The Simpsons have outsourced the couch gag for this year’s 26th annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode to Ren and Stimpy creator, John Kricfalusi, who delivered a delightfully grotesque and eerie segment.
Kricfalusi previously drew a couch gag for the show in 2011, and while his renderings of the beloved yellow family are as surreal as ever, this time he was given space to tell a fittingly creepy Halloween tale. The prolonged gag opens with Bart, Lisa and Maggie strolling through a graveyard while trick-or-treating and awakening a vile beast sleeping beneath the grave of Homer’s deceased buddy, Frank Grimes (or “Grimey,” as he liked to be called).
Their journey is accompanied by a big band-style track sung/narrated by a deep bass vocalist and a chipper children’s choir. It wouldn’t sound out of place in a classic kids’ cartoon from the Fifties or Sixties, were it not for lyrics like, “He’s hungry for your vitals, he likes you moist and ripe, and should he find you spiced with sin then you’re his favorite type!”
Kricfalusi does not shy away from animating just that: The monster peels Bart apart like a banana then pops him in his mouth, but the boy’s soul fights his way out and the kids dash home. There, on the couch, Homer dismisses the idea of ghosts, only to have his own spirit plucked out of his body and then eaten by the monster.