For 31 Days of Halloween this year, Dan Aquino will be reviewing a staple of October TV of the past few decades: The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror Halloween Special. Here’s Treehouse of Horror II from Season 3.
Bart, Lisa, and Homer each have nightmares after eating too much Halloween candy before going to be. The nightmares serve as the individual segments.
During Lisa’s nightmare, the Simpsons take a trip to Morocco where Homer comes across a salesman in the town bazaar. He inquiries about a monkeys paw and the salesman tells him it will grant him any wish he desires, but will come at a great cost. Ignoring his warning, Homer brings the paw home and the family goes to town on the wishes, each leading to some sort of misfortune. Bart wishes for the Simpsons to be rich and famous which leads the people of Springfield to be fed up with them, and eventually hated. Lisa wishes for world peace causing Kang and Kodos to enslaves Earth due to the lack of weapons left to defend themselves, and Homer wishes for a turkey sandwich on rye but the turkey comes out a little dry. The only wish that doesn’t backfire is Maggie’s who wishes for a new pacifier.
Cursing the paw, Homer goes to throw it away but winds up giving it to Ned Flanders who uses the paw to get rid of the invading aliens and turning his house into a castle. The people of Springfield hail Ned as a hero and Homer ends the segment wishing he had a magic monkey paw. Apparently a fresh idea rather than inspired by horror movies/shows, Lisa’s Nightmare is a very solid segment from start to finish, showing us that getting what we wish for doesn’t always pan out the way we expect.
“Run! He has a board with a nail in it!”
This segment is based on the Twilight Zone episode titled “The Good Life.” Bart is a monster who can read people’s minds and change them into weird creatures, but only if they have unhappy thoughts. The townspeople are stuck doing whatever Bart tells them to do such as Krusty being on-air for 364 consecutive hours and the school changing the name of the United States of America to Bonerland (not a terrible change). Homer tries to put an end to his sons’ madness but is turned into a jack-in-the-box. Marge brings them to counseling where Dr. Marvin Monroe tells Homer to spend time with Bart which may stop him from changing people.
After a short montage of Homer and Bart spending time together, Bart finally decides to give Homer his body back and they say they love each other causing Bart to wake up screaming. This segment is one of my all-time favorite Treehouse Of Horror segments. It makes so much sense that Bart would be that kind of monster because it suits his life perfectly, causing chaos wherever he goes. You can see he totally enjoys having everyone around him bend to his will 24/7. He can finally let loose which is summed up perfectly in his prank call to Moe where he doesn’t even try to hide that it’s a prank.
“The ball is turning into a fat bald guy! And it’s no good! And you know what we say whenever something strange happens, it’s good that Bart did that, it’s very good!”
Homer’s Nightmare is based off one of the most classic monster movies of all time Frankenstein. Homer is fired from the Nuclear Plant and takes a job as a grave digger. Meanwhile, Mr. Burns and Mr. Smithers are working on the perfect employee, a giant robot. The only thing the robot needs to function is a human brain. Burns and Smithers decide to go grave robbing where they come across Homer sleeping in an unfinished grave, bring him back to Burns’ laboratory and insert his brain into the robot.
After giving robot Homer life, he immediately crashes through the walls and eats a box of donuts and goes to sleep. Realizing that he was wrong for trying to play God, Burns removes Homers brain and puts it back into Homers real body. After cursing his metal creation he kicks it, causing it to fall over and crush him. With his last breaths, Burns tells Smithers to fetch his surgical kit in a last effort to save him. Homer wakes up screaming and gets up to go to work only to find out his Nightmare was real when he sees Mr. Burns head attached to his body.
Homer’s Nightmare has all the horror tropes that were prevalent in the golden age of horror. Mad scientists, laboratories filled with crazy machinery, grave robbing, and included one of the most famous quotes ever in “It’s alive!”
“The man at RadioShack called me mad, but now who’s mad!”
As I stated in my last review, Treehouse Of Horror doesn’t really pick up until the second entry. It starts off strong and ends strong, tapping into some classic motifs and has much better animation. This episode also has much more humor in it and hits on other famous references such as Mr. Burns whistling “If I Only Had A Brain” from The Wizard Of Oz and Marge having her hair in the style of The Bride from The Bride Of Frankenstein. I would recommend this episode to everyone, be they Simpsons fans or not.