Picture this. It’s Christmas time. Snow falls softly outside and the fireplace roars. There’s a mug of warm hot chocolate in your hand and a comfy blanket draped over your shoulders. Your favourite person is snuggled up against you, and you breathe in the Christmas cheer. You turn on your favourite Christmas movie, Home Alone, and watch the violence unfold against Harry and Marv.
Hold on a minute? Did you say violence? But Home Alone is a cheery Christmas comedy!
What many don’t take into account is the number of pranks pulled against the Wet Bandits that could actually kill them. The bandits always pop right back up with slap-stick comedy that resembles Jerry crushing Tom with a piano. But which of those booby traps would actually land our bandits into the morgue this Christmas? Here are our picks for festive booby traps most likely to kill a man, ranked from “it might land you in the hospital,” to “get ready to meet Scrooge’s ghosts”.
1. Falling down the stairs
The Wet Bandits, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) both fall down the stairs several times. A good portion of the booby traps in the McCallister home revolved around stairs.
Now falling down the stairs once gives you a 1 in 1,884 chance of dying. (That’s higher than dying in a plane crash). 1,000 people die every year from falling down the stairs. Now it’s important to note that most fatal falls are due in part that the victim was elderly.
Given the sheer amount that the bandits fell down the stairs though, I’d say their chances of at least being seriously injured are fairly high. In one case, Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) put ice on the concrete stairs outside. Both Marv and Harry fell down these slippery slopes, but Harry fell directly on his neck on a concrete step. That had to have done some damage.
2. Crowbar to the chest
When Kevin puts a tarantula on Marv’s face, he frantically throws it off and on the unconscious chest of Harry. In an attempt to annihilate the spider, Marv hits Harry’s chest with a crowbar.
New York City Internist Dr Diego Ponieman told Thrillist that “a hit like that could cause cracked ribs, a punctured lung, or even internal bleeding”. Considering how banged up the two are at this point, even just adding a wound like that could land the Bandits six feet underground. It’s safe to assume that Harry isn’t getting up after that hit.
3. Iron to the head
Marv was the unfortunate recipient of this prank. Kevin fixed an iron to a string light in the basement. When Marv pulled on the string to turn on the light, the iron fell from about thirty feet and nailed him in the head. He has a mark shaped like an iron on his face for the rest of the night.
This type of injury could, in fact, murder someone. It’s highly likely that Marv at least suffered a concussion, which is considered a traumatic brain injury.
It would likely cause some sort of long-term issue, and he would need to go to a doctor. Based on this type of injury, he could also have an intracranial hematoma or a blood clot in the brain. That is life-threatening. These blood clots are sometimes linked to a skull fracture, but based on his wounds (which doesn’t give us much to go on because these guys are super-human), he likely doesn’t have.
I also don’t think that it’s a far off assumption to make that his brain might be bruised. If the poor guy wasn’t stupid enough, he’s really going to be struggling now.
4. Shovel to the head
Ladies and gents, we have another head injury.
At the end of the film, Kevin’s neighbour whacks them hard in the head with a shovel, knocking them both out. This marks the second-third time that the Wet Bandits have been hit in the head. If they survived the first few times, they more than likely have concussions. Getting hit by a shovel could absolutely cause another one.
If you get two concussions in a row, it could cause “second impact syndrome.” That would create brain swelling, and could possibly be fatal. If that didn’t kill them, getting several concussions could lead to depression/suicide and Alzheimer’s. This attempt to rob the McCallisters could haunt them in the long term.
5. A fall from a great height
In an attempt to escape the Wet Bandits, Kevin ziplined from the third story of his house to his treehouse. The bandits tried to follow him, inching along the rope, when Kevin pulled out some gardening shears. Cutting the rope, Harry and Marv swing about 30ish feet to the ground and slam into a brick wall. It’s pretty vague what type of damage it would cause, but it would absolutely cause damage.
In a CBS News article about a girl who fell 25 feet at Six Flags, emergency physician Dr. Robert Glatter of Lenox Hill Hospital said that even a fall from a few feet could kill a person.
It creates problems such as a ruptured spleen or spine. Considering the force in which the Wet Bandits hit the wall, it’s unlikely that they would get up and walk away.
6. Hot hand
Harry was really feeling the heat in this movie.
One of the first pranks Kevin unleashed on the Bandits was heating the handle up to his front door. Harry grabbed on to it with gusto, burning his hand so badly that an M for McCallister was still branded in his hand in the second movie.
The Week asked Dr. Ryan St. Clair of the Weill Cornell Medical College a couple of questions about these Home Alone pranks. He said that for the doorknob to be glowing red, it had to be about 751 degrees. A surface that hot should have caused Harry’s hand to burst into flames. This could have set Harry on fire, causing him to burn alive. At the very least, this injury would cause Harry to amputate his hand.
He definitely would not have been able to continue using that appendage. Sorry Harry, forget about continuing on with this robbery.
7. Paint bucket to the head
This one got both of them good. As they were going up the stairs, Home alone hero Kevin dropped paint buckets on Harry and Marv like a pendulum, knocking them both clean in the face. This one is very similar to the “iron to the head” prank and would result in pretty much the same injuries.
EMT Joseph O’Hare was interviewed by Motherboard about this very issue- “what Home Alone pranks are lethal?” He said that if someone was actually hit by a paint bucket in the same way the bandits were, their faces would be completely destroyed. The hit would knock their teeth in, possibly causing them to choke. The force could also shatter their skull, resulting in a stroke.
So yeah, the wrong shade of paint can be pretty deadly.
8. Flamethrower to the head
Harry really got the short end of the stick with this one. Kevin had a flamethrower, yes a flamethrower, attached to his back door. If you opened the door, you’d feel the heat. When Harry opened the door, the top of his head got severely burned. He had the sense to put his head out in the snow, saving him from further damage.
Now, this prank would have absolutely killed Harry if he was two inches taller. If it had been Marv opening this door, he would be dead as a doornail, as he’s a lot taller. It probably would have nailed his face or neck.
The burns caused by this flamethrower would be third degree, and would create black charring and insane scarring. This could lead to death in several ways. A burn to the face like that could block air passages, causing someone to suffocate. The resulting trauma from that kind of burn could also cause someone to go into shock. Realistically, it would have made Harry go into shock. He wouldn’t have put his head out, and he probably would have burned to death.
Dr St. Clair also weighed in on how this specific prank would have played out. He said that Harry was under fire for several seconds, meaning that his skull might actually start to rot. At the very least he would need to have his skin and part of his skull removed and replaced. Doesn’t sound very fun, does it?
Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal
All things considered, it’s a miracle that Home Alone isn’t considered a horror movie with the damage done to poor Harry and Marv. If the booby traps laid out in Home Alone were real, Kevin would be a murderer several times over. His parents would come home to find their juvenile son in jail, or maybe even standing over corpses.
Thankfully, the Wet Bandits in Home Alone are as tough as cartoons. Whatever you throw at them, they will pop right back up to try to ruin your Christmas cheer. Just don’t try these traps out when you’re ‘home alone’.
And that’s our list of traps that would have killed Harry and Marv in Home Alone. What do you think? Did we miss any? Have we ruined your Christmas and enjoyment of the film? Let us know in the comments below.
Check our Christmas movie advent calendar article HERE.
Read IMDB information about Home Alone HERE.
No Time To Die – Review
No Time To Die is the 25th instalment in the official James Bond series. It’s the VERY long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s Spectre. The 6-year gap between the two films is only matched by the same gap between Timothy Dalton’s last outing in 1989’s Licence To Kill and Pierce Brosnan’s debut in 1995’s Goldeneye. Here’s our review of No Time To Die.
SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the film, but if not there are spoilers ahead.
Of course, there are mitigating factors in that enormous gap. Namely COVID. Which made No Time To Die the first major film to delay its release due to the pandemic. Although, this film has had a difficult gestation irrespective of the global situation in the last 18 months. As soon as Spectre was released the speculation over Daniel Craig’s future in the role began. With him initially suggesting he would rather slash his own wrists than play the iconic spy again. He did a mea culpa on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show in August 2017, where he confirmed he would appear as Bond for a fifth and final time. The original director and writer, Danny Boyle and John Hodge, left the project a year later over creative differences. Cory Joji Fukunaga took over as director. While Bond script veterans Robert Wade and Neil Purvis took charge of the screenplay – with a sprinkling of magic from Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Originally slated for release in April 2020, at long last, we finally get to see Daniel Craig’s denouement as 007. His portrayal of Bond has been very much in keeping with the character of Ian Fleming’s original novels. His performances have certainly followed the dramatic lineage of Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton. Rather than the lighter portrayals by Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. Yet his Bond has displayed a vulnerability only really demonstrated with any plausibility by George Lazenby in his solitary outing as 007 in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
The deference to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is presented in stark relief throughout this 2h43min epic. Making this the longest Bond film in the series. As this was the first film I’ve seen at the cinema since before the pandemic, I was already excited before I even sat down. As a massive James Bond fan as well, I was close to apoplexy! I felt a tangible shiver go down my spine as the iconic gun barrel sequence appeared before we see James cruising around Italy in the classic DB5 with Madeleine Swann at his side. This anticipation was clearly felt by other cinema-goers. They have made No Time To Die break the UK box office record for the biggest opening weekend. It took almost £26m, breaking the record previously held by Skyfall.
I’m not going to spoil the plot for those who’ve not seen it. I had made a conscious decision to avoid spoilers before I went.
A step up?
This film is another shot in the arm for those who see Craig as the definitive Bond. This was aided by a refocusing of the Bond canon after the main tropes of the series were stretched to breaking point by the invisible cars and melting ice palaces of Die Another Day. And then stretched still further by Madonna’s cameo as a fencing instructor. Daniel Craig was given leeway to truly regenerate James Bond for the 21st Century. The stripped-back nature of Casino Royale, without most of the supporting characters that have been a staple of the series like Q and Moneypenny. Gave him licence (pardon the pun) to explore the deepest and darkest recesses of the Bond psyche. Some well-drawn female leads and villains really allowed Craig’s Bond to spar with them with depth and genuine emotion.
That exploration continues and grows in No Time To Die. We get to see an ageing, truly world-weary Bond, whose past he appears unable to escape. This leaves him in a state of almost constant angst. Paradoxically though, we also see him truly relaxed at times. In a way I can’t recall ever seeing James Bond in any of his previous cinematic outings.
The issue with that exploration is that a number of characters then have their screen time cut. Moneypenny is reduced to little more than a cameo. And Remi Malek’s Safin is almost secondary as he features in the opening moments as his story is told, but then disappears for what seemed like an eternity. He of course reappears but he almost seems a mild irritation within the plot and merely a conduit to allow us to see the climax of Daniel Craig’s Bond era. It’s a disappointing underuse of a terrific actor. One with a captivating screen presence, who could have been one of the most menacing Bond villains of all time. That said, the influence of his dastardly but highly sophisticated plan is felt by all of the main protagonists. Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld continues to wreak his havoc with malevolent glee from his cell. He again revels in the chaos of his twisted sibling rivalry with Bond.
Lea Seydoux is wonderful again as Dr Madeleine Swann, picking up where she left off in Spectre and giving Bond as good as he gets in every way imaginable.
There are new characters who definitely cut through. Ana De Armas is utterly charming in her relatively brief time on-screen as Paloma, while Lashana Lynch takes no nonsense from Bond as Nomi. She also gives us a potential indicator as to the future direction of the franchise. Which has been the subject of much discussion in all quarters. That debate has even made its way into the political sphere with even Boris Johnson weighing in on what gender the next actor to play 007 should be.
Hans Zimmer’s score is classic Hans Zimmer, adding power and bombast to the usual mix of stunning scenery and brilliantly choreographed stunts. He brilliantly weaves nods to previous entries in the Bond musical tapestry throughout his score. While his cues are always thunderous, they never overpower the action on screen, but do add a sonic rumble that I don’t think has been heard in a Bond score for quite some time. I found Fukunaga’s direction a bit mixed, with some of the cinematography unnecessarily showy. Some of the tracking shots almost gave me motion sickness while some (admittedly beautifully composed) shots of the scenery seemed to have made the edit purely so as whoever the drone operator was could demonstrate their skills.
The film is much too long, although at no point did I check my watch. It’s not that any of the plot points are superfluous, more that the pacing is a little slow in places. Some of the dialogue feels cliched and clunky, making what is a great story feel a tad generic. Which doesn’t do anyone justice. However, there were some excellent jokes, and I laughed out loud several times. You don’t have to be a 007 super fan to get some of the self-referential humour that they seem to enjoy sprinkling throughout the film.
Billie Eilish’s theme song is a worthy addition to the collection and certainly sits comfortably within the top half of the ‘Bond Theme Chart’. It’s definitely more memorable and evocative than Sam Smith’s ‘Writing On The Wall’ for Spectre. Her voice trembles at times as you can almost feel she recognises the significance of singing the theme for Daniel Craig’s final appearance in the franchise.
It was also very pleasing to see that this film has moved with the times and reflects the world of 2021 with its portrayal of women. Every single female character had a genuine purpose and important role within the plot. While of course, the female actors playing those roles are all irrefutably glamorous and attractive. There was genuine respect and no objectification of women.
I came out of the screening with mixed emotions. Glad to be back in the cinema on one hand, sad that Daniel Craig’s stint ordering Martini’s was over on the other. I was pleased that such a good climax had been created to bring this era of Bond to a close, and all its story arcs had been brought to conclusions. I’m also excited and apprehensive in equal measure for the future of such an iconic film series. But I was disappointed with some of the characters not getting the necessary screen-time to truly develop their characters. Surprisingly, I was almost tearful at the final few moments, especially as the credits rolled.
Overall, this is a loving homage to the James Bond series, past and present. It’s a solid if unspectacular film in its own right, but the performances of Daniel Craig and Lea Seydoux, as well as the Bond history it wraps itself in, elevate it beyond that.
It’s not Craig’s best Bond film, as Skyfall is almost untouchable in my opinion, but it does bring closure to his tenure in the tuxedo in a manner that should please Bond fans across the board. It also tantalises us as to what the 6th age of Bond will look like. Let the intense speculation begin!
CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 7/10
Thank you for reading our review of James Bond No Time To Die. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Check out who we think could be the next James Bond and why HERE.
Read IMDB information about No Time To Die HERE.
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