ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to parents and grandparents

Legally Dead (1998), (NR)
CAP Score: 50
CAP Influence Density: 5.58

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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Table of Contents.

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

LEGALLY DEAD (NR) -- morally empty.

This is a special request analysis of a short 1998 film by The Writer's Room film company produced by Mike Page. This 7.7 minute film is about a serial killer, Carl Dunham (Jeremy Kramer) who leads a life of murder of lawyers and only lawyers. I suspect this film is a spoof of how many of us are quite dissatisfied with how lawyers seem to free the corrupt and guilty on "technicalities." Narrated by Brian McFadden, this short romp presents murder and violence. Make no mistake. Though this flick presents some promising talent and is comic and frivolous, the realism of the acts of murder is graphic. And the comic and "necessity" attitude toward murder in this film is disturbing. Joy was even expressed at the "two for the price of one" murder of two lawyers by one being pushed off a building then landing on another lawyer. Even a shrine was assembled with "mementos" taken from the victims of murder.

The central concern for parents and grandparents is likely the flippant disregard for righteous justice: for glorification of murder in self-justified vigilantism [Isa. 56:1-2; Deut. 5:17]. Though not rated, it earned a CAP final score mathematically equivalent to R-rated movies in the comparative baseline database of scores earned by R-rated movies. A "lite" R but an R nonetheless.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ].
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Isa. 56:1-2 This is what the LORD says: Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, the man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.
  • Deut. 5:17 You shall not murder.


    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.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: Legally Dead (1998) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: For this very short film, the examples per hour rates in the graph to the right seem artificially high. However, they are indeed accurate. For the 7.7 minutes of this film, the rates are as shown.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • detailed discussion of serial killing with pride
  • brutal attacks
  • painting of murder victim
  • images of terror with a victim
  • images of bludgeoning
  • images of disposing of murder victims' bodies
  • images of attempted murder

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • comic discussion of transporting murder victims
  • story of police corruption
  • shrine to murders with mementos taken from victims
  • frivolous admission of murder
  • treatment of murder as "political burr in the saddle" and as though murder were a "job" or a "task"

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • none note

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • none noted

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • none note

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • knifing murder
  • gunfire murders
  • drowning murder with a child rewarding the murderer
  • choking murder
  • cane murder

    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "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." [Emphasis is mine] And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I aplaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our five-year 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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  • (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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