The Halloween season may be over, but that doesn’t necessarily mean an end to thrills, chills, and nightmares. The upcoming holidays bring with them a terror all their own. There are numerous seasonally appropriate horror films, ranging from Black Christmas to Christmas Evil and even, arguably, Gremlins. But in an intriguing think piece at Hope&Fears, Rhett Jones suggests that the most important holiday horror film of them all is 1990’s Home Alone, a film that’s ostensibly a family comedy, because it introduced its very young, impressionable audience to the wonderful world of slasher movies. According to Jones’ theory, Home Alone protagonist Kevin McCallister has a lot in common with Michael Myers of the Halloween franchise and Jason Voorhees of the Friday The 13th films. The key difference is that Kevin is a child who doesn’t actually kill his victims; he just tortures and mutilates them horribly. Also, because these victims are criminals themselves, they are nominally more deserving of Kevin’s sadism than the horny teens slashed up by Jason and Michael.
Home Alone, the article states, has all the earmarks of a good slasher movie: stupid victims who make it easy to root for the killer, fiendishly clever “kills,” and a strong bias against sex. But that’s just the beginning. The John Hughes-scripted, Chris Columbus-directed film is a veritable museum of slasher movie tropes, including a creepy basement, improvised weapons, and useless adult authority figures. There’s even a shower scene of sorts. Jones further illustrates his point by comparing a Home Alone highlight reel to clips of Jason and Michael in action and finding undeniable parallels therein. It is probable, then, that viewers who watched Home Alone in their youth grew up to be the same moviegoers who kept the Final Destination and Saw franchises going for years. The producers of those films owe a debt of gratitude to Macaulay Culkin for making all of that sick stuff seem like perfectly normal, wholesome entertainment.