For over 25 years, the first family of animated comedy has starred in Halloween-themed episodes of The Simpsons. The upcoming installment in the "Treehouse of Horror" series promises that Maggie Simpson will speak her "first words" while possessed by a supernatural force.
In this year's episode, "Maggie becomes possessed by an ancient demon, Lisa discovers a creepy/perfect version of her family in an alternate universe and Homer cannibalizes himself."
The possession segment will be a perfect opportunity for some cross-promotion, with Ben Daniels, who stars in the TV series The Exorcist, lending his voice to the special. Additionally, William Friedkin, who directed the 1968 The Exorcist, will make a guest appearance. Celebrity chef Mario Batali will play himself in the episode, although his connection to exorcisms is yet to be discovered.
The "Treehouse of Horror" installments have been a staple of the series, with another ongoing joke being that Maggie can't talk, as she's only an infant. There have been a few exceptions to this rule, but breaking that rule has only been done sparingly.
The first Halloween-themed episodes were under the structure of members of the Simpsons family either telling one another scary stories or having dreams in which these horrifying, non-canon ordeals will play out. Eventually, the show dropped that in-narrative structure to deliver the horror-themed segments.
Another trend that the show adopted in later years was, rather than lampooning a horror movie, they'd feature a parody of any popular property, including Avatar and Harry Potter.
In 2015, the series debuted the episode "Halloween of Horrors," an episode that actually took place on Halloween without incorporating any parody elements. That season also featured a traditional "Treehouse of Horror" installment, doubling down on the Halloween content that year.
This year's "Treehouse of Horror" will premiere on Sunday, October 22.
[H/T Bloody Disgusting]