13 Hours Left to Support a Troper-Created Project : Personal Space (discuss)

Recap / The Simpsons S 5 E 5 Treehouse Of Horror IV

Episode - 1F04
First Aired - 10/28/1993

This go-around is done in the style of Night Gallery with Bart hosting the in-betweens while babysitting Maggie as Marge goes to get gift-shop earrings, but not before telling Bart that this year's Halloween special may be too scary for some viewers.

The Devil and Homer Simpson

Homer dreams of being a fashion reporter at a doughnut modeling show while doing his rounds at his job, but finds that Carl and Lenny have already eaten all of the real-life ones (and chucked the rest at an old mannote  for fun). Desperate, he claims he'd sell his soul for a donut, and at that instant, the Devil (who surprisingly is Flanders) appears and offers to give him one. Homer signs a contract and is given a donut. But before he finishes it, he realizes that as long as he doesn't do so, the contract is voided. The Devil vows Homer will go to Hell sooner or later before disappearing.

That night, a half-asleep Homer goes to grab a midnight snack and thoughtlessly eats the last piece of the donut; the Devil appears and starts to suck him into Hell. The family awakes in the commotion and Lisa begs the Devil for a fair trial; he grudgingly agrees to this but demands that Homer spend a day in Hell. Down below, Homer finds himself chopped into pieces and given an ironic punishment by being force-fed donuts (he manages to eat the whole supply, to the torture technician demon's confusion).

Meanwhile the family hires Lionel Hutz to represent him in the trial. Midnight comes and the Devil, along with The Grim Reaper as a judge, appears along with Homer (bound in a fire cage). The Devil and Hutz barter on specific terms before the trial begins: Hutz for bathroom breaks, the Devil on his pick of the jury, which turns out to include some of the worst people from history: Benedict Arnold, Lizzie Borden, Richard Nixon note , John Wilkes Booth, Blackbeard the Pirate, John Dillinger, and the starting line-up of the 1976 Philadelphia Flyers ("The Broad Street Bullies"). The trial doesn't go well — the Devil offers proof of his deal and Hutz ultimately excuses himself to go to the bathroom and flees out the window.

Just as it looks that Homer will be condemned to Hell, Marge comes in with a photo album and shows everyone their wedding photo (which was in an emergency room as Homer ate the wedding cake...before the wedding). On the back of the photo is a declaration Homer made pledging his soul to Marge. The jury agrees that Homer's soul belongs to her, and he's freed — but the Devil, sore at being cheated, turns his head into a donut. Now Homer can't resist munching on himself, and most of the town's cops are waiting outside with coffee cups...

Terror at 5½ Feet


This story also begins with a nightmare as Bart dreams of his school bus losing control and being run over by a semi-truck. He awakens still a little shaken by it (not helped with Homer blowing a blow-horn that he stole from a marina in his ears). As Lisa and he head for the school bus in rainy weather, Bart finds that Skinner is onboard, a punishment from his mother. Halfway into the bus ride, they pick up Groundskeeper Willie who had gotten stranded after killing his mule. Soon, Bart notices a gremlin has attached itself to the side of the bus and is slowly picking it apart. He tries to warn the others but every time he does so, the gremlin hides. The first time, they just think he's crazy. The second time Otto assumes he's talking about Hans Moleman who was driving alongside them, so Otto knocks him off the road. Hans' car stops before it can hit a tree...then explodes anyway, because it's an AMC Gremlin.

Skinner tries to stop his paranoia by pulling the shade over the window but Bart can't help but peek and sees the gremlin only making matters worse. Skinner finally tackles Bart and ties him down with Willie's rope. Bart convinces his seat mate, Utter, to untie him and discovers the back tire will soon be loosened by the gremlin. Using the bus's emergency flares, Bart opens the window and manages to knock the gremlin off just as he's pulled back in by Skinner and Willie. The gremlin hits Ned Flanders's car; he stops and picks it up despite the gremlin trying to attack him...

The bus makes it safely to school (despite that it's completely wrecked — and for once, it wasn't Otto the bus driver's fault). Bart gleefully announces he was right, but Skinner nonetheless finds his actions deplorable and has him shipped off to the New Bedlam Home for the Emotionally Interesting (last seen on the season three premiere, "Stark Raving Dad"). Bart begins to relax, only for the gremlin to show up in the window of the truck and show off the severed (and still talking!) head of Flanders.

Bart Simpson's Dracula


The family watches a news report about a murder victim who was drained of his blood; a black cape was found at the scene. Despite the obvious evidence, Wiggum assumes it's the work of a mummy and has the Egyptian wing of the museum destroyed. Lisa knows they should be tracking down a vampire but Homer dismisses the theory. Also in the news: Mr. Burns just bought a blood bank!

Some time later, the family is traveling at night to Pennsylvania, where Burns has invited them to dinner. At the manor there's even more obvious evidence of Burns being a vampire (i.e.: he mentions the family being "fresh victims of his ever growing army of the undead" over the entrance's intercom, his shadow has a life of its own, the "punch" served is blood, etc.) but only Lisa notices. Lisa "accidentally" spills the "punch" on Bart and her and they head off to get cleaned up. As they head back they discover Burns' vampire lair (oddly easily accessible) and investigate. As Lisa looks through Burns' autobiography Yes I Am a Vampire, Burns' vampire minions rise and advance on the two. The kids flee but Bart stops when he sees a lever for a "Super Happy Fun Slide". Knowing it's a trap, Bart pulls it anyway and slides back down into the lair...where a group of vampires are waiting for him. A vampire woman pulls him off the slide and pins him down as the rest of the undead minions gather around him and bare their fangs menacingly. In flies a bat who morphs into Mr. Burns himself and Bart is presented to him. Though forgetful of Bart's name ("Well if isn't little..uh...boy"), Burns is more then happy to feed on his blood.

Lisa makes it back to the family and tries to tell them what happened, but then Burns, with very visible blood on his mouth, appears with a clearly bitten and pale skinned Bart who drones that nothing happened which the family believe. That night at the Simpson home, Lisa is visited in her bedroom window by a now vampiric and evil Bart flanked by other kids he's bitten. He beckons her to join them but she refuses, so Bart crashes through the window and tries to turn her by force. The commotion attracts Homer as well as the rest of the family, who stops him from doing so. But Bart laughs evilly as he changes into a bat and flees into the night. Lisa tells her family that the only way to return Bart to normal is to kill the head vampire, Mr. Burns.

The family head back to Burns' castle and make their way to Burns' lair. Homer drives a stake through his heart (though not before accidentally hitting his crotch). Burns dies and all seems well...but the next morning at home Grandpa floats into the kitchen claiming to be a vampire. The rest of the family reveals to the shocked Lisa that they're all vampires, because Burns wasn't the head one — Marge is. The undead family bare their fangs to attack Lisa...before turning to audience and wishing everyone a Happy Halloween, in a closing shot that parodies A Charlie Brown Christmas.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Affably Evil: It's Flanders in Devil form, so not surprising.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: After the family finds out Bart is a vampire.
    Marge: Homer we have to do something! Tonight, he's drinking people's blood. Tomorrow he could be smoking!
  • Baleful Polymorph: Homer at the end of the first story, not that he seems to mind, but it's still a hazard as every police officer in town is waiting outside the Simpson house to get a piece of Homer.
  • Big Eater: Homer's Ironic Hell fails to be a punishment because ends up eating every doughnut served to him, much to the confusion and irritation of the demon who intended it to be a punishment.
  • Blatant Lies: When the Devil was taking Homer to hell, Marge asked if he ate the donut and Homer said "no".
  • Breaking and Bloodsucking: Done in the third story when Bart tries to convince Lisa to become a vampire. When she refuses, he states she doesn't have a choice and promptly breaks through the window.
  • Buffy Speak: Homer: "Oh, Lisa, you and your stories. 'Bart is a vampire.' 'Beer kills brain cells.' Now let's go back to that... building... thingy... where our beds and TV... is."
  • The Cassandra / Cassandra Truth: Bart in the second story and Lisa in the third.
  • Comically Missing the Point: A man is found completely drained of all his blood next to a cape labelled "Dracula", so Chief Wiggum decides a mummy is involved, and orders the entire Egyptian wing of the museum destroyed.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: During his time in Hell, Homer is force-fed all the donuts in the world by a machine. It doesn't faze him, even after what's implied to be several hours, much to the confusion of the demon doing it to him.
    Demon: I don't understand it! James Coco went mad in fifteen minutes!
  • Deal with the Devil: Basis of the first story and implied to be how Richard Nixon is in the Jury of the Damned, even though he was still alive at the time of the episode's premiere. Six months later, Nixon would be dead and his place in the Jury of the Damned would be legitimate.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Vampire Burns, but only Lisa sees the supernatural evil that he is.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?
    Mr. Burns: (when the family arrives) Welcome, come in (whispered) Finally fresh victims for my ever-growing army of the undead.
    Smithers: Sir, you have to let go of the button.
    Mr. Burns: Oh, son of a bi... (The doors to the manor open)
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Bart is sent to spend his life in a mental institution for being disruptive on the bus.
    • Actor James Coco is apparently in Hell for reasons no-one understands.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: The reason it's not safe for donut-headed Homer to leave his house.
  • Elvis Lives: Several tombstones were seen at the intro. One of them had "Elvis - accept it".
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: When Homer dismisses Lisa claim that a vampire is responsible for the recent attacks.
    Homer: Lisa, vampires are make-believe, just like elves, gremlins, and Eskimos.
  • Exact Words:
    Bart: Otto, there's a gremlin on the side of the bus!
    [Otto sees an AMC Gremlin at the side]
    Otto: Don't worry, Bart dude. I'll get rid of him. [pushes the car off the road]
  • Force Feeding: During his day in Hell, Homer is forced to eat all donuts in the world as punishment for selling his soul for a donut. It didn't work as a punishment for him.
  • Framing Device: This is the last "Treehouse of Horror" episode to use one.
  • Gainax Ending: The vampire family are set to pounce on Lisa...then wish the audience a Happy Halloween and do a A Charlie Brown Christmas parody.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Homer, once he looks upon Coolidge's A Friend in Need (the "Dogs Playing Poker" painting for those who don't know its real name).
    Homer: They're dogs! And they're playing poker! AAAAAHHHH!!! Ah-hahahahaha! Ah-hahahahaha!
  • Griping About Gremlins: The villain in Terror at 5½ Feet.
  • Groin Attack: Homer attacks Mr. Burns as he lies sleeping.
    Homer: (when staking Burns) Take that vile fiend!
    Lisa: Dad, that's his crotch.
    Homer: (Chuckles and pulls out the stake) Oh sorry.
  • Historical-Domain Character: The Jury of the Damned is comprised of these.
  • Hope Spot: After the above happens, Homer correctly stakes Mr. Burns in the heart. He withers, dies and turns to dust.
    Homer: -Whew-
    Mr. Burns: (Suddenly revives) You're Fired! (Dies again)
    Homer: D'OH!
  • I Taste Delicious: After Homer's head gets turned into a donut.
    Marge: Homer, stop picking at it!
    Homer: Aww, but I'm so sweet and tasty!
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • The demon offering Homer a donut wears a cook bonnet with the text Hell's Kitchen note 
    • Mr. Burns' vampire castle is located in... Pennsylvania!! note .
  • Irony: Ned Flanders is the Devil. He comments that it's always the one you least expect. One of his subordinates forces Homer to eat all the donuts in the world as a sort of ironic punishment. It backfires.
  • It Was Here, I Swear: Bart when trying to tell everyone of the gremlin.
  • Jury of the Damned: Devil Flanders' jury.
  • Kangaroo Court: Subverted — it's a fair trial but the odds are stacked against the Simpsons, especially with a shoddy lawyer on their side. They were, however, able to win it because of an old wedding picture.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Happens three times in the Jury of the Damned:
    • First, Richard Nixon and the starting line-up of the 1976 Philadelphia Flyers, were still alive at the time of the show's episodenote 
    • Second, all jury members have done criminal deeds that are legally punishable: Benedict Arnold (treason), Lizzie Borden (murder), Richard Nixon (surveillance spying, lying under Presidential oath, obstructing justice), John Wilkes Booth (murder), Blackbeard (piracy), John Dillinger (armed robbery). However, the 1976 Philadelphia Flyers are only there for being a famously brutal hockey team. And, for the record, it was never actually proved Lizzie Borden murdered anyone.
    • Third, though not a real example of this trope it should be mentioned anyway: all the Jury members are people from American history, except for Blackbeard who was born in England, but mostly roamed the Caribbean during his life.
  • Looks Like Orlok: One of the vampires in Burns' lair.
  • Loophole Abuse: Homer figured out the devil wouldn't be allowed to collect his soul until he finishes eating the donut. Of course, Homer being Homer, he wouldn't make the Devil wait a lot. Then, Marge produced evidence Homer had previously given her his soul, preventing the Devil from collecting it.
  • Made of Explodium and The Alleged Car: Hans Moleman's car which explodes for absolutely no reason.
    • Truth in Television: AMC Gremlins were notorious for overheating for no apparent reason (though it was the Sport-Trec transmission, not the engine).
  • Off Model: In "Terror at 5½ Feet", Bart is drawn stockier than usual (with a really thick neck) when he tells Uter that they're now friends.
  • Recognition Failure: Granpa confuses the birds that pick the donuts sticking on his back with buzzards.
  • Shaggy Search Technique: In Bart Simpson's Dracula, Bart seemingly does this while walking down a hall with Lisa in Mr. Burn's castle and leans on a statue. A wall opens and reveals...a laundry room. Then they turn around and find Burn's vampire lair just across the hall in plain sight.
  • Schmuck Bait: The "Super Happy Fun Slide" in Mr. Burns' lair. Bart lampshades this — he knows it's a trap but figures: "When am I gonna be here again?"
  • Shout-Out:
  • Special Guest: Phil Hartman as Lionel Hutz; Frank Welker as The Gremlin.
  • Surprise Slide Staircase: Not so much a surprise but it still counts.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: When Mr. Burns returns with Bart from the lair.
    Bart: (Pale-face, bite marks on his neck, droning) Hello mother, hello father. I missed you during my uneventful absence.
  • Tempting Fate: Milhouse bought some gum and showed Bart the trading card photos that came with the gum. The photos were lame but Bart said at least Milhouse had the gum. Milhouse then cut his gums trying to chew it.
  • Thirty Minutes or It's Free: Lionel Hutz promises a free pizza for every case he doesn't win within thirty minutes. In a deleted scene, when he was told they won Homer's case, he admitted the pizza box was empty.
  • Three Stooges Shout-Out: When Bart notices the vampires he starts mumbling gibberish, which Lisa mistakes for him imitating Shemp and Curly from The Three Stooges.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Bart, not surprisingly, after he's bitten.
    Bart: (floating outside Lisa's window with all the other kids he's turned): Come join us Lisa, it's so cool. You get to stay up all night drinking blooood!
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Homer selling his soul for the most inane reason: because he wants one donut.
      • Even worse, Homer realizes he keeps his soul if he doesn't finish eating the donut, but that night he finishes eating it anyway.
    • Bart in the third story as he knows the slide will doom him to getting caught by the vampires but he pulls it anyway... which of course leads to him getting caught and drained of his blood.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The ones in Mr. Burns' lair look and act more like zombies and seem to come in a variety of forms, some with bloodshot eyes, others looking like Count Orlock from Nosferatu, and skin textures ranging from smooth to wrinkled.
  • The Undead: In the third story.
  • Undeathly Pallor: The vampires in Mr. Burns' lair have greenish skin (which, oddly, makes them look more like zombies then vampires). Bart plays this straight after he's bitten.
  • Unishment: Homer when he's sent to Hell and given what was meant to be an Ironic Hell: Eating all the donuts in the world. But Homer ends up enjoying the experience.
    Demon: (Upon seeing Homer eat all the donuts he has and hearing that he is begging for more of them instead of mercy) I don't understand it. James Coco went mad in fifteen minutes!
  • Vampire Monarch: Mr. Burns was thought to be one, but at the end...
    Lisa: (After the family reveals they're vampires) What?! No we killed Mr. Burns!
    Homer: You have to kill the head vampire.
    Lisa: (Gasps and points) You're the head vampire?
    Marge: No, I'm the head vampire (Laughs ghoulishly)
    Lisa: Mom?!
    Marge: Well I do have a life outside this house, y'know.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: It's only into bats, but Mr. Burns and Bart showcase this trope as vampires. Kudos to the animators for making it looks so smooth, considering that the animation of The Simpsons back in the 1990s was very flawed (not as bad as it was in seasons one and two, but it had a long way to go before the digital ink and paint and high-def eras).
  • Worth It: Bart pulling the "Super Fun Happy Slide" lever, even though it sends him straight to the arms of the bloodsuckers ready to make a meal out of him.