Patrick D'Orazio's Reviews > The Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero's Visions of Hell on Earth

The Gospel of the Living Dead by Kim Paffenroth
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Nov 05, 10

Read in April, 2007

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 a few stories and seen many, if not all, of the movies out there related to zombies. I do not spend a great deal of time on message boards/chat rooms pouring over the minutia of these works though. I also do not have any personal friends or family members who have any interest at all in the genre. So grabbing a book like this and studying it adds shades of complexity to my own understanding of these dead things that have come back to life and how they impact our own society and world.

Does this mean I agree with everything Dr. Paffenroth states in this book? Definitely not, but gaining new insights means you come from a different place than the person who offers new information. Kim did a great deal of research and his proposals are well thought out on the religious and faith based ramifications of Romero's works. I am no academic and I am also a lapsed Catholic so to say I have a different perspective is probably an understatement. But that makes this book all the more interesting because of that.

Zombies are interesting protagonists. They hold up a gritty and cracked mirror, perhaps of a fun house variety, to us and we get a look at what we potentially could become, or maybe already are. The Romero movies all used a pretty harsh tone of criticism of western civilization and more specifically American culture. Our take on religion and faith are a part of that and this books taps into it.

I myself like a good debate. Not just arguing to prove someone else wrong, but being able to just present my own views and go back and forth with someone else. A book vs. face to face is not as satifying for debating various points of interest, but it still gives me something to gnaw on as far as the undertones of the zombie genre.
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