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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

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  167 Ratings  ·  17 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
Jun 03, 2012 Alexis Winning rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zombies
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
Apr 29, 2013 Nicholas rated it it was amazing
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,
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
Jul 11, 2008 Richard rated it liked it
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.

Patrick D'Orazio
Nov 05, 2010 Patrick D'Orazio rated it really liked it
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
Holden Attradies
Dec 02, 2012 Holden Attradies rated it really liked it
Shelves: zombie, non-fiction
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
Jon Carroll  Thomas
May 18, 2008 Jon Carroll Thomas rated it really liked it
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
Rebecca McNutt
May 12, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it really liked it
If you're a fan of the zombie subgenre (films like Night of the Living Dead, City of the Living Dead, Hell of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, etc.), you'll definitely want to read this although it only covers Romero's works, not others in the subgenre. Although it does really over-analyze many of George Romero's films and it gets very technical at some points, it also presents the social, political and environmental aspects of these films. What causes zombies in each film? Radioactive dust fr ...more
Sep 06, 2007 Joe rated it really liked it
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
Steve Wiggins
May 09, 2015 Steve Wiggins rated it really liked it
Before zombies became the rage that they continue to be, Paffenroth took seriously their implications for religious thought. For those who have an interest in monsters and religion, and especially how they are related, this is a book you won't want to miss. You might want to catch up on your Romero movies before reading it, though. I say more on it here: Sects and Violence in the Ancient World.
Jul 20, 2007 Rick rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 28, 2009 Leah rated it really liked it
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.
Josh T
Sep 17, 2007 Josh T rated it liked it
Reads like a thesis. Much zombie movie discussion, little gospel tie-in. Author's sleeve photo not to be missed.
Jun 16, 2011 Kayleigh rated it really liked it
Informative, interesting, and well written. A great book for anyone interested in the more academic side of Zombie culture
Aug 03, 2011 Kevin rated it really liked it
I felt wicked smart about all things Romero and sin after this book. Here's to the uncertainty of the afterlife!
C.N. Wolf
C.N. Wolf rated it it was ok
Apr 03, 2012
Philip Challinor
Philip Challinor rated it liked it
Oct 30, 2009
Brian rated it liked it
Mar 13, 2013
Brandon Mabe
Brandon Mabe rated it liked it
Feb 02, 2011
Andrew Nolan
Andrew Nolan rated it liked it
Nov 04, 2011
Andrea rated it it was ok
Aug 08, 2011
Dwayne Shugert
Dwayne Shugert rated it it was ok
Aug 06, 2013
Mark rated it it was amazing
Oct 16, 2012
Tuhina rated it liked it
Dec 31, 2011
Nick Cato
Nick Cato rated it it was amazing
May 28, 2008
Gavin rated it liked it
Mar 30, 2014
Lonnie Hill
Lonnie Hill rated it really liked it
Mar 12, 2013
Eric rated it it was amazing
Mar 19, 2012
Shane Koch
Shane Koch rated it really liked it
Sep 19, 2014
Stephen & Erin
Stephen & Erin rated it liked it
Sep 06, 2015
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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
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