The Simpsons may not be enjoying the giant fan-base of yesteryear, but kudos are in order for an animated TV series that is still alive and kicking after being on air for around 24 years. The show has had guest appearances from some of the world’s biggest stars, and now filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim) has decided to contribute to the series by completely re-imagining the opening sequence for the upcoming Halloween special of The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XXIV. It’s fantastic stuff. Full of nods and winks that his fans, and fans of classic horror, will be able to enjoy. You’ll have to check it out more than once to appreciate every reference.
Underneath the video you can find Guillermo del Toro’s notes on the piece, where he points out the influences and references.
Guillermo del Toro’s vision for the opening:
“The Simpsons titles are so iconic and yet they’ve never been riffed in this vein. 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.”
What he couldn’t fit:
“I integrate[d] Lisa falling through the couch like Alice in Wonderland but in the dress of the girl from Pan’s Labyrinth, and instead of landing next to the giant toad in Pan’s Labyrinth, she lands next to the Hypnotoad from Futurama. At the last minute I wanted to put a Mexican wrestler in there, but [casting producer] Bonnie Pietila said to me, ‘We’ve got to go! We cannot keep adding and adding stuff.”
His favorite bit:
“Guy said, ‘Why don’t we have Smithers clean the eyes and he gets eaten? It defined the relationship between Burns and Smithers perfectly. That was the thing that I enjoyed the most — to take what we feel when we’re watching the title sequence or the characters and make it organic.”
In the states: The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XXIV airs on Fox this Sunday, October 6th.