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.
9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies
There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.
1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)
Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.
2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.
3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)
You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.
4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.
5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)
Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.
6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)
I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.
7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)
This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.
8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)
We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.
9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.
That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.
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