Freshman year of high school, a police officer pounded on my door after midnight, waking my parents and sending my sleepover friends into a panic. For months, my best buddies and I had been tormenting a rude neighbor named Gabe during sleepovers at my house, and though we only intended to pull pranks on him until he came outside and yelled at us in his boxers, one night he decided to call the cops rather than tell us to shut up.
We didn’t just “ding dong ditch” Gabe, either. The three of us rubbed lotion all over his doorknob, did cartwheels on his lawn, stuck paper up his tailpipe, threw tennis balls on his garage door, and sang American Idol hits on his driveway. Though I still think he needed to lighten up as a person, my friends and I went way too far with “get back at Gabe”-driven sleepovers.
You could say we were just bored, no-good teenagers, and while that would be true, we didn’t come up with our mean-spirited ideas alone. We learned from the best pranksters in childhood films, many of which suggested it was OK to taunt adults if they were mean enough. I’m not blaming any movies for my childish behavior as a youth, but the younguns in these films definitely encouraged me to cause trouble. Here are some kids flick pranks that went way too far.
1. Harriet the Spy
Though this Nickelodeon classic inspired me to become a writer, it also made me want to spy on neighbors, and by spy on neighbors, I mean break into their homes. In second grade, I actually tried to sneak into a neighbor’s residence, and luckily she spotted me before I even made it to the front porch. When she found me in her garden, I said I wanted to get a closer look at her flowers, and before I knew it, we were having hot chocolate and cookies in the kitchen. I was bummed out that my mission had been a failure, but being caught breaking and entering would have been a lot harder to explain to my parents than simply wandering onto someone’s property to check out the daisies.
2. Home Alone
Do I even need to explain why Kevin McAllister is a total psychopath? As much as I love Home Alone (and I really love it), Kevin’s booby traps are truly horrifying and twisted. The things he does suggest he’d become a killer someday, and there’s no way the robbers could ever survive his homicidal pranks.
3. It Takes Two
I grew up on the Olsens, but one of the twins shoots a horse with a slingshot so Kirstie Alley can be saved by the chivalrous Steve Guttenberg. Nevermind the fact that this could end in death or serious injury for both the adults, but it also plays on silly stereotypes and paints the woman as a damsel in distress. Things get even crazier at the end of the movie, when Ashley’s character stomps on a heartbroken bride’s wedding dress. She’s already been rejected at the altar, and though we’re supposed to hate the lady, this is still a pretty uncool thing to do to someone.
4. Dennis the Menace
Little Dennis loves to drive elderly neighbor Mr. Wilson nuts. The old guy has a lot of patience, even though Dennis slingshots medicine into his throat in bed, causes him to slip and fall in his bathroom, drops a boat on his groin, chucks a burning marshmallow at his forehead, etc. No wonder John Hughes, who was behind Home Alone, also wrote this! The pranks are hysterical onscreen but could possibly kill the old guy in real life.
The Trunchbull is a horrible human being and abusive principal, but that doesn’t make the closing scene of the movie any less disturbing. Matilda ultimately uses her magical powers to freak out the Trunchbull and lead her to believe the spirit of the man she murdered is haunting her in the classroom. Then the entire school throws food at the Trunchbull until she drives away as a disgraced, sobbing individual. Does she deserve it after mistreating innocents for so many years? Yes, but this is nothing to try in real life. Kid mutiny isn’t as fun as it might seem. It’s creepy.
What do you think about kids movie pranks? Share in the comments section.
Featured image via Blu-Ray.com