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Head of Character Animation Simon Otto touched upon it at the presentation I went to yesterday, but the art book further elaborates that some of the inspirations he and the others took from in creating Grimmel's look was Christopher Lloyd (the most immediate inspiration for Otto, I believe), Javier Bardem, Christoph Waltz, and, after deciding upon him to voice the character, Abraham himself. According to Otto, they specifically sought out Abraham after an animator stumbled upon a performance of his and synced it to where they were with the design and animation at the time. But yeah, I can totally see Bela Lugosi now that you mention it.