The Simpsons Halloween recap: Treehouse of Horror IV

Treehouse of Horror IV from Simpsons World via FX Networks
Treehouse of Horror IV from Simpsons World via FX Networks /

The fourth installment of Treehouse of Horror features some truly classic segments as Homer is desperate for a donut and the Simpsons encounter vampires.

Treehouse of Horror IV begins with a shot at the Springfield cemetery and the graves Elvis, Accept It and TV Violence before zombie versions of the Simpsons break through the floor and sit on the couch. Then Bart greets the viewer and walks them through a hall of paintings before stopping at one that fits the theme of the first story of this installment of Treehouse of Horror.

The Devil and Homer Simpson

In a parody of the famous short story The Devil and Daniel Webster, Homer is absolutely desperate for a donut and can’t find one. When he says that he’d sell his soul for a donut, Ned Flanders dressed up as the Devil appears. When Homer is shocked at this development, Flanders simply says that it’s always the one you least suspect.

Getting down to business, Homer signs a contract with him and is presented with a donut that he immediately begins eating. But when Flanders reminds Homer that the instant he finishes he forfeits his soul, Homer sees a loophole and doesn’t finish the last bite.

Homer thinks he’s pulled a fast one until one night he goes to the fridge and eats the last bit of donut. Delighted, Flanders immediately comes to collect until Lisa speaks up that her father deserves a fair trail. Flanders begrudgingly accepts, but decrees that Homer must spend the day in Hell.

But when they try to torture Homer by feeding him all the donuts in the World, he gladly goes along with it and cleans them out. Eventually it’s time for Homer’s trial where he is given the services of Lionel Hutz, while Flanders summons a jury of the damned consisting of Benedict Arnold, Lizzie Borden, Richard Nixon (who was still alive at the time), John Wilkes Booth, Blackbeard the Pirate, John Dillinger, and the lineup of the 1976 Philadelphia Flyers.

The case begins with Ned presenting the contract and Lionel Hutz running away through a window. The Grim Reaper (acting as judge) is about to rule against Homer when Marge interrupts. She has the jury read what’s written on the back of their wedding photo where Homer professes his love for her and says that he gives her his soul. Hearing this, the jury finds that Homer’s soul legally belongs to Marge and not the Devil. But as he’s about to leave, Flanders turns Homer’s head into a giant donut out of revenge.

Terror at 5 1/2 Feet

One day Bart has a nightmare about the school bus getting into a terrible accident. Waking up the next morning, Bart is a bit on edge when Homer blasts an air horn in the Simpson’s kitchen. Later on the way to school, Bart looks out the window and thinks he sees a gremlin crawling up the side of the bus (a satire of a famous Twilight Zone story featuring William Shatner.)

Panicking when he sees it, Bart tries to get Otto to see it. But when Otto looks out the window he sees a Gremlin car driven by Hans Moleman. Otto promptly indulges Bart and rams the car off the road, causing it to explode. Going back to his seat, Bart sees the Gremlin is back and has cracked open the bus and is ripping out pieces of it’s wiring.

Bu when Bart yells for everyone to look, no one else can see it. When the gremlin starts taking off the wheel (which was part of Bart’s nightmare) he eventually steals a road flare to fight the gremlin off. While Principal Skinner and Willy pull him back inside, Bart manages to hit the gremlin and it falls off the bus. The bus gets to school while Ned Flanders sees the gremlin and tries to help it.

At school, Principal Skinner sees the damage caused by the gremlin while Bart is taken away in an ambulance. But while driving away, the gremlin appears on the ambulance window, holding Flanders’ head to taunt Bart.

After Homer is freaked out by the painting of dogs playing poker, the final story of Treehouse of Horror IV begins.

Bart Simpson’s Dracula

While watching the news, the Simpsons see a story about someone dying as if killed by a vampire before getting an update that Mr. Burns has bought the Springfield blood bank (complete with a shot of Mr. Burns having blood dripping from his mouth). The Simpsons are then invited for dinner at his estate in Pennsylvania.

Lisa is suspicious and Marge waves it off before checking that everyone has washed their necks like Mr. Burns asked. When they arrive they are greeted by Mr. Burns (in a satire of the movie Bram Stoker’s Dracula) and are taken to the dining room. Lisa intentionally makes a mess of herself and Bart so they can explore for his secret hiding place. After finding a hidden laundry nook, they find his secret vampire room (advertised by a neon sign) complete with coffins and a book titled “Yes I am a Vampire.”

But while Lisa is distracted, the coffins open and vampires creep towards her and Bart. Lisa escapes, but Bart can’t help using the switch that turns the stairs into the “Super Fun Happy Slide” and gets bitten. Lisa tries to tell her parents what happened, but they don’t believe her and Bart comes back acting very different.

The Simpsons return home for the night and Lisa is having a hard time sleeping when she hears rapping at her window. Opening the curtain, she sees Bart has bitten Milhouse and other neighborhood kids (a reference to The Lost Boys) and they try to get her to join them. When she refuses, Bart breaks into her room where Homer catches him and realizes that he really is a vampire.

With a stake and hammer in hand, Grampa Simpsons also rushes into the room while yelling they have to kill Bart. When Marge asks how he knew Bart was a vampire, Grampa is momentarily shocked before running right back out again. In response, Bart flies out and Lisa reasons the only way to get him back is to kill Mr. Burns.

They find Mr. Burns’ coffin and he dies after they successfully drive a stake through his heart. Back at the Simpson house, everyone is having breakfast when Grampa flies in and proclaims he’s a vampire who’s come to suck their blood. But his teeth end up falling out and he flies into the refrigerator. Lisa is shocked when it turns out that they’re all vampires and Marge was really the head vampire.

With that, Treehouse of Horror IV ends with the Simpsons singing a Christmas song in a spoof of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

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