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(1973), R [R*] (1hr 26min)

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
September 5, 2006
41 out of 100

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2006), R [R*] -- ... a powerless and weak convenience toy ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): British Lion Film Corporation
Distribution (US): Anchor Bay Entertainment, British Lion Films Ltd., Warner Bros. Pictures, National General Pictures, Media Home Entertainment
Director(s): Robin Hardy
Producer(s): Peter Snell
Screenplay and Novel by: Anthony Shaffer
Cinematography/Camera: Harry Waxman
Music: Paul Giovanni, Gary Carpenter
Film Editing: Eric Boyd-Perkins
Casting: Maggie Cartier
Production Design:
Art Direction: Seamus Flannery
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

This is a special analysis prepared solely as a comparative to the 2006 version of The Wicker Man to provide another datapoint in plotting the relative decay in morality in and as entertainment. The 1973 version earned a score of 41. The 2006 version earned a score of 50. Both scores fall squarely in the scoring range earned by R-rated movies (54 and below out of 100) in the comparative baseline database. The 1973 version is rated R. The 2006 version is rated PG-13. There you have it. The following scoring data comparative between the 1973 and the 2006 versions says it all. Conclusions which may be made by the comparative are yours to draw.

It was weird to watch a 1970s show with its "hippie/freek" atmosphere and its saturation with self-enlightenment, self-enrichment, progressive ideas, free-thinking and all those "open mind" issues: how it was so narrow minded and even closed minded to submit to authority and practice wholesome ethics. As an ex-EMT medic I can appreciate the open minded culture of the 70s maybe better than they who lived it. I remember actually seeing an open mind once -- on a surgery table. I saw a second open mind -- all over the inside of the windshield of a car. And I remember seeing a narrow mind -- the victim's skull was crushed making his mind quite narrow. I also remember the rare opportunity of seeing a closed mind -- it was bouncing down a highway still inside its disembodied head after being ripped off its body by the back end of a flatbed truck. Yes, it takes an "enlightened, progressive" ex-medic to truly know what it means to be narrow minded, open minded or closed minded and to know the difference between them. Surely, an open mind can be a good thing as long as the open minded one does not let his brain fall out. Or dry out.

Subjectively speaking, the 1973 version was quite a bit more uncomfortable to watch than the 2006 version because of Hollywood's then fetish with nudity. The 1973 version contains a l-o-t of nudity, thus the largest reason for the Sexual Immorality investigation area score of zero out of 100.

In the 2006 version of The Wicker Man the role of investigating officer i Nicholas Cage as Californian Edward Malus who replaces Edward Woodward as British Sergeant Howie in the 1973 version. Kate Beahan as Willow Woodward in the 2006 version, who is the lure to get Malus to the Summersisle Colony and is the mother of the missing little girl Rowan (Erika-Shaye Gair), replaces Britt Ekland as Willow, but Ekland serves as nothing more than a sexual tease for Sergeant Howe and is not the mother (May, played by Irene Sunters) of the 1973 Rowan (Geraldine Cowper). Ellen Burstyn is Sister Summersisle, the monarch of the Summersisle Colony in the 2006 version while Christopher Lee is the monarch, Lord Summerisle in the 1973 version. I don't know whether it is a typo but the 2006 version of the film uses the name Summersisle while the 1973 version uses Summerisle.

Also, while Cage plays a non-faith character in the 2006 version, Woodward of the 1973 version is strongly Christian. While the Christian faith is simply ignored in the 2006 version, it is strongly mocked and made to appear as a powerless and weak convenience toy in the 1973 version.

I'll not discuss the 1973 story in any great detail since, in essence, it is the same but with a number of lesser differences from the 2006 version and since the purpose of this analysis is to provide a morality comparative. What I will reveal is the police officer in each version is killed and in the same way -- burned alive inside the 50-foot Wicker Man.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
While the violence envelope of the 1973 version was (subjectively) not that intense it was indeed bizarre at times such as using a child's flesh as an ornament, which seem to be consistent with Satanic child rituals and sacrifices, and displaying human body parts, including sexual parts in formaldehyde. A tale of child ritualistic horrors, a dead body, "Russian roulette" with heads and a fake beheading added appropriately to the point loss in this investigation area. [Prov. 16:29, 13:2; Prov. 3:31]

Impudence/Hate (I)
The 2006 version presented eight uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary (one being the most foul of the foul words) but the 1973 version presented only four of what might be called conversational snippets rather than the boiler room vulgarity of the 2006 version. [Col. 3:8]

Sexual Immorality (S)
The 1973 version is saturated with sexually immoral behaviors and imagery. If you can imagine a throng of paganistic women slithering nude about a boiling cauldron, you have an idea of the caliber of sexual immorality in the 1973 version. And nudity is not all there is to the sexually immoral content of the 1973 version. Inspect the listing in the Findings/Scoring section for a full accounting. [Ezek. 16:58, Mark 7:21 - 22]

Drugs/Alcohol (D)
The drugs/alcohol content of the 1973 version consists largely of smoking, drinking, drunkenness and attempting to control another with drugging. [Eph. 5:18]

Offense to God (O)
This investigation area found the greatest amount of assaults on morality and ethics: bizarre ritual; prayer to and worship of false gods; counterfeiting of Christianity to excuse sexually immoral behavior; "God is dead"; encouraging pleasure in sin; more. [Acts 20:30, Jude 1:4, Jer. 10:10]

Murder/Suicide (M)
The only murder noted was that of Officer Howie. He was murdered by incineration. [Gal. 5:21]


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  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man entices his neighbor and leads him down a path that is not good. [The issue is the violence. "A violent man" can be a man, woman OR the men/women demonstrating the violent behavior/action on the screen, too. Now you know why violence, especially in and as entertainment, can embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. See also "Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children Congressional Public Health Summit" . Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV. And see 1 Cor. 15:33 below.]
  • Prov. 13:2 From the fruit of his lips a man enjoys good things, but the unfaithful have a craving for violence.
  • Prov. 3:31 Envy thou not the oppressor [man of violence, extortionist, etc.], and choose none of his ways.
  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy (injurious speech, slander in this use), filthy communication [aischrologia: foul speaking, low and obscene] out of your mouth.
  • Ezek. 16:58 You will bear the consequences of your lewdness and your detestable practices, declares the LORD.
  • Mark 7:21 - 22 For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. ["Wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk or to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.]
  • Jer. 10:10 But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King ...
  • Gal. 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things [who are unforgiven] shall not inherit the kingdom of God. [This verse applies to other demonstrations of sin in this film as well.]
  • Acts 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
  • Matt. 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment [krisis: accusation, trial]: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca [senseless, empty headed: a term of reproach among Jews at the time of Christ], shall be in danger of the council [sunedrion: adjudication]: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool [moros: impious, godless], shall be in danger of hell fire.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    The Wicker Man (1973) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • child's flesh as ornament
  • human parts, including sexual, in formaldehyde
  • breaking and entering
  • tale of ritualistic horrors involving children
  • dead body
  • physical assault
  • "Russian roulette" with heads
  • fake beheading
  • abduction

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • four uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • sexual innuendo, repeatedly
  • vulgar dance moves
  • group intercourse with nudity and inappropriate touch
  • female nudity, full, upper, rear, repeatedly
  • invitation for sex
  • attempted seduction with nude dance
  • talk of male-specific anatomy before classroom full of young girls
  • many young women dancing in see-through translucent fabric
  • many young women dancing nude in the distance

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking, repeatedly
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • drunkenness
  • bar, repeatedly
  • attempted drugging to control

    Offense to God (O)
  • false worship - reincarnation
  • counterfeiting of Christianity to excuse sexual immorality, repeatedly
  • worship of false gods, repeatedly
  • "God is dead. He had His chance"
  • portrayal of free-thinking excusing sin
  • encouraging of sin
  • pagan worship and heathen practices
  • worship of beasts and nature
  • bizarre ritual
  • prayer to false gods
  • "Fool!", repeatedly [Matt. 5:22]
  • chanting over human sacrifice

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • murder of police officer by incineration - actual burning unseen

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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