Recap: The Simpsons S 4 E 5 Treehouse Of Horror III

Episode - 9F04
First Aired - 10/29/1992

The Simpsons family hold a Halloween party and tell scary stories.

Clown Without Pity: Homer buys a talking Krusty doll for Bart on his birthday, but the doll ends up trying to kill Homer.
King Homer: The classic horror film King Kong gets a Simpsonized parody when Mr. Burns hires Marge Bouvier to come with them on an excursion to Ape Island, where Marge is set up to be sacrificed to King Homer, only for Burns and his men to capture him alive and put him on Broadway.note 
Dial Z for Zombies: Bart is sentenced to redo his book report (after trying to use a pop-up book for preschoolers), and finds a book in the Occult Section of the school library that can raise the dead — and ends up causing a Zombie Apocalypse when he and Lisa intone a spell to revive their dead cat, Snowball I.

Tropes:

  • Amusing Injuries: Bart and his friends use the front door to play `Pin the Tail on the Donkey'. During Milhouse's turn Homer bursts in, crushing the poor kid into the wall.
  • Berserk Board Barricade: The family board up the windows in this manner, but when Marge asks Homer if he's boarded up the front door, he absent-mindedly mentions that he hasn't.
  • Brain Food: Zombies!
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Bart says he has "a story so scary you'll wet your pants". Grampa tells him he already did.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: "King Homer". Justified in that the parody is based on the 1933 black-and-white film.
  • Demoted to Extra: Kang and Kodos, who had major roles in the previous Halloween specials, get only a Mandatory Line in this one and the next few. They wouldn't get another major appearance until Treehouse Of Horror VII.
  • The Doll Episode: Homer gets Bart a cursed Krusty doll from a Chinese man's curio shop filled with cursed and weird objects from around the world.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Flanders scaring the kids by dressing up as a zombie and actually having fun on Halloween is wildly out of character with the straw religious guy he'd become later.
  • Evil Laugh: In Kang and Kodos' obligatory cameo appearance, they laugh at the thought of humanity being overrun by zombies. Bart also gets one for raising the dead.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Bart intones brand name condoms for the magic spell ("Trojan, Ramses, Magnum, Shiek!") to get the town's zombies back to their graves.
    • Smithers' line in "King Homer": "I think women and seamen don't mix." Mr Burns' response: "We all know what you think."
    • Bart's Alex DeLarge costume, complete with accent which implies he knows exactly who the character is.
  • Halloween Episode
  • "How Did You Know?" "I Didn't.": See Not a Zombie below.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Ape Island. Burn's crew would much rather go to Candy Apple Island, which also has apes, they're just not as big.
  • Interspecies Romance: Between Marge and King Homer, ending with a wedding!
  • Killer Gorilla: Several people fall victim to King Homer's insatiable appetite, including Smithers, Shirley Temple and Marge's father.
  • "King Kong" Climb: King Homer attempts to climb the Empire State Building, but only makes it up a few feet. By the time he collapses from exhaustion, the pilots circling around the top of the building head off to refuel.
  • Michael Jackson's "Thriller" Parody: Bart and Lisa resurrect the dead while the former wears the album cover of Thriller on his head in a Shout-Out to the music video.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Homer dresses in a toga to play Julius Caesar, but the sheet catches on a nail and he stands butt-naked in front of everybody. Well, he did say "Behold, mighty Caesar, in all his glory!"
    • Later, the Krusty doll scares him out of the bathtub and he runs past Marge, Patty and Selma.
  • No Ending: The episode ends without a conclusion for the Halloween party wraparound segment, ending instead on The Simpsons turning into metaphorical zombies by watching TV.
  • Not a Zombie
    Bart: Homer, you shot the zombie Flanders!
    Homer: He was a zombie?
  • Number of the Beast: All of the Dewey Decimal System numbers in the library.
  • The Operators Must Be Crazy: Marge tries to let the toy company know the Krusty doll is attempting to drown her husband as she speaks. She gets "Everybody Loves a Clown" as the hold music.
  • Perverse Puppet: The killer Krusty doll. Subverted in that he's only evil because of a switch on his back, and despite the Chinese man that sold the doll to Homer saying it was cursed.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Lisa says to Bart that the zombies have risen, but Bart corrects her: "Please Lis, they preferred to be called the `Living Impaired'."
  • Pretend We're Dead: Homer spots Barney eating an arm and exclaims "Barney, not you too!" to which Barney replies: "I'm not a zombie, but hey, when in Rome..."
  • Properly Paranoid: Grampa in the first segment, in which he calls the Krusty doll evil.
    Marge: Grampa, you said that about all the presents.
    Grampa: I just want attention.
  • See You in Hell: As the zombies return to their graves: "See you in Hell." "Still pushing that boulder?" "Uh-huh."
  • Shout-Out:
    • The pre-title sequence has Homer filling out the Hitchcock silhouette at the start of every Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode. He even says Hitchcock's famous line "Good eeeevening."
    • One of the graves in the graveyard belongs to inventor and architect R. Buckminster Fuller. His grave is even shaped like his most famous invention, a geodesic dome.
    • Bart dresses as Alex DeLarge.
    • The Asian shop keeper selling cursed stuff is a reference to Gremlins.
    • The "murderous doll" plot is specifically based on the The Twilight Zone episode "Living Doll", hence the lines "My name is Krusty, and I love you very much" and "I'm Krusty the Klown and I don't like you." It also contains elements of Trilogy of Terror and Child's Play.
    • Psycho Strings play when the Krusty doll raises a knife.
    • The Krusty doll belts himself to the bottom of the car.
    • King Kong: Well, duh!
    • Homer throws the doll in a bottomless pit, followed by a mafioso (who, surprisingly, isn't Fat Tony or any of his men) dumping a corpse, and a man throwing in a box of nude photos of Whoopi Goldberg, which are immediately thrown back again.
    • The natives on Kong Island shout "Mosi Tatupu" (which translates to "The blue-haired woman will make a great sacrifice") which is a wink to an American football player from Samoa.
    • Shirley Temple (voiced by Russi Taylor using the voice she uses for Martin Prince) is devoured by King Homer.
    • Mr. Burns claims that King Homer's career is over, because Al Jolson's was too when he ran amok at the Winter Garden and climbed the Chrysler Building!
    • Cheesy music plays and a heart-shaped iris frames the Krusty doll with Malibu Stacy. This also closes out "King Homer".
    • Bart tries to read a Wheres Waldo book (titled Find Waldo Yet Again — it's so easy that Bart comments, "Man, he's not even trying anymore.") for his book review.
    • Raising the dead apparently requires wearing a copy of Michael Jackson's Thriller album on your head.
    • Bart and Lisa trying to raise their dead cat is similar to the plot of Pet Sematary.
    • Some of the graves in the pet cemetery are names of early 1990s animated TV series that were Follow the Leader attempts at cloning The Simpsons's success, all of which were cancelled after only a few episodes aired: Fish Police, Capitol Critters and Family Dognote .
    • Speaking of canceled shows being shown as "dead" in a graveyard, one of the tombstones reads, Drexell's Class, a live-action show that aired on FOX for a little while as The Simpsons's lead-out. That had Dabney Coleman (among other things, he was the Bad Boss in 9 to 5 and the voice of Peter Prickley on Recess) as the title character.
    • The zombie apocalypse is mostly a spoof of Night of the Living Dead.
    • The spell to bring zombies to life has the last names of game show hosts (Cullen, Rayburn, Narz, Trebek) and the names of department stores (Zabar, Kresgenote , Caldor, Walmart note ).
      • The spell that turns Lisa into a snail consists of names of 1970s TV detectives (Kolchak, Mannix, Banaceck, Danno), and the spell to return zombies to their graves are the brand names of condoms (Trojan, Ramses, Magnum, Shiek), which, back then, was considered risque.
    • Homer shockingly shoots the walking corpses of George Washington, Albert Einstein and William Shakespeare down.
    • When the zombies return to their graves one of the corpses says: "Still pushin' that boulder?", a nod to the ancient Greek mythological character Sisyphus.
  • Skewed Priorities
    Lisa: Dad, we did something very bad!
    Homer: Did you wreck the car?
    Bart: No!
    Homer: Did you raise the dead?
    Lisa: Yesss!
    Homer: But the car's okay?
    Kids: Uh-huh.
    Homer: All right then.
  • Smelly Feet:
    Krusty Doll: You think your dirty socks can stop me? Well...they are making me dizzy...
  • Spelling Song: "My baloney has a first name, it's H-O-M-E-R. My baloney has a second name, it's H-O-M-E-R..."
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    Tribe Leader (in tribal language): The blue-haired woman will make a good sacrifice.
    Marge: What's he saying?
    Mr. Burns: Aaaaaaaaah... he's saying... ummmmm... "We wouldn't dream of sacrificing the blue-haired woman!"
  • Too Dumb to Live: The zombies ignore Homer because he apparently hasn't got (enough) brains to eat.
  • Verbal Backspace: Mister Burns' attempts to cover up calling Marge bait. It works.
  • We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: When zombie Sideshow Mel attacks Krusty the Klown on the air, a technical difficulties title card (featuring a drawing of a drunk cameraman) pops up for a few moments.
  • Your Brain Won't Be Much of a Meal: A zombie horde clamoring for "Braaaains" inspects Homer's head, then abandon him in disgust. Most ridiculously, the zombie taps Homer on the head and a hollow sound is heard before it moves along.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Spoofed.