One of the staples of the Halloween season is watching the "Treehouse of Horror" episodes of The Simpsons, but you might not have known that the series has also published a few horror stories in their comics series.
Like the parent show, a lot of them are parodies, from everything to The Wizard of Oz to Death Note. Let's take a look into these comics and look at some of the scariest tales we've gotten over the years. Remember, the best part of any good ghost story is the ending, so prepare for spoilers.
10 Homer Explains Death
When it gets to scares, there's always the quick, grim reminder of our own mortality. Homer gives into his fatherly duties and explains to Bart the fate all men must face, even imagining his own death.
There's some slight hope with Homer giving us his own personal view on the afterlife that awaits us. On the other hand, let's just hope he's wrong about the evening gown portion of the test. Not that he didn't rock that pink frock...
9 The Reluctant Corpse
This short story involves an unknown character finding himself alone in a graveyard. He knows no peace...all he knows is that he is dead. Then, he comes across two familiar sisters...who seem to be his ex-girlfriends.
Patty and Selma fight over who gets first-dibs, but they can't agree on which one got the spell right to bring the titular corpse back from the grave and who put him underground in the first place. Probably all that second-hand smoke. All in all, we leave with the warning that there are fates far worse than death...and we ain't talking about being a zombie.
8 Dark Lisa
After spending all those years as a poor, bullied outcast at school, it makes sense that The Simpsons would finally cast Lisa as Carrie. With Jessica Lovejoy and Nelson serving as the story's Chris and Billy, Lisa starts developing eerie powers after getting chili poured on her at the school's showers and being unfairly suspended from school. When she learns the bullies plan to repeat the prank at the upcoming school dance, she plots her revenge...only to go too far and end up killing everyone. Only Milhouse, whose probably meant to be Sue Snell, is spared.
Now, the story isn't over yet. Lisa gets recruited to a special school for other mutants like her...only for the whole thing to be a scam from Mr. Burns. He is actually to blame for Lisa's powers and he and sinister plans for her...
7 Xt'tapalatakettle's Day
Remember that giant stone head Mr. Burns bought the family after Bart gave him blood? Well, the comics sure do, where it's kind of a recurring character. In this Halloween story, the family is visited by Xt'tapalatakettle's worshippers, who install an altar with food in reverence. Unfortunately, no food is safe when Homer is around and the town won't be either with an angry god.
Xt'tapalatakettle raises the dead to attack the town. At first, everyone just thinks the living corpses are just really dedicated trick-or-treaters. Then they start eating people. Fortunately, the Simpsons are able to replace the food in time from the Kwiki-Mart. Unfortunately, the family forgot about leaving food near Homer...
It's Halloween night and Rodd and Todd Flanders accidentally get possessed by demons after reading Harry Potter. The demons torment the town, changing people into their costumes and killing them in horribly ironic ways.
The only way to save the boys is for Ned and the Simpsons to venture into the fires of hell and rescue the boys' souls. After a trip worthy of Dante, the underworld gets new management, with Ned assuming the role of Old Scratch. It's always the one you least suspect. Great, Hell was scary enough before they added Murder She Wrote marathons!
5 Metamorph Simpsons
This time we get a parody of Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis, with Homer waking up to discover that he's transformed into a giant bug. Things go downhill for the family, having to rent out rooms now that the head of the house spends his time hiding in the attic and eating spam, getting sicker and sicker.
Really, the thing that makes the story is the twist ending. The whole thing was just a bad dream...but sometimes, the nightmare is safer than real life.
4 30 Days Of D'oh
Usually, in these Halloween stories, the Simpsons themselves usually survive to the end...it's their friends and neighbors who aren't so lucky. Okay, there was that one time Bart died, but that witch said Homer could bring him back if he said he was sorry. This story is an exception.
A meltdown at the power plant turns the people of Springfield into blood-hungry, vampiric monsters, and the Simpsons are one of the first to succumb to the virus and the ones to start killing everybody. Chief Wiggum, no, really, gets to shine as the one to save the town from the monsters. This one gets a bit of a happier ending than most, since it turns out that sunlight changes everybody back to normal, but a lot of people did get slain in the carnage. People who would have been fine if everyone just waited for the morning...
3 The Cask Of Amontilla-D'oh!
When trying to tell a good ghost story, it always pays to go to the master of horror: Edgar Allen Poe. Moe decides to borrow a bit from the literary classics to get revenge on Homer, sending him down to his own personal torture chamber, filled with the remains of his other victims. And Homer is going to spend the rest of time with Barney's festering remains.
The whole thing turns out to be a ruse to get Homer to pay his tab. Okay, it's not so much a ruse since that really was Barney's worm-infested corpse, but Moe is willing to give Homer more time to pay him back. Then, Homer makes the mistake of insulting Moe's jar of pickled eggs. And Moe's read The Pit and the Pendulum.
2 Nosferatu: A Simpsony Of Horror
Mr. Burns was famously cast as Dracula himself in the show's Halloween specials, so it just makes sense the comics would homage Dracula's first big movie: Nosferatu. Bark Simpson takes on the role of Thomas Hutter and his parents are forcing him to sell his treehouse, on pain of losing his comics, to the villainous Lord Burlock, only for him to be trapped in his castle/power-plant.
Marge takes the role of Ellen as the one who has a final showdown with the monster...but Bart's the one who has to make a sacrifice (of one his comics, that is.)
Ultimately, seeing Mr. Burns recreate Nosferatu's infamous shadow probably is enough to make you hide under the covers.
1 Marge Of The Dead
Marge gets badly hurt during a cosplay event. She doesn't die, like the title would suggest, but does need a leg transplant. Luckily, there's plenty of cadavers with legs they're clearly not using anytime soon.
After the transplant, however, Marge starts going through some changes. Effectively, she's a zombie craving some brains. And she's surrounded by plenty of family with brains they're clearly not using anytime soon.