The Grinch Is Back

I guess it’s not too late to do a Halloween-related review, is it? Even if it is, I’m doing one anyway, because I kept meaning to watch the 1977 cartoon Halloween Is Grinch Night.

I guess this is technically a prequel to How the Grinch Stole Christmas, since the Grinch is still nasty, but it isn’t specified. The title character isn’t voiced by Boris Karloff this time, but instead by Hans Conried, who played Dr. Terwilliker in The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T and narrated Horton Hears a Who (not the Jim Carrey version, obviously). Honestly, this one seems to have been phoned in, which is possibly why I didn’t even know it existed back when I was a kid. Not that we don’t get plenty of classic Seussian creature designs and nonsense rhymes, but that’s ALL we get. There’s very little here that can be considered a plot. What story there is has it that, when a sour-sweet wind blows through Whoville, it leads to a chain reaction that somehow gives the Grinch magic powers. At least I think it does, because his eyebrows never fly off his head in the Christmas special.

He also shrinks and grows, and has a wagon full of psychedelic hallucinations. The Whos know what’s coming and barricade themselves in their houses, but one Who named Eukariah is blown away when he goes out to use the outhouse (referred to as the “euphemism”). Yeah, apparently the Whos lack indoor plumbing, even though they have telephones with viewscreens. Anyway, Eukariah runs into the Grinch, who is on his way down Mount Crumpit to Whoville, and enters his wagon of horrors for a scene similar to the pink elephants from Dumbo.

This distracts the Grinch until the sour-sweet wind stops blowing, and the grumpy green guy has to return home. I’m not entirely sure WHY this is the case, but it adds credence to my theory that he only has the supernatural abilities he shows here on Grinch Night. Another thing worth noting is that the Grinch’s dog Max has his own song where he wonders why he’s working for his nasty master, and at the end Max returns to Whoville with Eukariah. I guess he makes up with the Grinch again later, but like I said continuity is never that much of a concern with these Grinch cartoons.

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