“The Simpsons” Treehouse of Horror Halloween episode has been a tradition for 21 years, of the 22 that “The Simpsons” has been on. They’ve skewered classic and popular horror movies like The Shining (“The Shinning”) and Cape Fear, and stories like “The Monkey’s Paw”.
Show runner Al Jean told me what all three segments of this year’s Halloween episode would be when I saw him at the Television Critics Association party for Fox. Talk about looking ahead… Spoilers follow! “It deals with in no particular order, The Mayan calendar’s prophecy of the end of the world, black holes, Paranormal Activity and what would’ve happened if Homer and Marge hadn’t gotten ready,” Jean said.
Just in time for Paranormal Activity 4, “The Simpsons” will have their spoof of the franchise ready to air. They have to actually teach their animators to draw what looks like “found footage.”
“We said, ‘You have to make everything look from the point of view.’ They cheated it themselves. Originally it was just the handheld camera but then they mounted cameras and had different cameras. But it’s all from the point of view of a camera filming the event.”
Whatever you believe about the Mayan prophecy, it’s nice to imagine that it’s a little more likely the world will end before “The Simpsons” does. “Oh, I know,” Jean said. “The more I research the Mayan calendar, the more I think we don’t have anything to worry about. Unless you believe in the 13th Baktun, you’re okay.”
Now apocalypse and hit ghost movies are obvious Halloween topics. How does an alternate reality fit in with horror spoof? Well, perhaps a la Homer’s time traveling toaster where he created frightening futures.
“Bart goes back in time to that episode, ‘The Way We Was,’ but doesn’t know it’s an episode. He goes back to that point with Homer and Marge and sabotages it. We have Jon Lovitz reprise his role as Artie Ziff.”
I know what you’re thinking. This is not like that “Family Guy” episode where they went back into the pilot episode and even reused the old standard def animation. “The Simpsons” has recreated all new high definition animation for their spoof.
“We’re not using the original footage. I know “Family Guy” did a ‘Back to the Pilot’ and it’s not that. It’s the story of him interrupting their meeting.”
“The Simpsons” Halloween episode airs this October or beginning of November, depending when their Sunday night falls.