For the first Golden Era Plus feature, I couldn’t look past Halloween Of Horror. Though not my runaway favourite episode post Golden Era, it is one of the best put together. It changes up the stale Halloween formula to tell one of the show’s most human stories in years. Watch If You Like: Lisa The Greek, HOMR, Moaning Lisa, Bart […]
For the first Golden Era Plus feature, I couldn’t look past Halloween Of Horror. Though not my runaway favourite episode post Golden Era, it is one of the best put together. It changes up the stale Halloween formula to tell one of the show’s most human stories in years.
Watch If You Like: Lisa The Greek, HOMR, Moaning Lisa, Bart On The Road
Written By: Carolyn Omine
Directed By: Mike B. Anderson
Coming in Season 27, Halloween Of Horror is both one of the most talked about episodes and yet one of the most under appreciated episodes. Fans who’ve stuck with the show know this to be an ambitious shot at getting back to the show’s very best, but so many gave up long ago and aren’t prepared to listen. Hopefully by the end of this, you’ll be willing to give it a shot.
Though Season 27 still aired a Treehouse episode (it was flat and uninspired; you won’t see it feature here), Halloween Of Horror took a risk in messing with the established Halloween episode formula. Season 31’s Thanksgiving Of Horror took a similar chance, and it too reaped great rewards. It’s almost like fans appreciate new ideas more than slight variations on the same idea for thirty years.
The episode sees The Simpson family go all out with the Halloween decorations, but their enthusiasm is sapped when Lisa is traumatised at Krusty’s Halloween Park. Since around Season 25, Lisa has been made the villain of the family so many times – working on a longer article about that – and it would be easier to make her bad guy again here.
Rather than play it as Lisa ruining Halloween though, it becomes a much more relatable and nuanced story. Homer stays at home on Halloween to keep her safe, and we see that wonderful father daughter relationship in action, rather than the adversary roles they’re often cast in.
Unfortunately, three teens Homer accidentally got fired from the Kwik-E-Mart earlier in the episode decide to take their revenge, and plot a Halloween home invasion.
In the B-plot, we see Bart and Marge teaming up, a partnership which has produced fantastic chemistry in the past, but can also be needlessly grating. Here, it’s kind of in the middle, as the focus switches quite quickly to how adults have taken Halloween from kids with the sexy costumes. There’s a pretty decent song you can check out below, but this is definitely the weaker part of the episode and holds me back from proclaiming Halloween Of Horror to be true Golden Era quality.
It’s a shame too, because the heart of the episode is the connection between child and parent. Homer’s relationship with Lisa is what makes this one so special, and in the likes of Marge Be Not Proud, we know Marge and Bart have the same impact. If they’d done more here to connect the themes of both plots, we might be looking at a masterpiece.