Eye On Springfield: Treehouse Of Horror Edition

Treehouse_of_horror

Instead of the normal Eye On Springfield format, this week I sent 4 questions about the Treehouse Of Horror episodes of the Simpsons to some of my favorite people. Most of these are from fellow metalheads that have appeared on Xtapolapometal in the past, and a couple are future guests.

Treehouse Of Horror has always held a special place in my heart. As someone who has been watching the Simpsons and horror movies since I was a kid (I have distinct memories of watching It and Child’s Play when my parents thought I was sleeping), the idea that my favorite fictional family having these non-canon adventures in the world of Edgar Allen Poe and Wes Craven always made me really excited. Even still, they’re the one episode a year I refuse to not watch.

The answers that follow are great and have made me desperately wish The Simpsons would make some of these ideas happen (especially a Simpsons/Hellraiser mashup). Enjoy!

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Daniel Jackson (Void Ritual/Desu)

What is it about the Treehouse Of Horror segments that you love?

The obvious answer is that it’s a chance to see the Simpsons characters at their most fucked up and crazy. In the Treehouse universe, we get shit like Marge as a witch eating witch trial era children with her sisters, or Flanders as The Devil. Even in the later seasons, you can usually count on the writers to be on their A-game for the Treehouse episodes.

What is your favorite Treehouse Of Horror segment and why?

Fuck, that’s tough. I’ll have to list a few, because otherwise I’ll feel bad. Basically all of Treehouse IV is fucking magic. You’ve got “The Devil and Homer Simpson”, you’ve got Dracula. All awesome. “The Shinning” is a classic. And I’d include 50-Foot Eyesores, “Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace” and “Citizen Kang” in there too. As to why: I’ll just leave it fairly general and say that each of the episodes has some absolutely classic moments, like Burns saying he liked the cut of The Devil’s jib, or Homer’s “Do not touch Willie… good advice!” lines. It’s such a high concentration of classic moments, that it’s hard to really put into words why any of them is greater than the other.

What horror movie do you think would be a great Treehouse segment?

Hellraiser seems like a must. In fact, I’ll have a little casting fun:

Pinhead: Bart
The Chatterer: Grandpa (thinking of gags with his false teeth)
Butterball: Comic Book Guy
Nikoletta/Female Cenobite: Marge
Julia: Edna K. would have been perfect, but I guess either Patty or Selma now.
Frank: Moe
Kirsty: Lisa (Milhouse as the boyfriend)
Larry: Homer
Numerous lonely, day-drinking suckers Julia murders: Skinner, Bumble-Bee Man, Willie, Wiggum

I really want to see ‘Them’ by King Diamond get a Treehouse segment. What metal concept album would you like to see get a Treehouse rendition? (I actually got this idea from you.)

Since you’ve stolen my ‘Them’ idea, and going with ‘The Graveyard’ would probably be a tough sell, I’ll say they could probably get something fun out of the Gwar Universe. The problem here is that most metal albums are pretty humorless, and when there’s a coherent story to be had, it’s not usually a very good one. I’m sure there are folks who’d love to see a Operation: Mindcrime Treehouse or a Ziltoid episode, but that’s not for me. King’s stuff is perfect because it’s so wacky and full of personality.

Citizen-Kang

Dustie Pitstick (Duderus)

What is it about the Treehouse Of Horror segments that you love?

It ‘s a great chance for the Simpsons to take it’s many seasons worth of inside jokes and rich characters and have fun with them outside of cannon. For all the times Homer was ready to smash Flander’s head, and obviously wouldn’t in reality… We get to see that here! The writers have had a great storied history of playing parody with great cinema, television, pop culture, etc. This is a way to pay that homage to the great sci fi and horror that just wouldn’t make much sense in a context where you can’t kill folks and have wizards/vampires/robots. Just a fun way to take a moment yearly to blow the fourth wall away, and have a lot of self aware, campy fun. What’s not to love?!

What is your favorite Treehouse Of Horror segment and why?
The best presentation as a whole is likely VII. “The Thing and I” is responsible for some of the best one liners ever (“I’ll check Radio Shack!”). “Genesis Tub” was just a fun fantastic voyage homage into the micro verse that as far as the middle segment goes, is a great romp. And “Citizen Kang” rounding it out is classic Simpsons political satire, Great usage of mainstays Kodos and Kang, and I’m always a sucker for the yearly “Homer was actually right” underdog episode.

   My personal favorite as a whole is most definitely V. I have a lot of good memories of “Crime and Punishment” being my dad’s favorite before he passed, so it gets sentimental points on top of just being an insanely absurd episode. Every time Homer mentions using “the right tools” and then smashed the toaster open with a rock I come close to death with laughter. “The Shinning” is perfect parody, and responsible for the “No TV and no beer makes Homer something, something” quote. And nightmare cafeteria is filled with some of the best Seymour thinking he’s clever idiocy the series has to offer. The ending to the episode is also fantastic, with the family being turned inside out and deciding to sing it off. Plus Willie’s chance to shine in the episode via multiple brutal murders is a great running gag.

It’s not a popular one, but my favorite single vignette is “Night of the Dolphin” from XI. From Lenny’s death in the water (“Alcohol and night swimming. What a winning combination!”) to the head dolphins speech (“Snarky. Talk. Man. *cough* Let me start over.”) to the brutal animated war with the dolphins… It’s an episode that I feel just personally gets me.

What horror movie do you think would be a great Treehouse segment?

For all of the obvious parodies that the show has done, they have never properly touched on the Friday the 13th movies. There is a solid nod in “Boy Scouts in the Hood” when Ernest Borgnine finds the abandoned summer camp, but I would love to see a proper Treehouse homage to my favorite bad franchise. Speaking of bad, I’m sure they could have some big fun with a segment paying tribute to Troll 2. It is already unintentionally the best worst horror movie on it’s own accord. I’m sure the writer’s could have a ball with it.
I really want to see ‘Them’ by King Diamond get a Treehouse segment. What metal concept album would you like to see get a Treehouse rendition?
My immediate reaction is “Leviathan” by Mastadon, mostly since they briefly touched on a similar note in “the War of the Simpsons” when Homer goes after General Sherman during the couple’s retreat. Build a whole episode around that with the wild Treehouse of Horror violence level and it writes itself! Plus that album just rips, so you’ve got a great soundtrack built in already.
 Zombie_simpson
Tom DeGroot
What is it about the Treehouse Of Horror segments that you love?
I love how over the top they can get because they’re not restricted by anything in the canon. It’s never sad when a character dies in Treehouse because it’s basically the equivalent of an actor playing a role in a movie where they get killed on screen but of course, in real life, they’re fine. Can only imagine that the writers have a lot of fun with it.
What is your favorite Treehouse Of Horror segment and why?
Tough question! I suppose if I had to choose, probably “Nightmare Cafeteria” from Treehouse V. The entire episode is wonderful though and the best Treehouse Of Horror episode ever I’d say. My reasons for liking this one are the same as the other segments in this episode: They manage to actually strike a really healthy balance between comedy and genuine horror. The Treehouse episodes tend to be far more on the fantastical comedic side rather than actually trying to scare the audience but this episode and this segment splits it pretty evenly. We can all laugh at Principal Skinner revealing far too much about the mysterious food called “Uterbraten” but also be genuinely creeped out at Lunchlady Doris covered in blood attacking the surviving children. Same goes for the pretty graphic scene of the family being turned inside out by the fog followed immediately by an inspired parody of “One”. Should also be pointed out that Harry Shearer absolutely kills it as a much darker and disturbed version of Skinner. Who knew that Marge’s pre-show warning about Treehouse V being really scary actually had some truth to it this time around?
What horror movie do you think would be a great Treehouse segment?
 
They haven’t really done a proper full parody of the Exorcist so that might be a fun one for them to go with. Certainly lends itself to a lot of material.
I really want to see ‘Them’ by King Diamond get a Treehouse segment. What metal concept album would you like to see get a Treehouse rendition?
Never really thought of that or honestly know if it would work. Maybe drawing inspiration here and there but not a full adaptation. I guess elements of “Operation: Mindcrime” might be an interesting Simpsons story to tell but it’s hard to visualize because I don’t see the strong comedy potential in most concept albums I’m a fan of.
 dolphin1
Sean Barry (Consequence Of Sound)
What is it about the Treehouse Of Horror segments that you love?
I’m a sucker for the anthology-style attitude of just wanting to tell a quick and creepy story with some laughs and classic horror homages thrown in.
What is your favorite Treehouse Of Horror segment and why?
It’s a 3-way tie because each segment excels in presenting that certain something that I love about Treehouse of Horror.
  • “The Shinning” from V because it’s such a perfectly done parody of The Shining.
  • “The Thing And I” from VII because the twist of Bart being the evil twin all along totally speaks to the Twilight Zone-y spirit upon which Treehouse of Horror thrives.
  • “Night of the Dolphin” from XI because it’s so ridiculous and so wonderful and is everything I want from a Treehouse segment.
What horror movie do you think would be a great Treehouse segment?
Hausu (or House) would be fantastic if they haven’t done that yet.
I really want to see ‘Them’ by King Diamond get a Treehouse segment. What metal concept album would you like to see get a Treehouse rendition?

Mastodon’s Leviathan would make for a great Moby Dick parody/trippy Treehouse segment.

 nightmare
Kathy Bejma (Metal Cakes)
What is it about the Treehouse Of Horror segments that you love?
My favorite thing about all the Treehouse of Horror episodes, is that absolutely anything can happen-  They’re noncanonical!! All the kids get eaten in “Nightmare Cafeteria,” but they’re fine in next week’s episode. Most of the town gets turned into horrible, skin-eating, mutants in “Homega Man,” but then everyone is perfectly normal in the next episode. It’s great!!
Plus they do a lot of Twilight Zone and scary movie parodies. As a huge fan of horror movies, and The Simpsons, I love when the writers combine the two!
I don’t watch new episodes anymore, but I still try make an effort to watch the Treehouse of Horror episodes every year. They’re usually still pretty creative and entertaining.
What is your favorite Treehouse Of Horror segment and why?
I can’t believe I have to pick only one… Can I pick 3?
-Clown Without Pity
So much awesomeness in this segment!! The free frogurt, and when Homer says “Marge! Marge! Look! The doll’s trying to kill me and the toaster’s been laughin’ at me! Ewww… Dog water!” Then when Marge calls the help line, and their hold music is “Everybody Loves A Clown,” and finally the repair guy discovering that someone set the doll to “Evil.” Oh man… The whole thing is just so hilarious!
-Dial “Z” For Zombies
The Simpsons trivia night I go to every month, has a Halloween costume contest every year, and this year I was Bart from “Dial ‘Z’ For Zombies” with a cape and Thriller record on my head. I also had the book of spells to read from: “Collin…Rayburn…Nars…Trebek!” “Trojan…Ramses…Magnum…Sheik!!”
But that segment (also from Treehouse of Horror III), has some great lines:
“Dad you killed the zombie Flanders!”
“He was a zombie?”
“Take that, Washington! Eat lead, Einstein! Show’s over, Shakespeare!”
Then when the zombies are going back to their graves:
“Excuse me, I’m John Smith.”
“John Smith 1882?”
“My mistake!”
-Terror at 5 1/2 feet
A parody of one of the best Twilight Zone episodes! There’s a gremlin on the side of the bus!!
My favorite part is when Ned Flanders hits the gremlin with his car, and then wraps it in his coat to take care of it.
“It’s some kind of hideous monster! Aww… Isn’t that cute? He’s trying to claw my eyes out!”
What horror movie do you think would be a great Treehouse segment?
I think they could do an “It Follows” parody, but instead of a sexually transmitted demon, it could be something else more hilarious like whoever has a certain Alf pog or Malibu Stacy head or something.
And since Lisa is a bit of an outcast, they could do a “Carrie” parody, but you know… In a hilarious way. They could use her gazpacho soup instead of pig’s blood.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is my all-time favorite horror film, and if The Simpsons ran out of gas in Texas, I bet they could do a pretty clever parody of that too!
I really want to see ‘Them’ by King Diamond get a Treehouse segment. What metal concept album would you like to see get a Treehouse rendition?
I guess they already did the Treehouse of Horror episode where Bart, Lisa and Homer have nightmares from eating too much candy… But I’d still really like to see them do Alice Cooper’s “Welcome To My Nightmare.”
The possibilities are endless! Plus it’s such a classic Halloween record, you can’t go wrong!
 uterbratenMAIN
Shayne Mathis (Full Metal Hipster, Metal Injection)
What is it about the Treehouse Of Horror segments that you love?
I’ve always been a huge horror movie fan,  so mixing horror with The Simpsons guarantees I’m going to be stoked. Aside from that, I also enjoyed the feeling of being privy to some of the more esoteric references from those episodes. We nerds, dorks, and geeks are typically ostracized in middle school and high school so it was exciting to feel like you were in on something no one else was.  In it’s heyday, The Simpsons was loaded with cultural references and the Treehouse of Horror episodes where no different. The example that springs immediately to my mind is when Bart was dressed as a droog from A Clockwork Orange during the wraparound sequence in Treehouse of Horror III. The movie has had a cult following for years, but, for a geek growing up in the country surrounded by culturally illiterate rednecks, getting that reference felt like being part of some secret society.
What is your favorite Treehouse Of Horror segment and why?
Dial Z For Zombie is my favorite vignette. It contains two classic Simpsons lines: “Is this the end for zombie Shakespeare?” and “Flanders was a zombie?” The “Flanders was a zombie?” line is actually one of my favorite Simpsons gags of all time. It’s dark, but I love the idea that Homer is secretly hiding a desire to murder Flanders so powerful that he actually does it when given the chance. On a related note, there’s a callback to that scene in Deathgasm, a horror movie you should absolutely watch as soon as possible. Also, one of the fun things about the Treehouse episodes is that they’re non-canon so the writers can kill characters. In Dial Z For Zombie, the Simpsons were allowed to lay waste to a hoard of zombiefied Springfieldians (as well as George Washington, Albert Einstein, and William Shakespeare), and it was glorious!
What horror movie do you think would be a great Treehouse segment?
I haven’t watched a new episode of The Simpsons in nearly 15 years so I don’t know if this has already been done, but I always thought Night of the Creeps would make a good segment. In another attempt to conquer Earth, Kodos and Kang release a canister of space slugs in Springfield where they infect the townspeople. Bart, Lisa, and Milhouse could be stand-ins for the three kids in the movie and Chief Wiggum would obviously be the Detective Cameron character.
I really want to see ‘Them’ by King Diamond get a Treehouse segment. What metal concept album would you like to see get a Treehouse rendition?
I was trying hard to come up with something else to avoid being redundant, but King Diamond’s Abigail is too solid of a choice. It’s a good fit for Marge, Homer and Maggie as the central characters, and there’s a haunted house, murder, possession, and a ghost baby. I don’t know how you top that. An alternate idea would be a full episode based around the final track of doom metal band Old Witch’s album Come Mourning Come. The track is a reading of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Picture in the House that Old Witch provided musical accompaniment for. The track is 30 minutes long so it would take up an entire episode, but it would be a cool change of pace from the standard Treehouse of Horror format.
 06-06
Ross Mckendrick (RDM Visuals)

What is it about the Treehouse Of Horror segments that you love?

With the early episodes, it really gave the writers and animators a chance to go for more surreal, and often genuinely creepy stories. This was before the show started doing episodes about the Simpsons going to Japan and shit like that, when it was still about an ordinary family just trying to get by and get along. The Treehouse episodes gave them the chance to do stuff like turn Flanders into a werewolf, create the most popular adaptation of Poe’s ‘The Raven’ ever made, and experiment with 3D CGI animation and live action before those things became a fad.

Also, I fucking loved horror movies as a young ‘un, so watching my favourite programme tackle those tropes in it’s own inimitable way was the coolest thing ever when I was a kid. They hold a lot of nostalgia value, but they still hold up as genius pieces of writing today.

What is your favorite Treehouse Of Horror segment and why?

I’m finding it impossible to pick just one! I don’t have the DVDs of the show so I haven’t seen any of them in years, so at the moment I’m really dying to watch ‘The Shinning’ again, mainly for Homer’s freakout on the staircase. It’s also been far too long since I saw ‘Dial ‘Z’ For Zombies’, and I caught myself humming ‘Just Don’t Look’ today, so I figure that ‘Attack Of The 50ft Eyesores’ is due a rewatch too.

Also anything with Kang and Kodos, because “Ohhh, shazbot.”.

What horror movie do you think would be a great Treehouse segment?

The Evil Dead trilogy. It already has those surreal and comedic elements in the original movies which would be perfect for spooky Simpsons cabin antics, and Bruce Campbell’s voice and cartoon-like visage are a perfect fit for a guest role. Have Flanders voice the possessing spirits and hey presto, ya got Evil Ned!

Though if this actually gets made, I will sue those damn hack writers to hell and back.

I really want to see ‘Them’ by King Diamond get a Treehouse segment. What metal concept album would you like to see get a Treehouse rendition?

I don’t know if I actually know or like any concept albums, so I’ll just cast my vote as a +1 for ‘Them’, because it would be cool as fuck to see King Diamond in Groening-vision.

Thanks to everyone who took part in this. I’m off for some night swimming and alcohol, it’s a winning combination!
lenny
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