From lampooning horror classics like Poltergeist and Frankenstein to permitting Ned Flanders to dwell his finest life as precise Devil, The Simpsons’ annual “Treehouse of Horror” installments have given us among the finest non-canon alternate universes crammed with issues that go bump within the night time. With the newest (lastly) dropping tonight, let’s hop inside that point machine toaster from “Treehouse of Horror V” and take a look at some spooky trivia in regards to the making of those yearly specials…
The Guillermo del Toro Cameo
The well-known monster film auteur created the intensive sofa gag for 2013’s “Treehouse of Horror XXIV.” “It’s typically my favourite episode of the season,” he’s stated. “A few of my favourite Simpsons photos and moments over time come from there.”
The Most Bold Episode
Former Simpsons producer David X. Cohen stated that “Treehouse of Horror VI” was probably the most enterprising episode he labored on throughout his tenure. The 3D animation within the last section, “Homer³,” was a high-wire act to drag off. “I wouldn’t rank this because the funniest factor that I’ve written as a result of that wasn’t fully the aim,” Cohen advised Leisure Weekly. “It was probably the most bold episode I’ve labored on, requiring the most individuals to endure probably the most to get it on the air. I consider, on the time, that we ourselves had been so dazzled by the graphics that we simply needed to linger on them with just a little little bit of suspenseful music and simply type of exhibit. We slowed down just a little bit simply to say, ‘Hey, world, we’re doing this factor that nobody else can do proper now!’”
Impressed by ‘The Twilight Zone’
“I discovered ‘Little Lady Misplaced’ (whereas flipping by a Twilight Zone companion ebook), and I in some way made the connection: ‘Hey, what if we pretended that the Simpsons had been within the second dimension and so they went into the third dimension?’” author and producer Invoice Oakley remembers about arising with the “Homer³” story.
All of the Background Math Jokes
Cohen, who has a Harvard diploma in physics and a pc science diploma from Berkeley, was tasked with including a bunch of mathematical gags into the background of the 3D story. There’s the equation that the universe will in the future collapse in on itself (which displays what occurs on the finish of the section), and there’s the P = NP equation that states a tough downside has an unfounded straightforward answer that, based on Cohen, was a joke about their fancy 3D CG that others in tv couldn’t do on the time.
The First 5 Got here With Disclaimers
To ensure viewers didn’t write “offended letters” to the studio, Marge appeared in the beginning of the very first “ToH” episode in Season Two to ask folks with “delicate kids” to place them to mattress. These disclaimers continued till the notorious “Treehouse of Horror V.”
It Was Matt Groening’s Thought
“(Groening) had an thought for an episode the place the children inform ghost tales in a treehouse,” author Jay Kogen advised MEL Journal. “It wasn’t met with a lot pleasure, however my associate (Wallace Wolodarsky) and I championed it again and again till Sam Simon, the showrunner, lastly agreed. For Matt, the thought was youngsters telling tales. Sam determined it needs to be extra in regards to the archness of the tales themselves. It gave us an opportunity to be even weirder and escape of the sitcom type we had been in more often than not. It was meant as a one-off, however it was a lot enjoyable we did it once more the following 12 months, and it turned a convention.”
Primarily based on Outdated-Faculty Viewing Warnings
Marge and Homer’s introductions in the beginning of the primary few “ToH” episodes had been a homage to the real-life “A Phrase of Warning” given earlier than the screening of the 1931 James Whale basic Frankenstein.
“Treehouse of Horror V” was met with some shock due to its ultra-violence, however it was a deliberate transfer from Groening and firm as they had been uninterested in everybody complaining in regards to the violence of their show-within-a-show, Itchy & Scratchy. In 1994, mum or dad teams had been beginning to strain Fox to take away the cat and mouse segments, spurring even members of Congress to lament the present’s use of violence, utterly lacking the satirical commentary. The Simpsons folks responded by giving Itchy & Scratchy their very personal episode, whereas additionally making the sixth season’s Halloween particular as bloody as attainable.
As talked about earlier, it’d even be the ultimate episode to characteristic a Simpson character introduce and warn dad and mom of the content material their youngsters had been about to observe — solely this time with the addition of claiming that the episode’s so scary, “Congress gained’t even permit us to indicate it.”
It Wasn’t Initially Referred to as ‘Treehouse of Horror’
Merely known as “The Simpsons Halloween Particular” for the primary 5 installments, the “ToH” episodes would solely be formally labeled as such following that violent fifth entry. All titles have been modified since then.
About Kang and Kodos
The 2 alien creatures who had been created solely for the “ToH” episodes had been based mostly on an EC Comics cowl. “The thought of it to parody EC Comics was actually authentic and type of surprising for a cartoon on community tv,” Al Jean advised Leisure Weekly. It nearly instantly turned an unofficial rule among the many writers that Kang and Kodos needed to seem in each Halloween particular.
On Kang and Kodos’ Gender
As for his or her gender, Jean as soon as stated, “We’ve implied androgyny, we’ve implied that one is perhaps a girl — we by no means stated that each had been, however why not? Who is aware of?”
The Grand Pumpkin Scene That Acquired Lower
“It’s the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse” from “Treehouse of Horror XIX” initially had a scene the place Lisa yells at Milhouse the way in which Sally yells at Linus in It’s the Nice Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. It was reduce for time however later added to the DVD.
So Many ‘
Twilight Zone’ Inspirations
Whereas “Little Lady Misplaced” from The Twilight Zone impressed “Homer³,” it’s not alone in drawing from Rod Serling’s basic sequence. “Hungry Are the Damned” was impressed by “To Serve Man,” “The Genesis Tub” is much like “The Little Individuals,” “Terror at 5½ Toes” clearly parodied “Nightmare at 20,000 Toes,” and “The Bart Zone” was an apparent play on “It’s a Good Life” to call a couple of.
The Iraq Battle Joke That Acquired Pulled
Whereas the ending of “The Day the Earth Regarded Silly” clearly alluded to what the U.S. went and did to Iraq, the unique sequence had the direct line, “This positive is quite a bit like Iraq will probably be.” Jean advised ABC Information again then that he wasn’t positive whether or not the road could be added to the published since many writers needed it reduce.
The Writers Had the Freedom to Go Full Gore
“You had been allowed to go manner exterior the bounds of what we usually had been allowed to do, each when it comes to gore and scares but additionally when it comes to being trustworthy to the characters and relationship established order in Springfield,” Oakley advised MEL.
The Solely Treehouse
In response to the sitcom’s DVD commentary, the very first “ToH” episode was the one one to incorporate an precise treehouse as a setting.
One other First
The primary “Treehouse of Horror” episode was the primary time the present ended with another model of the theme taking part in over the credit.
The Different to the Different
The particular finish credit theme was initially going to be performed on a theremin, however the creators defined on the DVD commentary that they weren’t capable of finding one that would hit all the mandatory notes.
‘Wiz Children’ Virtually Didn’t Occur
The section that parodied Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in “Treehouse of Horror XII” was nearly pulled from the roster as a result of the writers had been apprehensive that not sufficient folks had learn the ebook but. Author Carolyne Omin stated on the Season 13 commentary that, on the time, solely 4 writers on The Simpsons workers had learn the ebook themselves, however it was determined to go forward and do the story anyway.
Forward of the ‘Harry Potter’ Launch
Wiz Children would find yourself airing 12 days earlier than Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone premiered in 2001.
The Origin of Roy
Roy from “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Present” was a rejected “ToH” character. The section Time and Punishment from “ToH V” had a deleted scene the place that magical toaster revealed Homer’s teenage son, Roy. Within the Season Six commentary, Groening stated that the thought of Roy got here from somebody exterior the present. When Fox urged including one other character to the Simpsons household, they remembered Roy, who finally acquired some display time within the very meta “Itchy & Scratchy” episode.
Which Household Member Dies the Most?
Which Household Member Dies the Least?
Maggie, which is sensible since she’s the newborn. She has, nonetheless, died a dozen instances thus far — greater than Krusty, who sits on 11.
When voicing Serak the Preparer for the primary “ToH” episode, James Earl Jones ate a cookie to carry out the drooling sounds whereas recording.
Groening Didn’t Get ‘The Shinning’
Groening admitted on the commentary that since he’s by no means watched The Shining, the jokes within the “The Shinning” had been “fully misplaced on him.”
‘Treehouse of Horror III’ Was Virtually the Final One
The third Halloween particular was so poorly obtained throughout a preview screening that round 100 traces needed to be reduce, and, based on the commentary for Season Seven, it nearly led to the cancellation of the Treehouse sequence.
Moe Has Died Greater than Groundskeeper Willie
Regardless of Groundskeeper Willie’s loss of life serving as a type of working joke within the Halloween specials, he’s solely bitten the mud 14 instances thus far, whereas Moe has kicked the bucket 16 instances and counting.
Some Gems within the Comics
The “Treehouse of Horror Comics” tales are as nice as these featured on the present. There’s the one the place Lisa is become the titular character of Stephen King’s Carrie, one which’s a Harry Potter meets Dante’s Inferno entry after which there’s Nosferatu: A Simpsony of Horror, wherein Bart is compelled to promote his treehouse to Lord Burlock, aka Mr. Burns.
The ‘Merrie Melodies’ Cartoon
Within the “Treehouse of Horror IV” section, “The Satan and Homer Simpson,” Homer is compelled to eat all of the donuts in Hell as a supposed type of ironic punishment.
The scene parodies “Pigs Is Pigs,” the 1937 Merrie Melodies cartoon.
Why the Tombstone Gags Had been Dropped
For the primary couple of “ToH” episodes, the tombstones within the intros would sport every kind of humorous jokes about issues deceased within the 12 months previous (RIP, “Delicate Political Satire”), however they had been in the end reduce to avoid wasting time. Oakley additionally stated they “had been notoriously onerous to provide you with.”
Extra Characters in ‘Homer³’
There was initially going to be a 3rd character within the scene the place Bart tries to avoid wasting Homer from the third dimension. “The (portal) had a 40-inch circumference, and (Chief) Wiggum couldn’t match by that, so that they needed to search for someone skinnier,” Cohen advised Leisure Weekly. In order that they tried including Ned Flanders. Marge was additionally floated as an thought — “Marge’s hair will look nice,” learn Cohen’s notes — however in the long run, they solely had time to render two characters for the sequence.
Guys like Tim Johnson, the top of the pc animation manufacturing firm (Pacific Knowledge Pictures), welcomed the choice. “In Homer’s case, he had one zig-zagging line for hair,” Johnson defined. “And in Bart’s case, it was some kind of atomic Brillo pad on high. But when we needed to do Ned’s mustache, I feel it could’ve killed us.”
The Not-So-Excellent Crane Shot
“They gave me the oldest crane that you may probably discover and never sufficient folks to manage site visitors, and even the permits to manage site visitors, so it was very down and soiled,” former showrunner David Mirkin remembers about filming Homer being dropped into the true world for “Treehouse of Horror VI.”
“Usually, for one thing like that, you’d be capable of periodically cease site visitors for a single shot on one facet of Ventura Boulevard, however that will have been too costly, so we may solely cease site visitors in a single lane for a brief time period. It actually compromised the crane shot as a result of usually, the crane must swing out into the road to get again far sufficient to make it a really cool and fascinating shot. As an alternative, it has to very unnaturally swing out and again in because it goes up. I’ve talked to folks about this for years; I stated, ‘Do you discover that shot?’ and so they stated, ‘No, it appears tremendous.’ However to me, it’s a comedy in itself.”
New Zealand Banned an Episode
New Zealand’s Community TVNZ banned “Treehouse of Horror XXVII” from its 7 p.m. time slot, citing an excessive amount of violence — referring, after all, to the recreation of that church taking pictures in Kingsman: The Secret Service. The episode was finally aired at a later date in a later time slot.
The Scariest Phase of All?
“I do know the Groundskeeper Willie as Freddy Krueger section did certainly scare lots of people — primarily youngsters who hadn’t seen Nightmare on Elm Road,” Oakley advised MEL. “As a result of even to this present day, somebody tells me about as soon as a month how that section scared the shit out of them as a child and the way they'd dangerous desires about it. Looking back, I don’t assume I might have toned it down, however I do really feel a bit dangerous about terrorizing all these kids.”