"Treehouse of Horror V" is a Halloween-themed episode from the sixth season of the animated comedy series The Simpsons. It was first broadcast in the United States on the Fox Network on October 30, 1994. In common with the Simpsons Halloween specials from 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993, it is made up of three self-contained stories and features a brief appearance by the aliens Kang and Kodos. Unlike the previous specials, there is no framing device which connects the three stories. The special is also notable for containing more graphic violence than the ones from previous years. A darkly humorous running gag in the show involves the character Groundskeeper Willie getting murdered by being hit in the back with an ax in all three stories.
The three segemnts which make up the episode are "The Shinning", "Time and Punishment" and "Nightmare Cafeteria". The first segment is a parody of Stephen King's 1977 horror novel The Shining and Stanley Kubrick's 1980 movie of the same name. The second segment is primarily based on Ray Bradbury's 1952 science fiction short story "A Sound of Thunder". The title of the third segment is based on the short lived 1980s American horror comedy TV series Nightmare Cafe.
In common with the first and second "Treehouse of Horror" specials, the episode opens with Marge Simpson standing alone on a stage, beginning to warn viewers that some of them may not find the episode suitable viewing. She is then handed a note which says that the program has been pulled from the schedule for being too frightening and the 1947 Glen Ford western 200 Miles to Oregon will air instead. A brief clip from the movie is shown before the screen turns black. In homage to the 1960s science fiction TV series The Outer Limits, Bart Simpson's voice is heard as wavy lines which represent it appear on the black screen. Bart informs viewers that the Simpsons will control what viewers see and hear for the following thirty minutes.
Mr. Burns hires Homer Simpson to act as the caretaker at his isolated summer cottage during the winter months. Homer arrives with his family and they are shown around the building by Burns. He informs them that it was built on an old Indian burial ground, was used by Devil-worshippers and was the site of several witch-burnings. As an elevator door opens, blood pours out. Burns is surprised, commenting that the blood usually gets out at the second floor.
To ensure that the caretaker concentrates on his job, before he leaves, Burns removes all the beer from the building and cuts the TV's cable. He dismisses the claims of his assistant Smithers that being deprived of beer and television might have been what caused all the previous caretakers to go insane and murder their families.
Groundskeeper Willie is the only other member of staff at Burns' cottage. He discovers that Homer's son Bart shares his ability to read minds and communicate telepathically, an ability which Willie calls "the Shinning" to avoid getting sued. Willie tells Bart to use his special "Shin" to contact him if his father goes insane.
Being deprived of beer and television, Homer does indeed go insane. He finds a bar in the building where a ghostly Moe the bartender tells him that he will give him a beer if he kills his family.
Marge Simpson is temporarily reassured when she finds that her husband Homer has simply typed the words "Feelin' fine" on a piece of paper. She realises the message is not true when she sees the words "No beer and no TV make Homer go crazy" written all over the walls. For her own protection, Marge manages to lock Homer in a pantry. For a while Homer happily eats the food which surrounds him, until Moe returns to say that he and the "other ghouls" are waiting for him to kill his family. Homer is reluctantly carried out of the pantry by Moe, Count Dracula, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Pinhead, a mummy and a werewolf.
Homer carries an ax and chases his family out into the snow. Bart uses "the Shinning" to contact Willie, who arrives carrying his portable TV, but Homer kills him by sticking the ax in his back. Bart finds the dead Willie's abandonned TV in the snow. He shows it to Homer, who instantly recovers his sanity. The Simpsons sit outside watching the TV and slowly freeze. When the Tony Awards come on, they are unable to move to change the channel, causing Homer's homicidal rage to return.
"Time and Punishment"
While trying to fix a toaster, Homer Simpson accidentally turns it into a time machine and is transported back to the time of the dinosaurs. He remembers that, on his wedding night, his father told him that if he were ever to find himself back in time he shoukd not alter anything because it could drastically alter future events. He then swats a mosquito which had been bothering him. Returning to his own time, Homer finds that his irritating neighbor Ned Flanders has become a tyrannical dictator who rules the world.
Homer travels back in time again to try to fix things, but accidentally squashes a walking fish. He returns to find that his children Bart and Lisa are now giants who nearly crush him. Going back in time again, Homer sneezes and gives all the dinosaurs a cold which causes them to become extinct. When he returns to his own time, Homer is happy to find that his family are very wealthy, his children are well behaved and his hated sisters-in-law Patty and Selma are dead. However, when he finds out that doughnuts do not exist in the new timeline, he runs screaming, leaving just before doughnuts begin to fall from the sky like rain.
The aliens Kang and Kodos laugh at how the "foolish human" is unprepared for the effects of time travel, until Homer's alteration of history causes them to change into the cartoon characters Mr. Peabody and Sherman.
Homer arrives back in a timeline which looks like his own. Groundskeeper Willie tells Homer that he is not home yet but he can help him, at which point Homer's baby daughter kills Willie by hitting him the back with an ax.
On his final voyage back to prehistoric times, Homer decides that instead of trying not to change anything he will deliberately smash everything he sees. When he returns to his own time, Homer sees that his house and family appear to be back to normal and is told that there is no shortage of doughnuts. His family begin to eat, long lizard-like tongues emerging from their mouths. Homer decides that the world he is in is close enough to normal.
There are two problems at Springfield Elementary School, the detention hall is overcrowded and very poor quality meat is being served in the cafeteria. Principal Skinner decides that he can solve both problems by using the badly behaved children as food. One by one, the children are caged, fattened up, butchered and served up in the cafeteria.
Bart and Lisa Simpson realise what is happening and ask their mother Marge for help. She refuses, saying that they have to learn to stand up for themselves.
Soon Bart, Lisa and their friend Milhouse are the only children left at the school. They try to escape but are cornered by the teachers on a ledge above a giant blender. Groundskeeper Willie steps in to try to save them but, as in the previous two stories in the episode, he is killed by being struck in the back with an ax. The children fall from the ledge and land the blender.
Bart Simpson suddenly wakes up in bed. The whole story has been nothing more than a nightmare. Bart's family come into his room and reassure him that he is back in the real world where there is nothing to be scared of, except for the mysterious fog which turns people inside out. The strange green fog then begins to seep through Bart's window.