This time, it’s Homer’s turn to open the show, with a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock, Naturally, Homer’s approach to the crybabies – religious types mostly – is somewhat more abrasive than Marge’s but it does result in Homer’s swearing on a book of carpet samples. Mmmmm – fuzzy! After the regular cemetary gags, we get our first ever Halloween couch gag – as the skeletal remains our our favoruite family line up to watch the show. Our framing device this time is a Halloween party being held at the Simpsons abode, but when Homer eats all the activities, there’s nothing left but to tell some more spooky stories…

Clown Without Pity

“…the doll’s trying to kill me, and the toaster’s been laughing at me!”

We’re back in spoofing “Twilight Zone” territory for the first in this trio of tales of terror, specifically the episode “Living Doll”, with just a smidgen of a nod in the direction of “Gremlins”. It’s a relentlessly witty and quotable segment, with the mysterious store owners conversation with Homer regarding Frozen Yogurt an absolute delight. Aside from an oddly mean-spirited swipe at Whoopi Goldberg, it’s a near-flawless slice of Simpsons spookiness and the eventual resolution feels hilariously on point rather than the cop-out it could have been.

King Homer

“I think that women and seamen don’t mix.”

A wonderfully on-point spoof of “King Kong”, it benefits enormously from featuring a wider range of the supporting characters, especially Mr Burns, Smithers, Lenny and Carl. Like all great spoofs, it understands not only its own set of characters but its subject matter well. Burns is at his most Burns-esque and the gags just don’t stop coming.

Dial “Z” For Zombies

“There – pretty as a picture. Ach! Zombies! … There – pretty as a picture.”

Although it takes a little while to get going, meandering as it does through Bart having to re-do his book report and Lisa’s tale of feline fatality woe, once Bart reads from the Book of the Dead, it really comes to life. It’s a grab-bag of references from the storied history of zombie and undead movies and in its off-kilter humourous approach it actually ends up aligning quite neatly with a film which would come nearly thirty years later: “The Dead Don’t Die“. It’s also the setting for this year’s (awkwardly forced) inclusion of Kodos and Kang.


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