Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Trending On Empire
Vote Now: Jameson Empire Awards 2015
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
The 2014 Christmas Gift Guide
Get 12 Issues For Only £25 Today
The perfect gift this Christmas
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
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?

submit to reddit

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?

1 2
  1 of 2 Next

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?

1 2
1 of 2

Have Your Say
Register or login now to let us know what you think.

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

Previous Page


6 issues for £20 plus free Gourmet Society Membership worth £69.95!
Get 6 months of Empire for just £20 and not only receive the world's greatest movie magazine and exclusive subscriber covers but you'll also receive up to 50% off restaurants nationwide and more with a free Gourmet Society Membership worth £64.99!Click here to find the perfect offer for you

Empire's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Spoiler Podcast
Featuring the director, Francis Lawrence

Empire's Jurassic World Trailer Tour
Updated: Director Colin Trevorrow guides us through the first trailer

Vote Now: The Jameson Empire Awards 2015
Tell us your favourite films and stars of the year

The Gift Guide 2014: 50 Must-Have Items This Christmas
Box sets, hardware, clothing, books and stocking fillers to buy

Empire's Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies Covers
Five armies. Five covers. The eagles, dwarves, elves, men and orcs prepare for battle in our Peter Jackon guest-edited issue

Josh Hutcherson On The Hunger Games Phenomenon
'I've done my fair share of young adult material now'

What Is A Squidward? A Beginner's Guide To SpongeBob SquarePants
If you aren’t already a massive fan, prepare to become one

Subscribe to Empire magazine
6 issues for £20 plus free Gourmet Society Membership worth £69.95!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)