The Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero's Visions of Hell on Earth
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The Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero's Visions of Hell on Earth

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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  120 ratings  ·  15 reviews
This volume connects American social and religious views with the classic American movie genre of the zombie horror film. For nearly forty years, the films of George A. Romero have presented viewers with hellish visions of our world overrun by flesh-eating ghouls. This study proves that Romero's films, like apocalyptic literature or Dante's Commedia, go beyond the surface...more
Hardcover, 195 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Baylor University Press (first published January 1st 2006)
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Alexis Winning
I read this on the plane to Mexico...most people think I'm weird.

I really enjoy Kim Paffenroth's whole intellectual analysis of the genre. Although he focuses on George Romero's work, we can obviously generalize to the genre (since Romero started the whole modern zombie movement)

Why are there so few zombie non-fiction books?!!! I eat this stuff up. Paffennroth uses religion and standardized Christian themes to analyze the modern zombie story. He outlines how these themes pertain to the human co...more
Holden Attradies
There really isn't enough zombie non-fiction out there, although with the explosion that the zombie lit genre is going through I suppose this number is going. This is one of those, and it is exemplary as an entry into the genre.

Any discussion of the zombie genre has to pretty much start with Romero and his films, because in a very real sense he created the genre with his movies. The view we have of zombies comes from those movies (see Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies). It was ama...more
Patrick D'Orazio
Reading this book gave me a good perspective on one man's views of the works of George A. Romero and the zombie movie genre as a whole. Dr. Paffenroth presents a well researched analysis of these stories as they relate to faith and religion in our society of today.

Books such as this and "The Philosophy of the Undead" are intriguing to me because they provide both insights and opinions that I can appreciate on the undead. I have my own views on the meanings behind it all, since I have read quite...more
Robert Beveridge
Kim Paffenroth, Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero's Vision of Hell on Earth (Baylor University Press, 2006)

I have to say that just about the last book I ever expected to see would be a religious deconstruction of George A. Romero's zombie flicks. And yet that's exactly what we have here; divinity student Paffenroth (who has since graduated into horror-writing himself) offers up a dissection of Romero's films that is quite unlike any other I've ever seen-- he's looking for the religious si...more
Nicholas
Paffenroth's offering is fascinating, insightful, and intelligent enough to rival any published examination of social and religious sciences as they relate to genre cinema, a thinker's companion piece to the films themselves, and without its presence on the book case shelves of a true zombie fanatic you can deem his library incomplete. From the introduction, Paffenroth states "....the monstrous zombies created
by our imaginations, whether in a logician's thought experiment or a director's frame,...more
Richard
Much to admire about this book--as one who loves zombie movies, to see a book outside of the ever-famous _Monster Theory_ take a serious critical eye to Romero's quadrilogy (and then some) of _Dead_ movies, as well as to put them in a critically religious light, is interesting stuff. Also, that the author of this book, PhD and Associate Professorship and all, would grace the cover among the hoard of zombies bathed in green light hopefully defines for all time the true fandom of Kim Paffenroth.

I...more
Jon
new review:

I've finished it. I decided in the end that the book is pretty great. Some of the things I found interesting were, the author's over enthusiastic appraisal of the Dawn remake- I found the remake rather bland and formulaic, he found it motivational- and his take on Day, which is both critical and reverential. (sp?)

Paffenroth is a rare thing, theologian and a zombie scholar. I'm anxious to read his zombie fiction.


Old review:

Thoroughly researched and superfluously footnoted, this book is...more
Joe
A great book by a professor of theology. He takes all of the Romero movies plus the remake of Dawn of the Dead and subjects them to social and theological criticism. He uses Dante's Inferno in this criticism. The author's outlook can best be described as left-wing Christian so his social and political analysis of the movies is quite good. At times his drawing Christian lessons out of the movies is a bit forced but this is usually not the case. A great read for any fan of Romero and the zombie ge...more
Joseph
Sep 18, 2007 Joseph rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: zombie fans
This book was more about zombies than it was about religion. While Paffenroth has some really cool insights and interpretations into zombie movies . . . there's nothing here that I don't think I could have thought of myself.

I can't understand why Baylor Press put SO much effort into promoting this book. They mailed me a postcard through my AAR membership and then at the convention they had posters everywhere. Strange.

Anyway, if you're really into zombies you need to read this book.
Leah
A bit heavy on synopsis. The analysis is not terribly deep, but frequently references Dante, which is pretty awesome. While definitely worth reading, the criticism lacks the feminist-marxist element that I feel is necessary in any analysis of contemporary horror cinema.
Rick
An excellent overview, analysis and criticism of Romero's living dead movies. The book examines how the zombie movies draw on literature and religion, such as Dante's Inferno, to study human sin and societal failings.
Kayleigh
Informative, interesting, and well written. A great book for anyone interested in the more academic side of Zombie culture
Kevin
I felt wicked smart about all things Romero and sin after this book. Here's to the uncertainty of the afterlife!
Josh T
Reads like a thesis. Much zombie movie discussion, little gospel tie-in. Author's sleeve photo not to be missed.
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I am a professor of religious studies, and the author of several books on the Bible and theology. I grew up in New York, Virginia, and New Mexico. I attended St. John's College, Annapolis, MD (BA, 1988), Harvard Divinity School (MTS, 1990), and the University of Notre Dame (PhD, 1995). I live in upstate New York with my wife and two wonderful kids. In the horror genre, I have written Gospel of the...more
More about Kim Paffenroth...
Dying to Live (Dying to Live, #1) Dying to Live: Life Sentence (Dying to Live, #2) History is Dead: A Zombie Anthology The World Is Dead Dying to Live: Last Rites (Dying to Live, #3)

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