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"The Simpsons" Treehouse of Horror (1990)

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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

The First (and Best) Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror

Author: Incredible_Brightness from Westerberg PTA
17 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Simpson Halloween specials / Treehouses of Horror usually function as spoofs on different types of horror movies / TV programs. The opening features Marge Simpson on an Opera / theater stage platform "warning" the audience about the show's content, much in the fashion of the original 1931 Frankenstein.

The plot centers around Bart, Lisa, and Maggie in a treehouse where Lisa is telling a story about someone in a house where the police call and say "we've traced the call it's coming from the floor below you, get out of the house..." (Black Christmas, 1974 / When a Stranger Calls, 1979) But Bart doesn't think that's scary so Lisa dares him to tell her a story that is scary.

He tells a tale of the Simpsons moving into a great big old-looking house which is a steal at the price they paid (Burnt Offerings, 1976). But immediately, ghostly happenings take place when books start stacking themselves (Ghostbusters, 1984) and the house tells them to "get out!" (The Amityville Horror, 1979) but they just ignore it. In the kitchen, the walls are dripping with blood (Amityville Horror) and there's a portal (Poltergeist, 1982) to another dimension (Phantasm, 1979) in the wall. Marge wants to leave but Homer convinces them to just try staying the night. In the night, Homer, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie (whose head spins around while in her cradle - The Exorcist, 1973) get impulses to kill one other (The Shining, 1980) but Marge stops them just in time. The house is not happy about this and starts telling them how they will die if they don't leave but Marge gets angry and starts yelling back at the house (The Legend of Hell House, 1973). The house asks for a moment alone in private and destroys itself (Phantasm) so it won't have to live with this family.

Back in the treehouse, Lisa is not scared, so Bart surprises her with a severed finger in a box (Phantasm) and another story. This one features the Simpson family yet again as they are abducted by aliens during a barbecue. While in the spaceship, the aliens Kang and Kodos appear friendly and offer to take them on a journey to their planet of origin while feeding them elaborately cooked meals. However, Lisa grows suspicious as the aliens begin weighing them on scales and saying things like "grow large with food" and "when we arrive there will be plenty of time to... Chew The Fat," so she decides to investigate the kitchen and finds a book titled- How to Cook Humans. As she runs to tell her family of her discovery, the alien shows her what the book really says - How to Cook For Forty Humans. The aliens are insulted that Lisa and the Simpson family would be suspicious of them and they return them to their backyard and fly away.

For the third story, Lisa decides to try a school book and reads the immortal Edgar Allen Poe poem, The Raven, in which Homer is alone in his chamber reading when he suddenly becomes frightfully paranoid. He has flashback dreams, hears someone knocking at his door who isn't there when he opens it, and finally opens his window as a raven flies in his chamber and sits on a bust above his door. The Poe story doesn't make much sense to most modern viewers since it's recited in its poetically proper form and would require a lot of trips to the dictionary to figure out just what's going on. As for the images - Homer yells at the raven but it won't go away. He tries to get it but it instead pelts him with books until he falls on the floor, where his soul shall not be lifted.

This is pretty much the only Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode where all three tales are outstandingly smart and funny at the same time. Not that other lesser tales weren't smart, but they don't all have the right combination of horror and humor and can just get boring. But not these 3. I guess it's first-timer's luck. I think further Treehouses of Horror may have just tried too hard. At any rate, the first tale is the coolest since there are a ton of horror movie references. The third tale is the most interesting and classic of the Treehouse series. The second tale is probably the funniest and most smile inducing / most entertaining. As for what that is based on, it IS science fiction oriented, which is my weakest subgenre of horror. But since it has a cannibal subplot, there have been several horror movies that overtly reference cannibalism - Motel Hell (1980), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Make Them Die Slowly (1981 - which may have been an influence since there is a line in the first tale of this Treehouse episode where the house says "you will die slowly!"), and maybe some Hershell Gordon Lewis films (I think Two Thousand Maniacs had cannibals in it).

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Effectively Creepy and Funny!

9/10
Author: g-bodyl from United States
28 February 2014

In the third episode of the second season of Simpsons, we get to witness their first Halloween. This episode is an episode of three shorts and each one is unique to their own. Each short is really creepy and sometimes a little funny. I liked how Marge, at the start of the episode, said this was not for kids. I also like the guest voice talent in James Earl Jones.

In this episode, "Treehouse of Horror," Lisa and Bart are swapping stories in the treehouse and these stories involve the Simpsons moving into an old haunted house, them getting picked up by aliens whom the Simpsons believe they are going to eat them, and an interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven.

Overall, this is a very good episode that has some bone-chilling moments. It may not be as funny as past episodes and it still is, but I would not expect that in a Halloween-centered episode. I also liked the last line of Homer's. That was really funny. I rate this episode 9/10.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

First And Best Treehouse Of Horror

10/10
Author: LedZep712 from United Kingdom
27 November 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Treehouse Of Horror

I'm going to make a change to my usual review style and write a separate review for all of the segments individually.

Bad Dream House: Now, this is probably gonna sound really wimpy, but this is probably the only segment in the history of the Halloween episodes to kind of freak me out. Now it's not so much that it terrifies me, but it gives me the creeps. The strange dream-like quality to it (particularly the house itself) disturbs me slightly. But there's also some genuinely funny bits as well and to me that mixture of typical Simpsons humour mixed with a somewhat genuinely scary element is to me, what should have featured in other future segments.

Hungry Are The Damned: A good segment. Probably not as good as Bad Dream House but in probably any other special, it would really stand out. Of course it features the debut of Kang and Kodos. Not really horror, more sci-fi except for the cannibalism (even if, it wasn't really cannibalism.) Kang and Kodos aren't as wacky as they would be later, but even though they lack their usual humour they're still good characters...shame there wasn't more Serak The Preparer in further years.

The Raven: Probably the most literate stance the show has taken, it's brilliantly performed with James Earl Jones as the narrator (a great actor in himself, of course.) a little too light-hearted with it's Loony Toons style than I would've wanted, but it still gives the piece great character.

Overall, three beautiful segments make one beautiful episode and of my all-time favourites.

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

The first Simpsons Halloween

9/10
Author: atinder from United Kingdom
11 February 2010

The first Halloween Simpsons Homer saying he loves Halloween and he is about scary Lisa and Bart in the tree house before it dose, Lisa and Bart tell each other scary story's.

The first story is Bad Dream House Where the Simpson's move into a haunted House and soon learn why the house was really cheap as it haunted and while they stay the night, strange things start to happen, like blood on walls and everyone trying kill everyone.

This story was great spoof of The Amityville Horror and also find it its really funny when Maggie head turns around just like The Exocist.

The second story is Hungry and the Damned The Simpsons are in the back garden and they abducted by Aliens with one eye and they hear they are gust Aliens feed them the best food, while Lisa thing otherwise and find out that making them fat so they could eat them but that was not true after all and makes on the Aliens, so Aliens send the Simpsons back to Earth.

They had good funny jokes in this story and it not as good as the first story but did like the away the Aliens look, scary for cartoon but not really scary.

Back in Treehouse Lisa reads Edgar Allan Poe's classic tale of horror We see as the Narrator , Marge as Lenore and Bart as the raven.

I did not find that story that funny at all but okay but I did like the end of episode, at the end of episode Homer says he hates Halloween because kids story's scared him.

Really good Simpsons Halloween episode.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A trick and a treat

8/10
Author: gizmomogwai from Canada
1 October 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Woo-hoo! October is here at last, and I thought it would be fun and appropriate to write reviews through the month on Halloween and horror-themed TV episodes and movies. First subject: the episode that launched one of my favourite things about The Simpsons, the annual Treehouse of Horror specials.

The Treehouse of Horror specials allow us to take a break from the usual tone of the series which was originally loosely based on reality and have some non-canonical fun with the characters we love. The THOH episodes are all broken up into three short stories. Here we have some basic ideas: a haunted house and an alien abduction. Lastly we have a retelling of Edgar Allen Poe's classic The Raven.

The show as a whole testifies as to the plight of the lower class dysfunctional family, and here we see a little of it when the Simpsons marvel at the affordability of their new house (albeit with a high price to pay when they find out it's evil). Marge acknowledges the family has fought in the past, but haven't used knives until moving into this house. Finally, Lisa tells the aliens they face prejudice every day. Still, the episode has some laughs outside the realm of relatability. We have a vortex and an Indian burial ground (with Gandhi, no less). We have a dusty book which makes for a good trick and treat. This THOH is good- and they'll get better as the years go on.

Happy Halloween.

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