For a quarter of a century “The Simpsons” has been an endless source of entertainment, and for me, no episodes are more anticipated than the annual “Treehouse of Horror.” While not all of them have been home runs, they have produced some of the greatest Simpsons moments ever. Here’s where every “Treehouse of Horror” episode ranks in our books.
24. Treehouse of Horror 18
The scenes with Kang and Kodos are typically awful, so making an entire segment around them is just the worst. They also thought “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” would be a good movie to parody for a Halloween episode. I will never understand that decision. The whole thing ends with “Heck House” where not even Ned Flanders can save things. Not a good year for Treehouse of Horror.
23. Treehouse of Horror 22
This one really lost the entire feel of Halloween. It starts out with a “127 Hours” parody that’s adequate, but why they chose to use “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” for the motivation for a segment is beyond me. The other two segments just feel like things you’ve seen before.
22. Treehouse of Horror 17
Homer turns into a giant blob, an ancient statue comes to life, and the town goes nuts after hearing a fake story about the end of the world on the radio. It’s unfortunately very forgettable and definitely one of the weakest entries in the franchise. Don’t worry, it gets better!
21. Treehouse of Horror 10
With all of the potential Y2K offered, it’s a little disappointing that this is all we got from Treehouse of Horror. The unfortunate thing about this episode is that it seems more about featuring celebrity cameos than actually developing stories. I mean there’s an entire segment about Lucy Lawless.
20. Treehouse of Horror 23
Not much going on here. The black hole idea starts out interesting but falls flat. “The Paranormal Activity” parody isn’t bad, but it feels like there was a lot more that could have been done with it. Overall, it’s not one of the better installments.
19. Treehouse of Horror 13
A fairly strong and entertaining episode, taking a simple concept like cloning Homer and cranking out so many hilarious jokes. The other two segments, focusing on gun control and parodying Dr. Moreau aren’t home runs, but compared to some of the weaker episodes, you could do a lot worse.
18. Treehouse of Horror 20
The black and white Hitchcock segment is a nice touch and the zombie outbreak segment is a welcomed return to actual horror, even if the end doesn’t have that strong of a payoff. No matter your opinion of the first parts, there’s no way you can dislike a musical led by Moe. He truly missed his calling.
17. Treehouse of Horror 9
I always love any reference to Wes Craven’s “Shocker,” even if it comes in the form of an evil toupee as Snake’s soul takes over Homer’s body to continue his crimewave. Itchy and Scratchy get their well deserved Halloween spotlight, but a little too much Kang and Kodos to set this one apart as one of the elite installments. It’s good, just not great.
16. Treehouse of Horror 19
The “Transformers” and “Mad Men” segments are hard to sit through, while the political opening doesn’t exactly get you in the Halloween spirit. It honestly doesn’t even feel like a Halloween episode until the final segment, which is fantastic. Just when it seemed they had parodied all of the classic Halloween topics, The Simpsons take on Charlie Brown with magical results. Even if you skip the first two parts, you need to see that final segment.
15. Treehouse of Horror 1
Back when things all began and the possibilities were endless, The Simpsons put together three solid segments, despite Kang and Kodos, including an Edgar Allan Poe poem read aloud as the Simpsons act out the scenes. It’s not the best episode, but it’s a strong foundation that has clearly held up since they’re still doing them 25 years later
14. Treehouse of Horror 21
If you don’t love this episode for anything else, the scene in “War and Pieces” where Bart and Milhouse list off a bunch of knock off board games. It’s magical. With that being said, I don’t love this episode for anything else. The “Twilight” parody and whatever that was with Homer on a boat are quite forgettable. Bonus points for “The Office” opening credits.
13. Treehouse of Horror 24
In one of the better Treehouse of Horrors in recent memory, we get the expected two strong concepts and one not so bad segment. While the Cat in the Hat parody is a stretch for Halloween, it’s fun. That’s something that had been missing from the last few. The “Dead and Shoulders” segment that starts out with Bart being beheaded was a nice surprise as well. Also, it would be a crime not to mention the incredible intro to this episode.
12. Treehouse of Horror 7
The writing in “The Thing and I” a “Man in the Iron Mask” parody, is beyond fantastic. After that you’ve got the most tolerable Kang and Kodos segment as they disguise themselves as Bill Clinton and Bob Dole in an attempt to take over the world.
11. Treehouse of Horror 11
While “Ghost D-D-Dad” and the Hansel and Gretel parody aren’t the strongest segments, the story of Lisa freeing a caged dolphin only to find out it was the leader of an army of evil dolphins trying to rule the world is one of the best segments in a Treehouse of Horror episode. Just when you think they’ve pushed the dolphin angle as far as it could go, they find another hilarious route to pursue.
10. Treehouse of Horror 14
“Reaper Madness” is a truly fantastic segment. When the Benny Hill music kicks in as death chases the family through a series of doors, it’s nearly perfect. Unfortunately the Frankenstein episode is a bit of a lull, but it finishes strong with a segment in which Bart and Milhouse obtain the ability to freeze time. Milhouse has some of his best lines as he and Bart wreak havoc upon Springfield.
9. Treehouse of Horror 15
“The Ned Zone” in which Ned can see future tragedies is great, but “In the Belly of the Boss” features one of the most hilariously bizarre moments in Simpsons’ history when Homer and Mr. Burns dance while Homer is completely inside of Mr. Burns. It’s hauntingly wonderful. A million bonus points for using the “Perfect Strangers” theme music in the opening and closing credits.
8. Treehouse of Horror 4
The entire episode is presented like an episode of “The Twilight Zone” and finds a way to live up to the comparison. Each tale feels like it could be a horror story if the jokes were removed, including a creepy take on Dracula that gave me countless nightmares as a kid.
7. Treehouse of Horror 8
“Fly vs Fly” is one of the funniest Halloween segments they’ve done and tethered with the story of Homer being the last man on earth after a nuclear bomb in “The HΩmega Man” it’s hard to find much fault here. That being said, Marge’s story of being a witch isn’t exactly anything to write home about.
6. Treehouse of Horror 3
With homages to Kubrick and Hitchcock in the first five minutes, it’s hard to find much to dislike. The evil doll parody is done quite well, but the King Kong turned Homer segment just didn’t feel that much like Halloween. I can skip both of those for “Dial ‘Z’ for Zombies” which I will attest is the creepiest segment of any Treehouse of Horror episode.
5. Treehouse of Horror 2
You can never go wrong by giving Homer a monkey paw that grants wishes, but the real highlight of this episode is the segment where Bart’s family lives in fear of his magical powers. Sure it’s funny, but it’s just as eerie as “The Twilight Zone” episode from which it’s inspired. This episode also ran as one constant story instead of being broken into three defined sections.
4. Treehouse of Horror 16
The visual gags in “Bartificial Intelligence” are some of the best in the last decade, but the ending with Homer being possessed is just confusing. We do get a Mr. Burns man-hunting segment followed by the town being cursed by a witch so everyone becomes their costumes. Top to bottom, it’s a great episode.
3. Treehouse of Horror 12
The town gets a curse put on it by a gypsy, which results in some hilarious moments for the entire family, as well as Lenny and Carl. The segment just keeps getting more and more bizarre until finally Yoda is hosting a wedding between a gypsy and a leprechaun. “House of Whacks” is more fun than the concept would seem and the Harry Potter parody is some of their finest work. There’s not a weak moment in the entire episode.
2. Treehouse of Horror 6
This is The Simpsons at its finest. Every segment is perfect keeping it funny but also scary enough at times to separate it from a normal episode and not just another random parody. Homer3 is as close to “The Matrix” as The Simpsons have ever gotten and the “Nightmare on Elm Street” parody gives us just the right amount of Willie. Did I really just say that?
1. Treehouse of Horror 5
They don’t get any better than this. It helps that “The Shinning” is possibly the best thing The Simpsons has ever done, but it definitely doesn’t have to carry all the weight. “Time and Punishment” is highly rewatchable and remains entertaining no matter how many times you’ve seen it. Top that off with a solid story about the students being used as lunch meat and you’ve got the ultimate Treehouse of Horror episode.