clock menu more-arrow no yes

Time to feel old: Home Alone came out 25 years ago

Don't get scared now.

Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) prepares to beat up full-grown bandits.
Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) prepares to beat up full-grown bandits.
Twentieth Century Fox

Whether you like it or not not, it's nearly impossible to escape Home Alone around the holidays, not to mention its equally zany sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost In New York. (We don't talk about Home Alone 3, or, God forbid, the made-for-TV Home Alone 4, starring French Stewart.) Home Alone is likely to be even more prevalent this year: The original film celebrates its 25th anniversary on Monday, November 16.

Director Chris Columbus and writer/producer John Hughes's Christmas tale of a young boy seemingly destined to fend off creepy robbers over and over again has become a ubiquitous holiday staple in the years since its hugely successful 1990 release. Kevin McCallister isn't just Macaulay Culkin's very own personal ghost of Christmas past; he pops up annually to remind an entire generation they once loved watching Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci get hit in the face.

Or maybe Kevin's just a charismatic kid who hit a jackpot combination of holiday cheer and the universal knee-jerk instinct to laugh at dumb slapstick. (It's probably not a coincidence that America's Funniest Home Videos premiered only one year prior, and averaged around 38 million viewers as Home Alone blowtorched Pesci's head.)

The internet being what it is, there are plenty of opportunities to indulge your Home Alone nostalgia should you feel the need. Like the following video from CineFix that reveals some of the movie's little-known secrets. For instance: Home Alone's producers used a 30-year-old stunt double for Culkin's Kevin, hired a cheap special effects guy who completed work from his basement, and only had John Candy (the Polka King of the Midwest!) at their disposal for a grand total of 23 hours.

Then there are plenty of pieces that explain in great detail the cringe-inducing traumas the Wet Bandits (Pesci and Stern) endure at Kevin's diabolical hand. In 2012, the Week consulted Dr. Ryan St. Clair of the Weill Cornell Medical College, who surveyed Home Alone's major injuries for accuracy and delivered some stellar conclusions. For example:

A BB fired at close range from such a weapon could break the skin, but will not penetrate the skull, and is unlikely to penetrate Harry's scrotum, especially through fabric.

Or my personal favorite, regarding the scene where Harry grasps a burning-hot doorknob:

Assuming Harry doesn't lose the hand completely, he will almost certainly have other serious complications ... . Kevin has moved from "defending his house" into sheer malice, in my opinion.

And finally, even if you'd rather not spoil the movie's magic with knowledge of such painful details, you can still relive Home Alone's creative, infamous spin on dining and dashing — and keep the change, ya filthy animals.