All 85 Potential Injuries In 'Home Alone,' Assessed By A Real Doctor
Every year, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, families around the country gather in front of the glowing warmth of their LCD screens, watching TBS with glee as a plucky eight-year-old mercilessly tortures two grown men with a reckless abandon that would make Vlad the Impaler blush. It's a couple of hours of unbridled fun, always. But seldom does any one stop to consider the actual, real-life fractures, lesions, burns and head injuries that the Wet Bandits (above, center, left) in Home Alone would have actually sustained from little Kevin’s night of wanton tomfoolery.
But we did, so I asked New York City Internist and MD, Dr. Diego Ponieman, to help us diagnose and analyze 16 separate instances from Harry and Marv’s Christmas Eve of pain.
The results? More harrowing than Buzz’s girlfriend. Woof.
[Editor's Note: While our helpful MD is more than qualified, 100 percent accuracy in a diagnosis, strictly by sight, without proper, physical examination is virtually impossible. The potential injuries have been rounded and tallied by us, based on the Doc's insight and simplified prognosis. Plus, it’s just a movie.]
BB Gun: 5+ Potential Injuries
After Kevin polishes off his highly nutritious microwavable macaroni and cheese dinner, the night begins. As the Wet Bandits approach, that little rascal-turned-burn-out-singer of a Pizza-themed Velvet Underground cover band, sticks his trusty BB gun through the doggie door, shooting Harry in the groin and Marv directly in the forehead.
Diagnosis: "Laceration on forehead, almost definitely. Close range probably wouldn't be enough to fracture the skull, but it could break skin or even get lodged in deeper tissues. The BB probably wouldn't break through pants, depending on the fabric. But there could (and probably would) be serious, lasting damage to the testicle if it was in fact a direct hit, especially at that range."
Stair Falls: 15+ Potential Injuries (at least)
Throughout the film, Harry and Marv prove to be what the French would call "laissez competent," by falling, hard, down several flights of stairs, on multiple occasions. We decided to lump these incidents together, for brevity.
Diagnosis: "Neither one would be able to get up after these falls, especially at their age. Any of these tumbles would definitely be enough to send them to the ER, immediately: herniated disks, bruised or fractured tail bones, multiple spinal fractures, broken limbs and ribs, serious deep tissue bruising, internal bleeding—and that's just a start. Damage to the coccyx, or tailbone would make it extremely painful and difficult to even stay seated, let alone walk/run. They are old enough to have underlying health problems for the rest of their lives, just based on these falls, alone."
Iron To Face: 6+ Potential Injuries
In one of Kevin McCallister's most cunning strategic moves, he anticipates that Marv will not only head to the basement after the back door is compromised, but also turn on the light in an already decently lit basement. Upon pulling the light-cord, a steam iron (weighing anywhere from four to eight pounds, approximately) falls a full story and makes hard iron-to-Marv's grill contact.
Diagnosis: "Probable concussion. Potentially an orbital fracture, eye muscles can get caught in fracture, and thats a very serious emergency, loss of vision is possible. Could develop 'Raccoon-eyes', (bruising of the tissues around the eyes), and you could definitely get a basilar skull fracture."
Nail In Foot: 7+ Potential Injuries
Like most eight-year-old, suburban children, Kevin has unlimited access to industrial strength tar. Using the tar, he tricks a severely-concussed Marv to remove his shoes and socks, just before he self-impales his foot on a (presumably) rusted nail. Pure genius.
Diagnosis: "This one looks painful. Perforated fascia maybe, could definitely injure some tendons in the foot. The lingering effects of this injury could get intense if not properly treated. Deep tissue infection or cellulitis (bacterial infection). He should hope the nail is not rusty. Rusty nails DO cause tetanus, if no treatment is given. It would be extremely hard to put weight on this foot, afterwards.
Hand Branding: 5+ Potential Injuries
Possibly my favorite part of the movie, Kevin gives Harry the "Toht treatment," as he heats his doorknob up to scalding temperatures, leaving a lasting mark.
Diagnosis: "Second degree burns would be caused. Blistering of the tissue, deep blistering. The aftermath looks semi-accurate in this case, actually. Decreased mobility of the hand with serious sensitivity, possibly long-term. In this case, I don't think the actual scar would remain forever, (as opposed to the results of third-degree burns) but some permanent color changes and immobility are a distinct possibility.
Bulbs/Ornaments In Foot: 4+ Injuries
For some reason, Marv leaves his shoes off after the nail-in-foot (severe brain damage, anyone?). Without looking, he steps through the window and directly onto a pile of strategically-placed bulbs and ornaments, all immediately breaking under the pressures of his already-lacerated foot.
Diagnosis: "Glass would become embedded in the foot and would need to be removed, piece by piece, which would prove very difficult. He would not be able to walk after this point, the embedded pieces would go deeper and deeper, cutting his foot with each step. Would not be as deep as the nail though. Probably would have put his shoes back on though, right?"
Flamethrower On Head: 7+ Potential Injuries
Ah, the classic flamethrower to head maneuver. While Joe Pesci is generally known for playing hot-heads in movies like Goodfellas and Casino, his head is literally on f*cking fire in this haunting scene. Look what you did, you little jerk.
Diagnosis: "This is a very serious and potentially critical injury—his skull could melt off the top of his head. Open dehydration and infection, almost certainly. He stayed in there so long (for some reason, he could have left much earlier), the fire would have spread and more than just the top of his skull would have been affected. Even the heat coming from the flame would have impacted the surrounding skin, his ears, his eyes, etc. If he could have possibly survived this, he would have horrible scarring."
Tar And Feathering: 1+ Injuries
Again, young Kevin turns towards his unlimited tar resources to embarrass his nemesis, 18th century tax evader style, with a proper tar and feathering.
Diagnosis: "Probably no serious injuries. Emotional scarring—if anything."
Micro-Machine Fall: 5+ Potential Injuries
Micro Machines, which were only good for foiling attempted burglaries, are the weapon of choice this time. Seriously, why don't these guys ever look down?
Diagnosis: "This was an intense fall, here. Marv is still shoeless, for some reason, so he would have potentially hurt his foot even further. They are clearly on the verge of paralysis at this point."
Paint Bucket To Face: 8+ Injuries
In what may be the most cherished of all the physical pain doled out in Home Alone, a paint can on a string is applied directly to the duo's respective faces. A typical paint can can weigh upwards of 10 pounds, but his one appears to have been previously opened, so we'll round out at six to seven.
Diagnosis: "Another concussion is definitely probably, causing serious, long-term neurological damage at this point. Blunt force trauma to head, broken nose, fractured skull all possible. Epidural hematoma is a distinct concern at this point. This would knock out more than one tooth, major dental work would be needed. Would need a few visits to Oral Maxillofacial surgeon, hope they have good insurance with good coverage and low deductibles, but being professional criminals, they probably do not. I can only assume this blow would knock them out cold, especially after all the other major brain damage throughout the night."
Tarantula On Face: 1 Potential Injury
Buzz's beloved tarantula finds his way onto Marv's face. Hilarity ensues.
Diagnosis: "Unless it bit him, there would be no harm done here, unless you count emotional trauma. After what they have been through though, this should be the least of their problems."
Crowbar To Chest: 4+ Potential Injuries
The tarantula makes it's way to an incapacitated Harry's chest, thereby officially covering the most ground ever by a tarantula in a three-day period. Marv does the sensible thing, per usual, and bashes his chest with a crowbar. Marvrrrrvvvv, what're you doing?
Diagnosis: "Cracked ribs, potentially more internal bleeding, could possibly have even damaged a lung.That was one solid blow."
Fall From Tree House Rope: 10+ Potential Injuries
The duo miraculously are able to overcome their injuries, and scale a rope halfway to Kevin's treehouse hideaway. Spoiler Alert: they don't make it.
Diagnosis: "More of the same, everything mentioned on previous falls. They would not get up from this one, expect heavy injuries, possibly critical, especially with everything else they have been through. Strain of cervical, para spinal muscles possible. Would need a cervical collar for a while."
Finger Biting: At least 1 very serious one
Can you really bit someone's finger off, like that?
Diagnosis: "Of course, especially at the joint."
Shovel To The Skull: 6+ Potential Injuries
In a classic deus-ex-machina, the scraggly, volunteer snow-shoveler/potential child predator shows up to save the day, delivering yet another major head injury to this unlucky duo with his extra large snow shovel.
Diagnosis: "Temporary blackout, another concussion is almost assured. Definitely now at risk for epidermal hematoma. If their night wasn't over before, it definitely would end right here. They would not be able to walk into a cop car of their own volition, no way. They'd be incredibly lucky to even be alive."
Overall, our assessment comes to a whopping 85 distinct injuries over the course of the night for our Wet Bandits.
Personally? I wouldn't let this little monster stay in my room either, even if he was growing on my ass. Buzz had it right all along.
Wil Fulton is an editorial assistant at Supercompressor. Happy holidays, ya little jerks.