Halloween is Grinch Night (1977)

Dr. Seuss’s “The Grinch that Stole Christmas” was about the materialism of Christmas, and how it’s the spirit that counts. “Halloween is Grinch Night” is about how you—uh—shouldn’t let… Grinches… ruin Halloween for you. And stuff…? Despite being written by Dr. Seuss, “Halloween is Grinch Night” is a weak prequel that doesn’t quite bind with the “Christmas” exploits of our angry green monster. For one, his dog Max leaves him in the final scene when he fails to hurt Whoville on “Grinch Night,” thus there’s not a lot of explanation when he’s back in the actual short film. Also, the animation compared to the original is so drastic, it’s distracting.

“Halloween is Grinch Night” looks like it was made in a rush in an attempt to catch the momentum of the Christmas special. But where Chuck Jones’ animation was pronounced, measured, and elegant, this just looks shoddy and hackneyed. Ultimately, “Halloween is Grinch Night” is about facing your fears, and our hero from Whoville Euchariah has to face the Grinch, who does his best to frighten him. In the climax, he even unleashes all of his scares available in his Paraphernilia Wagon. Euchariah is swept in to Mt. Crumpit accidentally due to horrible winds, and he encounters the dreaded Grinch and his dog Max. The Grinch plans to use his Paraphernilia Wagon to hurt Whoville, by unleash terrors, and Euchariah decides to distract him as long as he can and wait out the night.

“Halloween is Grinch Night” is such a lackluster prequel to “Christmas,” and doesn’t quite amount to a lot of the poetic commentary and subtlety that the Christmas original had. Not to mention the protagonists are shockingly irritating as they not only identify each by name every second, but you can sense Seuss struggling to rhyme Euchariah, Josiah, and Mariah with literally anything. One character actually rhymes “hurt” with “thurt” (Who speak for “thought,” apparently). Hans Conried does an okay job replacing Boris Karloff as The Grinch, it’s just this prequel is so uninspired and lackluster, that he never quite shines. The movie also brings up the inadvertent scenario that maybe to stop the Grinch once and for all, the Whos in Whoville should stop announcing their holidays and play it low key. That would work wonders, in the long run.

  • I think you hit why it just never became a classic. People can innately feel the heart in something done well and with passion. This was just to ride the coat-tails.

    • FlixtheCat

      Agreed. I am a big Dr. Seuss nut, but this didn’t click with me.