Halloween Re:Animated – The Simpsons Halloween Special XXIV
The Guillermo del Toro-directed opening to The Simpsons Halloween Special XXIV brings us the classiest, cleverest intro sequence ever. Riffing on the traditional Simpsons title sequence, del Toro weaves together a gleeful tour of a Springfield populated by horror cinema icons and garnished with gleefully indulgent references to his own work. It’s so packed with references and ideas, it ends up slightly overshadows the sequences which follow it.
Oh, The Places You’ll D’oh!
“Now hop on my cycle, there’s nothing to fear! And we shall have candy and…maybe some beer!”
A Doctor Seuss-flavoured parody which casts a wide net but centres itself on “The Cat In The Hat”. It’s a scattergun approach with plenty of rewarding background details for fans of the source material. Thanks to the pitch-perfect casting of Homer as The Fat In The Hat, it manages to walk a fine line between being comically violent and mean-spirited.
Dead And Shoulders
“Should have chopped off Bart’s head long ago…”
In what has become something of a Simpsons Halloween trope, this is yet another story of two heads on one body, this time Lisa hosting Bart following an unfortunate box kiting accident. It’s perfectly okay but forgettably aimless in its approach and almost always feels like a regular episode rather than a Simpsons Halloween story which might be because volume XXIV originally aired in early October.
Freaks No Geeks
“Marge, they knew what they were getting into when their parents sold them to the circus.”
A stylish parody of Tod Browning’s 1932 horror “Freaks”, it’s keener on homaging its source than packing in the gags. Those jokes it does include are kind of mean-spirited in much of its humour. The end result is a story which ends up being more disturbing than amusing. The abrupt left-turn ending is something of a letdown too.