There have been 27 Treehouse of Horror episodes of The Simpsons since season 2 wayyy back in 1990 (older than me!). Many of these have become massive cultural points like The Shinning, but in this list I’ll be naming the 3 that scared me most growing up.
HOMER’S NIGHTMARE: TOH II
When Homer is fired for being lazy, he becomes a grave digger. While on the hunt for fresh brains for his robot, Mr. Burns mistakes (at first) sleeping Homer for a dead body and drags him away to then remove his brain with an ice-cream scoop. When the robot is still as lazy, Mr. Burns returns Homer’s brain and kicks the robot, crushing his own body. Homer wakes up in his bed and looks in the mirror to find Mr. Burn’s head on his shoulder. Everything about this scared me – the brain removal with the ice-cream scoop, just the look of the robot, but what got me most was the ending with Mr. Burns on Homer while he mutters it’s just a dream over and over.
NIGHTMARE CAFETERIA: TOH V
When detention starts to fill out and the cafeteria food takes a dive, Principal Skinner and the teachers agree that the solution to both problems is to butcher and eat the kids. When Bart and Lisa realise what’s happening after days of “Sloppy Jimbos” and “Üterbraten”, Marge refuses to help them. They, along with Milhouse, are the last students trapped over a blender by Skinner. There was a few things about this episode that freaked me out, like the flesh reversing fog, but the biggest thing I remember is the way Principal Skinner spoke, and I have no idea why.
THE HΩMEGA MAN: TOH VIII
In this episode, Mayor Quimby offends the French and refuses to apologise, and the French answer by bombing Springfield. When Homer comes out of the bomb shelter he luckily was in, everyone in Springfield is dead except for a small group of cannibal mutants. What scared me about this was the emptiness of Springfield, there was just something about the desolate wasteland that creeped little me out (and sparked my love for Fallout/S.T.A.L.K.E.R etc.).