Treehouse of Horror  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

"Treehouse of Horror" is the third episode of The Simpsons second season, which aired on October 25, 1990. It was the first of a series of Halloween themed episodes, currently consisting of 19 episodes. The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episodes are a yearly tradition. They generally do not obey the rest of the series' rules of realism and are not treated as canon; although, the first and third (and to a lesser extent, the second and fourth) are set-up in a fashion that they could be considered canon. In addition, since 1995, Bongo Comics has produced an annual comic book titled Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror.



In a parody of Edward Van Sloan's introduction to the original 1931 Frankenstein film, Marge warns the audience that this episode may frighten some viewers and suggests that parents with sensitive children "tuck them into bed early tonight instead of writing us angry letters tomorrow". This practice was kept up in a small number of subsequent episodes. The creators eventually decided that people knew that the episodes were scary and stopped adding warnings.

The opening is similar to the canonical opening, save for a thunderstorm, the blood-cut title, cutting out the gags, and instead have a look at the cemetery, then cut to the Simpsons house and go into the backyard into Bart's treehouse. This will continue until the sixth special, with moon mud for Roman numerals.

On Halloween, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie are in their treehouse telling three scary stories, while Homer eavesdrops on them.

Bad Dream House

The Simpsons move into an old house, wondering why it was so inexpensive. Their questions are soon answered when the walls begin to bleed and objects begin to fly through the air. Marge wants to leave, but Homer tells her to sleep on it first. That night, the house possesses Homer and the children, manipulating their minds and making them chase each other with axes and knives. Marge intervenes and confronts the house, demanding that it treat them with respect while they are living there. The house thinks it over, eventually opting to destroy itself rather than live with the Simpsons. This is a parody of The Amityville Horror.

Hungry are the Damned

The Simpsons are abducted by extraterrestrial life forms (specifically Kang and Kodos). The aliens introduce themselves and tell the Simpsons that they are taking them to their homeworld. En route they present the family with enormous amounts of food and watch eagerly as they gorge themselves. Lisa is suspicious of the alien's intentions, so she sneaks into the kitchen where she finds a book called How To Cook Humans. She takes the book and shows it to the aliens, who explain to her that part of the title was obscured by space dust, which they blow away to reveal the title How To Cook For Humans. Lisa, skeptical at this, blows off more space dust, revealing the title to be How To Cook Forty Humans. The aliens blow off the last of the space dust, finally revealing the real title How To Cook For Forty Humans, allegedly proving that the aliens were trying to treat the humans well. Enraged at Lisa's distrust, they return the Simpsons to Earth, but not before rubbing in how she ruined their chance of paradise on the aliens' home planet. This episode parodies "To Serve Man", an episode of The Twilight Zone.

The Raven

Homer shrieks at the raven in exasperation.

Lisa reads "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe. In this adaptation, Bart is depicted as the raven, Homer finds himself in the role of the poem's lead character, while Lisa and Maggie are seraphim. Marge appears briefly as a painting of Lenore. James Earl Jones narrates. The poem is read mostly verbatim, with only some of the poem edited out for time. Several times, a bust of Edgar Allan Poe is visible in the background on a bookshelf.


Bart, Lisa and Maggie are not frightened by any of the stories. They climb down from the treehouse and sleep peacefully the whole night. Homer, on the other hand, is scared witless. As Bart, as the raven, appears outside the window, laughing at him, Homer says he now hates Halloween.


During production of the first episode, Matt Groening was nervous about "The Raven" segment, and felt it would be "the worst, most pretentious thing [they had] ever done."


James Earl Jones ranked 25th on AOL's list of their favorite 25 Simpsons guest stars.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Treehouse of Horror" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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