Guillermo del Toro has made some of the most spine-tingling horror and fantasy films of the last decade, from the terrifying Devil's Backbone to the dark fairy tale Pan's Labyrinth to this summer's Pacific Rim. But those movies are only a tiny fraction of del Toro's deep, abiding love of the horror genre, which he put to good use directing the opening credits of this week's "Treehouse of Horror" episode of The Simpsons. Expanding the credits to nearly three minutes, del Toro crams in references to dozens of classic horror and genre films, including a few of his own. There are cameos from H.P. Lovecraft, Steven King and Alfred Hitchcock, references to everything from The Thing to the 70s B-movie The Car, and more than a few nods to del Toro's films, like the appearance of Blade or Mr. Burns transformed into Pan's Labyrinth's Pale Man.

Talking to Entertainment Weekly, del Toro revealed that the show's producers initially offered him a voice role or to dream up one of the show's famous couch gags, but he wanted to take it much further. "“The Simpsons titles are so iconic and yet they’ve never been riffed in this vein,” he says. “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." He went out of his way to naturally fit the references into the weird world of The Simpsons, like having every screen version of the Phantom of the Opera join LIsa in music class or the nuclear plant be responsible for the invention of zombies. He had to stop himself on a few cameo ideas though: "At the last minute I wanted to put a Mexican wrestler in there,” he notes with a chuckle, “but [casting producer] Bonnie Pietila said to me, ‘We’ve got to go! We cannot keep adding and adding stuff."

Del Toro says he wants to direct a complete "Treehouse of Horror" episode at some point down the road, but he's got a seriously busy movie schedule to contend with first. Famous for taking on projects that he can't complete, del Toro's currently casting and preparing to film Crimson Peak, a haunted house story that will star Tom Hiddleston alongside Mia Wasikowska, Charlie Hunnam and Jessica Chastain. There's also always the possibility of Pacific Rim 2, now looking much more likely after performing well overseas. And as a producer del Toro continues taking on a huge variety of projects, from an adaptation of The Secret Garden with the screenwriter of Beasts of the Southern Wild to Dark Universe, which would unite many classic figures from old school monster movies. Would he have time to squeeze The Simpsons in there somehow? Del Toro never seems to take a vacation, so we won't underestimate him.

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