from his slumber and awoken by a repeating tapping on his chamber door. Homer's spooked by a rustle heard outside. Screaming, Homer hides behind his reading chair and utters, "Sir, or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you." Homer proceeds to approach the chamber door and throws it open while covering his eyes. There's nothing there but darkness.
Suddenly, there comes a tapping on the window. Homer opens the window, and a raven flies into the room and perches above the chamber door upon a bust of Pallas. Homer attempts to communicate with the raven, but the bird only replies with, "Nevermore." The bird continues with this reply and begins to anger Homer. Homer lunges for the Raven, who flits away. Homer chases the bird across and around the room, but it remains barely out of reach. Homer and the raven's chase makes a mess of his chamber and results in Homer throwing a potted plant at the Raven, who dodges the projectile. The plant pot hits Homer on the head, and tiny ravens dance around his head, chanting, ``Nevermore, Nevermore, Nevermore...
The chase continues. The Raven plucks books from the shelf and drops them, before returning to its place atop the bust of Pallas. Meanwhile, below, the carnage it wrought upon the room, Homer seemingly descended into madness. The narrator concludes, "And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting on the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor shall be lifted - nevermore!"
With the poem now finished, Bart and Lisa talk about the tales before going to bed, not knowing Homer was freaked out by all of them. Everybody goes to bed, but Homer has trouble sleeping that night and decides he hates Halloween after hearing the Raven outside.
This is the first episode of The Simpsons to be composed by Alf Clausen, who went on to be the main composer until season 29. The idea behind the episode was to parody EC Comics, James L. Brooks said, "shocking" for a cartoon on network television. He also said this episode's tame compared to later "Treehouse of Horror" episodes.
The idea of Kang and Kodos came from Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky. Kang and Kodos' designs were based off a cover of an EC Comics issue. They were originally designed to be constantly drooling. Initially, creator Matt Groening decided against this to make the animation process easier. However, the animators didn't mind, so the drooling stayed in. The names of Kang and Kodos come from two Star Trek characters. Kang's named after a Klingon captain from the episode "Day of the Dove", and Kodos is named after Kodos the Executioner from the episode "The Conscience of the King".
The episode's positively received by fans and critics. In 2011, Entertainment Weekly named "Hungry are the Damned" the best Treehouse of Horror segment. As of September 2018, the episode has a 8.3 rating on IMDb and a 8.8 rating on TV.com.
In other languages
- Entertainment Weekly - "'Simpsons': 'Treehouse of Horror' Top 10!"
- Kogen, Jay (2002). Commentary for "Treehouse of Horror", in The Simpsons: The Complete Second Season.
- Reiss, Mike (2003). Commentary for "Treehouse of Horror II", in The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season.
- Groening, Matt (2002). Commentary for "Treehouse of Horror", in The Simpsons: The Complete Second Season.
- IMDb - "Treehouse of Horror"
- TV.com - "Treehouse of Horror"
Treehouse of Horror series
|I • II • III • IV • V • VI • VII • VIII • IX • X • XI • XII • XIII • XIV • XV • XVI • XVII • XVIII • XIX • XX • XXI • XXII • XXIII • XXIV • XXV • XXVI • XXVII • XXVIII • XXIX • XXX • XXXI|