'Home Sweet Home Alone' Reboots An Old Controversy

Before Kevin McCallister, there was some French kid.
'Home Sweet Home Alone' Reboots An Old Controversy

Further proving that we’re just a hacky sack revival away from completely reliving the ‘90s, this week we got new trailers for both another Scream movie and a new Home Alone movie that sadly isn’t about a troubled adult Kevin seeking revenge on the Wet Bandits. To be honest, Disney’s Home Sweet Home Alone looks weird as hell ...

For one thing, even though the movie looks like a beat-for-beat remake of the first movie, it apparently takes place in the same continuity as the original films because it features Kevin’s dickhead brother Buzz, who has apparently become a cop. And in true Home Alone form, he does absolutely nothing to help this unsupervised, imperiled child. So is there some kind of Poltergeist-like curse on the suburbs of Chicago that causes all yuppie parents to abandon their children at Christmastime? Why does this keep happening? In another odd creative choice, instead of two cartoonishly villainous burglars, it’s a desperate, more sympathetic married couple who are repeatedly brutalized by a wealthy child.

But perhaps most egregiously, Home Sweet Home Alone also rebooted the franchise’s forgotten controversy. We’ve talked before about Dial Code Santa Claus, AKA Deadly Games, the 1989 French thriller about a child who’s left home alone with his grandfather on Christmas Eve and has to fend off an intruder who’s dressed like Kris Kringle.

Dial Code Santa Claus is a much different film than Home Alone, but nevertheless, its core premise was basically the same, and the timing of its debut was somewhat suspicious -- at least it seemed so to the director, Rene Manzor. As was reported by The New York Times in 1992, Manzor claimed that 20th Century Fox “remade” his movie. While he threatened legal action, Fox “denied any similarity between the films,” as did screenwriter John Hughes who claimed he’d never seen Dial Code Santa Claus

The minor controversy went away as Dial Code Santa Claus faded into obscurity, but it’s been generating more interest in recent years thanks to screenings at Fantastic Fest and Alamo Drafthouse, and the film finally got a Blu-Ray release just last year. Which makes it extra weird that Home Sweet Home Alone is seemingly even more similar to Dial Code Santa Claus than the original because it finds its child hero battling a burglar who’s dressed as Santa Claus!



Sure, this was likely just a coincidence, and Dial Code Santa Claus obviously didn’t invent the concept of a home invader Santa. Still, it’s kind of crazy that one of this franchise’s only narrative changes seems to involve adding plot points from the movie the original was accused of ripping off.

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Top Image: Disney

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