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Architects Analyze Kevin McCallister’s “Home Alone” Booby Traps

Overanalyze Home Alone in every way possible — and it still stands up, all these years later

One of the hapless burglars in "Home Alone" unwittingly stepped on Christmas ornaments placed by Kevin (Beau Lark/Corbis)
smithsonian.com

When a kid is left home alone on Christmas and beset by would-be-burglers, the only thing he can do is set up some elaborate booby traps, of course. And when the film depicting that scenario becomes a classic movie, the best thing we can do is analyze those booby traps 24 years later. 

Kevin McCallister, played by Macaulay Culkin in the 1990 movie "Home Alone," spends most of the film in his family's home. The set was actually a real home, located at 671 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, Illinois—a village of about 12,000 people north of Chicago.

That’s according to the publishers of Interiors, an online film and architectural journal, writing at ArchDaily. Interiors delves into the decor and layout of the home and explains how editing choices emphasize the silence of the empty house when Kevin realizes he is home alone. But the gem of Interiors' work is a detailed layout that shows the paths Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) take around and into the house. It also features silhouettes each time the bad guys ran into one of Kevin’s traps. 

They also analyze Kevin’s intentions:

Kevin’s “Battle Plan” is very architectural in the sense that he devises a trap in every main room or space of the house. Kevin defends this personal space with traps that are devised around the perimeter of the house; every entrance is rigged: icy external stairs, a heated door knob on the front door, ornaments under the window, and a nail on the basement stairs. Kevin also anticipates potential routes during his plan. Harry and Marv separate after they attempt to enter through the back door, but the ultimate plan that Kevin has for them is having them meet at the foyer and travel up the stairs.

They point out that at one point Marv steps barefoot on Christmas ornaments, something that would only have worked if he had previously attempted to enter through the basement, encountered the tarred steps there and taken off his shoes and socks.

The analysis makes you want to see the stunts acted out again, but should you seek out footage of those, there’s one more thing you should know: CineFix points out in their video that 9-year old Culkin couldn’t be subjected to some of the more extreme stunts, so he had his own stuntman. What does a stuntman for a 9-year old look like? Apparently, a 30-year old man just slight and short enough to pass for a kid. 

Via SPLOID, you can find more "things you (probably) didn’t know about Home Alone" below, and  for one last wonderful bit of over-thinking, check out "Everything Macaulay Culkin Eats in the Home Alone Movies, Ranked" from Thrillist.

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