This Sunday will bring “Treehouse Of Horror XXVI,” the latest Halloween-themed Simpsons episode, continuing a tradition that started on October 25, 1990. Each “Treehouse” episode, as long-time fans will know, abandons the animated series’ usual airtight continuity and rock-solid commitment to reality in order to tell tales of the bizarre, the paranormal, and the truly scarifying. The “Treehouse” series-within-a-series, which has already generated more episodes than many sitcoms will ever achieve, has also allowed the writers of The Simpsons to parody any number of movies, books, and television programs. Has anyone perhaps been keeping track of said parodies? As it happens, Josh Kurp of Uproxx has published an article with the confident title “Here’s A Complete Visual Guide To ‘Treehouse Of Horrors’ References On The Simpsons.” The word “complete” seems likely to invite internet skepticism, so Kurp outlines the parameters of his project:
Below, you’ll find the complete collection of every TV show, movie, and book that The Simpsons has paid direct late-October homage to (I say direct, because, for instance, “The Fright To Creep And Scare Harms” claims to parody The Terminator, but the only real connection is time travel; that doesn’t count). I only included the segments themselves, not individual jokes in them, otherwise this post would reference The Twilight Zone 4,248 times. You’ll have to settle for 1,824 times.
What follows this pronouncement is a series of still images, comparing individual “Treehouse” segments to the films, books, and TV shows that inspired them. Some are exactly what one would expect (The Twilight Zone, The Shining, A Nightmare On Elm Street), while others are a bit more eccentric (Ghost Dad, Thinner, The Thing With Two Heads), and a few are just baffling (The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, The Cat In The Hat, Multiplicity). Likely or unlikely, all of these were shaped into Simpsons vignettes over the last few decades. Incidentally, the article also includes the designated targets for this year’s “Treehouse,” so viewers who do not want it spoiled are advised to blitz past the first paragraph.