Three reasons that “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” (1966) could be the most subversive American film ever:
1) The Grinch is a character in a Cormac McCarthy novel. Let’s think for a minute. How come there’s only one Grinch? No girlfriend, no cousins, no shrink. And what is he doing in Whoville? Why isn’t there a Grinchville? If I were the only one of my kind, eking out a miserable existence in a post-apocalyptic cave with my dog without the benefit of any medication, I’d hang myself from the nearest tree, provided it had tinsel.
Maybe he was displaced. Maybe he’s a refugee of some kind.
What if there was a war, a horrible war, and all the other Grinches were shipped off to gulags and the Grinch escaped by hiding inside the Moss-Covered Three-Handled Family Credenza (see Cat, Hat). And traumatized by survivor’s guilt, he has been relocated to just north of Whoville, where he can see the table and smell the cooking but never gets invited to dinner.
2) Or though it credits Chuck Jones, I smell Martin Scorsese.
The Grinch, a petty thief and vandal, lives in a state of arrested emotional development and an entrenched sense of entitlement. He has nothing but contempt for the suckers who follow the rules and a domestic partner, Max, who is terrified of him yet remains devoted.
3) But it could be a horror film written by Aeschylus.
Who are the Whos exactly?
One big, vaguely humanoid cult with curly eyelashes that, despite a lot of singing about Christmas and love, manages to stalk and kill the hapless Roast Beast and feed it to its children.
There is a vault somewhere with unseen footage of the Whos playing their karfloofles at earsplitting volumes until the Roast Beast flees from its lair and falls into the Who Death Pit, and they all stab it with spears. And then they take the carcass to the Who butcher, who chops it in pieces and wraps it in bloody packages to sell for filthy lucre, or worse, to give away in the spirit of the season. And at the very end the Grinch is so terrified of them that he himself carves the Roast Beast, his own brother in persecution and loneliness. JENNY LUMET, screenwriter of “Rachel Getting Married.”” —Holiday Movies - Favorites, From Some Insiders - NYTimes.com