The Halloween Special series which started in 1990 during The Simpsons second season called The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror (Th), and has been a recurring tradition (perhaps a bit of a belated one in some cases) ever since, and has long been a personal joy of mine from the very first episode when it aired.
Each episode consists of 3 main separate segments with occasional gags in the beginning and ending. It is these separate sections which will be individually added to my top list and not so much the episodes themselves.
Top 15 Treehouse of Horror Segments (in no particular order).
1. The Raven (TH:1, Segment 3).
This segment took a classic Edgar Allen Poe poem and made it mainstream. It inspired several children of my generation to read Poe after watching the episode. Homer as the beleaguered face of the story managed to combine his cloddery with this gothic tale brilliantly. The design of the segment was well done, with this great uses of stark colour and angle to give it a creepy vibe.
2. Clown Without Pity (TH:3, Segment 1).
This fun little tale is about a cursed doll out for murder, and contains a scene that has one of the best dialogues between a regular shmoe and an Evil Shop/Frogurt purveyor on television.
3. King Homer (TH:3, Segment 2).
This was a great spoof of the infamous King Kong movie from the black and white era with the appropriately cast Homer as the ape king himself. This also has one of the best renditions of “strolling through the park one day.”
4. Dial ‘Z’ For Zombies (TH:3, Segment 3).
A great little tale of zombies that spoofs this monster genre of the period, with inexplicable library sections, and Homer living out one of his ultimate fantasies.
5. The Devil and Homer Simpson (TH:4, Segment 1).
This one is particularly good, with its clever visuals of hell, titling Flanders as the king of hell itself, and a perfect resolution to the plot.
6. Bart Simpson’s Dracula (TH:4, Segment 3).
This segment is perhaps one of the best spoofs of the Coppola’s Dracula out there. It had great plot progression, well utilized characters, excellent humour, and an unexpected ending.
7. The Shining (TH:5, Segment 1).
This is one of the best Kubrick The Shinning spoofs ever, taking some of the most memorable elements and imagery from the original movie and bringing to light both the ridiculous and the creepy that was loved about The Shining. Marge also wins hand down for her nagging dead pan reaction after she subdues Homer.
8. Citizen Kang (TH:7, Segment 3).
I always enjoy a good parody that reflects the flaws of the political system, but I loved how this one took this type of parody and managed to make it into a Halloween special without losing its parodied commentary.
9. I Know What You Diddily-Iddily-Did (TH:10, Segment 1).
This is a great parody of I Know What You Did Last Summer, using tension well, and as always an excellent Flanders and Homer working well together in a story.
10. House of Wacks (TH:12, Segment 2).
I enjoyed this segment particularly for its parody of both Demon Seed (primarily) and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Pierce Brosnon also seems to be having a lot of fun in this segment as well, which you can really tell.
11. The Ned Zone (TH:15, Segment 1).
This segment had some of the better plot progression, utilizing a quickly escalating series of events to which centralizes particularly around Ned in a parody of the content and narrative style of The Dead Zone.
12. Intro (TH:19, Segment Intro).
In this short, Homer tries to vote for Obama and runs afoul of the automated voting machine. It was a great condensing of political conspiracies and spoof of elections.
13. There’s No Business Like Moe Business (TH:20, Segment 3).
One of the best episodes with Moe as a central figure, if only for this one segment. This was a great parody of Sweeny Todd and musical stage production in general (it was a meta segment), and I enjoyed the byplay and musical numbers between Marge, Moe, and Homer.
14. Couch Gag (TH:24, Segment Opening).
This perhaps one of my favorite couch gags of all time. It is chock full of various film and television references that you have fun watching it tow see which ones you spot. The visuals were engaging, detailed and clever merging film director Guillermo del Toro’s (who conceived this couch gaga) unique style with standard Simpsons fare.
15. A Clockwork Yellow (TH:25, Segment 2).
A great homage to Kubrick, particularly the Clockwork Orange parody in the beginning utilizing the language and visual style akin to Kubrick films. A Kubrick fan must watch.
Overall there is many more that I could have added to the list, particularly from the earlier seasons, but I felt these were a good sampling of some of the better sequences out there. With Treehouse of Horror set to play soon, we will see if this season’s Treehouse will be worth the watch.