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Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero's Visions of Hell on Earth Hardcover – August 29, 2006
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Finally, a scholar who takes zombie movies seriously. In his nonfiction masterpiece, Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero's Visions of Hell on Earth, Kim Paffenroth explores how legendary filmmaker George A. Romero uses the living dead to criticize American society, covering topics from racism to materialism, from individualism to theology. Paffenroth describes and analyzes each movie in separate chapters, and makes comparisons to Dante's Inferno. But most disturbing, he indicates parallels between Romero zombies and humans; I've long known the sharp teeth that can undercut our hearts and consciences, but nothing has exposed our fangs quite like Paffenroth's deft scalpel of analysis. A must read for zombie fans and for those elitists who demean horror movies as thoughtless escapism--Paffenroth has taken a huge step in proving these critics wrong. --D.L. Snell, Editor/Contributor, The Undead: Skin & Bones
The author provides terrific insights into an underexamined facet of American popular culture: the zombie films of George Romero. His grasp of the zombie myth and his analyses of the films should inform all future work on the subject. --David Wellington, author of Monster Island: A Zombie Novel
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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 side of Romero's messages about life, the universe, and everything. And while Paffenroth does make some of the same mistakes a number of other amateur film critics do, especially when discussing Night of the Living Dead (there's this odd belief among amateur film critics that the casting of Ben Jones was some sort of attack on the evil empire, rather than a last-minute casting decision because Jones happened to be the only guy around who could act well enough--the guy originally cast for the part was white, and the racial element of the film is entirely accidental, as has been repeatedly stated in more scholarly discussions of the film), it's hard not to be impressed with Paffenroth's logic. The guy's obviously done his homework. Most of it, anyway.
Paffenroth opens his chapters (each is dedicated to a specific film; he considers Romero's first four zombie films and Zack Snyder's 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead for comparison purposes) with a summary of the film he's looking at, and then a pretty standard deconstruction of Romero's criticisms of contemporary society. (This is where the whole overrating of Ben Jones' stature comes into play, obviously.) Where Paffenroth differs from most critics is that he's looking at all this through the lens of being a divinity student.Read more ›
Some people have complained about all the footnotes presented here (there's about 50 pages worth), but I believe it strongly enhances the book, and serves as a fine bibliography (although there's one included, too) for those seeking more material on Romero.
This book examines the zombie movies of George Romero. All of Romeros films deal with the end of the world and this scholarly book reads like a text book study of those films. Lots of references are made to Dante's Inferno, American Consumerism and imperfect human survivors. This author has a highly developed understanding of religion and incorporates that into this articulate work.
Some characters in Romero's films, who survive the apocalypse , as in many PA books become filled with malice and are filled with a predatory sense of self importance. They feel no guilt in robbing and killing other survivors in order to steal what they have. If you enjoy zombie genre novels you may enjoy this book? It is a study of the influential post apocalyptic zombie movies that most such novels are based on.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The worldview and theological implications of zombies, specifically Romero's zombies, matter. Very insightful and thought provoking read. Read morePublished on July 23, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Paggenroth's book provides an excellent analysis of Romero's zombie films, and particularly how they relate to Christianity. Read morePublished on May 16, 2013 by Irene G. Latorra
Reviews the plot lines and the signifigance of the Romero living dead films (and the 2005 remake of Dawn of the Dead). Read morePublished on May 25, 2010 by Kevin Brown
I'm a longtime fan of Romero's work, so a philosophical look at the living dead and what they have represented over time seemed a welcome treat, and for the most part, it was. Read morePublished on March 3, 2008 by white_raven23
If you enjoy zombie movies, especially the work of George Romero, I recommend that you read this book. Read morePublished on July 3, 2007 by Tiffany
At times, I felt this book was overreaching a bit in its textual analysis, which irks me. Still, I really liked it. Read morePublished on June 13, 2007 by E. K. M. Busch
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. Read morePublished on April 22, 2007 by Patrick S. Dorazio
Like most studies of Romero's oeuvre this one struggles to find anything truly new or insightful to say. Read morePublished on April 12, 2007 by Submariner
Gospel of the Living Dead takes a sharp look at Romero's four zombie films and the 2004 "re-imagining" of Dawn of the Dead, and shows the reader how the impossible and oxymoronic... Read morePublished on April 3, 2007 by Sean Hoade