Lifetime of Simpsons

It’s Scarier, More Violent, and I Think They Snuck In Some Bad Language Too: Treehouse of Horror Episodes Ranked

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Okay folks. We all knew it was going to end here. If I was going to spend some time ranking different types of episodes of the Simpsons, how could I not rank the Treehouse of Horror episodes? Because they’re the goddamn best. I have no idea what possessed the creators of the Simpsons to decide that every single year they need to do a special episode that’s outside of canon and that consists of three vignettes that are typically parodies of horror or suspense stories. It seems insane. But it works. It works so goddamn well. There’s no such thing as a purely bad Treehouse of Horror episode. They come close! Oh boy, do they come close. But there’s always something that can save a Treehouse of Horror episode, and guarantee them to be at least somewhat likable. So, let’s close out this week of rankings with all twenty-eight trips up to the Treehouse! Buckle up!

 

 

 

28. “Treehouse of Horror XXII”

XXII

Hey, so you know how I just said that it’s impossible to make a completely bad Treehouse of Horror episode? This one comes damn close. Because this is an incredibly weak episode. There’s of course no wrap-around segment for the episode, because those were long since dead by Season 23. So, instead, we just get three rapid-fire segments. First off we get to see one where Homer is paralyzed and can communicate solely with farts! Then there’s a weird Dexter parody where Ned Flanders kills people, all because Homer is tricking him! We then round things out with an extended Avatar parody featuring Rigelians. It’s rough folks. There’s a couple good jokes in there, but this is most certainly the bottom of the barrel.

 

“Treehouse of Horror XXII” was written by Carolyn Omine and directed by Matthew Faughnan, 2011.

 

 

 

27. “Treehouse of Horror XXVII”

XXVII

You know what’s a real bummer? That the 600th episode of the Simpsons was a really lame Treehouse of Horror episode. You’d think that they’d use that milestone as an excuse to really knock it out of the park, but instead we just got two lifeless movie parodies that didn’t even make sense as Halloween themed, and an unpleasant ghost story. We get a weird parody of the Hunger Games that smashes three whole novels down into one segment, with a splash of Mad Max: Fury Road thrown in as well which just comes off way too rushed. We also get a story where Lisa’s forgotten imaginary friend begins brutally killing anyone who tries to befriend her. And finally we get an incredibly unfunny parody of the Kingsman movies, and I guess by extension James Bond movies in general, and it’s just a flat thud. But hey, at least there was a ghost! And it’s the 600th episode! That’s all I got.

 

“Treehouse of Horror XXVII” was written by Joel H Cohen and directed by Steven Dean Moore, 2016.

 

 

 

26. “Treehouse of Horror XVIII”

XVIII

You’re quickly going to realize that if there’s one thing I don’t like in my Treehouse of Horror episodes it’s segments that parody something that has nothing to do with Halloween. Case in point, this episode starts off with a segment that is an extended parody of ET with Kang and Bart in the starring roles. And it’s really boring. But, at least it’s marginally more Halloween-centric than our middle segment, which is a parody of Mr and Mrs Smith, and features Marge and Homer beating the bajesus out of each other, which is just thoroughly unpleasant. But it all gets wrapped up with a crappy little bow with the final segment, which feels like it was guest-written by Jack Chick. It’s all about Bart, Milhouse, Nelson, and Lisa being forced to go to a church-ran haunted house that warns them against sinning. Then they go to Hell and meet the Devil, and he confirms that they should lead good Christian lives. Pass! At least Kang is funny…

 

“Treehouse of Horror XVIII” was written by Marc Wilmore and directed by Chuck Sheetz, 2007.

 

 

 

25. “Treehouse of Horror XIX”

XIX

Hey, speaking of episodes with segments that have nothing to do with Halloween, let’s talk about “Treehouse of Horror XIX!” Because besides the third segment this one is very odd. And it all begins with the first segment, which is just a rambling parody of the Transformers movies. Not even anything specific, just kind of general complaints. I guess the middle segment has some sort of Halloweeny things, since it’s about Homer killing celebrities in order to let advertising executives use their likenesses, but it gets really bogged down with all the heaven stuff at the end. But, the episode is kind of saved by the final segment where the Great Pumpkin shows up to a Halloween party and learns about all the atrocities humans commit to pumpkin-kind at Halloween, and gets his bloody vengeance. One out of three isn’t great though, folks.

 

“Treehouse of Horror XIX” was written by Matt Warburton and directed by Bob Anderson, 2008.

 

 

 

24. “Treehouse of Horror XVI”

XVI

Now I think we’re at a portion of the list where we have episodes that are flawed, but still kind of fun. Which, sadly, takes up a pretty huge portion of this list. There’s more good than bad in these episodes, but that ratio is pretty close. And hey, there’s still some movie parodies that aren’t even remotely horror-adjacent! The episode begins with a parody of Spielberg’s AI, which is utterly ridiculous, and follows Bart as he’s replaced with a robot, and then swears vengeance on it when the family decide they like it better than him. Then there’s a silly-as-hell version of the Most Dangerous Game where Mr. Burns is brutally hunting and killing all of the men of Springfield. It’s dumb and goes on forever, but it’s kind of fun. Then it all closes out with an incredibly strange segment where the people of Springfield are turned into living embodiments of their Halloween costumes. There’s really no plot, it’s just a bunch of sight-gags, but it’s charming. Which is enough.

 

“Treehouse of Horror XVI” was written by Marc Wilmore and directed by David Silverman, 2005.

 

 

23. “Treehouse of Horror XXV”

XXV

You know what’s weird about this episode? The fact that it’s utterly dominated by its first segment, which takes up the majority of the length. And it’s not even that great. It’s all about Bart and Lisa going to a school in Hell, and trying to blend in, and Bart does great. It then drags forever while Bart goes through trials and tribulations in his new school, and it really starts to blow your mind how long it’s going on. Which is a shame, because other two segments are pretty okay. We get to see a fairly straight-forward Clockwork Orange parody with Moe in the starring role, and then the segment that people actually remember this episode for. The one where the ghosts of the Tracy Ullman versions of the Simpsons arrive and hang out! They don’t do much, and it’s really nothing more than a gimmick, but it’s kind of fun.

 

Treehouse of Horror XXV” was written by Stephanie Gillis and directed by Matthew Faughnan, 2014.

 

 

 

22. “Treehouse of Horror XIII”

XIII

Continuing on this trend of episodes that really only have one good segment, let’s talk about “Treehouse of Horror XIII!” Because this one is pretty rough. It starts off with a kind of fun, but mostly just stupid segment where Homer finds a cursed hammock that creates clones of himself when he spins in it, leading him to create an army of Homer clones. It’s forgettable. But not as forgettable as the middle segment where a bunch of cowboy ghosts try to invade Springfield when they make the rational decision to get rid of all of their guns, turning into a weird NRA-fantasy. But things kind of turn around at the end with the absolutely insane and funny Island of Dr. Moreau parody where a bunch of Springfield citizens are turned into weird animals. It’s funny, and there’s a lot of gags. And that’s the highlight!

 

“Treehouse of Horror XIII” was written by  Marc Wilmore, Brian Kelley and Kevin Curran and directed by David Silverman, 2002.

 

 

 

21. “Treehouse of Horror XII”

XII

 

Here’s an episode that I really have a lot of nostalgia for, but that just doesn’t really hold up that well on its own. I was pretty conflicted with it at the time, but when put up against the rest of these episodes its flaws really show how much it struggles. Things start off with a really fun segment where Homer and the entire Simpson family gets cursed by an angry gypsy, only to track down a leprechaun to fix things. But then we get a pretty dull segment where the family gets attacked by an evil house voiced by Pierce Borsnan. There’s some good gags there, but it’s mostly bland. But things then take a serious nose-dive with a really rushed and boring Harry Potter parody. It really doesn’t feel like the writers knew enough about Harry Potter in order to pull this parody off, which ends up leaving us with a very dull segment that just weighs the entire episode down.

 

“Treehouse of Horror XII” was written by Joel H Cohen, John Frink & Don Payne, and Carolyn Omine, and directed by Jim Reardon, 2001.

 

 

20. “Treehouse of Horror XXIV”

XXIV

You know, it’s possible for a Treehouse of Horror episode to be mostly mediocre, but have one saving grace that can lift the episode as a whole up. And this is one of them! In general the episode is fine, but its last segment really perks it up. It starts off with a really weird and silly segment that’s a parody of Dr. Seuss stories, with Homer as a murderous Cat in the Hat-esque character. We also get a really lackluster segment where Bart’s head is sewn onto Lisa’s shoulder, but that really all there is to it. The episode really brightens for me though with the last segment, which is just a parody of Tod Browning’s Freaks, which is a movie I love, and the segment is so pitch-perfect that it saves an otherwise forgettable Treehouse episode.

 

“Treehouse of Horror XXIV” was written by Jeff Westbrook and directed by Rob Oliver, 2013.

 

 

19. “Treehouse of Horror XXVI”

XXVI

Hey, speaking of one segment being able to lift up an otherwise tired Treehouse episode! In this episode’s case that segment comes right off the top, and has actually already been discussed during this week’s rankings. Because this is the episode with the fun segment where Sideshow Bob gets to finally kill Bart over and over. It’s fun! The rest of the episode? Eh. We get to see a weird Godzilla parody that gets really confusing and just kind of falls apart, and a parody of the movie Chronicle, giving us a one-two punch of lame ideas. But the strength of that Sideshow Bob episode really carries this episode, and I can appreciate it for that.

 

“Treehouse of Horror XXVI” was written by Joel H Cohen and directed by Steven Dean Moore, 2015.

 

 

 

18. “Treehouse of Horror XXIII”

XXIII

This really is the part of the list that’s full of episodes that have one really solid segment that makes up for the rest of the episode. And “Treehouse of Horror XXIII” also gives us that right up front, letting the episode just slide into mediocrity. The weird thing though, is that the fun segment really shouldn’t be in a Treehouse episode. It’s all about a little black hole opening up in Springfield, and the havoc that that causes. Not really Halloweeny, just out of continuity. But it’s fun! Less fun, a whole Paranormal Activity parody that ends with Homer having a threesome with demons. Trust me! That happens! And then we close things out with a very meandering Back to the Future parody where Bart travels back in time in order to futz with “The Way We Was,” shattering the space time continuum. It’s fine.

 

“Treehouse of Horror XXIII” was written by David Mandel and Brian Kelley and directed by Steven Dean Moore, 2012.

 

 

 

17. “Treehouse of Horror XXI”

XXI

 

What’s this? An episode with two segments that I enjoyed? Hooray! But why this low on the list? Well, the first segment is pretty awful. It’s an incredibly confusing and bizarre segment where Bart, Lisa, and Milhouse get caught in some world where they have to win a series of life-sized board games. It’s bizarre, and makes almost no sense. But things take a serious uptick with the middle segment, which is an apparently very straight-forward parody of a movie called “Dead Calm,” which puts Homer and Marge in an almost Hitchcockian drama involving boats and murders. It’s pretty cool. And then we end things with an utterly goofy segment that begins as a Twilight parody, which I couldn’t care less about, but then turns into an insane buddy-cop story with Homer and Dracula looking for their runaway kids. It’s a whole lot of fun, it just all gets weighed down by a real drag of a first segment.

 

“Treehouse of Horror XXI” was written by Joel H Cohen and directed by Bob Anderson, 2010.

 

 

 

16. “Treehouse of Horror XXVIII”

XXVIII

Now it’s time to talk about our most recent Treehouse episode, which actually is making a pretty respectable showing here on the list. And I think that it’s actually a pretty solid episode, just with one real dud of a segment. I think that the Exorcist parody that opens up the episode is a lot of fun, even though it’s a tad slight. The Coraline parody is the real draw of the episode though, and I love that it even had some continuity with the Exorcist segment, which I appreciated as a crazy person who cares about such things. The fun animation of the Coraline segment really makes it memorable though. But then there’s the third segment with Homer’s auto-cannibalism, which just really ends the episode on a rough note. But not so much that it completely trashes the good-will the other two segments brought it.

 

“Treehouse of Horror XXVIII” was written by John Frink and directed by Timothy Bailey, 2017.

 

 

 

15. “Treehouse of Horror XVII”

XVII

Looks like we have another episode to discuss that has two pretty strong segments and one dud. But, the two stories that work for me from this one really work. Even if it does leave me kind of biter that they had a setup for a wrap-around plot with Mr. Burns as the Crypt Keeper. Oh well. What we actually get is a really fun 50’s B-Movie style story where Homer becomes a massive all-consuming blob. Then things take a kind of lame break for a segment all about a Golem coming to life and obeying Bart’s whims. It’s fine, but nothing special. But where this episode really works for me is the final segment which is all about the people of Springfield being duped by Orson Welles and his War of the World’s broadcast, only to ignore an actual alien invasion. It’s a goddamn hoot.

 

“Treehouse of Horror XVII” was written by Peter Gaffney and directed by David Silverman and Matthew Faughnan, 2006.

 

 

 

14. “Treehouse of Horror XIV”

XIV

Oh weird, another Treehouse of Horror episode that has two solid segments sandwiching a rather mediocre one that features a Jewish comedy legend doing a voice. That’s a weird little trend I created. But, this episode is just a touch better to me than XVII. This episode starts off with a really weird and fun segment where Homer becomes the Grim Reaper, which honestly seems to be a parody of the Tim Allen Santa Claus movies. Then there’s a really weird segment where Professor Frink’s adventurer father becomes a brain-hungry Frankenstein. It’s weird. But, things pick up by the end with an incredibly strange segment where Bart and Milhouse get a pocket-watch that can stop time, to disastrous results. It all comes together to create a really sturdy Treehouse of Horror, which was kind of a surprise for the era.

 

“Treehouse of Horror XIV” was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Steven Dean Moore, 2003.

 

 

 

13. “Treehouse of Horror XX”

XX

Oh look, a really bizarre Treehouse of Horror episode that played around a lot with the format of what a Treehouse of Horror episode even could be. I really appreciate innovation in the Simpsons, and this episode has enough of it to boost it pretty high on this list. Things start off with a really solid and traditional segment that begins as a parody of Hitchcock’s adaptation of Strangers on a Train, but eventually becomes a larger parody of Hitchcock’s entire oeuvre, and it’s a lot of fun. Things then take a sort of weaker turn with a kind of general zombie parody that’s pretty fun. But we then close things out with an incredibly weird segment. It’s a musical, presented as an actual stage production, where Moe tries to kill Homer and turn his blood into an aphrodisiac to woo Marge. It’s incredibly strange, but it’s a breath of fresh air, especially in Season 21, and it’s enough of an oddity to become notable.

 

“Treehouse of Horror XX” was written by Daniel Chun and directed by Mike B Anderson and Matthew Schofield, 2009.

 

 

 

12. “Treehouse of Horror X”

 

X

You know, nostalgia really can help some of these episodes. Case in point, the tenth Treehouse of Horror episode. This episode is in general a little weak, but I have such a strong affection for the episode that I allowed myself to put it on the list a little higher than it probably deserves. It starts off with what’s probably its weakest segment a story where the Simpsons accidentally kill Ned Flanders, before getting stalked by his undead form. We then get the incredibly goofy and weird superhero pastiche that introduces us with Stretch Dude, Clobber Girl, and the Collector. But then we close things off with the very silly and very topical story where the family deal with the apocalypse caused by the Y2K virus. It’s a very goofy episode, and one that couldn’t be more 1999, but that’s kind of why I enjoy it so much.

 

“Treehouse of Horror X” was written by Donick Cary, Tim Long, and Ron Hauge and directed by Pete Michels, 1999.

 

 

 

11. “Treehouse of Horror XV”

 

XV

We’re now at the part of the list where I’m feeling a strong desire to rewatch all of these episodes after writing about them. Because these are some incredibly solid episodes. This episode features three really funny segments, including one I would consider one of my favorite Treehouse segments of all time. We start off with a goofy little parody of the Dead Zone where Ned Flanders begins learning how everyone around him will die, before being put on a path to stop Homer from destroying the entire town. Next up is a truly spectacular segment that maybe doesn’t fit in with the whole Halloween theme, but that’s just a serious blast. It’s a parody of Sherlock Holmes in general with Lisa as Holmes and Bart as Watson, and it’s seriously so fun. Which makes it a shame when things end on the relatively mediocre note with a parody of Fantastic Voyage. It’s serviceable. But boy does that middle segment rise this episode up above the masses.

 

“Treehouse of Horror XV” was written by Bill Odenkirk and directed by David Silverman, 2004.

 

 

 

10. “Treehouse of Horror XI”

XI.png

“Treehouse of Horror XI” is an episode that can sometimes feel like too much of a good thing. It’s absolutely stuffed with ideas, and kind of represents one of the last gasps of the classic seasons’ Treehouse episodes, but it’s still pretty fun. We start things off by seeing Homer’s adventures as a ghost, trying to get into heaven by doing some good deeds, to disastrous results. Then we get a very fun little segment that’s ostensibly a Hansel and Gretel parody, but that ends up becoming a parody of fairy tales in general. And then we get to close things out with the absolutely insane segment where Springfield is put into deadly battle with dolphins, of course ending with Springfield losing. It’s an episode that can feel like it’s trying to do too much at times, but when it works it really works.

 

“Treehouse of Horror XI” was written by Rob LaZebnik, John Frink, Don Payne, and Carolyn Omine, and directed by Matthew Nastuk, 2000

 

 

 

9. “Treehouse of Horror II”

II

Okay, we’re now going to only be talking about stone-cold classics, folks. And, that begins with the show’s second attempt at doing a Halloween special. It’s a fun episode, but one that does feel like it maybe was still figuring things out, at least a bit. We even get a wrap-around plot, which I love so much, this time featuring Homer, Bart, and Lisa eating too much candy after trick or treating, and having sugar-induced nightmares. Most of which are just straight up direct parodies. Things begin with a tale involving the family getting a magical monkey’s paw and using it’s powers for some pretty petty and stupid wishes. Then we get a great Twilight Zone parody where Bart has reality-warping powers, earning him a reputation in Springfield as a fearful god. Then things get a little weird when Mr. Burns starts robbing graves to create a robotic worker, only to ruin everything by picking Homer’s brain to be the test-case. There’s some great moments in this episode, but I think the episodes that follow it built upon the foundation and did a better job. It’s a solid episode, it just gets upstaged by quite a few of its future siblings.

 

“Treehouse of Horror II” was written by Atrocious Al Jean and Morbid Mike Reiss, Jittery Jeff Martin, Gasping George Meyer, Slithering Sam Simon and Spooky John Swartzwelder, 1991.

 

 

 

8. “Treehouse of Horror VI”

VI

 

I’m going to be honest, I almost always forget the first segment in this episode, “Attack of the 50 ft Eyesores.” It’s not one of the strongest. But the rest of this episode is just so terrific that I can’t deny it being this high on the list. “Eyesores” is just kind of bland, having the family fight a bunch of monstrous mascots and statues, but things really pick up after that. We get the terrific Nightmare on Elm St parody with Willie as the dream-travelling killer that features some of the most memorable lines and gags of any Treehouse of Horror episode. Things then close out with one of the most famous segments of all time. Homer³. It’s a really funny segment, and the historical significance of the segment’s 3D animation is really terrific. It’s just a classic episode, and it’s a whole lot of fun.

 

“Treehouse of Horror VI” was written by John Swartzwelder, Steve Tompkins, and David S Cohen, and directed by Bob Anderson, 1995.

 

 

 

7. “Treehouse of Horror I”

I

Well, we now get to talk about the elder statesman of the Treehouse of Horror subgenre. The original Halloween Special. This episode started it all, and it does a great job at setting up everything that these episodes would become. Which means that it has a lot of historical significance, but it’s also an episode that can be out staged by a lot of other episodes that built on what it created. We get a frame story, this time just the kids literally sitting in the treehouse and telling each other scary stories, we show the three segments, we meet Kang and Kodos, and we even are introduced to the idea that most of these segments will be parodies of horror movies and Twilight Zone episodes. We start things off by seeing the Simpsons in a haunted house, a pretty basic but effective set up. Then we get our first looks at Kang and Kodos as they abduct the Simpsons, and try to treat them like kings if they weren’t so suspicious. And things close out with a segment that’s kind of an oddball for the rest of the genre, a straight telling of Edgar Allen Poe’s the Raven. But it’s just really well done. It’s easy to see that they struck gold with this episode, realizing that they could do something fun like this every year, and this episode certainly deserves appreciating for everything it gave to us.

 

“Treehouse of Horror” was written by Jay Kogen, Wallace Wolodarsky, John Swartzwelder, Edgar Allan Poe, and Sam Simon and was directed by David Silverman, Rich Moore, and Wes Archer

 

 

 

6. “Treehouse of Horror IX”

IX

And, now that we’ve talked about the foundation of the Treehouse episodes, let’s talk about an episode that takes that foundation and just builds an incredibly silly set of stories off of it. “Treehouse of Horror IX” is a great example of when the Treehouse episodes started to get a tad too silly, but it’s just on the border where I still love it quite a bit. I mean, how could you not? We start things off by seeing a story where Homer becomes a killer after getting a hair-transplant from a recently executed Snake. Then we get a truly wonderful segment where Bart and Lisa get drawn into the world of Itchy and Scratchy, having to fend off some cartoon violence. And then we get downright goofy with the final segment, where we learn that Maggie isn’t actually Homer’s daughter, but a genetic experiment that was created by Kang and Kodos, of course leading to everyone going on the Jerry Springer show to figure out the proper custody. It’s dumb and silly, but sometimes that works perfectly.

 

“Treehouse of Horror IX” was written by David X. Cohen, Larry Doyle and Donick Cary and was directed by Steven Dean Moore, 1998.

 

 

 

 

5. “Treehouse of Horror VIII”

VII

Alright, time to talk about the best of the best folks. These last five episodes were almost impossible to rank, because I just love them all so totally and completely. But, I guess this’ll do. So now let’s talk about three really fun little vignettes. It all starts off with what’s probably the best of the bunch, a parody of he wonderfully insane Omega Man where Homer survives a nuclear explosion only to face off against a group of evil mutants. It’s amazing. Then we get to see Bart become a fly-headed monster while playing around with a teleporter prototype, becoming a great mix of both versions of the Fly. And then things get a tad sleepy with the final segment, where Marge and her sisters are witches harassing the old-time people of Springfield. But, even that last segment’s relative weakness doesn’t keep the other two segments from propelling this episode to this upper echelon.

 

Treehouse of Horror VIII was written by Mike Scully, David S. Cohen, Ned Goldreyer and directed by Mark Kirkland, 1997.

 

 

 

4. “Treehouse of Horror IV”

IV

Now let’s talk about one of my favorite Treehouse of Horror’s of all time. And hey, we even get to talk about a frame-story this time! This episode gave us a parody of Night Gallery, with Bart walking around a bunch of paintings, telling us tales of terror that involved the paintings, and they’ll all great. It begins with a parody of the Devil and Daniel Webster where Homer sells his soul to the Devil, only to trigger a court case over who really owns his soul. Then we get a riff on the classic “Terror at 20,000 Feet” episode of the Twilight Zone with Bart being harassed on the longest school bus-ride of all time by a mischievous gremlin. And we close things out with a classic parody of Frances Ford Coppola’s insane Dracula film, which is just pitch-perfect. This entire episode is just so great, a perfect swirl of three amazing segments, and I love it so much.

 

“Treehouse of Horror IV” was written by  Conan O’Brien, Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein, Greg Daniels, Dan McGrath, and Bill Canterbury, and directed by David Silverman, 1993.

 

 

 

3. “Treehouse of Horror VII”

VII

 

Folks, let’s talk about what may be my single favorite Treehouse of Horror segment of all time. The other two segments in this episode are still a lot of fun, but boy does the last segment work beautifully for me. We start things off by meeting Bart’s evil and twisted secret twin brother Hugo, who only wants to reattach Bart to his side again. Then things get a little questionable for belonging in a Halloween story when Lisa creates a whole race of little people that she becomes God to, while Bart of course takes the role of the Devil. But, then we get “Citizen Kang.” Oh words cannot describe how much I love “Citizen Kang” The idea that Homer is the one man on Earth who knows that America’s two Presidential candidates, Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, are actually Kang and Kodos is disguise is so amazing, and the parody of American politics that follows is one of my favorite Simpsons bits of all time. And, as we all know, we can’t blame Homer for the devastation of Earth, since he voted for Kodos.

 

“Treehouse of Horror VII” was written by Ken Keeler, Dan Greaney and David S. Cohen, and directed by Mike B Anderson, 1996.

 

 

 

2. “Treehouse of Horror III”

III.png

Well folks, time to talk about another perfect Treehouse of Horror episode. By the third swing at bat the creators of the Simpsons had really figured out how to perfect these Halloween specials. We get a fun frame-story, this time having the kids hosting a Halloween story and telling each other scary stories, and then we get three of the best segments of all time. It starts off with the classic killer Krusty the Clown doll story, complete with the amazing potassium benzoate gag. Then things get very Golden Age of Hollywood by telling us the tale of King Homer, the massive ape and his adventures in America. We then close things out with the best zombie story the Simpsons have ever done, all brought on by Bart accidentally reading a Necronomicon for a class project. There’s just so much to love about this episodes. It’s a distillation of everything that I love about Treehouse of Horror episodes. There’s just one episode that I like a tad better.

 

“Treehouse of Horror III” was written by  Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jay Kogen, Wallace Wolodarsky, Sam Simon, and Jon Vitti, and directed by Carlos Baeza, 1992.

 

 

 

1. “Treehouse of Horror V”

V

When I first talked about this episode during the project I said that this episode was probably my favorite Treehouse of Horror of all time, unless proven wrong. And I never was. This episode is the first Simpsons episode I ever saw, and even discounting the nostalgia that inherently comes baked into this episode, I love everything about it. From the beginning gag that the episode is too scary to actually show to the last musical number. It’s all gold. It starts off with the amazing Shining parody, giving us an increasingly insane Homer as he tries his best to kill his family after being deprived of TV and beer. Then Homer takes a travel through time, getting to play around with cause and effect thanks to a shoddily repaired toaster. Things then close out with a really goofy segment where the teachers of Springfield Elementary begin eating their students, before ending the episode by turning the Simpsons inside out and having them dance to “One Singular Sensation.” It’s just a perfect Treehouse of Horror episode. We get great gags, solid parodies, and a whole bunch of goofy cartoon violence. Plus, we get to see Willie get killed with an ax three times in a row. I can’t imagine that they’ll ever top this episode, because it’s everything I want from a Treehouse of Horror story.

 

“Treehouse of Horror V” was written by  Greg Daniels, Dan McGrath, David Cohen and Bob Kushell and was directed by Jim Reardon, 1994.

 

And there we go! I saved the best and most complicated ranked list for last, and boy was that a marathon. I love the Treehouse of Horror episodes. They’re all great, in their own way, and I’m always going to be open to seeing what new experiments in storytelling that the creators of the Simpsons have for us each year. It’s become an annual tradition, and one of the most consistently enjoyable things about the show. I highly recommend going back and rewatching basically any of these episodes, because we can always use a little more macabre comedy in our life, and the Simpsons is one of the best places to go for that. That wraps up my week of rankings, so I’ll see you all next week for the final week of this version of Lifetime of Simpsons where we’ll be discussing each member of the Simpson family, and what they mean to me. Things will probably get a little mushy.

 

 

 

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