Guillermo del Toro Directs 'Simpsons' 'Treehouse of Horror' Opener

Friday, 04 Oct 2013 05:30 PM

By Robin Farmer

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Noted for his horror and fantasy films, big-screen director Guillermo del Toro wielded his magic in a nearly 3-minute opening for "The Simpsons" annual Halloween Special that airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on Fox.

In addition to monsters and other characters, the opening for “Treehouse of Horror XXIV” also features such horror greats as Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, and Edgar Allan Poe.

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“'The Simpsons' titles are so iconic and yet they’ve never been riffed in this vein,” del Toro told Entertainment Weekly. “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,” says del Toro, whose films include “Pan's Labyrinth” and “Pacific Rim.”

The opening, which took several months to complete, is “encyclopedic,” "Simpsons" executive producer Al Jean told USA Today. “There's very little you could think of that's missing."

An unabashed fan of the animated comedy, del Toro’s "Simpsons" memorabilia includes his favorite, “a 30-inch tall Mr. Burns as Dracula that they only make in Germany,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s a really good sculpture. It’s going to run away eventually, but I think that’s very appropriate.”

As for horror’s appeal to viewers, “It's a way to bring the excitement that we need as a mammalian species,” del Toro told USA Today. “We need excitement and danger and other stimulus and we don't get it in our daily life. This is a way to get it vicariously," he says. "When we became sedentary, we needed the thrills in a different way."

Online fans raved about the opener.

“Great opening full of wonderful tributes to fantasy and horror films, and personages,” wrote one poster.

“Seriously, that was AWESOME!” commented another.

Some fans wanted more from the acclaimed director.

“Next year just make one long Treehouse of Horror episode written and directed by Del Toro.”

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