Updated: Jun 10
Home Alone is a must watch Christmas movie for families over the holidays but there is a dark undertone to the plot that many don't realise.
The stress & trauma of being left alone triggers a false reality and distorted memories for Kevin. We first get a glimpse of this happening during the incident with the boiler in his basement. He clearly sees it come alive and interact with him but the mental trauma of being abandoned soon develops into something far worse...
Paranormal Pilgrim reviews the evidence and uncovers the disturbing truth behind this Christmas caper.
How long is Kevin really alone for?
From Tuesday morning until Friday morning - 3 days. The film opens on Monday 21st December, his parents return on Christmas Day morning, which was on Friday 25th December. His parents discover his absence during their flight but are unable to call until they land in Paris. Strangely, his mother’s first call is to the Police and not to the family home? Maybe Kevin is banned from using the phone so she knows that he wouldn’t answer (although that doesn’t stop him when he wants pizza) but like their neighbours, the McAllisters have an answer phone, so it’s surprising that they don’t try and leave Kevin instructions or a comforting message at any point?
We also know that old man Marley is one of Kevin’s neighbours (close enough to see his drive from the window of the McAllister home), so why wasn’t he included in the list when the parents were frantically calling their street contacts? Maybe they didn’t have his number? Maybe they believed the stories about him? Whatever the reason, it’s a real shame, as Marley sees Kevin on the first day.
When does Kevin slip into a false reality?
Kevin’s interactions with the wet bandits only truly begin once he’s gone through a series of events which add to/trigger his trauma of being abandoned – the scare from old man Marley, the banging on the door from the cop and the panic of being chased from the grocery store as a suspected shoplifter. I believe that the shoplifting experience is the final trigger which pulls Kevin fully into his elaborate fantasy. By creating this, he is able to cope with the situation and convince himself that he’s in control and able to conquer any fears, the biggest of which being the wet bandits who threaten his one remaining link to sanity and protection – the family home.
If like me, you have watched the film many times and questioned the various situations Kevin finds himself in, you have probably highlighted some of the following points yourselves. But once you start to explore these events rationally, you can see a clear case for them being figments of Kevin’s imagination -
The fake party:
Where did Kevin find three mannequins and the life-size Michael Jordan cut out? Well, we see the Michael Jordan poster on Buzz’s door, so we can easily assume that Kevin took it from there, but what about the 3 mannequins and their clothing/wigs?
To give credit to the production crew, we do see these three mannequins (or at least bits of them) in the basement when Kevin is looking for his family. We also see a sowing machine, materials and costumes to indicate that someone living there may be involved in fashion or have a design hobby.
Where were the party sounds coming from? We can guess that Kevin put on a Christmas album for the music, but did he have another record/tape deck for the background chatter and socialising sounds?
How did Kevin know that the shadows, noise and movement from the mannequins would be seen from outside? Yes, he could have tested it once it got dark, but it was a risky move, as he had no idea when the wet bandits would return to his house (he only guessed it would be in the evening). This adds another question – without knowing or being able to see when they arrived, how long was he dancing around for with strings attached to his body? If it got dark around 5pm and he started the party then, we presume the wet bandits arrived soon after…otherwise, Kevin could have been dancing around like that between 5pm – 12pm. What we do know, is that Kevin manages to either see the van’s headlights or hear it pull up, as his smug little face appears at the window when they drive away.
Conclusion: This may have happened as Kevin has the resources to do this within the house, but the wet bandits were never there. He imagined their arrival and quick departure outside and also imagined their reactions/discussions within the van.
The Wet Bandits rob the neighbour’s house:
We see Marv & Harry robbing the neighbours and leaving their taps on to flood the property. They hear the message from the McAllisters on the answer phone and discover that Kevin is home alone.
Conclusion: All part of Kevin’s imagination. Although it happens in the film before he runs from the store, it’s a backstory created by him for his bad guys. Think about how they burgle that property – noisy, without care, Harry is playing with toys, Marv blocks the sinks and leaves the taps running as kids do in schools/public bathrooms. They’re behaving how a kid would imagine burglars to be rather than how adult criminals would behave. He didn’t even need an interaction with a van and two guys to imagine this, it could have been created in his mind as he walked home.
This could have happened and gone to plan without the video segments from Angels with Filthy Souls. He left a note on the front door to say deliver to the back door, the pizza guy went there, Kevin could have still spoken to him through the door and passed money on via the cat flap…but imagine if a guy believed the film scene that scared Kevin was a real conversation! Man, he would have been spooked…if he was 8 years old…
Kevin interacts with the boiler monster:
Boy, that kid really does have an active imagination doesn’t he!
It’s not real, just a creation in Kevin’s mind when he’s afraid, but you don’t need me to explain that one to you, it’s more obvious than the wet bandit creation.
Conclusion: Although he overcomes that particular scare, it’s still playing on his mind in the kitchen and creates another one that he can control – Marv trying to access the backdoor. Luckily, he has Angels with Filthy Souls on standby and his parents always keep a bundle of firecrackers in their kitchen draw…It didn’t happen.
Decorating the Christmas Tree:
Although he’s been able to counterbalance his fear with positive imagination, Kevin gets another bout while decorating the tree. Realising that he has his back to a window, he suddenly feels vulnerable, heightened by seeing the window’s reflection in a bauble. We can’t blame him though, who hasn’t imagined a face at the window?
Kevin then listens to Marv & Harry from an upstairs window as they stand in the street and openly discuss their plan to rob the house that night at 9pm.
Kevin goes to Church and meets Old Man Marley:
Kevin has been alone for 2 nights, so by this stage he would want to have reassurance and the feeling of safety amongst others. He did go to church, and he did speak to Marley, easing past fears and befriending him.
Conclusion: Marley is now an ally in his story and can be used as a fallback to save him if he’s unable to cope with his mental trauma.
The attempted burglary/final battle:
Upon leaving the church, we hear the bells ring for 8 o’clock, giving Kevin just an hour to get home, draw up a plan and setup all of his booby traps…and make dinner. But as luck would have it, he gets everything done by 8:57pm (if the microwave clock is correct).
Point to note – considering that he was fearful of his house getting burgled, he had left the front door unlocked while out seeing Santa & going to Church.
Kevin makes a variety of booby traps, all capable of seriously injuring (or killing) those that attempt to get past them, but the wet bandits have minimal or short lived injuries. We see their interactions as a cartoon, like it was written by a kid who loved Tom & Jerry.
Everything goes to plan until the end, but old man Marley must have seen or heard the commotion going on (he is only across the street), so enters the empty neighbours house where Kevin is now trapped, and saves him from the wet bandits.
Conclusion: None of this happened, it was all in Kevin’s mind. Even the save by Marley at the end. Marley tenderly carries Kevin out and says “Lets get you home” however, if he did take him home, he would have slipped on the ice and broke his back or suffered 3rd degree burns from the door knob when he arrived.
Also, what sort of nice old man would just drop a kid off at the door after that type of ordeal? Wouldn’t he want to speak to Kevin’s parents or, upon realising that he was home alone, insist that Kevin stay with him until they returned?
Why didn’t the Police take Kevin in that night? He’s not only a key witness but they had it on record that his parents reported him as being home alone, they even assigned an officer to check?
Wouldn’t the house be taped off as a crime scene?
Who cleared up all of the mess from the booby traps? Forensics? If so, they did a fantastic job sorting all that out after 10pm on Christmas Eve.
Why didn’t Kevin’s mum arrive the next morning and promptly slip on the front door steps?
Why are the wet bandits and attempted burglary never spoken about by Kevin’s family? Surely this incident (and Kevin’s ability to outsmart and capture them) would make headline news and push him into celebrity status? Something that would at least be remembered, raised or spoken about again in Home Alone 2?
But Kevin’s dad finds the gold tooth at the end…right?
Yes, Peter McAllister does find Harry’s gold tooth at the end of the film, so he must have been there and had it knocked out by the paint can…but remember the cop at the start of the film? Where was he standing when he visited the McAllister home? We know that the cop had a gold tooth, as Kevin saw it. Could it be that the cop was simply an inspiration for one of Kevin’s bad guys and happened to lose his tooth during the home visit? We know that the parents didn’t clean between that visit and their vacation, so it’s quite plausible that the missing tooth remained there until they returned?
If the events did take place, why such shoddy work from the forensic team? Did they not find the gold tooth?
Home Alone 2 – does the theory still hold?
If you analyse the events in Home Alone 2, yes the theory still holds.
Kevin’s interaction/creation of the wet bandits only begins when the hotel staff are on to him and take away his feeling of security.
But Duncan’s Toy Chest leaves the family all of those gifts in the hotel room on Christmas morning?
A thank you for preventing the robbery of the Toy Store? Or a grovelling apology from the Plaza Hotel for scaring Kevin away and making the situation worse?
They didn’t know much about Kevin but they knew where he wanted to go as they arranged the limo to take him there – Duncan’s Toy Chest.
As always, send us your thoughts & comments or share with others to continue the debate.