Guillermo Del Toro is bringing his spooky style to The Simpsons this Sunday with a special two-and-a-half minute couch gag for the annual “Treehouse of Horror” Halloween episode. According to Reuters, the Pacific Rim and Pan’s Labyrinth director depicts the Simpson family escaping to their couch from scary spirits and strange forces swarming their town.
Del Toro went deep, packing in 30 to 40 direct horror film references and around 100 total homages in the couch gag; the director included hat tips to films from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 classic The Birds to his own Pan’s Labyrinth. Other hints include police chief Clancy Wiggum transforming into a cyclops in the style of visual effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen, and Maggie pursuing Milhouse in a black car, inspired by Del Toro’s favorite horror B-movie, 1977’s The Car. Homer morphs into a nuclear mutant.
“I asked [creator Matt Groening] if I could make the sequence around horror and fantasy in general, and throw in my movies there,” Del Toro said. “But this way, it’s a love letter to things that I love, both in The Simpsons and the genre.”
The Simpsons, which is in its 25th season, recently revealed some unexpected news: executive producer Al Jean said a major character will be killed off soon, though the episode may air next season.