Although 26 seasons of “Treehouse Of Horror” episodes have subjected The Simpsons’ annual Halloween special to the same sense of diminishing returns that plagues the rest of the series, it’s always possible for the horror anthology to stumble onto something pretty great. Case in point: the Guillermo Del Toro-directed couch gag from a few years ago, which trumped not only the episode it appeared in, but pretty much everything else the show has produced in the last five years.
Now, it looks like the show’s producers are trying to get lightning to strike again, hiring one of their previous couch gag contributors—Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi—to animate this year’s offering. The result isn’t as reference-laden or fast-moving as Del Toro’s short, but it’s unmistakably Kricfalusi’s work: colorful, loose, and willing to veer hard into the territory of legitimately stomach-turning gore. (Plus, it features a major appearance from good old Frank Grimes, finally exacting revenge on the bumbling oaf who ruined his life.) “Treehouse Of Horror XXVI” airs this Sunday; it’ll be interesting to see if The Simpsons’ home team can pull out anything as dementedly imaginative as Kricfalusi’s work.