Entertaining Theory: Is Home Alone A Prequel To Saw?

Ben Bussey
UK Movies Writer

An intriguing fan theory has surfaced about festive family favourite ‘Home Alone,’ suggesting that the film’s prepubescent hero Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) grew up to become the scheming serial killer Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) of the ‘Saw’ movies.

No doubt there are many who will pooh-pooh this notion straight away, based on the trifling detail that ‘Home Alone’ was made 14 years before ‘Saw’ by a completely separate cast and crew (not to mention that there’s rather more than a 14-year age gap between Culkin and Bell). Yet it has to be said - the argument is persuasive.

Had enough, or are you thirsty for more (see what we did there)? Read on for the specifics from Grantland, who posit this hypothesis in what they declare ‘a deadly serious investigation’…

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The first key point: with blonde hair, blue eyes and similar facial structure, it’s not hard to see how Culkin’s Kevin McCallister might have grown into Bell’s John ‘Jigsaw’ Kramer.

Also notable are their shared sadistic and homicidal tendencies. It is noted that in both ‘Home Alone’ movies, the young hero “displays anger-control issues, a proclivity for violent fantasies, and voyeuristic tendencies, combined with a fetish for recorded video.”

As examples of this, we might consider how Kevin obsessively watches the snow-shovelling Old Man Marley (Roberts Blossom) - perhaps taking inspiration from his alleged murders? - and his sadistic delight at using the video ‘Angels with Dirty Faces’ to make the pizza delivery boy run for his life, a trick he later repeats on the burglar Marv (Daniel Stern).

This is in-keeping with Jigsaw’s approach: rarely facing his victims directly, he leaves videotapes - typically speaking through the sinister doll - to lay down his plans, and strike terror into their hearts.

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Of particular significance, however, are the torturous traps Kevin sets up when the villainous Marv and Harry (Joe Pesci) invade his home. The theorist emphasises “the similarities between Kevin’s intricate, almost pathologically complicated home-defense mechanisms and Jigsaw’s carefully designed murder-traps.”

Jigsaw is of course distinct among most horror villains (John Doe of ‘Se7en’ notwithstanding) in that he tends not to actually kill the victims himself, but rather place them in a sink-or-swim scenario, where they might survive if they properly apply themselves.

This isn’t too far removed from Kevin’s approach: “most of Kevin’s home-defense devices are triggered by the victim, just as Jigsaw’s traps are.”

It is also theorised that the fearsome-looking furnace in the basement, which Kevin was so afraid of in ‘Home Alone,’ may have inspired the appearance of both the bear trap mask used in the first ‘Saw,’ plus the death-by-furnace trap of ‘Saw II.’

And to further support the notion that Jigsaw was born in that basement of terror, it is also pointed out that, in an almost blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot, there’s a creepy clown doll sitting down there - which might conceivably have inspired that doll…

That’s about the extent of the theory, but I might also add - given that Kevin had to deal on two separate occasions with being completely forgotten about by his own family, could this provide the base root of Jigsaw’s compulsion to punish those who fail to appreciate the good things they have?

Convinced? Not convinced? Fine either way - but surely you’ll be looking at ‘Home Alone’ just a little differently this Christmas…

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Picture Credits: 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate