American Horror Story - 'Halloween Night'
In the context of American Horror Story (AHS), Halloween Night is the only time when ghosts can leave the location in which they died and roam around freely until sunrise. This addition to the canon of AHS has led to multiple ‘Halloween Specials’ across its 9 season run. However, Murder House’s Halloween episodes remain the best.
Dismembered babies, long-dead characters, and being pregnant with the Antichrist make for a very memorable Halloween
‘Halloween Part 1’ and ‘Halloween Part 2' are quintessential AHS. Bringing dismembered babies back to life. Long dead characters returning to haunt the living. Being pregnant with the Antichrist. As a two-parter with a killer cliff-hanger, what more could you want.
The best scene in ‘Halloween Part 1’ involves the ghost of Moira, the Murder House’s resident housemaid, being able to visit her ailing mother in the hospital and cutting off her life support. Not only does Halloween Night allow Moira to finally leave the house in which she died, but she can allow her mother to pass on without having her soul trapped inside the hospital. It’s a surprisingly moving moment for an otherwise crazy series, highlighting the show’s ability to be terrifying and yet emotionally heartfelt.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine - 'Halloween IV'
A goofy police procedural may not seem like the kind of show that would do a good spooky special, but Brooklyn Nine Nine’s annual Halloween Heists have given us some of the funniest and most memorable episodes of each season. By taking the characters out of their usual roles within the team and pitting them against each other, these specials are able to achieve levels of zany humour and melodramatics which would otherwise feel completely out of place.
It’s one the funniest episodes Brooklyn Nine-Nine has ever done
The seven heist episodes range from pretty good to excellent, and the best of them has to be Season 4’s aptly-named 'Halloween IV'. First and foremost, it’s one the funniest episodes Brooklyn Nine-Nine has ever done and has a number of iconic and quotable scenes.
It also delivers on the action and mystery front, and the clues and red herrings leading up to the eventual reveal that (spoiler alert) Gina was behind everything are even more clever upon a re-watch or two. And most importantly, it heavily features Captain Holt’s beloved corgi Cheddar, who is the best supporting character in the entire show.
The Simpsons - 'Treehouse of Horror'
The spooky season for me means one thing: another dosage of my favourite Halloween special, The Simpsons’ 'Treehouse of Horrors'. Since season two, the creators of the show have doggedly provided us with at least three spooky stories every Halloween, which simultaneously manage to both creep us out and make us laugh. 'Treehouse of Horrors' is the perfect mix of funny and eerie, comedic and disturbing, which is why it deserves to be recognised as one of the best Halloween specials on TV.
A lot of the spoofs are based on classic horror movies, such as 'The Shinning' (V) and 'A Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace' (VI)
Each instalment of ToH carries the familiar sounds of evil laughter and foreboding notes, yet each plotline is uniquely different in its own spooky way. A lot of the spoofs are based on classic horror movies, such as The Shining' (V) and 'A Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace' (VI). Other episodes have more random but equally brilliant plotlines, such as ToH (VII), my personal favourite. In this one Bart discovers his evil twin Hugo living in the attic, Lisa becomes God to a race of tiny people, and aliens Kang and Kodos assume the identities of Bill Clinton and Bob Dole.
It’s a wonder they manage to fit so much in the space of 25 minutes, but that’s why the three-segment format of ToH works so well. The way I see it, we get three scary stories in one, and with my recent subscription to Disney+, I will definitely be taking advantage of having all these tales in one place, a whole catalogue of spooky to keep me occupied this Halloween.
Community - 'Epidemiology'
Themed episodes can make or break a show. Good shows can weave themed episodes into the normal story and make them work as part of the series. Bad shows’ attempts at themed episodes usually come off as unfunny and a desperate grab for ratings.
Community is arguably the master of the themed episode. There was the GI Joe episode, the Law and Order episode and who could forget the paintball episode. However, as we’re approaching the spookiest time of the year, I’ll be discussing season 2’s Halloween epic entitled ‘Epidemiology’.
Unfortunately for them, some of their group have been lying about whether they had been bitten
In this episode, the Dean purchases what he thinks is discounted Taco meat from an army surplus store but is in fact a hazardous substance that turns everyone who eats it into flesh-eating zombies. An infection spreads from the contaminated meat as party goers start to bite each other and our favourite study group has to run into the study room to survive. Unfortunately for them, some of their group have been lying about whether they had been bitten and it’s left to Troy to turn the air conditioning down and stop the disease spreading.
All of this makes for some fantastic comedy, as the study group run and fight their way through the ruckus while the dean’s ABBA megamix blares in the background.
Featured image credit: IMDb, John P. Fleenor, Pixabay, Needpix.com.