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Which Traps Would Have Killed Harry And Marv In Home Alone?

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Harry and Marv Home Alone image
20th Century Fox

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.

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Movie News

Hogwarts Houses For MCU Characters

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MCU Harry Potter houses image
Marvel Studios & Warner Bros.

Since its conception, Hogwarts houses have been a deciding factor in getting to know people. How someone answers “what Hogwarts house are you in?” can tell you a lot about a person. But where do some of our favourite MCU characters shape up when faced with the sorting hat?

Tony Stark/Iron Man- Ravenclaw

While Tony could be argued for almost any of the houses, Ravenclaw suits him best. Most of his development comes from the pursuit of knowledge. Aside from being one of the smartest characters in the MCU, he is constantly learning and improving upon his technology. He tends to approach large problems from a strategic and pragmatic standpoint, especially in his later films. Admittedly he can be brave and somewhat self-servingly ambitious. But who he is at the end of his arc and the way that he solves problems points to Iron Man being in Ravenclaw.

Steve Rogers/Captain America- Gryffindor

Is it even a question? Steve Rogers is definitely a Gryffindor. From day one, he has always strived to do what’s right. And he subtly wants a bit of glory for it too. He’s a natural leader and has always rushed into danger without a thought. He is undoubtedly driven by bravery and righteousness and is through and through a Gryffindor.

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow- Hufflepuff

Natasha is tricky. She could truthfully swing in any direction. It may seem strange to put a spy in Hufflepuff, but if nothing else, Natasha is loyal. She cares deeply for those close to her and has shown that she’s willing to die for them. Her characterization throughout the MCU has been lacking, but her solo film has shown her to be fiercely loyal.

Bruce Banner/The Hulk- Ravenclaw

Another Ravenclaw. Similar to Tony, Bruce is very intelligent. While he seems to be less inclined to want to fight battles than Tony is, he is constantly learning. His relationship with the Hulk can even be characterized this way. By a desire to learn how to control him, then to understand him, then to become him. His arc is one that is driven by knowledge.

Thor- Gryffindor

Thor is always looking to prove himself. Even though he can lift the hammer, he is constantly looking for validation that he is worthy. He’s not usually afraid of much, and when he is, he faces it anyway. What makes Thor a Gryffindor though is his desire to be the hero. He’s not in Slytherin because he doesn’t desire to rule. He’s not ambitious, he just wants validation.

Peter Parker/Spiderman- Gryffindor

Peter is another hard one. He’s intelligent like Bruce and Tony, which could throw him into Ravenclaw. He’s loyal to his friends, which could put him into Hufflepuff. But at his core, Peter is in Gryffindor. The proof is in one of his first lines in the MCU. In Civil War, he tells Tony, “if you can do the things I do, and you don’t, then bad things happen because of you. (paraphrased)” He feels that because he’s special, he has to act. And unlike Steve and Thor, Peter is almost always afraid. He faces his challenges in spite of that. And while he wants to have a normal life, and a typical High School experience, he selflessly puts himself on the line. Once again, Peter is not looking for recognition, he’s just trying to do the right thing.

Dr Strange- Ravenclaw

Lots of Ravenclaws in the MCU. For Dr Strange, there really isn’t any other option. He is completely driven by the pursuit of knowledge. And while recognition came with that, we see with his journey into the mystic arts that his true motivation comes from learning. He’s a very similar character to Tony Stark, and both of them are textbook Ravenclaws.

Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch- Hufflepuff

Like Natasha, Wanda is driven by her relationships. She is faithfully loyal to her brother, then Vision, then her family. She is definitely motivated to protect and care for those she loves. Including creating an entire alternate reality to be with them! Wanda is brave and intelligent, but at her core, she is loyal.

Loki- Slytherin

Finally, a Slytherin. Once again, was there any other option? Loki is characterized by his cunning and ambition. He wants to rule. And he doesn’t get there by rushing into battle. He gets there by being sneaky and clever. Loki is a Slytherin through and through.

Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel- Slytherin

This may not feel like the obvious choice for Carol, but she definitely portrays characteristics of a Slytherin. She’s the best, and she wants people to know it. She’s confident and clever, and she likes attention. We don’t know her very well yet, but from what we’ve seen, she seems to relish in the attention her efforts provide. She is good, helpful, and ambitious.

T’Challa/Black Panther- Hufflepuff

T’Challa is also driven by loyalty. But while he is protective of those he loves, his true loyalty is to Wakanda. He’s not king because of ambition, he’s king out of duty. Everything he does is through the lens of “what is best for Wakanda?” While it’s a bit unconventional, his loyalty to Wakanda characterizes him as a Hufflepuff.

Scott Lang/Ant-Man- Gryffindor

At first, it appears that Scott would be in Hufflepuff. After all, he is very motivated by his relationship with his daughter. But if he were truly 100% driven by that, he would have made different choices. He would not have betrayed Hope and Hank and teamed up with Captain America without their permission. He also would not have stolen from his company and landed in jail in the first place. But both of those above decisions do characterize him as a Gryffindor. He wants to be in the action, and he doesn’t always consider the consequences. Scott isn’t really looking for recognition and is not that ambitious, but he does want to be involved in the big events. He wants to help people, and he bravely faces battles. Sometimes without discretion.


Do you agree with our picks for these MCU characters in Hogwarts Houses? If not or if we’ve missed any out, leave us a comment below.


Check out our review of Black Widow HERE.

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