Woodyman counts down the Top 20 The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Shorts...
Editor's Note: Great list so far Woody!
Top 10 The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Shorts
It’s that time of the year again g1s…
It’s my favorite month of all time, OCTOBER!
I love October for so many reasons. I love the leaves changing colors, I love apple pie, and I love Halloween. Therefore, I decided to spend the entire month of October just writing lists about Halloween, scary movies, scary games, and anything else in-between... it’s a made up holiday I like to call WoodTober or WoodyWeen… I’m not quite sure which one I like yet.
Some of these lists might be two parters, others will be collabs, but either way I’ll publish a list every FRIDAY in October. If I did my math right, that’s 4 lists for your enjoyment… and one special list on the 31st I don’t really know the schedule of these lists so I cannot tell you what’s coming up… but it’s gonna be awesome. Now I wanna warn y’all in advance that I may be late with some of the lists, (like this list!) but I guarantee I’ll get 5 out by Oct 31. In addition, I’m posting a sci-fi or horror review on October 28th, 29th, and 30th.
Either way, let’s get into what we’ll be counting down today. Ever since I can remember I’ve always waited for one special date. I was ALWAYS on the lookout for the air date of The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Special. The Treehouse of Horror specials were a very special time when The Simpsons’ writers would just go nuts. They’d put The Simpsons in circumstances they’d never find themselves in during an average episode, and they’d also be parodying everything from Alfred Hitchcock to Harry Potter. Everyone watched these specials because you knew that even the bad ones were gonna be entertaining and that the good ones would be AMAZING. Now other people counted down their favorite episodes, but I decided to count down my Top 20 Favorite Treehouse of Horror Shorts. That means it doesn’t matter how the entire episode was, just how much I enjoyed the short itself.
Now I bet you’re thinking… ‘Woodyman, how do you remember all these shorts? There are so many!!!’ Well easily impressed reader, I watched every single one again just for this list. So without further ado, let’s begin.
As with all my lists, here are some rules and some music to listen to while you read.
Marilyn Manson – This is Halloween
Zombies Ate My Neighbors Remix – Neighburgers
Sweeny Todd – Pretty Women
- Entries in this list are based on my own personal preferences.
- They are ordered based on how much I enjoy the short, and its lasting power.
- Since this is a personal list, my choices will be different than yours. Therefore, if you don’t like the list or disagree with it, then don’t be a dick. Just offer your own opinion.
- I’ve seen all these specials multiple times.
- Older Treehouse of Horror specials may be more dominant on this list because I grew up with them and they affect me nostalgically. (Also I think they’re better).
So let’s begin.
The Monkey’s Paw is the first short on the second Treehouse of Horror special. This was back in a time when the shorts didn’t have their own titles, so this one is more commonly known as Lisa’s Nightmare. That’s because in the Treehouse of Horror II all the stories are tied together because they are nightmares that the family is having. In Lisa’s Nightmare, the family is visiting Morocco as Homer purchases a severed Monkey’s Paw. The monkey’s paw is said to grant four wishes to whoever holds it, however the wishes are cursed. Homer buys the paw anyway and the rest of the short consists of The Simpson family using the Monkey Paw to fulfill their wishes, but everything gets screwed up. Maggie wishes for a pacifier which is all good. Then Bart wishes the family would become rich and famous… which they do, but they also annoy everyone else in town with their shoddy merchandise and annoying catchphrases (hmm… sounds familiar). Lisa’s fed up with all the selfish wishes so she decides to wish for World Peace. Everything seems fine as nations stop warring, and weapons are destroyed . Unfortunately then aliens Kang and Kodos take over the entire planet with a club and a slingshot. For me, the best part about this short is the ending. Homer tries to make a wish that cannot be corrupted, and wishes for a turkey sandwich… but DUN DUN D’OH! The turkey is a little dry. Trying to give Ned Flanders the same bad luck, Homer lets Ned have the Monkey’s Paw. However the paw continues to mess with Homer by giving Ned everything he’s asked for, with no repercussions. This short teaches the audience to be careful what you wish for, because it just might come true.
The Devil and Homer Simpson is the first short in The Treehouse of Horror IV. This is a great short, it has all the horror, references, and comedy that you’d expect from a Treehouse of Horror short. It begins with Homer saying that he’d sell his soul for a donut. Ned Flanders appears and reveals to Homer that he is the Devil. This in itself is hilarious. If you’ve seen any episode of The Simpsons you’d know Flanders is a religious goody-two-shoes so to see him in the role of the Devil is out of character, yet somehow it works. The Devil agrees to Homer's deal, and gives him a donut in return for Homer’s soul. Homer outsmarts Ned by realizing that if he doesn’t finish the donut, then Ned can’t get his soul. Unfortunately Homer is also an idiot, so he eats the “forbidden donut” while half-asleep one night. Marge pleads with Ned, and they agree to hold a trial. Homer is sent to Hell to await his trial where he is punished by being forced to eat donuts for all eternity. Homer actually enjoys this punishment and asks for more. The trial begins and Homer is poorly represented, he also must face a jury of some of the evilest men ever! Such as Richard Nixon, Blackbeard, Benedict Arnold, and the 1976 starting lineup for the Philadelphia Flyers. I won’t ruin the outcome of the trial for you… actually I won’t ruin a lot of these shorts, but if you know what happens you know it’s a sappy, but fitting end.
This is another short from the second Treehouse of Horror, I call this one “It’s a Good Life” because that’s the name of the Twilight Zone episode this short is based on, but it’s more commonly known as Bart’s Nightmare. In this short, Bart has god-like powers. He can read minds and change reality itself. Just like the Twilight Zone episode, everyone in the world adheres to Bart’s every whim. This in itself is amazing because Bart is a selfish, evil jerk… and now everyone has to do everything he says. The Krusty the Clown show has been airing for days, the answers to exams are changed to match Bart’s answers, and everything Bart does is a “good thing”. Bart gets bored with his omnipotence and plays around by turning the cat into what you see above, and turning Homer into a Jack in the Box. The short concludes with Bart being sent to a therapist to work out his issues with his father… and I’ll just conclude this by saying it doesn’t end like you think it will.
What can I say? I’m a sucker for literary parodies
The Island of Dr. Hibbert is an obvious homage to H.G. Wells story, “The Island of Dr. Moreau.” It’s the third short in the 13th Treehouse of Horror special. The episode begins with the Simpson family going on vacation to the Island of Lost Souls, a skull shaped island in the middle of nowhere. The island resort is run by the insane Dr. Hibbert. Now after seeing a skull shaped island, with the name the Island of Lost Souls, that is run by an insane doctor, most normal people would leave right away, but not The Simpsons! They decide to stay. One night when Marge hears an odd noise she goes to investigate and when she returns, she has been transformed into an anthropomorphic blue puma. She and Homer engage in passionate, and violent animal sex (furries will like this episode too!). Homer only realizes she’s been transformed, the next morning so he goes out to stop Dr. Hibbert. He runs into more Springfield citizens who have all been transformed into anthropomorphized animals, including his own kids. Bart is a spider, Lisa is an owl, and Maggie is an anteater. The main reason I love this episode so much is the ending, now I’m gonna reveal it for all of you so if you don’t want spoilers then stop reading. Homer confronts Dr. Hibbert and demands his family be returned to normal. Then Homer is coerced into becoming an animal man himself. Why? Because all an animal has to do is lie around, eat, sleep, mate, and roll around in its own filth all day. It’s Homer’s dream life. So he’s transformed into a walrus, and the episode ends.
Yes… another literary parody, but at least this one is a little more relevant.
Wiz Kids is the third short, in Treehouse of Horror XII. The entire short of a parody on the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. In this short Lisa and Bart attend Springwart’s School of Magicry. Just like in normal school, Lisa excels while Bart is a complete mess. Lisa’s magical skill attracts the unwanted attention of Lord Montymort (an obvious parody of Lord Voldemort), and his snake sidekick, Slithers (Mr. Smither’s). Lord Montymort recruits Bart to help him take down Lisa and absorb her magical prowess. Bart does so by switching Lisa’s wand with a fake, right before she’s supposed to perform the levitating dragon trick. The dragon itself ends up being Lord Montymort who begins to suck up the defenseless Lisa’s powers. Bart attempts to cast a spell to stop Montymort, but it backfires. So instead he just stabs Montymort in the shin. Somehow this kills Montymort who is then devoured by Slithers. This episode is great because it is what the Treehouse of Horror shorts are all about. It takes normal Simpsons characters and puts them in an incredible situation. What if Bart and Lisa were in Hogwarts? The end.
What if Homer had a clone?
What if Homer had an entire army of clones?
That is the question Send in the Clones asks its audience. The first short in the 13th Treehouse of Horror special.
The episode begins with Homer relaxing in a hammock. The hammock breaks, so Homer buys a cursed hammock from a traveling hammock salesman. Yeah, I know it sounds incredulous but stick with me here. Homer quickly realizes that he can make a clone of anyone who lays in the hammock. Being the incredibly lazy man that he is, Homer clones himself and sends his clones off to do all the chores and activities that he doesn’t want to do himself. The clones listen to Gandpa’s boring stories, they play ball with Lisa and Bart, and they help Marge shop and pick out outfits. Everything is fine until the idiotic clones start causing trouble. One of them even kills Ned Flanders. Homer decides to get rid of the clones and the hammock by dropping them all off at a giant cornfield. He kills each of the clones who remember the way home, and then drives off.
You’d think this would be the end but it’s just the beginning. The clones figure out how to use the hammock to make clones of themselves. Soon there is an entire army of Homer clones (some defective like the original Tracy Ullman Homer Simpson, and even Peter Griffin). The clones destroy every building in town except for Moe’s which is reporting record high business. The government steps in to kill the clones by flying a giant donut over a cliff. The Homer’s all fall to their doom besides one. As it turns out, the last remaining Homer is a clone cause the original was the first off the cliff.
This short was the first one, in the twelfth Treehouse of Horror special.
Homer and Marge visit a gypsy fortune teller. Homer accidentally destroys the gypsy’s hut. Therefore, the gypsy puts a curse on Homer that everyone close to him will suffer a horrible fate. Marge begins to grow a blue beard which eventually covers her entire body. Lisa transforms into a centaur. Maggie turns into a giant ladybug. Bart’s neck becomes floppy and elongated due to Homer’s strangulation. Lenny and Carl get crushed by a helicopter. Finally, Moe gets stuffed into his own pickled eggs jar.
In order to fight the curse, Homer learns that he needs a Leprechaun. Homer digs a giant hole in the middle of the forest and fills it with Lucky Charms cereal. Homer catches the Leprechaun and brings it home, but nothing happens. In fact, the Leprechaun runs amok and causes chaos. Lisa suggests that Homer sick the Leprechaun on the gypsy, meanwhile Bart gives up on life due to his long neck and commits suicide by drowning in a bowl of cereal. Homer sicks the Leprechaun on the Gypsy but instead of fighting, they make love and get married. The Simpsons attend the wedding still transformed, and it’s revealed that Bart is still dead. If Homer apologized it’d bring Bart back to life but Homer says the Gypsy ain’t the boss of him.
Reaper Madness is the first short, in the Treehouse of Horror Special XIV. This is absolutely one of my favorite shorts ever. It was such a great idea, that Family Guy ripped off the idea later… or The Simpsons ripped off the idea. I don’t know which came first.
Either way, Reaper Madness begins with the Grim Reaper visiting The Simpsons house in order to kill Bart. Bart runs throughout the house while the Grim Reaper chases Bart through the house in a hilarious Benny Hill style chase. Homer kills the Grim Reaper by knocking him out with a bowling ball. He screams “this is for Snowball I and John F. Kennedy!” With the Grim Reaper dead, no one can die. A snitch is gunned repeatedly by the mob, and Moe’s attempt to hang himself goes awry. Homer leaves the Grim Reaper on the curb, but steals his robe.
This turns Homer into the Grim Reaper himself. He takes to the job with ease killing everyone on his list with ease. He pisses off God by killing people not on the list, and is thus told to kill Marge. Now Homer has a tough decision to make. He must kill Marge, or be killed himself. I won’t reveal the way Homer deals with this situation, but I will say “I’m too old and too rich” for this.
This short is the first one on the 11th Treehouse of Horror.
Now many people might not think this one deserves such a high spot, but let me assure you that it does. The short begins with Homer reading his horoscope that he is going to die today. Marge reads in her horoscope that her husband is going to die today. This episode immediately freaked me out because Homer is a Taurus and so am I. I don’t really believe in horoscopes but after this short I checked mine a little more frequently.
Homer has a bunch of close calls throughout the day but shakes each of them off saying “Ha ha! Stupid horoscope.” Homer makes it to the end of the day, and is not dead. He’s overconfident, and take a victory bite of broccoli, which kills Homer. Homer survives a rattlesnake, but ends up being killed by a vegetable… seems fitting. While at the Pearly Gates, St. Peter tells Homer that he has lived a meaningless life. St. Peter sends Homer’s ghost back to Earth to do one good deed within 24 hours. If Homer fails, then he’ll be sent to hell. Homer tries his best to accomplish good deeds, but fails horribly. With one minute remaining Homer manages to do a good deed by stopping a baby carriage from going into traffic.
When 24-hours are up Homer is sent back to St. Peter who claims he didn’t see Homer’s good deed, then sends Homer to hell.
Another parody of The Twilight Zone? Well, yeah… you’re gonna see a lot of them on this list. It’s what the Treehouse of Horror shorts do best. Or this might be the last Twilight Zone parody, I don’t remember what’s on the rest of this list. Well anyway, this short is the second one on the very first Treehouse of Horror special. It begins with the entire Simpsons family barbecuing in their backyard. They are abducted by aliens who claim they want the Simpsons to join them on their home planet for a feast. The aliens feed the Simpsons an enormous amount of food and watch eagerly as they stuff themselves. The aliens weigh the Simpsons repeatedly and seem very glad when they put on weight. Lisa seems skeptical so she goes to the kitchen and finds a book entitled How To Cook Humans. She takes the book and shows it to the aliens, who explain to her that part of the title was obscured by space dust, which they then blow away to reveal the title How To Cook For Humans. Lisa, skeptical at this, blows off more space dust, revealing the title to be How To Cook Forty Humans. The aliens blow off the last of the space dust, finally revealing the real title How To Cook For Forty Humans. The aliens are shocked by Lisa’s accusations and kick the Simpsons out of their ship and say that the Simpsons ruined their chance at paradise.
The reason this short is so high on the list is that it marks a momentous occasion. The two aliens who abduct the Simpsons in the first place are Kang and Kodos. This is the first time Kang and Kodos ever made an appearance in the Treehouse of Horror special. Since this short, the creators of Treehouse of Horror made the decision to include Kang and Kodos every season. Sometimes they just made a cameo, and other times they were the stars of a short. Either way, they’ve always been around. That is why this short is in the #11 spot, but it’s not in the top 10 because there are 10 episodes, I like more.
Well there’s part one of the list.
Which Treehouse of Horror shorts make the Top 10?
You’ll have to read part 2 to find out.
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