Friday, October 23, 2020

The Simpsons: "Halloween Of Horror"

454 Evergreen Terrace is transformed into Everscreem Terrors!

Premiered October 18, 2015.

It's the day before Halloween in Springfield.  The Simpson family is excited that their home is undergoing its annual transformation into "Everscream Terrors."  When Homer notices that some of his decorative skeletons are worn out, he visits a Halloween pop-up store, which is operated by Apu (Hank Azaria).  

When three pop-up employees offer to steal decorations for Homer (Dan Castellaneta) in exchange for cash, he inadvertently gets them fired by Apu.  They tell Homer he's "gonna be real sorry" for getting them fired.

In addition to decorating their house, Lisa (Yeardley Smith) is excited that she's finally old enough to attend the Krustyland Halloween Horror with her brother Bart (Nancy Cartwright).  

When the Simpsons arrive at Halloween Horror, Lisa gets scared and regrets coming along.  Homer tells her to stick close to him and she'll be alright.  

However, they are accidentally separated and Lisa is petrified of the actors dressed as zombies.  The Halloween attraction is shut down and Bart is furious at his sister.  

The next morning, Lisa is still shell-shocked.  Bart's anger grows when his mother Marge (Julie Kavner) says that Lisa's condition means the Simpsons won't be handing out candy and they'll have to take down all their decorations.  

He feels better when Marge says she'll take Bart to "Spine Chills," the best trick-or-treating block party in Springfield.  Unfortunately, it's located in a gated community and Bart and Marge are turned away. 

Homer and Lisa plan to spend Halloween putting together a puzzle.  When there's a knock at the door, Homer answers and is greeted by the three pop-up workers! 

They've come to take revenge on Homer for their firing, which means he and Lisa will face something much more frightening than the Krustyland Halloween Horror.

Plus, Bart discovers what happens when trick-or-treating ends and Grown-Up Halloween begins!

J.A. Morris says:

After two decades of "Treehouse Of Horror" episodes, this is the first Halloween-themed episode that is considered "canonical" in the Simpsons' history.  

"Halloween Of Horror" deals with how Halloween changes as kids grow up.  Lisa thinks she's ready for the Krustyland horror attraction, but quickly learns otherwise.  This reminded me of some of my own childhood experiences.  I recall kids my age wanting to watch R-rated slasher movies or going to "realistic" haunted house attractions.  The next day they would regret it.  

I also appreciated the way Marge and Homer handled Lisa's new fear of Halloween.  They take down all their decorations and decide not to hand out candy.  Did they overreact?  Maybe, but it underscores that in spite of Homer's frequent failures since the series began, he and Marge are good parents.  

However, the highlight of the episode is the "NC-17 Halloween" musical number.  It's a hilarious song and it's fun to see the residents of Springfield dressed as hobbits...

... monsters... 

...and even Zardoz!

As usual, we try to avoid spoilers at this site.  However, I will say that everyone ends up having a great Halloween before it ends.  

Lisa dresses up a Freda Kahlo for Halloween, Santa's Little Helper wears a Yoda Costume!
"Halloween Of Horror" is a great episode and it makes me want more canonical Halloween episodes of The Simpsons

J.A. Morris' rating:

4 jack o'lanterns!

RigbyMel says: 

"Halloween of Horror" is an excellent episode of The Simpsons and an unusual Halloween Simpsons as it is the only one (so far) to be considered in canon.   So unlike the Treehouse of Horror episodes, this one actually "happened" in the Simpsons' universe.   This is a character-driven episode that looks at the tensions between childhood fears and adult responsibility and does so rather well. 

I felt for Lisa in this episode.  Her terrified reaction to the Halloween horrors of Krustyland and subsequent shell-shock are utterly understandable.  It's worth noting that Yeardley Smith's voice acting is really top notch in this episode.  For all Lisa's smarts and precociousness, she's still a little kid who needs protecting and Smith's voice acting underscores this beautifully.

I think I also relate to Lisa pretty strongly in this episode because I have never enjoyed slasher movies or gore and was myself rather traumatized by a spooky ride at a local amusement park when I was small. To this day, I HATE  haunted house attractions, but weirdly love a good ghost tour and/or ghost story! 

Homer and Marge try to do the right thing and remove all their Halloween decorations, becoming "skippers" to help their little girl cope.    

Marge tries to placate a furious Bart with a trip to the fancy Halloween block party only to be denied -- they get a tantalizing glimpse of what they're missing in passing. 

And then comes the *real* scary, a home invasion by the disgruntled Halloween pop-up store ex-employees forces Homer to do his best to keep up a brave face for Lisa.  (He tries whistling nonchalantly and settles on the theme from Halloween as his melody of choice!)  Eventually he has to come clean - "I may not be the smartest dad, or the bravest, or the smartest ..."  It's touching and helps Lisa come up with the confidence to formulate a plan.

We also get another angle on the grown-up responsibilities theme with the Rocky Horror inspired "NC-17 Halloween" song and dance number in which the adults of Springfield (in amusingly naughty costumes) sing about the one night a year when they can cut loose (once the kids are asleep).   It's an amazingly clever and funny take on the adult elements of the holiday. 

"Our lives are awful and weary, so tonight we're going way, way, way, way, way too far!" 

Nobody does Halloween as well as The Simpsons and "Halloween of Horror" is a sweet, funny and scary stand out episode that's well worth annual repeat viewing.   

RigbyMel's rating: 

4 jack o'lanterns 

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