Those of you who are familiar with Guillermo del Toro’s work should enjoy this opening to the upcoming Halloween special of The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XXIV. The long-running animated series is known for inviting famous folks to guest star on episodes, but del Toro opted to leave his mark by turning Springfield into his own Hellish playground.
The sharp-eyed among you will catch nods to del Toro’s Pacific Rim, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Blade, in addition to appearances by Cthulhu, Stephen King, Alfred Hitchcock, Edgar Allan Poe, Universal’s classic movie monsters and much, much more (including a hypnotoad cameo!). This must be what it’s like to peek inside del Toro’s mind at any given moment. Hit the jump to watch del Toro’s opening for the Halloween special and for more from the visionary director himself.
Check out the opening for The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror XXIV below:
Think you spotted all the references? Compare your notes to what del Toro said about his vision for the opening:
“The Simpsons titles are so iconic and yet they’ve never been riffed in this vein. I really wanted to land the connections between the [show’s] set pieces and the titles and some of the most iconic horror movies, and intersperse them with some of my stuff in there for pure joy. For example the idea that Ms. Krabappel could be outside the school with Alfred Hitchcock which is a reference to the sequence in The Birds that happens outside of the school in Bodega Bay. To use Chief Wiggum as the Cyclops from Harryhausen, dipping the [Lard Lad] donut in a water tank, to have the nuclear spill from Mr. Burns’ plant create zombies — all of this stuff seems to make sense to interconnect. If Homer really gets a radioactive isotope, he could turn into a reaper from Blade. Or the famous shot that is always in the titles — Maggie driving and then you pull back and there’s Marge driving, right? But in this case Maggie is driving, and she’s driving the car from the horror movie from the 70s called The Car, which is one of my favorite guilty pleasure B-movies. And what if Lisa is in the music class, but she’s in the music class with every Phantom of the Opera ever made? It was a unique opportunity.”
“I integrate[d] Lisa falling through the couch like Alice in Wonderland but in the dress of the girl from Pan’s Labyrinth, and instead of landing next to the giant toad in Pan’s Labyrinth, she lands next to the Hypnotoad from Futurama. At the last minute I wanted to put a Mexican wrestler in there, but [casting producer] Bonnie Pietila said to me, ‘We’ve got to go! We cannot keep adding and adding stuff.”
Which was del Toro’s favorite bit?
“Guy said, ‘Why don’t we have Smithers clean the eyes and he gets eaten? It defined the relationship between Burns and Smithers perfectly. That was the thing that I enjoyed the most — to take what we feel when we’re watching the title sequence or the characters and make it organic.”
The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XXIV airs on Fox this Sunday, October 6th at 8/7c.