Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York are two the best Christmas movies of all time. You can be mad if you’d like, but you know just as much as we do that Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) being accidentally left behind –first at home and then in the Big Apple are the perfect family-friendly adventure films for the holiday season. In Home Alone, Kevin acts like a brat and is sent up to the attic with no dinner only to wake up the next morning to discover that his family has flown off to Paris for Christmas unintentionally leaving him behind. Though he’s only eight, Kevin seems ready to stick things out alone until two criminals (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern)– the Wet Bandits, who have designs on his massive family home begin plotting to rob it.
Lost in New York puts another twist on the classic tale. Kevin gets to the airport this time but ends up on the wrong plane. While his family takes off for Miami, he ends up alone in the concrete jungle wreaking havoc on The Plaza Hotel and avoiding those same criminals from the first movie. But what if Home Alone has more to it than that? Some fans of the films have come up with some very fascinating dark fan theories.
1. Old Man Marley is Kevin from the future
In Home Alone, Kevin, his siblings, and his cousins are horrified by their neighbor Old Man Marley. Kevin’s big brother Buzz convinces him that Marley is the Shovel Slayer, who disposed of his family’s bodies using ice melt. Kevin later learns that that’s not exactly true. However, Reddit user, spookycookies believes that Marley is actually Kevin from the future, returning to alter his tragic childhood.
Spookiecokies goes to great lengths to explain why this alternative timeline works, and they’re super convincing. After all, it is Old Man Marley who saves Kevin from being murdered by the Wet Bandits in the end, which enables him to reconcile with his family — something Marley isn’t able to do until he’s in his wiser years.
2. Kevin is now the killer from Saw
Though he was a bit annoying, Kevin was still super cute like most little kids are. However, Redditor Jordoom suggests that because he was bullied and continually abandoned by his family, the youngest McCallister son was more than a little messed up. By going up against the Wet Bandits, he learned very crafty and malicious ways of injuring people. (Remember when he hit Marv in the head with that hot iron?) Therefore, it’s not a stretch that Kevin grew up to be the Jigsaw killer, forcing people into cruel life-or-death scenarios.
3. Kevin’s dad is a mobster
The older we get, the more we wonder what exactly Kevin’s dad did to afford that sprawling house in a Chicago suburb, that massive family of children, and the ability to take his immediate and extended family on a lush vacation to Paris for Christmas. Honestly, we can barely afford a 3-wick candle from Bath and Body Works. Luckily, Redditor cubanesis has a theory that explains Peter McCallister’s fortunes.
They suggest that Kevin’s dad is a mid-level mob boss. (This is Chicago after all). If you recall, when Harry comes to the house initially dressed as a Chicago Police officer to warn the family about crime in the area, Peter gets super defensive. He asks, “Am I in some kind of trouble, officer?” We’re also never told what he does for a living, which is highly suspicious.
4. Marv and Harry were working for Uncle Frank
We don’t know much about Kevin’s Uncle Frank other than the fact that he’s mean, cheap and rude –and he also has a lot of kids. Frank is Peter’s older brother, but he’s certainly not as polished or well off. Therefore, Mandatory’s Robert Fee believes that Uncle Frank was the mastermind behind the McCallister home being robbed.
Fee suggests that Frank, who is admittedly highly suspicious, hired Marv and Harry to rob the McCallister’s place. It is your own family sometimes.
5. Gus Polinski is the devil himself
One of our favorite moments in Home Alone is when the late-John Candy appears as a polka singer named Gus Polinski. Gus offers Kevin’s mother, Kate a ride from Scranton, Pennsylvania back to Chicago. Just before Candy steps into frame, a harried and exhausted Kate exclaims to the airline agent, “[I will get home even] if I have to sell my soul to the devil himself.” Gus notices her just then and offers her a ride home.
Reddit user Honest_Coxy suggests that even though Kate takes the ride –which is pretty strange and creepy, she could have remained at the airport and arrived home at the exact same time as the rest of her family. It’s as if the universe (or the devil) was playing tricks on her. There is also a creepy crossroads in Scranton airport, which also suggests demonic behavior.
6. Harry and Marv are Christmas spirits
Reddit’s sumojoe suggest that Home Alone is actually giving us A Christmas Carol vibes. They believe that because Kevin is a pretty heinous child at the beginning of Home Alone, and he wishes his family would disappear, Harry and Marv show up as Christmas spirits to help him remember how important family is.
In Home Alone 2, they reappear again when Kevin — who has his father’s credit card, gets carried away with spending. Harry and Marv are there to remind him about the importance of giving and what Christmas is really about. This could certainly be plausible, but Harry and Marv are some pretty horrific Christmas spirits if you ask us. However, this would explain how they kept surviving Kevin’s beatdowns.
7. Mr. Duncan and the Pigeon Lady were former lovers
First of all gross, but this seems plausible. In Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Kevin makes two new friends, Mr. Duncan the toy shop owner and the Pigeon Lady, a homeless woman whose only friends are the ratty New York City birds. The duo never meet, but Screen Rant suggests they were actually former lovers. They indicate that Mr. Duncan left the Pigeon Lady because she couldn’t have children.
In the movie, the Pigeon Lady talks about being in a relationship in the past and that her partner left her, but she doesn’t go into further detail. However, it’s clear that she once lived a luxurious life since she often sneaks into Carnegie Hall and she tells Kevin that she’s seen everyone from Frank Sintra Ella Fitzgerald perform there. Perhaps it was when she was in a relationship with the wealthy Mr. Duncan. It’s also interesting that the gift Mr. Duncan gave Kevin was a pair of turtle doves.
8. Uncle Frank put out a hit on Kevin
We shouldn’t laugh, but this theory is hilarious to us. Kevin is the worst at the beginning of Home Alone, but he’s also just a kid. Redditor Luminescence9 believes that Kevin overheard some seriously damning information about Uncle Frank –like tax invasion or something. This prompts Frank to make sure Kevin is left behind in Chicago, and he hires the Wet Bandits to kill his nephew.
We can see it, especially because when Kate realizes Kevin has been left behind, Uncle Fank says nonchalantly, “If it makes you feel any better, I forgot my reading glasses.” Then there is the fact that both Marv and Harry do try to murder Kevin and say multiple times throughout the movie that they are going to kill him.
9. Kevin’s father hates him
At the start of Home Alone, Kevin’s relationship with his father, Peter isn’t exactly warm and fuzzy. When we first see them interact, Peter is berating Kevin about using his new fish hooks to make Christmas ornaments. Later when the family is eating pizza, and Kevin and Buzz begin to fight, a 2-liter bottle of soda is spilled on the plane tickets that lay on the kitchen counter. When Peter cleans up the mess, he “accidentally” throws out Kevin’s plane ticket –but no one else’s.
As a user on the Movie Details thread on Reddit suggests, “What if Peter hated Kevin just as much as Frank did, only he was better at hiding it?”
10. Buzz is a psychopath
If you have siblings, then you know that there can be some friction there. However, rivalries typically happen between siblings who are closer in age. Buzz looks to be at least six years older than Kevin, yet he taunts his little brother mercilessly. In Home Alone, he convinces Kevin that Old Man Marley is a serial killer, he purposely eats all of Kevin’s cheese pizza, and he doesn’t seem disturbed in the least that Kevin is left home alone. When Kevin asks if he can sleep in Buzz’s room to avoid being with his bed wetter cousin Fuller, Buzz responds by saying, “I wouldn’t let you sleep in my room if you were growing on my ass!”
In Lost in New York, Buzz is even more vicious. He publically humiliates Kevin at a Christmas play and then convinces the entire family that it was an accident. Psychopath much?
11. Old Man Marley’s bloody wound is a gruesome metaphor
Old Man Marley’s wound in the first Home Alone is significant. When Kevin first encounters the old man up close in a store, Marley has a bleeding wound on his hand. The second time he encounters him at church, the wound is beginning to heal. Marley reveals to Kevin that he was estranged from his adult son and had been for years.
However, the wound begins to heal rapidly from there. The next time we see Marley on screen, he has reconciled with his family, and the injury is completely healed. It’s pretty gruesome to note that the blood wound was the physical manifestation of Marley’s relationship with his son.
12. Kevin’s dad is training him to be a secret agent
If Peter McCallister isn’t a mobster, he might be a secret agent, training his children in the art of survival. In Home Alone, Kevin is taunted and harassed by his siblings, cousins, and his Uncle Frank, but Peter seems pretty unphased by it all. Redditor Worlds_Best_Coffee suggests that there is a reason for that. They believe Peter is orchestrating the entire break-in making sure his son knows how to survive. He forces his son to use household items to thwart Marv and Harry.
The Reddit user believes that Peter started his training with Buzz, who is already anti-social, defensive, and owns a gun and a spider. Perhaps Peter really did use his children to test out his life’s work.
13. Is Elvis in Home Alone?
While many of us believe that Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll died back in 1977 at the age of 42, some folks think that he’s alive and well and that he popped up 13 years later in 1990’s Home Alone. Some Home Alone fans are convinced that they caught a glimpse of the King of Rock and Roll in the scene where Kevin’s mom Kate is in the Scranton airport.
In the scene, a bearded man in a jacket and turtleneck stands right over Kate’s left shoulder, occasionally expressing his annoyance with his body language — he also cocks his head Elvis style. Obviously, this is a pretty farfetched theory, but it would be super dark if it were true.
14. The McCallisters are a cult
At first glance, it seems like the McCallisters are an average family. However, Screen Rant believes something else might be amiss. They believe that the McCallisters are actually a cult. They suggest that choosing to call the police over a friend when they realize Kevin is missing is pretty weird. Could that be because the McCallisters don’t actually have any friends?
The kids are also super suspicious of outsiders. Fuller and his sister are terrified of Harry when they see him, even though he’s dressed up like a cop. Buzz, Kevin, and their cousin are convinced that Old Man Marley is the Shovel Slayer. Fear is a pretty good way to keep kids in line and isolated from the outside world.
The name McCallister is pretty suspect. It essentially means “induction ceremony” which is a pretty culty name. Also, who drinks milk with pizza?!! Disgusting.
15. Kevin is dead
Perhaps the most sinister Home Alone fan theory of all time is that Kevin is actually dead the entire time. In her essay, “Home Alone” Is So Much Better if Kevin McCallister is Dead for The Daily Beast, Erin Gloria Ryan suggest that Kevin is actually a ghost terrorizing his family in their Illinois home. He leaves toy cars on the floor and destroys his father’s new fish hooks –his sister calls him a disease and his uncle calls him a “little jerk.”
Ryan has a fully fleshed out essay on the whole theory, but one of her most haunting examples is when Kate and Gus are in the back of the van talking about leaving their children behind. Ryan writes, “Gus replies that he’d actually left his kid at a funeral parlor once, all day long. Kate says, “Maybe we shouldn’t talk about this.” Gus points out that she had brought it up. “I’m sorry I did,” says Kate, mad with grief.”