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Doctor diagnoses 'Home Alone' Wet Bandit injuries

Macaulay Culkin in "Home Alone."

As families gather around the TV set this holiday season to catch up on their favorite Christmas movies, some will undoubtedly plug in "Home Alone," the 1990 film that brought Macaulay Culkin his stardom and put a new spin on cartoon violence in the movies.

All throughout "Home Alone," hapless (and fairly stupid) burglars called the Wet Bandits, played by Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci, are subject to a number of torments large and small that would drive away most eager thieves. Not these two: As the film goes on, Culkin's left-home-accidentally character comes up with ever more devious, Rube-Goldbergian setups that instead make them more determined to steal from his home.

But just what would happen if you really got hit in the head with a blowtorch? How painful would it be to walk barefoot on shattered tree ornaments? The Week took a clever look at just such injuries, and called a doctor to get the diagnosis. Results? Not pretty -- and certainly not like in the movie.

That blowtorch to the scalp? Since Pesci's character actually stays under the flame for a full seven seconds -- rather than racing off at the first scent of singed hair, "What was likely a simple second-degree burn is now a full thickness burn likely to cause necrosis of the calavarium (skull bone)," said Weill Cornell Medical College's Dr. Ryan St. Clair, who is quoted throughout the piece.

What about getting an iron slammed in your face, which happens to Stern's thief? "This is a serious impact, with enough force to fracture the bones surrounding the eyes," said Dr. St. Clair. "This is also known as a 'blowout fracture,' and can lead to serious disfigurement and debilitating double vision if not repaired properly."

Whatever Culkin's character's parents have hiding in their house -- it ain't worth it. Run, thieves, run! There's no return policy on your health.

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