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Five Terrifying Treehouse of Horror Segments


I kept putting off this list because narrowing down my five favorite "Treehouse of Horror" segments from The Simpsons is like choosing your favorite child. Every time I would narrow down my top five segments, another would pop into my head and wrestle for one of the top spots. So let's consider these the top five segments from the first decade of "Treehouse of Horror."

The Shinning

The Plot: The Simpsons become the off-season caretakers of Mr. Burns's isolated mansion. Homer thinks he can handle going without beer or TV, but he can't, and he grows insane. Bart has "the shinning," and calls Groundskeeper Willie for help. Homer kills Willie, but luckily Lisa spots a portable TV that Willie dropped, and it calms Homer right down.

Best Moment: Marge goes looking for Homer, and reads what he has written on the typewriter, as a window into his thoughts. The typewriter says "Feelin' fine," but a bolt of lightening reveals insane ramblings of "no TV and no beer make homer crazy" written on the walls.

Best Line: When Homer grabs the TV: "Teacher! Mother! Secret lover! Urge to kill fading... fading... rising... fading... gone. Come family, sit in the snow and bask in TV's warm glowing warming glow."

Pop Culture References: Obviously, this segment is a spot-on spoof of Stephen King's The Shining and Stanley Kubrick's ensuing film.

Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace

The Plot: A clever Nightmare on Elm Street homage casts Bart, Lisa, and the kids of Springfield elementary as Nancy and her friends, while Groundskeeper Willie has the Freddy Krueger role.

Best Moment: Martin falls asleep in class, and dies in his dreams. The nurse puts him on a stretcher, covered with a sheet. Skinner reminds her to move swiftly so the children don't see. Of course, the sheet slips, revealing Martin's twisted, fear-filled body. The kids scream, the nurse moves quickly. "No, not into the kindergarden class!" calls Skinner, as terrified three-year-olds scream.

Best Line: Skinner: "Children I couldn't help monitoring your conversation."

Pop Culture Reference: This is the probably the closest to the original source material of any "Treehouse of Horror" segment. Plus, Bart's opening dream sequence references classic Looney Tunes.

The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season - Gross Miscalculation
Tags: The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season - Gross Miscalculation

Nightmare Cafeteria

The Plot: Principal Skinner has two problems: overcrowding in detention, and grade F meat in the cafeteria. The solution? Serving the detention kids for lunch.

Best Moment: The themed-meals. When bully Jimbo is served, they call it "Sloppy Jimbos." When exchange-student Uter is served, they call it "Uterbraten" and celebrate it in Oktoberfest-fashion.

Best Line: Lisa and Bart run to Marge with the horrifying news that Skinner is cooking and eating their school chums. "You kids are 8 and 10 years old. I can't be fighting all your battles for you. You march right back to that school, look them straight in the eye, and say ‘Don't eat me.'"

Pop Culture References: In the early 1990s there was a short-lived anthology series called Nightmare Cafe created by Wes Craven and starring Robert Englund.

Clown Without Pity

The Plot: Homer buys Bart a last-minute birthday present - a talking Krusty the Klown doll - and it turns out it is homicidal. 

Best Moment: Marge calls the KrustyCo customer service hotline. A tech comes over and identifies the problem: the switch on Krusty's back was set to "evil" instead of "good."

Best Line: An exchange between the mysterious shop owner and Homer: "Take this object, but beware it comes with a curse." "Ooh, that's bad." "But it comes with a free frogurt!" "That's good!" "The frogurt is also cursed." "That's bad." "But you get your choice of toppings!" "That's good!" "The toppings contain potassium benzoate." Homer is confused. The shopkeep continues: "That's bad." "Can I go now?"

Pop Culture Reference: This is a spoof on the Twilight Zone episode "Talky Tina," about a killer doll who protects her young owner.

Hungry are the Damned

The Plot: The Simpsons are abducted by Kang and Kodos, promised a world of unearthly delights. Lisa becomes suspicious of their motives when she spies what she thinks is a human cookbook.

Best Moment: It takes two tractor beams to get Homer into the ship.

Best Line: Marge inquires as to the alien's last name. "To pronounce it correctly, I would have to pull out your tongue."

Pop Culture Reference: This is a Twilight Zone-y version of the Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man." In that classic episode, "To Serve Man" was actually a cookbook - not an instructional manual on keeping humans happy.