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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Season 8 is an exceptional season, one of the best of the series, and
it is also one of the last good ones. So it is obvious it would have a
great T.O.H. Well it does. and its very underrated and probably one of
the better Halloween Specials. Here is a summary of each story:
The Thing and I- This is the segment that really gives me the creeps. It begins with Bart and Lisa noticing strange noises coming from the attic and Homer going up with fish heads to feed something. The kids go up to investigate and find a cage and that something has escaped out the front door. Dr. Hibbert arrives and then reveals that Bart has an evil Siamese twin brother who has been locked up in the attic. While the family and Hibbert look for Hugo, Bart discovers Hugo is still in the house and he ties Bart up and attempts to sew him and Bart back together. But Bart is saved just in time by Hibbert who knocks Hugo out but then makes a discovery: That Hugo's scar is on the wrong side and that Bart is really the evil twin. The segment ends with Bart and Hugo switching places with Bart tied up in the attic eating fish heads.
The Genesis Tub-For me, this definitely stands out as the weakest link but it still has a good plot. When Lisa accidentally electrocutes her science experiment which creates a civilization with quick evolution. Bart thinks it is just a model and destroys a portion of their city. In order to gain protection from Bart, the people shrink Lisa who believe that she is God and Bart is the devil. Lisa says she can protect them if she is returned to her normal size which they say is impossible. Meanwhile, Bart enters the tub in the science fair and wins first prize.
Citizen Kang- This is my favorite of the lot because it has tons of funny one liners. While Homer is fishing, he is abducted by Kang and Kodos and they ask him who their leader is. Homer replies that it is Bill Clinton but points out that there is an election and Bob Dole could be the next president. Kang and Kodos then kidnap Clinton and Dole, place them in suspended animation, and disguises themselves as the two candidates. Homer then eventually reveals the two but Kang points out that they have to vote for one of them. Kang is then elected and the people are forced to build a ray gun to destroy an unknown planet.
So overall a very satisfying Treehouse of Horror, one of the many gems of Season 8, and one of the best Simpsons episodes overall.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the last Treehouse of Horror Simpsons episode I'll review among
other Halloween and horror-related shows this October, the Simpson
family gets bigger, Lisa gets smaller and politicians get scalier. The
seventh Trehouse of Horror, part of the eighth season of The Simpsons,
is a worthy addition to list of great Halloween TV.
The first story is a great concept. This show is about a family, so if you're going to write horror, it would be entirely appropriate to create a monster who's also family. Bart gets an evil twin- Hugo, who's been chained up in the attic for 10 years before finally breaking loose. But it turns out he's not the evil twin- Bart is. It's fairly fitting given our familiarity with the character. There are laughs in this episode regarding Homer and Marge's suspicious behaviour, Hugo's sewing hobby and Marge's preference for bottle feeding.
In the second segment, Lisa inadvertently creates life, microscopic men in a tub who regard her as god- but she's more interested in waffles. This is the least funny story of the episode, but it's always interesting to contemplate these kinds of religious questions. The third segment gives the aliens Kang and Kodos their first starring role since Treehouse of Horror I and II. It focuses on the 1996 US election, yet years later the jokes still work. We see rum being used as an alternative to killing, an abortion joke, and general odd behaviour from the candidates with almost no one really noticing. Future students of history should check it out if they're interested in 1996. But this episode will have broader appeal than that.
*** 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 first tale begins with Bart and Lisa awaking from their sleeps to hearing noises in the attic (The Exorcist, 1973). What is making those noises(?), they ask Homer and Marge but they remain very hush-hush about it though at that very inquisitive breakfast, Homer brings a bucket of fishheads to feed "something" up there. So, Bart and Lisa, with Maggie in tow, go up to the attic to see what there is to see. They find something that is most likely partially human chained to the wall (Phenomena, 1984 / The Goonies, 1985), but before they can see what it is, it runs away. Homer and Marge come home and tell them the truth about "Hugo," Bart's evil Siamese twin (Sisters, 1973) brother they had surgically removed from him but was such a violent misfit they decided to hide him from the world (Basket Case, 1982). However, Hugo isn't really gone and plans to surgically re-attach himself and Bart back together. A visit from Dr. Hibbert also reveals another shocking twist (or a not-so shocking twist, as it turns out).
The second tale begins with Lisa working on a science fair project, taking a recently lost tooth and soaking it in a tub of cola to see what develops. She is surprised to see that inside the tub grows an entire, sophisticated world that turns out to be much more advanced than her own. But when Bart decides to ruin the tub "city" thinking it's just a model, the tiny world of people decide to see how they can participate in Lisa's world - launching a full-scale tiny aircraft attack on Bart in his sleep. Bart warns that he will get revenge for this. Lisa is then shrunken (The Incredible Shrinking Man, 1957 / The Incredible Shrinking Woman, 1981 / Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, 1989) down to tiny size inside her own world where she is surrounded in an Emerald city (The Wizard of Oz, 1939) where she is the Queen / God of her tiny city. But they want her to save them from Bart, which she can't do if she's stuck in her Tub and her tiny people haven't invented a machine that can make her Big again.
The third tale begins with Homer just fishing quietly over a lake when he is quickly abducted by aliens (Kodos and Kang) who demand to be "taken to their leader." However, being the last week of October in 1996, Homer gets confused on who the current leader was because the election could make Bob Dole the new Leader. So instead of just kidnapping President Clinton, the aliens kidnap Republican hopeful Dole as well. Their plan is simple, to copy the Presidents, have the humans elect them Supreme Leader of all Earthlings, take over the planet, enslave humankind, and destroy other planets. Not so simple it turns out, is disposing of paranoid Homer who witnesses the whole thing and tries to convince his family and the rest of America that BOTH of their candidate hopefuls are evil space aliens from beyond the stars bent on world domination and conquest of all things human. Well inevitably, Homer is able to expose the aliens, but since they have now disposed of the President AND his opponent, America is clueless on just who will lead them to stop the aliens.
This is another Treehouse of Horror that mainly focuses on science fiction, which again just isn't my cup of tea. So this falls just in 2nd place for my least favorite Treehouse of Horror (from parts 1 through 7) episode. However, it has an edge over part 2 because it's a little more funny and satisfying. And the Siamese Twin tale at the beginning really focuses on a couple of much unseen horror films (and a subgenre of horror where there aren't too many movies) - Brian De Palma's 1973 surreal monster murder mystery Sisters, which is the most obvious influence, and Frank Henenlotter's 1982 cult film Basket Case. This ends up being one of my favorite individual Tales from the Treehouse of Horror series (it even ends up visually referencing an image in the opening of one of Dario Argento's most underrated films, 1984's Phenomena, which features an evil deformed youngster chained to the wall in the exact same way we see here, which we don't see the body of until the very end).
The second tale is very bland though it raises a very good question about God (maybe creation really is an accident or a coincidence), which is technically the only value this tale has. The third tale is very cutesy if you ask me because we don't see any of the political comedy getting as edgy as it has become in future seasons. But at least it's watchable cutesy. It just doesn't amount to much. If anything, it comments accurately on the sort of crowds who would gather to hear political speeches.
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