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Those Guillermo Del Toro (And More) Simpsons References Explained!
Here's what we spotted in the director's opening sequence; how many did you catch?

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The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror episode is a venerable Halloween tradition, a chance for the writers to cast off the strictures of writing a largely changeless world (at least as regards the central characters) and kill off everyone / transform them into mutants / introduce Bart’s long-lost good twin. This year, the opening credits were designed by Guillermo del Toro, who included a raft of classic horror and sci-fi movie references as well as nods to his own filmography. We’ve gone through the result to see what we could spot, and added a few that our readers noticed – can you fill in any we missed?

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Those clouds are looking more ominous than usual. A passing Burns Power Plant-mutated raven (are the three eyes a Game of Thrones reference?) gets a nasty surprise… which turns into a perspective gag below. He was bigger than we thought!


The military fend off a Zombie attack at the walls of Springfield Power Plant. We’re calling this a generic zombie reference, rather than anything specific, although Night of the Living Dead is obviously a thing, and the military angle could nod to Day of the Dead.


Wide shot with the zombies attacking the plant in the foreground. In the very background, we can see a Pacific Rim gag, with a Kaiju (Knifehead, looks like) fighting a giant robot. Note the giant bird skeleton (which might be intended as reminiscent of the skeleton found by the astronauts in Mario Bava's Planet of the Vampires) and the "Human Resources Dept." gag.


...We zoom in past Jimbo and Kearney sawing the head off the Jedediah Springfield monument, in front of an armoured school bus in the model of the Dawn Of The Dead remake (good spot, Hughie Lynch)...


...Jed’s head then decapitates Ralph Wiggum, who continues to lick his ice cream in a possible nod to Re-Animator.


Lard Lad is brought to life by a bolt of lightning (shades of Ghostbusters?), only to be taken down by Chief Wiggum, monsterised as Ray Harryhausen’s Cyclops from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. Note the creepy cemetery and mansion, and the dragon beasts overhead.


Alfred Hitchcock sits on a bench next to Mrs Krabapple, feeding The Birds…


Here’s the blackboard gag, with Bart sentenced to chalk the line “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” from (Kubrick’s film of) The Shining...


He turns to find Stephen King writing the same all over the walls.


Bart skates out of the schoolroom window, and passes Groundskeeper Willie, transformed into Hellboy. Bart’s wake blows away a pile of leaves, revealing clockwork Nazi Karl Ruprecht Kroenen.


In the power plant, the rogue isotope causes Homer to monsterise into a Blade 2 Reaper....


...Carl reveals himself to be secretly Blade, and accidentally decapitates Lenny...


...Lenny’s drinking from an “I hate Mondays” mug – we think that’s a nod to Portal 2, where one such mug appears, because we already know from the Pacific Rim trailer that Guillermo loves that game.


We pan down beneath the plant to reveal, buried, the original Tracy Ullman Show-era Simpsons...


Beneath them is a Godzilla skeleton. And beneath that…


We find ourselves in a Hell-like Pan’s Labyrinth, where Mr Burns has become The Pale Man and Smithers (ahem) a rather unfortunate fairy.


Off to the supermarket where we find Maggie on the conveyer belt with the vampire mechanism from Cronos and a collapsed Golden Army soldier. On the news rack, there are issues of Bleeder’s Digest, Better Tombs and Gargoyles, and The Ghost of Newsweek...


There are cocoons on the ceiling that look a bit like the ones from The Mist. The cashier is now a giant spider (her register rings up 666)...


while Marge has become a humanoid roach a la Mimic.


Gerald unzips himself to reveal he’s one too...


Maggie unzips to reveal she’s really Gerald! Anyone know the reference for the babies' price tags?

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Your Comments

21 Re your Ralph Wiggum
Surely this is a nod to 'Hot Fuzz' (or whatever film Hot Fuzz grabbed it from)...yeah, I KNOW it's not horror per se, but neither is 'Alice in Wonderland'...the clincher for me is the ice-cream (Cornetto). More

Posted by glaive on Friday October 4, 2013, 16:17

22 The Satelite Thing
This is the original Fly from the 50s. More

Posted by Skillgannon on Friday October 4, 2013, 16:16

23 'The Mole People' (1956)
He's the "El Muerto" graffiti artist. More

Posted by Dellamorte Dellamore on Friday October 4, 2013, 15:54

24 Maggie alien
As Lisa exits the music room, on the left is a reference to Maggie as an alien in a previous Treehouse of Horror More

Posted by thelockwood on Friday October 4, 2013, 15:48

25 Bald green guy
The bald green guy looks like The Thing from the original. More

Posted by hammerfan on Friday October 4, 2013, 15:40

26 Gort...
Klaatu was the guy he protected. Also, is that the wooden sphere from The First Men In The Moon behind Nosferatu? More

Posted by drew42 on Friday October 4, 2013, 15:37

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