Famed author Neil Gaiman has built his career on the macabre and this year his work will be the focus of ‘The Simpsons’ annual ‘Treehouse of Horror’. Every year since 1990 (the show’s second season), the familiar characters of the longest-running animated series of all time step out of their usual surreal suburban existence to pay tribute to classic works of horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy.Photo credit: Entertainment Press / Shutterstock.com
This year, the show will be paying tribute to one of Gaiman’s works. The prolific author made his name working for DC Comics on their Vertigo series ‘The Sandman’ which was a fusion of fantasy with horror and other elements. Since then, he has penned the novels ‘Stardust’, ‘American Gods’, ‘Coraline’, ‘The Graveyard Book’ and ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’. ‘Stardust’ and ‘Coraline’ were both adapted into films, while ‘American Gods’ is currently airing as a TV series on Starz.
Gaiman has appeared on ‘The Simpson’ once before, voicing himself in the episode ‘The Book Job’. He is returning in this year’s ‘Treehouse of Horror’ but will be voicing an existing ‘Simpsons’ character. Via Twitter, he announced “I voice a character who has not spoken before.” He invited fans to guess which character and promised that once someone guessed correctly, he would verify their selection by posting a picture of the character. The correct answer came within two hours and true to his word, Gaiman tweeted a picture from the episode which also gave a clue as to which of his works the show would be parodying.
Here is the tweet. Can you guess which of Gaiman’s creations this segment is based on?
The eagle-eyed among you may also be able to work out what film or story will be receiving the Simpsons Halloween treatment this year. pic.twitter.com/PX7gergwuo
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) September 21, 2017
First of all, the answer as to which character Gaiman will voice is The Simpsons’ cat Snowball V (a.k.a. the New and Improved Snowball II).
As for which Gaiman work is being spoofed, it appears to be the film version of ‘Coraline’. In the story, Coraline is a young girl who feels neglected by her parents and finds a doorway to another world where she seemingly finds perfect alternate versions of her parents. Of course things aren’t that easy and she soon realizes these parents aren’t what they first appeared to be.
In the story, a talking black cat acts as Coraline’s guide in the alternate world, so it’s fitting that the author of the tale also serves in this capacity.
‘Coraline’ is an all-ages story, which is safer than most of Gaiman’s works. But it is still creepy and the film is rendered in stop-motion animation, reminiscent of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’. It’s also his one creation that has been seen the most by mainstream audiences.
‘The Treehouse of Horror’ episodes are always comprised of three short segments rather than one 30 minute story, so this ‘Coraline’ short will be paired with two other stories, which have yet to be revealed.
Are you looking forward to this year’s Halloween-themed event?