Home Alone is the official holiday movie of ’90s kids everywhere. And probably for people who love seeing criminals with a penchant for punishment get absolutely slaughtered by a child’s booby traps.
Like any film that becomes an indelible part of our collective social consciousness, Home Alone’s been analyzed and commented on countless times.
But there’s something you probably didn’t notice about the movie, even 28 years after its release. And that’s the borderline-crazy level of festive holiday motif in the McCallisters’ home decor.
Something that Claire Reilly, senior editor at CNET, discovered while viewing the film. She even provided some stills of the interior of Kevin’s home to show that whoever designed the place went above-and-beyond for Christmas decorations.
If I had to guess why Home Alone is so deeply intertwined with our perception of the holiday season, the film’s imagery and color story have just as much to do with it as the actual plot. I mean, look at the couches and chairs in Kevin’s living room.
I didn’t grow up celebrating Christmas, but even I have to admit that’s one overly festive home. If a gang of Santa’s elves walked into that room, they’d throw their hands up and go, “Whoa whoa whoa, take it easy with the cheer in here!”
But it doesn’t end there. Claire kept providing still after still to prove her thesis. There’s red and green candles, a green plant standing right next to this vibrant red wallpaper. You can’t forget the green walls behind Kevin in this shot, either.
And not only are the walls that lead into the attic green, but there’s a huge “festive” green rug hanging off the wall too. The whole place just oozes a Christmas aesthetic and, if I’m being quite frank, I feel pretty dumb not picking up on this sooner.
But if you think that’s obvious, wait until you see this still of Kevin’s mom on the phone. That’s right: she’s got a green landline phone and the wallpaper in the room is basically ripped straight out of Mrs. Claus’ kitchen.
Claire also took some liberties with changing around a bit of the dialogue in the film to reflect what Harry and Marv were probably thinking when they broke into the house. Honestly, if I was a burglar and I saw someone decorated their home that way, I’d probably find another domicile to pilfer from.
It’s easy to get cynical about the over-decorating, but that “too-muchness” is what makes us love Home Alone. The over-the-top physical comedy, the elaborate traps, the super sweet/cheesy ending, the creepy old guy with a shovel who turns out not to be creepy at all. All of these ingredients justify the uber-Christmas design of Kevin’s house in the movie.
OK, so maybe the McCallister family kitchen hits us over the head with the fact that this is a Christmas movie.
But it’s also a big reason why this film is dripping with Christmas. You have to give the set designers credit for taking the theme and running with it.
If you find yourself slapping your forehead in disbelief that you ever even missed these facts, don’t feel bad. Plenty more people were equally flabbergasted by Claire’s discovery.
But there were others who obsessed over the imagery and decor in the film before, and even pointed out some Easter eggs of their own. Like Kevin’s sweater choices in the film. That’s right, even his clothing represents the colors of Christmas.
What’s probably the most troubling about this home being completely decorated for Christmas time is that Kevin’s whole family is overseas for Christmas. What’s the point of decking your house out to be all Christmasy if you’re not going to be there to enjoy it during the holidays? It makes you wonder: is their house just like this all year?
If you thought that was surprising, then this other little Home Alone fact might blow you away, too. Remember the scene where Kevin’s watching an old-timey, violent movie, but then gets so scared of the tommy gunfire, he closes his eyes?
It provided one of the most iconic lines of all time, “Keep the change, ya filthy animal!” I still use that catchphrase to this day, personally, much to the chagrin of coffee shop workers and political canvassers who ask me to “be the change I wish to see in the world.” Pfft, nerds.
Anyway, many of you probably think it’s an actual black-and-white film from back in the day that the studio got permission to use in the movie.
But here’s the thing: it’s not.
It’s actually a short film called Angels with Filthy Souls that was deliberately shot and produced for Home Alone. Just another example of the amount of careful planning and attention to detail that went into this movie.
No wonder it’s a holiday classic.
Luckily, you can buy Home Alone and watch it again this holiday season here.