Kevin McCallister’s 25 cruellest Home Alone traps

It’s been a quarter century since Home Alone 2: Lost In New York was released. The Christmas comedy film pitted Macauley Culkin’s Kevin McCallister, a boy stranded in New York after his family forgets him (again), against two dim-witted robbers formerly known as the Wet Bandits. Back then the hijinks were cute, but you’d expect Kevin to be locked up in an institution for the criminally insane by the time he hit 25, thanks to his predilection for inflicting serious punishment to Harry (the short one) and Marv (the tall one). If you needed any evidence of his sadism, here are 25 of his cruellest robber-repelling traps…

25. The feather coat
Film: Home Alone
Damage type: Humiliation
Kevin manages to cover Harry’s face in glue, then the criminal accidentally starts a fan, covering him with the feathers lying in front of it. It’s not painful – but it is painfully embarrassing.

24. The trip wire
Film: Home Alone
Damage type: Incapacitating
As Harry and Marv reach the top of the stairs in the original film, this instrument of guerrilla warfare manages to put Harry head over heels. Doesn’t slow them down for long, though.

23. The staple gun
Film: Home Alone 2
Damage type: Piercing
Kevin breaks his opponents’ skin here. Or rather, Marv does. He manages to staple himself three times with this mean trap, including once on the nose. Ouch.

22. The tarantula
Film: Home Alone
Damage type: Fear
Kevin’s brother Buzz is the worst, but he does have a tarantula. With all his family off on holiday, Kevin uses the arachnid to strike fear into Marv’s heart.

21. Improvised caltrops
Film: Home Alone
Damage type: Incapacitating
If you’re worried about a visit from robbers at Christmas time, incapacitate them by leaving glass baubles by the windows – then they’ll get smashed glass in their feet. As long as they’re not wearing shoes. Whatever, it’s all part of an elaborate plan.

20. The shovel to the face
Film: Home Alone
Damage type: Trauma
This one’s not exactly Kevin’s doing – and being towards the end of the film, it’s actually more of a deus ex machina moment – but it’s still an effective way to stop burglars. After this, Harry and Marv get arrested and everything starts going back to normal.

19. The BB gun to the groin
Film: Home Alone
Damage type: Unforgivable
The worst thing about this is that Harry never sees it coming. He’s just standing by the catflap, without a care in the world, when Kev shoots him in his privates. When Marv puts his head through the catflap, he gets a shot in the face too.

18. The bird-seed shroud
Film: Home Alone 2
Damage type: Fear, humiliation
An amped-up variation of the original’s feather coat – in the second film Kev manages to get both burglars covered in glue and bird seed, and attacked by a swarm of pigeons. For ornithophobes, it’s probably unwatchable.

17. The ball-busting shelf
Film: Home Alone 2
Damage type: Unforgivable, trauma
You can’t fail to wince at poor Marv’s troubles here here, slipping his way groin-first into a shelf of paint. Pity him.

 

 

16. The cascading concrete powder
Film: Home Alone 2
Damage type: Gravity-induced trauma
Marv tries to climb a rope he thinks is secure, and as he leaves the ground, the bag of concrete powder it’s attached to comes straight for his head.

15. The tumbling toolkit
Film: Home Alone 2
Damage type: Gravity-induced trauma
This one’s a variant of the classic ‘bucket of water balanced on a door’ prank – except this bucket’s full of spanners.

14. The tar
Film: Home Alone
Damage type: Asset removal (boots)
Kevin’s tar is placed at the perfect time – it becomes cool and adhesive enough to remove Marv’s boots – socks and all – exposing him to all kinds of foot-based punishment.

13. The slippery staircase
Film: Home Alone
Damage type: Humiliation, falling
Kev’s also one of the few people looking to add ice to their staircases, knowing his intruders won’t think to wear crampons.

12. The scalding-hot handle
Film: Home Alone
Damage type: Debilitating burns
A classic. Whether or not it would work in real life doesn’t really matter.

 

11. The hidden nail
Film: Home Alone
Damage type: Debilitating foot-piercing
The likelihood that Marv would tread on the one nail Kevin placed here after forcing him to remove his boots is admittedly not high, but then again, this is Marv we’re talking about.

10. The falling iron
Film: Home Alone
Damage type: Burns, gravity-induced trauma
Kevin’s pulley system causes an iron to fall down a vent shaft when Marv tries to turn on the basement light. He looks straight up at it, getting himself a hot, hard knock on the face.

 

9. The head blowtorch
Film: Home Alone
Damage type: Head burns
This is where Kevin’s psychopathic tendencies become clear – burning someone’s head is essentially just torture. The other weird thing about this scene is how Harry just stands in the stream of fire for at least three seconds – he’s meant to be the smart one.

8. The rope-cut
Film: Home Alone
Damage type: Falling
One of the more satisfying ‘denial of entry’ moments in the first film, this one sees Harry and Marv on a rope high above the ground, trying to shuffle into the house. Kev appears with some shears and down they go.

7. The slippery ladder
Film: Home Alone 2
Damage type: Falling
Some kind of green slime loosens Harry’s grip on this shortened ladder, forcing him to fall flat on his back. To add insult to injury, a big glob of the green goo falls straight on his face.

 

6. The rope-burn
Film: Home Alone 2
Damage type: Falling, burns
Kevin’s supply of kerosene is never low – here he’s dipped a rope in the stuff, and lights it with Harry and Marv halfway up. Miraculously, they survive the ridiculous fall.

5. The metal wodge
Film: Home Alone 2
Damage type: Blunt trauma, falling
This weighty pendulum trap is approaching Indiana Jones levels of severity. How did Kev even lift it?

4. The hat explosion
Film: Home Alone 2
Damage type: Burning, explosive
In the first film there was a head-height blow-torch, which left Harry’s hat on fire. After that one he jumped headfirst into snow – here his only option is to dip his head in a toilet he’s unaware is filled with kerosene. The results are particularly explosive.

 

3. The electrocution
Film: Home Alone 2
Damage type: Electric, sadistic
Kevin actually turns up the voltage on this rigged arc welder while Marv is being electrocuted by it. That’s an actual torture thing. Chilling.

 

2. The paint-pot pendulum
Film: Home Alone
Damage type: Blunt trauma, implausible
A fan favourite from the first film. One hits Marv square in the face, and Harry turns to talk to him. Another swings down, hits him straight into the other one, and down he goes too.

1. The brick throw
Film: Home Alone 2
Damage type: Gravity-induced trauma, sadistic
Look at Kevin’s face as he chucks these bricks. It’s nonchalant. It’s routine. It’s the face of a sadist. It’s now clear we never should have rooted for him.