Treehouse of Horror XXVI approaches…
It’s almost Halloween, and any Simpsons fan knows what that means: a brand-new Treehouse of Horror Halloween special! This Sunday Oct 25 (at 10 et/pt!) marks the 26th Halloween episode, and in honour of that landmark, we’ve got some nuggets of wisdom from Simpsons executive producer Al Jean, and groundbreaking animator John Kricfalusi, who animated this year’s Treehouse of Horror couch gag.
So, for your eyes only, here are the top five things you need to know about Treehouse of Horror, according to the guys who made it happen!
5. Look for a totally new animation style in the couch gag!
John Kricfalusi (or John K., as he’s known), is a titan animator who’s been at the helm of many hit cartoons including Ren and Stimpy. So it’s safe to say, he knows his cartoon history! John tells us that his couch gag is one part The Simpsons, two parts his own unimitable style, two parts Hanna-Barbera, and one part the creepy animation of vintage Fleischer Studios (think Betty Boop).
If this sounds utterly weird and terrifying – well, it is. And it’s perfect for Halloween!
4. This couch gag is a feast for cartoon nerds
John, who’s a massive fan of vintage animation, stuffed in as many old-school references as he could. Look for the fact that the colours of Bart and Lisa’s Huckleberry Hound Halloween costumes are all wrong (an idiosyncratic staple of old Hanna-Barbera cartoons); stylistic references to Ren and Stimpy; and an internal Simpsons gag, with “Homer’s enemy”, Frank Grimes, rising from the grave to take his revenge!
3. Executive producer Al Jean thought they should axe Treehouse of Horror after the first few years!
That’s right – the man who produced more Simpsons Halloween specials than anyone in the show’s history thought Treehouse of Horror would get stale! Boy, are we glad someone talked him out of that. Now, more than two decades down the line, the Treehouse of Horror episodes are some of the most popular in The Simpsons’ history.
2. Eeeeveryone loves breaking the rules…
Both Al Jean and John K. agree, the Treehouse of Horror episodes have become massive favourites for fans and Simpsons staff alike, because these episodes can be ANYTHING. There are absolutely no holds barred when it comes to animation style, character canon, or – you know, dimensional reality. Nothing is more fun for the writers and animators – or the viewers! – than an episode that breaks all the rules. Speaking of breaking the rules, John K. promises one more thing from this couch gag:
“There will be lots of butt-cracks.”
We’ll be keeping an eye out for that, John!
1. Sideshow Bob finally gets his wish: to kill Bart!
The segments for this year’s special feature Sideshow Bob finally killing Bart – only to reanimate him; Homer waking up with short-term memory loss and becoming a Godzilla-like monster; and Lisa, Bart, and Milhouse getting mysterious super powers from radiation. If John K.’s epically eerie couch gag is anything to go on, this year is going to be something special. We can’t wait!