"Treehouse of Horror XXVI" is a Halloween-themed episode of the long-running American animated comedy series The Simpsons. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 25, 2015. It is the second of two Halloween-related episodes of The Simpsons that were first shown that year. The first one, "Halloween of Horror", first aired the previous week.
In common with most previous Halloween-themed episodes of The Simpsons, "Treehouse of Horror XXVI" is made up of three self-contained stories. The first one, "Wanted: Dead, Then Alive", is a variation on the Frankenstein story. The second, "Homerzilla", is a parody of the 1954 Japanese film Godzilla and its 1998 and 2014 American remakes. The third one, "Telepaths of Glory", is a parody of the American 2012 found footage science fiction movie Chronicle. The events of the episode are not considered to form part of the continuity of the regular Simpsons universe. The episode's opening was animated by John Kricfalusi, the creator of Ren and Stimpy.
The episode received largely negative reviews. It was criticized for its lack of originality and was unfavorably compared to the previous week's episode "Halloween of Horror".
The boy Bart Simpson, his younger sister Lisa and baby sister Maggie are returning home from trick-or-treating. Bart is wearing a Hucklenberry Hound mask. Lisa is wearing a Cindy Bear mask. Maggie is wearing a bumblebee costume. They pass through a cemetery. A song similar to "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" plays. According to the song, ghosts try to steal people's souls on Halloween night. Several ghosts and a witch on a broomstick begin to pursue Bart, Lisa and Maggie. The gigantic ghost of Frank Grimes (a Simpsons character who was killed off in the first episode in which he appeared) rises from the grave. Although the ghost of Frank Grimes is seen to eat Bart, all three children are also shown escaping from him. When the children get home to their father Homer and their mother Marge, Homer Simpson laughs at them for being frightened of imaginary ghosts. The ghosts then invade the Simpsons' home. The ghost of Frank Grimes kills Homer by taking out his soul and eating it.
"Wanted: Dead, Then Alive"
The boy Bart Simpson gets a message from his friend Milhouse, telling him to come to their school's music room. When he gets there, Bart sees his archenemy, a man known as Sideshow Bob. Sideshow Bob has long held a grudge against Bart and has attempted to murder him numerous times. He explains that he took Milhouses's cell phone in order to send the message. Sideshow Bob produces a spear gun. He kills Bart by shooting him through the heart. Sideshow Bob congratulates himself on having finally killed the 10-year old Bart after having tried to do so for twenty-four years. He takes Bart's corpse home as a trophy.
After having finally killed Bart, Sideshow Bob decides that it is time to enter the next phase of his life, becoming a literature teacher at Springfield University. Sideshow Bob finds that he does not enjoy his new job. Whenever he asks his students a question in class, they look for the answer on the internet. They pepper their essays with references to something which Sideshow Bob has never heard of called Game of Thrones. Sideshow Bob realizes that the only thing which ever made him happy in his life was killing Bart.
Using a combination of science and magic, Sideshow Bob builds a reanimation machine to bring Bart back to life. To amuse himself, Sideshow Bob brings Bart back to life, kills him, brings him back to life again and kills him again multiple times.
Bart's sister Lisa Simpson looks through a basement window of Sideshow Bob's house. She sees the dead body of Bart in front of the reanimation machine. The other members of the Simpson family break into the house. Bart is brought back to life again. Bart's father Homer hits Sideshow Bob with a lamp multiple times, eventually causing Sideshow Bob's head to come off. Bart places the severed head in front of the reanimation machine. He combines it with some antlers, a chicken's body, a lizard's head and a lions tale, thus creating a strange new creature.
The strange creature with Sideshow Bob's head continues to teach at Springfield University.
The segment begins in black and white.
In a small town in mid 20th century Japan, there lives an old man (Grampa Simpson). He is believed to be crazy because he throws a doughnut into the sea every day. When his grandchildren (Bart and Lisa) ask him why he does this, he replies that it is to placate a slumbering sea monster. The grandchildren laugh and think that the old man is crazy too.
When the old man dies, nobody throws doughnuts into the sea anymore. This causes the monster Homerzilla (a combination of Godzilla and Homer Simpson) to rise up out of the ocean and start to go on the rampage.
It is then revealed that the story of Homerzilla is only a movie. The segment switches to color.
Some American movie executives are seen watching the old black and white Japanese movie about Homerzilla. They say that the movie was a huge success, even though it was made on a very low budget. They decide that an expensive remake of the film would be even more successful. A big budget American remake of the movie, called Zilla, is released.
Some scenes from the remake are show. There is product placement for Buzz Cola. A scientist is shown crying about how, apart from avoiding him, there is nothing to be done about the monster that is two thousand miles away and moves at a speed of two miles per day.
The executives realize that they have made a terrible movie which will be a box office bomb. It is pointed out to them that they could claim insurance if all copies of the film were destroyed. All of the film's prints and all of its related merchandise are dumped into the ocean. This causes the real Homerzilla to wake up.
The segment ends with a notice which says that Homerzilla will return, as soon as everybody has forgotten about the last movie he was in.
"Telepaths of Glory"
Bart, Lisa and Milhouse go into the woods to go butterfly spotting. Lisa films everything on her video camera. The girl says that she has spotted lots of different butterflies but Bart and Milhouse have not spotted any. Bart says that he thought they went to the woods to hunt owls. When Lisa says that Bart has not killed any owls either, he shows her a bunch of the dead birds. While trying to get away from the dead owls, Lisa hits Milhouse on the nose with her camera. This causes Milhouse to lose his balance and fall over backwards down a hole. Bart and Lisa go down the hole to try to rescue Milhouse.
The hole is filled with nuclear waste. There is an explosion. The three children then find that they are back on the surface. Lisa and Milhouse find that they now have the power to manipulate objects just by using their minds. They are able to fly because they can use their minds to lift their own bodies. Bart, who is not as intelligent as Lisa and Milhouse, does not acquire the same abilities.
Although Lisa thinks that it would be better to keep her abilities secret, she sometimes succumbs to the temptation to use them. Milhouse begins to use his powers to drastically alter the world. This comes to an end when the boy is suddenly struck down dead. Lisa denies having done it. It is then revealed that the baby Maggie Simpson killed Milhouse. Maggie gained the same abilities as Lisa and Milhouse by sucking on radioactive rods which Homer Simpson brought home from his job at the nuclear power plant.
Maggie uses her powers for good. She puts a shirt on Vladimir Putin, she changes Homerzilla into a giant Barney the Dinosaur and she makes the French polite and helpful to American tourists.
- The ghost of Frank Grimes, in a very different visual form, also appears in the opening of "Treehouse of Horror XXVII".