Treehouse of Horror IV

Infobox Simpsons episode
episode_name = Treehouse of Horror IV

image_caption = Bart introducing the show in the manner of Rod Serling's "Night Gallery"
episode_no = 86
prod_code = 1F04
airdate = October 28, 1993
show runner = David Mirkin
writer = Conan O'Brien
Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein
Greg Daniels and Dan McGrath
Bill Canterbury
director = David Silverman
couch_gag = The family (as zombies) enter through the living room floor before sitting on the couch.
guest stars = Phil Hart-on-the-stick-Man
Dr. Frankenwelker
commentary = Matt Groening
James L. Brooks
David Mirkin
Conan O'Brien
Greg Daniels
Bill Oakley
Josh Weinstein
David Silverman
season = 5

"Treehouse of Horror IV" is the fifth episode of "The Simpsons"' fifth season, first aired on October 28, 1993. It is the first "Treehouse of Horror" episode to have an overall theme and wrap-around segments.


In a homage to Rod Serling's "Night Gallery", Bart introduces the show while walking through a gallery of famous paintings that have been given Simpsons makeovers, including Ascending and Descending and The Scream.

The Devil and Homer Simpson

When Homer states that he would sell his soul for a donut, the Devil appears in the disguise of Ned Flanders (Ned then says "It's always the one you least suspect.") and offers Homer a contract to seal the deal. However, before Homer finishes the donut given to him, he realizes that the Devil will not be able to claim his soul if he does not eat the last piece, which he decides to keep in his refrigerator. Unfortunately, while half-asleep and looking for a midnight snack, he eats the fateful piece. Instantly, the Devil reappears to take possession of Homer's soul. Marge and Lisa plead with the Devil, finally getting him to agree to hold a trial the next day, but until then, Homer is sent to spend the rest of the day in Hell. At the stroke of midnight, the Devil brings Homer back to the Simpson household for his trial. The Devil chooses the jury as the following: John Wilkes Booth, Lizzie Borden, John Dillinger, Blackbeard, Benedict Arnold, the starting lineup of the 1976 Philadelphia Flyers (although the team was wearing blue jerseys rather than the typical white and orange colors) and Richard Nixon (who was still alive at the time this episode premiered and thus protested, "But I'm not dead yet!"). When the Simpsons' lawyer flees after ruining his case, Marge makes a final effort to save Homer by displaying a photo from their wedding day. On the back, Homer has written that he pledges his soul to Marge; therefore, it was not his property to sell at the time of his deal with the Devil. The "jury of the damned" rules in favor of Homer and the Grim Reaper judge dismisses the case. Furious at his loss, the Devil Flanders curses Homer to never be rid of the donut. Homer is shown at breakfast the next morning with a giant donut for a head. Marge scolds Homer for picking at his head and eating it, to which Homer replies, "But Marge! I'm so sweet and tasty!"Lisa tells him he should not to go to work, and the Springfield Police have surrounded the house, holding cups of coffee, with Chief Wiggum saying, "Don't worry boys, he's got to come out sometime."

Terror at 5½ Feet


Bart Simpson's Dracula

After a news story about several vampire attacks, Lisa begins to suspect that Mr. Burns is a vampire, but the rest of the family dismisses her concerns. When the family are invited to Mr. Burns's castle in Pennsylvania (a joke to Bram Stoker's Dracula which was in Transylvania), Lisa deliberately spills blood (served as wine) on her and Bart's clothes and leave to clean themselves up. While exploring the castle, they discover a secret staircase descending to an eerie basement filled with coffins (but they first found a secret passageway to Mr. Burns' vampire laundry room) . As they investigate, vampires emerge from the coffins and circle them. Although Lisa escapes, Mr. Burns appears and bites Bart. Despite obvious bite marks on Bart's neck and his dazed demeanor, Mr. Burns assured the Simpsons that their son is fine. That night, Bart and a group of kids attempt to attack Lisa at home, but before Bart can bite her Homer and Marge interrupt and discover Bart is a vampire. Lisa claims that the only way to restore him is to kill the head vampire, Mr. Burns. The family returns to Mr. Burns's mansion, where Homer drives a stake through Mr. Burns's heart (after accidentally striking him between the legs) and the vampire's body draining out, only to reform to tell Homer he's fired before draining out again. The Simpsons return home, only for Lisa to find out that everyone in the Simpson family is a vampire, and that Marge is actually the head vampire. With this revelation, the entire family swoops in on Lisa, only to stop and wish everyone a happy Halloween. The segment immediately transitions into a parody of "A Charlie Brown Christmas", complete with Santa's Little Helper imitating Snoopy's dancing and Milhouse playing Schroeder's piano.

Cultural references

*"The Devil and Homer Simpson" segment is a parody of the Stephen Vincent Benét short story "The Devil and Daniel Webster", where a man sells his soul to the devil and Daniel Webster must represent him in court before a jury of the damned. In the story, Daniel Webster tells the devil that he's disappointed that General Benedict Arnold isn't on the jury, to which the devil replies that Arnold is busy with other matters. Both of these stories also showcase a loose translation of the Faust legend.
* The ironic punishment section of the episode, where Homer is fed all the doughnuts in the world--and asks for more, despite the dwindling supply, is a direct parody of the Merrie Melodies cartoon "Pigs is Pigs" where a generic pig character known for being a glutton is taken in by a scientist and forced to eat all the food in the world. According to an interview, Matt Groening cited "Pigs is Pigs" as his favorite cartoon because of the food torture sequence.
*After Homer does not suffer from being stuffed with doughnuts, a demon says the obese actor James Coco did suffer.
*The segment "Terror at 5 1/2 Feet" is a parody of "The Twilight Zone" episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", where a man (played by William Shatner) is inside an airplane watching a gremlin tear apart the wing. Nobody believes him until the plane lands and the damage to the airplane is shown.
*The title and a majority of the plot of "Bart Simpson's Dracula" is a parody of the Francis Ford Coppola film "Bram Stoker's Dracula".cite book|last=Richmond |first=Ray|coauthors=Antonia Coffman|title= |year=1997 |publisher=Harper Collins Publishers|id=ISBN 0-00-638898-1|pages=pp. 124-125]
* In "Bart Simpson's Dracula", the shadow Mr. Burns casts against the wall when he welcomes the Simpsons in his castle is a reference to a similar famous scene in the classic vampire film "Nosferatu" by F.W. Murnau.
*In "Bart Simpson's Dracula", Bart is seen floating outside Lisa's bedroom window. This is a parody of "The Lost Boys" as well as Stephen King's novel "’Salem's Lot". The family's plan to kill the head vampire is also a reference to both movies.
*The wrap-around segments are a reference to Rod Serling's "Night Gallery", with Bart in Serling's role.cite web|url=|title=Treehouse of Horror IV|accessdate=2007-03-21|author=Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian |date=2000|publisher=BBC] Additionally, the ending segment is a reference to "A Charlie Brown Christmas".
* The gallery paintings are spoofs of several famous works, primarily from the 20th century. In order of appearance: unidentified work, showing Marge's shadow; Homer replacing Vincent Van Gogh in his "Self Portrait"; Maggie at the center of "The Persistence of Memory" by Salvador Dali; Homer chasing Bart in the stairs of "Ascending and Descending" by M. C. Escher; Lisa replacing the main subject in "The Scream" by Edvard Munch, Homer replacing the murder victim in Jacques-Louis David's "The Death of Marat", Lisa as the main subject in "Woman Playing the Mandolin" by Pablo Picasso, Bart replacing the main subject in "The Son of Man" by René Magritte, and "A Friend in Need" from the series "Dogs Playing Poker" by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge.
* The end credits music is a "The Addams Family" version of the "Simpsons" theme.

Deleted scenes

In the episode "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular", three deleted scenes from "The Devil and Homer Simpson" sequence are shown. In the first scene, Homer is stuck in hell, and a demon uses his head as a bowling ball. When Homer's head strikes the bowling pins, the top of his head pops off and a note flies out reading, "I.O.U. one brain, signed God." The second scene shows Marge looking through the phone book for a lawyer. She points out Lionel Hutz's ad which states "Cases won in 30 minutes or your pizza's free." As she does this, Bart summons the devil by saying "I'd sell my soul for a formula one racing car." When the devil appears with a formula one car, Bart changes his mind. Marge scoldingly tells Bart to "Stop pestering Satan." The third scene shows Lionel Hutz presenting Marge a free pizza due to him not winning the case. When Marge points out that they did win the case, Hutz remarks that the pizza box is empty anyway. [ [ [3F31 The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular ] ]


External links

* [ "Treehouse of Horror IV" at The Simpsons Archive]

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