by Kim Paffenroth
Publishers Weekly You don't have to be a fan of zombie movies to learn from them, but it probably helps. Paffenroth, an associate professor of religious studies at Iona College, is one fan who has turned his fascination into a detailed narrative analysis of the George Romero zombie films (Night of the Living Dead; Dawn of the Dead; Land of the Dead), which he calls "secular descendants of Dante's Inferno." He finds ample social criticism and illustration of old-fashioned "sin" in each film, which gives him optimism for the future of the zombie genre. Written with academic rigor but not with academic jargon, Paffenroth invites us to search the sometimes silly and profane zombie films for deeper religious meanings about how we, the living, act with less humanity at times than the "undead." Paffenroth weaves Christian theology, social criticism and allusions to Dante's Inferno throughout his discussion of films that feature cannibalism, mayhem and terror-a feat that probably has to be read to be believed. This is an excellent resource not just for fans of low-budget zombie films, but for anyone who wants to understand the appeal of the genre. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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