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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

1 Ralph
Ralph's fate and the ice-cream is an obvious reference to Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost's Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy and that one scene under the church with the reporter in Hot Fuzz. More

Posted by oldmanrupee on Monday October 21, 2013, 22:52

2 RE: Nelson?!?!
Giger's alien, not Geiger, and, for good measure, it's pronounced Geeger, just in case there was any doubt. More

Posted by Sebstantial on Wednesday October 16, 2013, 22:15

3 Nelson?!?!
Unless I'm mistaken, isn't the "zombified Nelson" actually a zombified Comic Book Guy? Hate to be picky but they are different. More

Posted by cos1042 on Wednesday October 9, 2013, 21:30

Could the flying dragons be Nazgul / Ring Wraiths on Wings from Lord of the Rings? More

Posted by neale76 on Wednesday October 9, 2013, 07:28

In the same panel as Gort (and a xenomorph) Moleman is painting the logo from Alfred Hitchcock Presents on the wall next to El Barto. More

Posted by djdarrenjames on Tuesday October 8, 2013, 03:39

6 Millhouse eaten by giant fish
Is this a nod to The Host? When the guy at the beginning is committing suicide by jumping off the bridge and then gets eaten by the monster before he hits the water? More

Posted by Vin Kelly on Monday October 7, 2013, 13:42

7 lisa's red hat
lisa's red hat is a cinema ushers from the states. thought it had something to do with the shining. but try googling cinema usher red hat and just get usher the 90's pal of trousersnake. anyone confirm creepy cinema ushers with red hats in movies? cheers More

Posted by neildfraser on Sunday October 6, 2013, 23:33

8 lisa's red hat
lisa's red hat is a cinema ushers from the states. thought it had something to do with the shining. but try googling cinema usher red hat and just get usher the 90's pal of trousersnake. anyone confirm creepy cinema ushers with red hats in movies? cheers More

Posted by neildfraser on Sunday October 6, 2013, 23:33

9 Maggie & Gerald
Isn't this a reference to Naked Lunch? More

Posted by Stuart Cooper on Sunday October 6, 2013, 21:45

10 Price Tags
The only reference I've been able to find to $75, $50 and 2 cents are the bounties on bears, foxes and rabbits respectively in 1949's 'Rebel Rabbit' cartoon - one of the rare Bugs Bunny cartoons where he "loses" at the end. Absolutely no idea how or why it's linked, if it is at all! More

Posted by elyoda on Sunday October 6, 2013, 19:34

The binoculars in the garage, rear window? More

Posted by lozz_c on Sunday October 6, 2013, 10:59

12 RE:
L: Youshouldberunning Isn't that a Morlock (from The Time Machine) climbing out of a hole behind Hans Moleman's wall? hey've already got that one. More

Posted by Osric on Saturday October 5, 2013, 21:57

Isn't that a Morlock (from The Time Machine) climbing out of a hole behind Hans Moleman's wall? More

Posted by Youshouldberunning on Saturday October 5, 2013, 13:44

14 Paintings when Lisa leaves the music room
The other paintings on the wall when Lisa leaves the music room all refer to previous Treehouse of Horror episodes, on the left is a group shot of the cast as animals from ep XIII 'The Island of Dr. Hibbert', and the two on the right are of a giant pumpkin from ep XIX's 'It's the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse' and Homer sat in an armchair from the first Halloween special's 'The Raven'. More

Posted by whazzupfrogzntoadz on Saturday October 5, 2013, 11:01

15 Military vs Zombies
I am not 100% sure about this, but when I saw soldiers vs zombies, I remembered "28 days later", the part where Cillian Murphy and the two girls are "rescued" by Christopher Eggleston and his men, when they leave London. More

Posted by micheltorres on Friday October 4, 2013, 23:17

16 oil drum
in the garage on the right hand side at the rear is an oil drum with something leaking from it is this a nod to return of the living dead perhaps? More

Posted by The Waco Kid on Friday October 4, 2013, 21:44

17 We also see Clthuthu
And we know GDT REALLY wants to make At The Mountains of Madness More

Posted by Teamwak on Friday October 4, 2013, 20:46

18 Is that Calumet baking powder?
in the garage on the left More

Posted by Gram Woods on Friday October 4, 2013, 20:30

19 Tod Browning's Freaks
That's not "a midget from Tod Browning's Freaks". That is Johnny Eck, the half-boy. And I learned that from Empire Magazine :) (although I can't find which issue the article was in). More

Posted by matsnowie on Friday October 4, 2013, 19:45

20 The First Men in the Moon
Same panel as Gort and the Day the Earth Stood Still. The ball with the segments is from the 1964 film based on HG Wells book. The panels were coated with Cavorite. More

Posted by !ntervention on Friday October 4, 2013, 19:32

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