19
Oct
13

Animation Alley: Treehouse of Horror IV

tohiv-01(this edition directed by David Silverman)
For our wrap-arounds in this edition, Bart steps in for Rod Serling in a Night Gallery parody, walking past a collection of famous paintings, Simpson-ized. It’s a real treat for anyone who’s taken an art history course. My favorite is probably the center, Jacques-Louis David’s “The Death of Marat,” except here, it’s Homer holding a shopping list of Duff, chips and pork. It even has David’s name on it too, and ‘Simpson’ subbing for ‘Marat’ above it.

tohiv-02bI love the deranged look of the little demon chef. Also we have Devil Flanders’ chilling alternate form, who just looks fantastic, clearing paying homage to the monstrous Chernabog from the “Night on Bald Mountain” segment of Fantasia. And excellent freeze frame moment where you see Flanders’ face from an instant before he disappears.

tohiv-03The vortex in the kitchen floor is such a great effect. The first shot has almost like a fish eye lens, and the second, I love how Marge’s nightcap is sucked up immediately, causing her hair to sway forth as well, becoming even more elongated.

tohiv-04This short and simple bit in Hell is fantastic. You have this wonderful contraption forcefeeding Homer donuts, and he of course couldn’t be happier. The ironic punishment demon laughs maniacally, thinking he knows the fun won’t last. Dissolve to an engorged Homer still willfully eating, and the demon is no longer so pleased.

tohiv-05As if you needed more reason to doubt the professionalism of Lionel Hutz, he first walks into the scene combing his hair with a fork. With her husband’s soul at stake, Marge sure pulled out the big guns.

tohiv-06I love how displeased Flanders is with the seating arrangements, as Marge pulls every object from the house to accommodate the jury of the damned. Best of all, of course, is Blackbeard stuck with an infant high chair. I love how awkward and uncomfortable he is on it (“This chair be high, says I!”)

tohiv-07Excellent drawing of the tense bit of Homer’s sentencing. It’s just a camera push-in, and the only animation is on the fire of the cage. This is all you need to convey the emotion of the scene.

tohiv-08Another amazing drawing from Homer and Marge’s wedding day. I love how Lovejoy’s there with the Bible open at the foot of the counter, as if he’s still officiating the marriage during Homer’s medically questionable state.

tohiv-09Bart’s nightmare of the school bus having a head-on collision ends with repeated flashes until we’re back in reality in the bedroom, but not until we get a few glimpses of skeleton Bart over here.

tohiv-10I absolutely love the gremlin, from the animation alone you can tell what perverse glee he takes out of wreaking such havoc. I’ve been playing through the Halloween event of the Tapped Out mobile game, and was really pleased that they included the gremlin in it. When you tap to get rid of him, he growls and does the throat cut animation. Fantastic.

tohiv-11Upon finding it, Flanders treats the gremlin with his usual warmness and good nature. Not even a claw to the eyes can deter him. I love how it reverts him to a confused animal state at first. But then, of course, we get our ending, which is one of the more genuinely disturbing moments in any Treehouse of Horror. The spinal column, Flanders’ wall eyed expression and the ghostly tone of his voice… so creepy.

tohiv-12An absolute David Silverman tour-de-force as Homer goes mad from the painting of dogs playing poker. A veritable freeze frame haven.

tohiv-13I love not only how pleased Homer is to submit his dirty rag for his family’s approval, but just how… filthy it is. That’s just from his neck! Imagine the rest of his body… on second thought, don’t imagine…

tohiv-14In one of the segment’s many references to Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, Burns’ shadow moves on a delay from Burns himself, which is such a subtle touch at first. Then when he turns, we see the shadow throw in a quick game of cat’s cradle and yo-yo before it follows as well.

tohiv-16The scene of vampire Bart and the family finding him out has a lot of excellent extreme poses. I love Homer diving in and squashing back Bart’s nose accusingly.

tohiv-17I laugh every single time during Homer raising his arms up and down in glee (“Super fun happy slide!!”)

tohiv-18All seems lost for Lisa… but the episode’s over, so not only will we completely dissolve the tension, we’ll end on A Charlie Brown Christmas. Why? Why not? One holiday’s just as good as another, right?


6 Responses to “Animation Alley: Treehouse of Horror IV”


  1. 1 Charlie Sweatpants
    19 October 2013 at 9:40 am

    I’d never noticed Flanders face right before Satan-Flanders disappears, and I watched this one yesterday. Nice catch. You actually can see it at regular speed if you know where to look.

  2. 2 Zartok-35
    19 October 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Without a doubt my favorite Halloween show, and you give a great analysis! Mark Colangelo said on NoHomers that he animated that high-chair scene with Blackbeard.

  3. 3 FireFlower
    19 October 2013 at 7:20 pm

    I also like the deleted bowling scene they showed in the 138th episode.

  4. 20 October 2013 at 4:26 am

    Not only fun drawings but fun animation too! Funny little bits like Homers wiggling arms (Super Fun Happy Slide!) to outright crazed motion (They’re dogs and they’re playing poker!!)

  5. 5 Blake E
    20 October 2013 at 11:16 pm

    I am loving these Halloween episode breakdowns and this, by far, is possibly one of – if not the – greatest episode of all time. The originality, the sheer free reign given that purely anything could be possible, the ultra creepiness of them (they were actually pretty damned spooky) and the comedic moments that would appear out of seemingly nowhere.
    Such brilliance.

    I knew watching it as a kid that I was witnessing something really clever and always looked forward to them, but now I realize just how special they actually were/are. Not just for the Simpsons, not just for animation, but for the entertainment and broadcast industry as a whole.

  6. 6 Frank
    21 October 2013 at 12:38 pm

    what I also like about the little demon chef (mentioned early in this article) is the sound he makes when he appears – kinda like a spooked, old, horse’s neigh. i figure if demons do indeed exist, that would be the noise that they would make


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