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Guillermo del Toro Directs The Ultimate “Simpsons” Opening

Even if you haven’t watched a new episode of The Simpsons in years, make time for Guillermo del Toro’s reimagining of the show’s opening credits for “Treehouse of Horror XXIV.” It’s a visually-dense, reference-heavy love letter to both horror and The Simpsons, and it’s executed expertly by the show’s regular team of animation artists. The 2-minute-45-second piece was posted online ahead of its TV debut this Sunday:

Del Toro explained the opening concept to Entertainment Weekly:

“I really wanted to land the connections between the [show’s] set pieces and the titles and some of the most iconic horror movies, and intersperse them with some of my stuff in there for pure joy. For example the idea that Ms. Krabappel could be outside the school with Alfred Hitchcock which is a reference to the sequence in The Birds that happens outside of the school in Bodega Bay. To use Chief Wiggum as the Cyclops from Harryhausen, dipping the [Lard Lad] donut in a water tank, to have the nuclear spill from Mr. Burns’ plant create zombies — all of this stuff seems to make sense to interconnect. If Homer really gets a radioactive isotope, he could turn into a reaper from Blade. Or the famous shot that is always in the titles — Maggie driving and then you pull back and there’s Marge driving, right? But in this case Maggie is driving, and she’s driving the car from the horror movie from the 70s called The Car, which is one of my favorite guilty pleasure B-movies. And what if Lisa is in the music class, but she’s in the music class with every Phantom of the Opera ever made? It was a unique opportunity.”

  • George Comerci

    Now I want to watch the special :D

  • Lasy Student

    I really like Del Toro’s work, but this opening felt boring and I ultimately diliked it. I guess it’s more related with my problem qith the current state of the show, and the humor based around getting the references instead of making real jokes.

    • Allari Ruiz-Rueda

      Ditto for me. Just not funny or original and a waste of Mr. del Toro

  • ddrazen

    Wow! Fave for me: Bart’s staying after school to write “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” along with Stephen King. Also props for Ray Bradbury “illustrating” someone, and a star-studded lineup featuring just about everything from Nosferatu to Gort. I’m going to need until Halloween to sift through all the references.

  • Jmichaels

    Loved it. I hope the episode can live up to the opening.

  • Chris


  • Chris

    Who is the writer drinking tea next to Edgar Allen Poe?

    • Rebecca

      H. P. Lovecraft. If you look closely he’s drinking tea with Cthulhu.

    • Tim Hodge

      I believe that’s American horror author H.P. Lovecraft.

    • Russell H

      That’s H.P. Lovecraft. And the guy next to the guy getting “illustrated” by Ray Bradbury is Richard Matheson.

    • Christina Skyles

      HP Lovecraft, my good sir!

  • steepertree

    Weaving in a little science fiction with the horror. Girt and the Robot from Lost in Space aren’t exactly horror figures, but I’m glad to see them.

  • Andrew KIeswetter


  • James Ian Sims

    Anyone notice the old Tracy Ullman designs?

  • Alê Camargo

    Lots of references, but not really funny…

  • Barking Bud
  • paper

    The idea of this is great but there’s something about releasing it prior to the actual premiere that’s just weird. Let it be seen as part of the whole episode, no matter if it’s unrelated to the rest.

    • SarahJesness

      From what I’ve heard, Simpsons ratings have been going down the past several years. Showing off this amazing opening might draw more people in and get them watching.

      • paper

        Ah that’s a good point.

  • John A

    Hey! A Simpsons Halloween Special! Is it November already?

    • Funkybat

      Heh…..they must have gotten tired of Fox’s baseball contract always screwing up the airing of the Halloween show, so this year their aired it 3 weeks early. I prefer it this way, though it’s still annoying. If the Halloween specials were better, I’d wish for Fox to lose the MLB contract so that they could go back to airing the weekend before Halloween, but at this point I kind of don’t care enough to care.

  • SarahJesness

    A bit too reference-heavy, I think, but I LOVE the whole “Springfield in chaos” thing going on. I haven’t watched the past several seasons, and eventually started skipping the Halloween episodes as well, but this opening is damn tempting. It takes a lot of the things we love to see in the Treehouse of Horror specials (violence, sci-fi, the supernatural, and parodies/homages) and crams ’em all into one glorious opening!

    • Funkybat

      The regular seasons have gotten better that past 4-5 years, at least compared to the dire lows of the early-mid-2000s. But I feel the Halloween shows have been weaker and weaker for the most part in recent years. The last one that was at all memorable to me was the parody of Dexter, with Flanders in the title role. This year’s Halloween show was not a stand-out, but not terrible either. The intro was the most interesting part.

  • Funkybat

    I am not a fan of the “new” HD version of the show’s intro, but I think Del Toro did a fine job of subverting it. I like to think that the bit with Maggie and the Uni-brow baby in the shopping cart was done that way partly to mock how stilted that part of the sequence normally is.

    It was pretty much just a reference-fest, but I enjoyed it as such. Some super-obscure ones thrown in there. I mean, when’s the last time ANYone made a reference to “Phantom of the Paradise?”

  • Yospeak

    the spider thing in the register scene, was a artifact of one or their first movies, called ¨la invencion de cronos¨, i bet that nobody knew that!