The only thing "really scarifying" about his year's Simpsons Hallowe'en Treehouse of Horror (XIX) was that it wasn't that funny. Not downright awful like Treehouse of Horror II was way back when. Just bland.
Admittedly, I got one or two chuckles near the end with (vague spoiler ahead - on the order of a jack'o'lantern that's been sitting outside for about 4 days after Hallowe'en) the spoof of the Charlie Brown classic, but overall, the three vignettes left me feeling as though I'd seen them before in previous years' Hallowe'en offerings. They were also lacking in the energy and spirit that the Simpsons has traditionally shown with their spooky specials.
Maybe the ghost that's haunting the Treehouse of Horror is the same one that's overshadowed "The Simpsons" in general for the past several years - the sense that its best years are behind it, that it's feeling its age, and it's starting to stare into the television grave. Already (and this would have been blasphemy a few years ago), I miss the regular Simpsons episodes on a fairly regular basis. The ones I do catch don't seem to impress me much anymore. In 20 years the family's lost the edge off its wit.
The one holdout for a few years now has been the Hallowe'en episode. But not this year. Now it's slumping into mediocrity with the rest of the show. Sadly, if this is to be the calibre of Hallowe'en specials in the coming years, I wouldn't be surprised if I started taking a miss on the annual additions to the Treehouse of Horror franchise.
What have things come to? D'oh!