The Simpsons Is Giving A Stephen King Classic Its Own Treehouse Of Horror Special (And That's Not All)

Homer worried on The Simpsons
(Image credit: Fox)

For over three decades now, The Simpsons has kept fans entertained with more than 700 episodes, and it’s hard to argue that the annual Treehouse of Horror parodies are considered to be the crown jewels in the bunch. (Or crown boo-ls if you’d like.) With a possible endgame in sight somewhere down the line, The Simpsons is going all out for Season 34’s Halloween-geared special by giving fans TWO different specials. And what’s more, one of them is going to spend its entire runtime paying tribute to a Stephen King classic

How The Simpsons Is Paying Tribute To Stephen King With Treehouse Of Horror

As revealed at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, via Variety, The Simpsons Season 34 will feature the long-running animated series’ very first “Treehouse of Horror” episode that will be entirely dedicated to parodying just one genre classic. And in this case, it will be Stephen King’s monster of a novel, IT. Obviously, the book is thick and narratively dense enough to make up an entire season of episodes, but The Simpsons isn’t quite there on a risk-taking level. 

While no big details were revealed beyond the special’s existence, fans can almost definitely look forward to seeing Bart, Lisa and Springfield’s other younger denizens bringing the Losers Club to animated life. It’s gonna be weird if Bart is Bill and Lisa is Bev, though not necessarily as weird as the book’s orgy scene, which will hopefully get some kind of reference on The Simpsons.

In revealing the upcoming “Treehouse of Horror” news, executive producer Matt Selman brought up the existence of mash-up tattoos combining Krusty the Clown with the terrifying Pennywise, saying:

We’ve never done a single fantastical, bloody, scary, dark story, told over the scope of the the 20 minutes and 40 seconds that is an episode. I think the fans are going to be really excited. Certainly the tattoos already exist of Krusty as Pennywise. So we’re just writing towards the tattoos now. You want as many tattoo worthy moments in your episodes as you can.

Would it be even funnier if either Chief Wiggum or Ralph Wiggum served as Pennywise for The Simpsons' IT parody? Probably, although I don't want to see what other objects Ralph has floating around him. 

This will mark only the latest, but definitely not the first, time that Stephen King gets a nod from The Simpsons' annual specials. It all started back in Season 6 in 1994, with the fondly remembered "The Shinning" segment, though it took another ten years for the second parody to come around with "The Ned Zone" in Season 16. 13 years later, in 2017, The Simpsons' "Mmm... Homer" spoofed the hyper-disgusting short story "Survivor Type," which marks the most recent King homage.

What The Simpsons' Other 'Treehouse Of Horror' Special Will Parody

Obviously, Season 34 also marks the first time The Simpsons will deliver a double dose of “Treehouse” specials, as the IT-focused episode will be complemented by a second iteration that will take on the traditional trio of parodies. At this time, only one of the planned spoofs has been revealed, but it’s a solid one: Death Note

This won’t be the first time that The Simpsons has taken on an anime project, though the genre hasn’t been covered much within a “Treehouse of Horror” segment. (And many would say it’s high time for it, considering the show’s Halloween specials have parodied Multiplicity and Ghost Dad in the past.) The manga, written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, was adapted into a lackluster feature film a couple of years ago, but will soon be turned into a full-fledged TV series on Netflix thanks to Stranger Things’ creators Matt and Ross Duffer.

Interestingly enough, The Simpsons will be utilizing a wholly different animation studio to put that part of the “Treehouse” episode together. Matt Selman called it “incredibly authentic,” and said:

So I really think people are gonna freak out over that. We’re not trying to take on every single anime, it’s an unbelievably rich and diverse genre within itself. We’re not trying to do 20 shows and scoop it all into six minutes. It’s just one beloved thing, this show Death Note.

The other “Treehouse of Horror” segments are being kept secret for now, with Selman teasing that one of them will break a rule that has never been broken on The Simpsons before, but it’s impossible to guess what that could be this early on. Could this be the first episode animated entirely using blood? Probably not. But maybe?

While it’s not yet clear when either of these specials will air, The Simpsons Season 34 will debut on Sunday, September 25, at 8:00 p.m. ET, with every past season available to stream with a Disney+ subscription. Head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what other new and returning shows are popping up soon. 

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.