Once again, we open with Marge – this time a little frustrated that nobody heeded her warning last year. Again, she starts to make the same plea before conceding that if you didn’t listen last time, you weren’t going to listen again this time. So off through the graveyard we go again and this time, Lisa, Bart and Homer are warned by Marge not to eat too much candy before they go to bed otherwise they’ll have nightmares. Much like the viewers, all three ignore her and pay the price…

Lisa’s Nightmare

“Come to think of it, the guy that sold me this thing did say the wishes would bring grave misfortune. I just thought he was being colourful.”

Uniquely in the Treehouse Of Horror pantheon, none of the stories in II have individual titles or title cards. This first candy-fuelled nightmare is based loosely on W W Jacobs’ famous short story “The Monkey’s Paw”, a gruesome curiosity which grants wishes, but with an ironic twist. Maggie, Bart, Lisa and Homer all have a go – with genuinely amusing consequences, especially Lisa’s supposed selfless wish giving an opportunity for Kodos and Kang to enslave the Earth but perhaps the episode’s masterstroke is for it to end with Homer giving the monkey paw to arch-nemesis Ned Flanders only for his wishes to go off without a hitch.

Bart’s Nightmare

“Hey hey, this is fun, isn’t it? We’re going to die, aren’t we?”

Bart’s dream takes us back into the “Twilight Zone”, spoofing the episode “It’s A Good Life”. Sharp, clever and very, very funny it takes us on a whirlwind tour of a Springfield where reality changes on the whim of a 10-year old boy: one Bartholomew J Simpson. It’s best scenes are in school where facts are twisted to match Bart’s caprices, brilliantly called back to later in the story on the door signage to Dr Marvin Monroe’s office. In the end it’s resolved by Bart and Homer rebonding with some wholesome father-son quality time and it’s deliciously on point that it’s this happy reconciliation that prompts Bart to wake screaming in terror rather than any of the horrors which preceded it.

Homer’s Nightmare

“Who is it? Frankenstein? The booger man?”

The root of Homer’s dream is less candy driven than it is by the knowledge that he’ll have to get up in the morning and go to work. Cue a very Simpsons take on the classic Frankenstein. Fired from the Power Plant, Homer takes a job as a gravedigger only to fall foul of Mr Burns’ plan to replace all his workers with robots. Needing a human brain, he makes the mistake of using Homer’s and rather than solving the problem of the spirit being willing but the flesh weak, he creates the world’s laziest robot – several years before Bender B Rodriguez would claim that title. It all ends with the traditional scream…or does it?


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