31 Nights of Halloween: Best of Treehouse of Horror

31 Nights of Halloween

The Simpsons have been on television a loooooooong time, too long in my opinion. I stopped watching them probably 10 or so seasons ago, aside from their annual Halloween Treehouse of Horror specials. This year, the special marked their 666th episode which is just so fitting for a Halloween special. I’m not sure that I will watch it since even these once great, incredibly creative episodes have become lackluster. I remember waiting patiently each year to watch these as a kid and getting screwed a few times because of that pesky mountain time. Those were the days when you actually had to be physically home at the time  your favorite show aired to watch it. If you aren’t familiar with these episodes please leave there are three horror stories, that sometimes parody well-known horror films or are otherwise just creepy stories. These are the episodes that I appreciate the most. I am doing these by air date since I own the actual seasons of only Treehouse of Horror episodes so I’m unsure of where they fall in the regular seasons and I’m lazy.

Pieces NFI Regular

Hands down my favorite episode – it has everything from Satan to der vampyr. In the first story, Homer sells his soul to Satan (played by Ned Flanders) for a donut. Bart is terrorized by a gremlin trying to wreck the school bus in the second story and Mr. Burns plays Dracula with wig and all for the conclusion. There isn’t a bad story in this episode which isn’t always the case.

1993

Pieces NFI Regular

This one parodies I Know What You Did Last Summer with a twist that was just as ridiculous as the original movie ending. It has a weak filler story about Bart and Lisa acquiring superhuman powers but ends on a strong note with Homer failing to prepare the plant’s computers for Y2K and causing the crash of the technological world. Remember when we all thought that the world was going to end because computers couldn’t compute zeroes? Good times.

1999

Pieces NFI Regular

Homer goes insane in The Shinning, then travels back in time in an attempt to fix a toaster and Springfield Elementary cafeteria starts eating misbehaving children. I think  this episode has the most comical Marge line of any episode, when Bart and Lisa try convincing her that they are going to be eaten she responds with; Kids, you’re 8 & 10 years old, I can’t keep fighting all of your battles for you. Classic parent response.

cafeteris

Pieces NFI Regular

Homer is attacked by an evil Krusty the Clown Doll, the middle episode story is a lame King Kong parody and ends with Lisa turning the residents of Springfield into zombies while trying to bring her cat back to life. I also love that this episode takes place during a Halloween party at the Simpson’s’ house and Bart is rocking the classic A Clockwork Orange costume.

III

Pieces NFI Regular

This one starts out strong with the Simpsons moving into a haunted house that just so happens to be on the site of an ancient burial ground. The second story is lame, something to do with aliens overfeeding them but not wanting to eat them…? And finishes with a parody of Poe’s The Raven narrated by James Earl Jones.

The Raven

There are so many good ones but these are classic introductions to these specials. I think the only reason I will be sad to see The Simpsons retire from television is that there won’t be anymore Treehouse of Horror episodes. Did you watch these as a kid? Let me know what your favorite episodes are!

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31 Nights of Halloween: The Shining (1980)

31 Nights of Halloween

Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of King’s The Shining is pretty good if you haven’t read the book but also totally sucks if you have. He left out the most hair raising parts and instead went for shock value. It leaves out my absolute favorite part of the book where the giant topiary animals start to surround Jack outside of the weird maze on the property. But of course kept in the decayed, old lady corpse. Anyway…

Jack Torrance, a failing writer, his wife Wendy and son Danny are headed to a secluded inn that’s closing for the off-season. They will be looking after the property with no access to the outside world. Of course, the inn is haunted and weird things start happening. Unfortunately for Danny, he possesses the shining which allows him to see into the inn’s tragic past. Jack’s sanity and sobriety quickly deteriorate putting his family in danger.

I just don’t love this adaptation, the only element that somewhat redeems it is the atmosphere of the hotel Kubrick used. Which, is not the Stanley Hotel that the book used but still plenty creepy. I think it’s more accurate to say that the movie is influenced by the book but if you haven’t read it, you probably wouldn’t know the difference and it’s a decent movie otherwise.

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31 Nights of Halloween: Hocus Pocus

31 Nights of Halloween

Clearly, I am mostly failing at sticking to my watch list and completely failing at watching something each night. In my defense, it was a rough weekend – this nasty cold is going around, again. My neighbors were acting like complete dickheads, again. The weather was soggy and cold, we did not get any snow which I am pretty disappointed about but the leaves look stunning. I mostly read this weekend and it was time well spent. Tonight’s film is a classic from my childhood, Hocus Pocus.

This movie begins where all witch-y movies worth their potion begin, somewhere in Colonial America during the witch trials. Now, I hate to quibble but the trials ended in May 1693 so the Sanderson sisters would have probably been spared by their puritanical neighbors. I get that it is way cooler to come back on the 300th year anniversary and not the 299th year and some odd days anniversary 😛 Anyway, the Sanderson sisters are in the midst of luring a young girl away from her home so that they can steal her youth. Her brother, Thackery Binx sees his sister being kidnapped and tries to save her. Sadly, and quite tragically for a children’s movie, he does not save her and the witches turn him into a cat that is cursed with eternal life. The puritans ascend on the witches’ hovel and hang them but not before Winifred casts a spell ensuring that the sister will be back. Feline Thackery tries to approach his parents but is kicked away which remains the saddest part in the entire film. to this day.

Fast forward 300 years, 90’s Salem, the best Salem and we meet Max and Dani Dennison who just moved to town from LA. Dani loves all of the local lore but Max is more skeptical and overall hates their new home. I never understood this as a child because all I have ever wanted to do was live in Salem. He does like Allison, a local girl who’s family used to operate the Sanderson cottage as a museum until it had to be closed because too many spooky things kept happening. Max convinces the girls to check the cottage out and insanity ensues. He ends up lighting the Black Flame Candle and bringing the Sanderson sisters back who hatch a plan to steal the lives of all the children in Salem. With the assistance of Binx, they foil the sisters’ plans and learn a valuable lesson about how helpful drunk adults are on Halloween.

I love this one, I have probably watched it a thousand times yet it remains a classic and annual must-watch.

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31 Nights of Halloween: Nancy Drew (2019)

31 Nights of Halloween

Hey, guess what, I’m that person who likes to make lists and then I’m like – who needs lists, I’m a free-spirit, I don’t need lists. Needless to say, I did not watch Carrie this evening and instead, watched the first episode of The CW’s Nancy Drew reboot. This is the problem with lists, amazing things could present themselves that might be missed out on if one stuck to a list! I will slot Carrie in for that horrible Hulu original series that I already mostly forgot about and watch it this weekend. See, at least I have a plan…

I grew up on the Nancy Drew mystery series and was excited about a reboot but also hesitant because of that travesty of a show Riverdale that is loosely, loosely based on the Archie comic books. I’ve said it before and feel compelled to say it again, Ms. Grundy was a 70-year old matron and not a hot body music teacher who banged underage pupils. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. Anyway, I still decided to give this new series a watch and see how it compared to the beloved books. To start, the characters seemed a lot older than those in the book (the teens in the book are a lot more innocent if you know what I mean). Nancy has ‘retired’ her detective work after the death of her mother. She is waitressing in her small hometown, still dating Ned Nickerson. The show deviates from the book with her other friends, Bess & George are still around but in a vastly different capacity. They aren’t really friends at all and are just forced together through circumstances, that circumstance being they’re accused of murdering a local heiress. While trying to solve this case, they uncover details about the unsolved disappearance of a local girl from decades ago. There’s a surprising amount of supernatural elements in the show and it’s pretty dark in nature. I guess that’s what happens when producers try to add a modern twist that appeals to a younger generation that didn’t grow up on the books and can’t relate to the stories. I think it’s cool to see Nancy make a comeback but also, can everyone stop ruining my childhood icons?! Come up with your own damn content. Anyway, it was a romp but I’m not sure I’ll keep watching.

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31 Nights of Halloween: Grimm (2011)

31 Nights of Halloween

Well, I was supposed to watching Chopping Mall tonight but I can’t find it. I really should have pulled out my movies when I made my list but it didn’t occur to me at the time. Instead, I watched a few episodes of Grimm. I loved this show, up until the last two seasons. Each episode is based loosely on a Brothers Grimm tale. The main character, Nick is a detective who finds out that he is grimm which is someone who can see the Grimm fairy tale creatures for what they are. His ancestors have been tracking and killing the creatures of decades.

The first episode is a classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf. Nick and his partner Hank are investigating the slaying of a college student when Nick starts to see weird things. His aunt who is very ill, arrives in town and tells him that they need to talk. Unfortunately for the both of them, she has been followed by another being who kills grimms and she is delayed in passing down her knowledge to him. Meanwhile, a little girl goes missing and the detectives think the two cases are related. Nick meets Monroe, one of the big, bad wolves who helps him solve the case and fills in some of the missing pieces about his grimm history. The two make an unlikely team but their friendship is on of my favorite elements of the entire series. Hank and Nick bring the bad guy in and the little girl is found unharmed.

The show is set in Portland, I’ve always dreamed of living there and the foggy, damp atmosphere is the perfect backdrop to this spooky show. Overall, it’s a fun series with unique story line and an enjoyable cast.

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Check out what else I’m watching: 31 Nights of Halloween Watch List

31 Nights of Halloween: Friday the 13th (1980)

31 Nights of Halloween

Ch-ch-ch-kah-kah-kah. A group of sexy teenagers are hired to work at Camp Crystal Lake where a small boy drowned decades ago. What could possibly go wrong, except everything…

Spoiler: everybody dies, well most everybody. Jason Voorhees, while attending summer camp accidentally drowns and his mother blames the negligent camp counselors. In the years following the accident, a string of incidents leads to the camp shutting down amid rumors that it’s cursed. Under new ownership, the camp is set to reopen. The town crazy tries to warn the kids about the camp’s reputation but is unable to convince them that they may be in trouble. One by one, the teens are picked off by who we assume is Jason Voorhees who is somehow still haunting the camp. We soon find out that it’s actually Mrs. Voorhees killing everyone to avenge her son. We only catch a glimpse of Jason at the very end of the movie and really, he was scarier when we didn’t know what he looked like or if he was even alive. The isolated cabin setting, unseen killer, extreme weather event and teenage naivete all contribute to the creep factor of this classic slasher.

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Check out what else I’m watching: 31 Nights of Halloween Watch List

31 Nights of Halloween: The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

31 Nights of Halloween

When in doubt, stick to the classics. I have watched this film countless times and still enjoy each viewing. It’s an intriguing story, one that’s been done to death nowadays but enlisting a psychopath to aid in the capture of a serial killer is a pretty fantastical concept. I mean, who knows the mind of a crazed killer better than an equally crazed killer? FBI trainee, Clarice Starling is enlisted to profile, Buffalo Bill, an active serial killer who is murdering women and taking pieces of their skin. Her director assigns her to interview Hannibal Lecter, a psychiatrist and face-eating serial killer to gather some insight into Buffalo Bill. Lecter is happy to oblige if Starling is willing to tell him personal details about her life. Which, seems like a terrible idea and probably the first thing they tell you not to do in Serial Killer Catching 101. Her desire to catch Bill obviously clouds Starling’s judgement and she engages in this creepy quid pro quo arrangement. Ultimately, Lecter does somewhat help solve the case in  really roundabout way that almost costs Starling her  life but Bill’s most recent, high-profile victim is found alive thanks to her persistence.

The more times that I see this film, the more I dislike Lecter. I mean, I don’t think that the audience is supposed to like a face-eating serial killer but at first glance, he’s this super smart, kind of charming doctor who just happened to get caught killing people. In reality, he really is an asshole. From implying that Starling was only chosen for the job because her boss wants to sleep with her to calling her a backwoods hussy, I think Lecter was a misogynist and I just don’t like him. By today’s standards, the film is surprisingly tame, while there are some shocking parts it never feels out of place or forced and it’s what you aren’t seeing that builds momentum. Anyway, it’s one of my all-time faves and it never ceases to be enjoyable.

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Check out what else I’m watching: 31 Nights of Halloween Watch List