‘The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror” is an annual tradition, when the perennial animated sitcom pays homage to both classic and more recent horror movies. With such a rich history, the series, created by Matt Groening, has never run short of inspiration.
For the 24th (24th!!!) “Treehouse of Horror,” the series has employed famed director Guillermo del Toro to direct the show’s opening sequence, which references the classic ‘Simpsons’ opening as well as… well, every horror movie and/or story ever. No seriously, like all of them!
Hilariously, del Toro has slipped in references to his own movies, ‘Pacific Rim’, ‘Hellboy‘, ‘Blade’ and most overtly ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’. Also check for cameos by horror creators Stephen King, Alfred Hitchcock and Edgar Allen Poe. He also took the liberty of recasting the diverse cast of Springfield as classic horror characters, including the headlining family themselves.
Here is what del Toro had to say about creating his opening:
“The Simpsons titles are so iconic and yet they’ve never been riffed in this vein. I really wanted to land the connections between the [show’s] set pieces and the titles and some of the most iconic horror movies, and intersperse them with some of my stuff in there for pure joy. For example the idea that Ms. Krabappel could be outside the school with Alfred Hitchcock which is a reference to the sequence in The Birds that happens outside of the school in Bodega Bay. To use Chief Wiggum as the Cyclops from Harryhausen, dipping the [Lard Lad] donut in a water tank, to have the nuclear spill from Mr. Burns’ plant create zombies — all of this stuff seems to make sense to interconnect. If Homer really gets a radioactive isotope, he could turn into a reaper from Blade. Or the famous shot that is always in the titles — Maggie driving and then you pull back and there’s Marge driving, right? But in this case Maggie is driving, and she’s driving the car from the horror movie from the 70s called The Car, which is one of my favorite guilty pleasure B-movies. And what if Lisa is in the music class, but she’s in the music class with every Phantom of the Opera ever made? It was a unique opportunity.”
“I integrate[d] Lisa falling through the couch like Alice in Wonderland but in the dress of the girl from Pan’s Labyrinth, and instead of landing next to the giant toad in Pan’s Labyrinth, she lands next to the Hypnotoad from Futurama. At the last minute I wanted to put a Mexican wrestler in there, but [casting producer] Bonnie Pietila said to me, ‘We’ve got to go! We cannot keep adding and adding stuff.”
If only! It sounds like del Toro was certainly inspired by the concept of mashing up ‘The Simpsons’ and the rich history of horror. So much so, he couldn’t stop coming up with ideas. Maybe they should bring him back next Halloween and turn him loose again!
How many references were you able to identify? Any favorites? (I’m a MASSIVE Universal Monsters fan so to see all of them together made me happy!)