Directed by: Michael McDowell
Written by: Michael McDowell, based on a story by Michael Bishop
The father:E.G. Marshall
The Mother: Margaret Klenck
Stefa:Jenna Von Oy
Uncle Michael: Mark Capri
Two children who do not believe in Santa Claus are told a story by their parents about a creature called the Grither.
"Deck the Halls" plays as a beautiful house during Christmas is shown. The house has a magnificent tree with a train circling it. As the song plays on, a family of four is shown sitting at the kitchen table; a father, mother and a boy and girl.
The mother gets up and the daughter follows her to put the dishes in the sink. The girl wants to watch a "Christmas Carol" on television, but the mom says they will not be watching any television tonight. The daughter appeals to the father, but he insists that they are going to have an old fashioned Christmas Eve with just each other.
The children are not keen on this idea. They assert that they do not believe in Santa Claus, the son saying he is not going to wait for an "old fat man to get stuck in the chimney."
The daughter says that she also does not believe in Santa Claus, but it is evident that she is not telling the truth. Still, her father lets her know that saying such a thing is wicked every day of the year, but particularly on Christmas Eve.
The son, who we learn is Jimbo, says in response, "Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, we locked up the liqour because Santa's a sous."
The mother tells her children that if they do not stop being naughty, Santa will flip a switch that will cause of their presents to break.
Strangely enough, when the family goes into the living room, the train falls over and ruins the wrapping paper on one of Jimbo's presents. The daughter, Stefa, is worried that this happened because Santa heard what they were talking about. Her mother, however, insists that it was just a coincidence. Still, since the present is mostly open, Jimbo is allowed to open it the rest of the way.
Stefa is upset that Jimbo got to open a present and insists that she should get to open one as well. The mother gives in, but only if she is allowed to pick it out. She does and Stefa opens up a present to find a box of crayons. Wondering how her mother knew she wanted crayons, the mother replies that Stefa's CHristmas list was quite thorough.
As the night goes on, the children keep complaining of boredom. They really want to watch television, and assert that their parents will have to tell them a story if they are not allowed to watch TV. The parents, however, call their children's bluff and decide to tell a story.
The children do not want a story about Santa Claus. Jimbo makes fun of Santa and Rudolph. While the father is thinking, he looks over at his wife and suggest telling a story, whispering the name to her. The mom remarks that this story would be too scary and possibly dangerous. That just convinces the children they want to hear it.
The father tells Jimbo to find the North Pole on his atlas. The children insist they do not want to hear a story about Santa Claus and he responds by saying it is not. The story he is going to tell is about the fiercest and most dangerous creature in the world. He is about to tell the children the creature's name, but instead he starts writing on a pad. He shows the children the name and they read it outloud as The Grither.
The parents seem alarmed and tell the children that the most awful thing in the world is to say the Grither's name outloud.
The father talks about Santa's workshop at the North Pole and all of the wonderful things there. However, opposite side of the mountain where Santa's workshop is there is a cave. This cave is the coldest and wettest place on earth. Inside the cave there is an old ship and in the ship lives the Grither and he hates being cold and he hates being wet. But the thing he hates most is to be talked about and each time someone says his name, his ears double in size.
Stefa wonders why the Grither doesn't like to be talked about. The mom comments that he is the only Grither in the world and thinks that makes him special, which it does.
Jimbo thinks the story is silly, and talks saying the Grither's name. The mom reprimands him, saying that the Grither's ears are twice as big now as they were five minutes ago. She says now the Grither knows where they are. Right at that moment, the Christmas lights flicker and the mother acknowledges this as the work of the Grither.
Stefa is already scared and aks her parents not to tell the story. The mother says it is too late, though, because the Grither has heard Stefa and Jimbo say his name about half a dozen times. She says that the Grither is probably on his way to their house already.
Stefa is, of course, alarmed and screams "no!" Her father says that the Grither has probably just started out and if they are careful, he can finish the story before the Grither gets there. Jimbo is still convinced his parents are putting them on, so he sarcastically ass that if they stop saying his name (which he then does three times) the Grither will get lost and have to go home.
The father tells Jimbo that the Grither is named as such because he has hands as big as basketballs and arms as long as boa constrictors. Whenever he finds those who have been saying their name, he grithers them in! The dad grabs Stefa, who has had it with the story and strts to whine.
Stefa is alarmed that her dad said the name too. She hears a sound at the door, starts and asks her parents if that is the Grither. Her parents insist that it is too early for the Grither to get there.
Jimbo remarks that the Grither is probably just bigfoot or the aboninabl snowman. His father insists that is not the case, and the only people to ever see the Grither are those the Grither has eaten up.
Jimbo catches on and aks his dad how he knows what the Grither looks like if everyone who has seen him is dead. The father says he heard about it, and the Grither sings a song. The children still do not believe him. The mother steps in and says the father never heard the Grither. But their Uncle Michael did hear the Grither. And Uncle Michael taught her the Grither song and she taught it to their father.
Jimbo again calls his parents on this and asks if they can sing the song about the Grither. The mom walks over to the piano and the father takes a drink and follows her. The mother starts playing "Come All Ye Faithful" on the piano. The father goes over to her and sings the Grither song, which goes like this:
Oh I am the Grither,
You cannot escape me.
Pleading is useless
And so are your prayers.
The Grither is greedy
For only one thing
To keep you from taking
To keep you from taking
To keep you from taking
His name in vain.
For the first time during the night, Jimbo begins to look scared. Yet he accuses them of making it up and Stefa says it did not even rhyme. Her mom is adamant that monster songs never rhyme, though. She says there are other verses that tell what he looks like. The father says the Grither is as tall as a poppler but can bend over and reach the ground. The Grither's skin is white and all his blue and red veins show through, as if his skin was a roadmap. The blue veins are for fear and the red veins are for rage.
Some bird noises are then heard and the mother insists that they are the sound of the Grither's wings. Stefa is alarmed that the Grither can fly. The mother tells Stefa that that when the Grither's ears grow when people mention his name, they turn into wings so he can fly. And now that his ears are so big, he can fly and will get to their house all the faster.
Jimbo is scared adn asks where the Grither is. The father mentions he is in Bangor, Maine and flying south. However, the Grither is taking shortcuts to get to their house faster. Stefa is truly alarmed by this point and pleads with her parents to stop talking about the Grither. The father says it is too late, though. It is cheating to not finish the story and if you do not finish the story, the Grither will come anyway. Stefa insists that her parents finish the story. The mother says they better finish the story if they want to be alive to open their presents in the morning, especially since the Grither is probably over New Hampshire by that point.
The phone starts to ring. Both kids are alarmed and do not want their father to stop telling the story. The mother asks the father to answer the phone because there is a patch on her sewing she wants to finish. Both kids scream "No!" as the father gets up and leaves. Stefa asks the mother to finish the story, but she tells them that the person who started it has to be the one to finish it.
Someone is whispering to the father on the phone and he says "No, we're all here."
Some time has passed since the phone rang. Jimbo is playing "Jingle Bells" on the piano. Stefa asks where the Grither is and the mother says in New York City, Philadelphia if the wind is with him. The father comes back in and they ask who was on the phone. He said he did not know who it was, but whoever it was kept asking him questions about the family and if they were all home. The mother offhandedly remarks that the Grither in over Washington D.C. at that point.
The father starts telling the story again. He mantions that the Grither was born on a sailor ship in the Arctic Sea. The sailors got lost, some died, some were killed and others committed suicide. The Grither was born out of all of that rage from the sailors. Jimbo akss why the Grither kills people and the father does not know. Stefa aks if that is the end of the story. The mother updates them that the Grither is in Richmond, Virginia and is now heading west.
Stefa asks if the story is over and the father says it is not. He is about to tell the kids the only way the Grither can be killed when he appears to be alarmed by a noise at the door. Stefa is scared and pleads with her parents not to open the door as the entity at the door is singing the Grither's song. It comes in the door, dressed in furs and shaking itself off. Stefa runs behind the tree and screams. Her mom assures her that it is not the Grither. It is their Uncle Mike.
The adults are going to go talk, but Stefa insists that they finish the story. The mother tells the father since he started it, he has to end it. The father has a talk with the girl, asking her if she believes in Santa Claus, which she does not. He says that she should also not believe in the Grither, because neither of them are real.
Suddenly, the door opens and a powerful wind knocks everyone over. They eventually get the door closed. Stefa thinks it is the Grither, but her mom insists it was the wind. Uncle Michael is not in the room.
Two huge arms then come in through the windows and grab the heads of both the mother and father, snapping their necks. Stefa is screaming. As Uncle Michael comes back into the room, Stefa is about to tell him it was the Grither, but for the first time, Jimbo cautions her to not mention his name. Stefa simply explains, "It wasn't Santa Claus."