For this year's edition they took a beautiful film, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and made it about farting. Then they took a stab at Dexter which failed to hemorrhage hilarity. As a newly found fan of Dexter, there were several plot points the Simpsons' writers could have spattered all over the screen. The end result, while mildly amusing, came off as defeated as the Ice Truck killer.
The Avatar-esque anchor story was more successful. Blending the Na'vi template with ToH staples Kang and Kodos was a masterful touch.
It's amalgamations like this year's spin on Avatar where ToH shines (or shins.) ToH entries which pay homage to classic horror, Halloween or sci-fi tales injected with Simpsons style are usually the best. It's when they try to do something completely different or diverge from the horror genre that lands those chapters in the worst pile.
I took a look at IGN's picks for the top 10 best ToH entries after I had compiled my own list. Not surprisingly the most recent pick on their list aired in 1998, from ToH IX.
I almost included Homer3 on my best list, simply for it's 'ahead of its time' animation. Homer3, from 1995's ToH VI, was awarded the the grand prize at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. Although it won deservedly, there are ToH entries which caused me much more heart-fright.
ToH V ('94)
Dail Z for Zombies
ToH III ('92)
Attack of the 50-foot Eyesores
ToH VI ('95)
The HΩmega Man
ToH VIII ('97)
Homega Man from Scott Livesay on Vimeo.
It's the Grand Pumpkin Millhouse
ToH XIX ('08)
As mentioned the ToH entries I regard as the worst are when they diverge from classic tales (Night of the Dolphin, You Gotta Know When to Golem) or the established genre (Mr. & Mrs. Simpson, There's No Business Like Moe Business.) There are countless horror-themed tales The Simpsons still haven't exhumed. Instead of a Friday the 13th-tinged entry where a bulky Bart and a mad Marge take on camp counsellors or a torture porn ride in the vein of Saw, we've recently been offered musical fare like There's No Business Like Moe Business. There's always next year, when hopefully we'll be offered more treats than tricks.
Night of the Dolphin
ToH XI ('00)
Mr. & Mrs. Simpson
ToH XVIII ('07)
You Gotta Know When to Golem
ToH XVII ('06)
How to Get Ahead in Dead-vertising
ToH XIX ('08)
There's No Business Like Moe Business
ToH XX ('09)