You’ll Never Watch 'Home Alone' the Same Way Ever Again
By Neil Foley
The events during Home Alone are actually a dramatic confession from one of America’s most feared, successful, and surreptitious villains of the modern era.
But to know the whole story, at least this story, one must go back to my inconsequential (for you) senior year of high school.
The setting: Jaime Robillard’s high school graduation party, where my buddy got control of the VCR.
Care to feel old in 2018? Write down, “Got Control of the VCR.” If you’re sitting alone in your apartment, mansion, cubical, futuristic domicile that no one has yet heard of … you’re going to feel ancient if you boast the aforementioned accomplishment. Hell, you may potentially dissolve into nothingness, something that hasn’t really happened (to my knowledge; I’m not a scientist). But in that humid June night in 2000, my buddy Ferris took the plunge (and comically huge remote) & had the nerve to put a Christmas Movie on in the warm New England summer air. As the now outdated mechanism did its thing, the jokes about Mrs. McCallister’s sterling attempt to get DSS immediately called on her, the Wet Bandits somehow parking in the driveway of the house they intended to rob, and Buzz threatening to feed Kevin to his tarantula despite never actually uttering those words in the film, dominated the room. They were all innocent laughs meant to capture the ears, eyes and attention of the crowded room. However, looking back, our focus should have been on one man:
Old Man Marley.
He’s the Oscar-worthy, creepy Old Man from Home Alone who has zero ability to function socially. He’s known as the South Bay Shovel Slayer and outperforms the legend of that nickname in meritorious fashion. He slaps a bloody hand down at the local market. He stares at his fellow man like a well-seasoned Lifetime movie assailant. He marches up and down the street as Buzz, Kevin & The Brother The Internet Forgot dare to peak out their window.
We all know Marley as the misunderstood man who saves the day at the end with his shovel. But what if he was that harrowing vision we initially feared as a child? The case against Old Man Marley has been written before, but before the clock strikes 9 p.m. and the Wet Bandits show up, I will lay out why Kevin McCallister was, in fact, Old Man Marley. In fact, the events of Home Alone took place in the mind of the deranged old man, who constantly replayed this fantasy of Harry and Marv comedically attempting to rob a house. Marley relied on this fantasy because years before Kevin (AKA Old Man Marley) murdered his entire family and he needs this false and wacky narrative to mask what actually happened.
We’ve all seen Halloween–obviously not the most pleasant premise–but the end result between Home Alone and John Carpenter’s masterpiece are 100% equal. Ten-year-old Kevin snapped due to abuse and eventually aged into the snow shoveling cautionary tale Old Man Marley. The McCallister residence was an absolute toxic household. Buzz declares that Old Man Marley murdered his entire family in 1958. Leading up to and around this moment, Kevin’s brother literally tells him, “I hope you didn’t pack crap!” before heading to Paris. What type of thing is this to say? He’s preying on a massive fear, as Kevin immediately panics that he must prepare for a trip. But, don’t fret, Buzz is not to be outdone by his younger statesman, and claims he wouldn’t let Kevin sleep in his bed if he was growing on his ass. What a moment. Top 5 of my childhood, top 7 of my life.
More traumatic events occur, including Uncle Frank putting on a clinic for “Biggest Evil Freeloader Ever” whilst uttering the immortal words “Little Jerk” and Kevin’s Mom tossing her hat in the ring for “Worst Mom Ever + Biggest Fraud” with her choice back and forth with Kevin on that staircase. Let’s pepper in a “les incompetent,” and here’s what actually happened:
Kevin murders his entire family with a shotgun, and we all know he was an expert shot. The movie shows Kevin waking up in the top floor after his family left for the airport (heaven). He feels uncomfortable and walks downstairs to discover the horrors of what he did and how he fulfilled his wish of “I don’t want to see you for the rest of my life.” Kevin’s first stop? It’s the basement, where the furnace closely resembles hell.
Look at that coal burning furnace! Is Kevin’s dad shoveling coal in daily to keep the house warm? In reality, that furnace is a manifestation of Kevin’s mind, as he’s horrified of what he did. In his eyes, he was pushed to do it by his loathsome and abusive family. Kevin literally asks “Is this a joke?” when his family is gone.
He realizes it is not, and his first response is pure joy. He runs around the house in a free and jubilant manner, while also acknowledging that “He made his family disappear.” He proudly announces (essentially bragging) to a house void of living physical threats that he’s going thru Buzz’s private stuff, and that Buzz better come out and pound him. But when he watches “Angels with Filthy Souls” it all comes crashing back to him. Why can’t he watch this film? As Acie says 10%, we learn that Acie ain’t in charge no more, and a comedic murder ensues. But no laughs for Kevin. He realizes what he has done! But what can he do? Kevin contrives a convoluted tale of Kevin playing the hero, thwarting two bumbling criminals from robbing his house. But Harry & Marv never actually existed, they are in Kevin’s mind.
Did anyone take Harry and Marv, AKA The Wet Bandits seriously? I think when I saw this movie when I was 9 I wondered why they loafed around the house they pilfered, blindly pulling useless trinkets into a giant sack with a crowbar. Why did Marv stomp down with incredible authority onto Xmas ornaments? Why did Harry grab a flaming hot door with his fist cocked to the side, in such a full and unnatural manner? Why did Harry assume he had such incredible upper body strength that he could simply shimmy 50 yards on a rope to a treehouse? Why lurk around the neighborhood in a van for days and park it in the driveway they rob? Why spend money on a lavish police uniform and greet the entire neighborhood you will steal from? It’s because they didn’t exist. Kevin made them up. Kevin had to play the hero after the horrific events of the night before.
Kevin somehow got away with it. Let’s attribute some of this to the craziness of McCarthyism, as Buzz declares the murders went down in 1958. In the movie, when Kevin screams in fear of Old Man Marley, he isn’t screaming because Old Man Marley lacks social grace. He’s screaming because he acknowledges the sickening deed he just did and is looking at the terrifying old man he will become. An old man that will haunt the affluent neighborhood he lives in with salt on a nightly basis. He even orders pizza from Little Nero’s! In Roman mythology Nero became the last Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Five years into his reign, Nero arranged for the murder of his mother. Familiar? Kevin ordering that pizza was practically a confession, and let’s not forget how he sadistically tortured the pizza delivery boy and inspired a generation of 12 cent tippers.
But, can he come to grips with what he did? No shot. “Home Alone” is actually a reference to Marley and his solitary thoughts where he reunites with his family and saves the day.
Moments in life tend to build. One’s personal experiences tend shape one’s future experiences. A throwaway graduation party the year before Kwame Brown got drafted #1 shouldn’t matter to this day. But don’t tell that to me and Ferris. Somehow, Old Man Marley has a reunion with his son in the McCallister back yard of all places. It’s a happy ending and we all accept it. But should we? I just wish we had the foresight to decipher what we were really watching on that fateful night where a Christmas movie inexplicably popped into the VCR during the warm summer of 2000.
Neil Foley is the Senior Manager of Audio at FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @SirLomax