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Horror Movie References In 'The Simpsons' 'Treehouse Of Horror' Specials

Updated October 18, 2019 1.6k votes 176 voters 5.7k views15 items

List RulesVote up the homages that thrill; vote down the references that eat Bart's shorts.

The Simpsons became the longest-running primetime scripted television series in April 2018 when it aired episode 636. During its decades of entertaining viewers, the show has left its mark on pop culture with its quirky cast of characters, brilliant jokes, and predictions that eventually came true. Its deft usage of pop culture references, woven throughout every episode, has only aided its longevity. The homages are always current, and the show seems to have its finger on the pulse of societal issues consistently.

At no time are these references more front-and-center than in The Simpsons annual Treehouse of Horror specials. These episodes pull inspiration from many places, but horror films are always the priority. From 1931's Frankenstein to 2007's Paranormal Activity, the twisted takes on familiar material never fail to delight and surprise the audience. 

  • Bart, being the lovable misfit he is, chooses a tome of black magic to use for his school book report. After he takes it home, Lisa starts to reflect on all the wonderful times they had with their late cat Snowball I. Bart suggests using the book to re-animate their lost pet, then goes to the pet cemetery (Pet Sematary references also abound) to summon Snowball. 

    Of course, things go awry, and Bart ends up resurrecting former (and perished) residents of Springfield, who wreak havoc on the town. 

    Is this a good homage?

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  • Mr. Burns takes an expedition into the jungle where he finds and captures King Homer, a giant ape. After breaking free from his on-stage restraints, King Homer abducts Marge and ascends the Empire State Building with her.

    In line with Homer's character, the great ape is pretty lackadaisical and takes its time climbing the tower, as the effort winds him. 

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  • Homer's rushed attempt to buy Bart a birthday gift leads him to the House of Evil, where he finds a talking Krusty the Clown doll. The shopkeeper warns him about the doll, but is ignored - just like the proprietor of the shop in Gremlins.

    Once home, the doll begins acting more like Chucky from Child's Play and attempts to terminate Homer every chance it gets. 

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  • Homer purchases a matter transporter from a garage sale at Professor Frink's house. Banned from using it, Bart decides to sneak inside anyway. Just as in the 1986 movie The Fly, one of the pesky insects sneaks into the transporter and causes the two to mutate and bond together.

    Bart emerges with his head on the fly, and another creature steps out with the fly's head attached to Bart. Lisa ends up saving the day by suggesting the two entities reenter the transporter after the much larger creature (Bart's body, fly's head) ends up eating the smaller one (the opposite). It's incredibly convoluted - just like the original film.

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