Home Alone is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and most people’s yearly watch parties focus on the inherent absurdity of the movie. After all, that’s why it’s become a classic in the first place. However, something that more than a few people have pointed out is the fact that at times, Kevin seems to step past self-defense and get into some straight-up deadly shenanigans. If you’ve ever wondered about how fatal the booby traps in the McCallister household might be, here’s your answer.
Tar-covered basement steps
Although this one doesn’t seem like it could be immediately fatal, it’s certainly still worth pointing out. Marv tries to get out of the basement using the basement steps; however, Kevin has poured tar over the steps, causing Marv to lose his shoes and socks on the way up. To add injury to insult, he then steps on a nail barefoot. While this might seem like a fairly minor injury, Marv is going to want to make sure he’s up to date on his tetanus shots, as it’s completely possible that the nail has serious rusting issues due to being in the basement for so long.
One of the ways Kevin initially tries to dissuade the robbers from entering the home is by pouring water all over the front of the home. In the cold Chicago winter, it freezes almost immediately, covering the front steps and the outside basement steps in a thick layer of ice. Though the tripping and falling is comedic in the movie, it could have easily led to disaster. Falling down steps is rarely comedic in real life, and it can lead to serious injury or death.
When Harry tries to get into the house, he first approaches the front door. However, Kevin has heated the internal doorknob with an electric barbecue starter, causing the metal to turn red and burn Harry’s hand. As with the tar-covered basement steps, this is a booby trap that might take some time to seriously injure burglar Harry. However, it could have serious long-term impacts; with metal that’s hot enough to turn red, it’s likely that Harry has second or even third-degree burns, which can become infected easily.
Fake light bulb
When Marv finally gets down to the basement, he realizes it’s dark and he can’t see. He pulls a rope that he assumes turns on the overhead basement light, but Kevin is a step ahead of him; he’s connected the rope to a hot iron, which falls down the laundry chute directly on Marv’s face. The sheer impact of an iron falling that far could be enough to give Marv a concussion. If he’s particularly unlucky, it could even kill him.
As Marv and Harry attempt to find Kevin by walking up the stairs, Kevin swings full paint cans to hit both of them in the face. A full gallon-sized paint can weighs around 12 pounds, which means this could pack a major punch. Especially because it’s swinging to hit these robbers in the face, they’re almost certainly looking at broken noses and skull fractures, if not worse.
Treehouse rope cut
The finale of the movie results in Kevin retreating to the treehouse, which has a single connection to the rest of the house: a freestanding rope. As Marv and Harry try to continue their pursuit of Kevin, he cuts the rope with pruning shears. They swing down, smashing into the brick wall of the house. Given the momentum of the rope and how far they fall, they’ve almost certainly broken some of their bones, and combined with everything else, it’s definitely not looking great for them.
At the end of the day, Home Alone is a comedic movie; it makes sense why they wouldn’t focus too much on how deadly these booby traps would be in real life. However, it can sometimes make the movie even funnier to think about how deadly the traps might be without the protective layer of comedy. When you watch the movie next, consider all the ways that Kevin might seriously harm these robbers.