Faith and the Zombie

Critical Essays on the End of the World and Beyond


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About the Book

Themes of faith and religion have been threaded through popular representations of the zombie so often that they now seem inextricably linked. Whether as mindless servants to a Vodou Bokor or as evidence of the impending apocalypse, the ravenous undead have long captured something of society’s relationships with spirituality, religion and belief. By the start of the 21st century, religious beliefs are as varied as the many manifestations of the zombie itself, and both themes intersect with various ideological, environmental and even post-human concerns. This book surveys the various modern religious associations in zombie media. Some characters believe that the undead are part of God’s plan, others theorize that the environment might be saving itself or that zombies might be predicting life and hybridity beyond human existence. Timely and important, this work is a meditation on how faith might not just be a forerunner to the apocalypse, but the catalyst to new kinds of life beyond it.

About the Author(s)

Simon Bacon is an independent scholar based in Poznan, Poland. He has authored and edited many volumes on vampires, monstrosity, science fiction and media studies.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Simon Bacon

Series Editor Kyle William Bishop

Foreword by Peter Dendle

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 290
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8053-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4764-7
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Contributions to Zombie Studies

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Peter Dendle 1
Simon Bacon 5

Part I: Survival and Loss at the End of the World
“She is saved now; I have washed her of all her sins”: Coping with Death, Grief and Cults in The Returned
Stella Marie Gaynor 27
What Waits Beyond: Nihilistic Approaches to Religion and Life After Death in Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell Trilogy
Mark Richard Adams 40
From Brainwashing to Brain Eating: Conversion as Zombification
George J. Sieg 55
Zombie Optimism: Hope in a World Beyond the Apocalypse
Scout Tafoya 75

Part II: Undead Capitalism, Undead Planet
“I hear echoes of the voice of God”: Capitalist Theology as Driver of and Response to iZombie’s Zombie Outbreak
Erin Giannini 89
The American Spectacular: Hollywood Economics and the Intersection of 3D, the Religious Epic and Zombies
Ron Riekki 99
A Psalm of Ice and Fire: How Religion Saved and Doomed the World on Game of Thrones
Jacopo della Quercia 116
Theological and Ecological Apocalypse in Jorge Grau’s No Profanar el Sueño de los Muertos
Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns 128

Part III: The Christian/Judaic Apocalypse and the Zombie
“I thought God had something a little different in mind”: Hershel Greene as Man of Faith and Doubt in the Face of the Apocalypse
John W. Morehead 143
The First Earth Passed Away, the Word Was Made Flesh: The Zombie Apocalypse as Christian Faith Made Manifest
James T. McCrea 155
“Repent, the end is extremely fucking nigh”: Religion and Its Absence in the Zombie Apocalypse
Sarah Cleary 169

Part IV: The Biblical Undead
Blessed Are the ­Brain-Eaters: “World Inheritance” in The Girl with All the Gifts and the Beatitudes
Charlotte Thomas 183
Representations of the Eschaton and Dispensational Apologetics of the Undead: World War Z Through the Lens of the Apotelesmatic Prism
Phil Fitzsimmons 196
Let My (Dead) People Go: Land of the Dead as Exodus and Remnant Narrative
Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr. 216

Part V: Faith of the Zombie
“Able Zombies”: Subverting Biblical Tradition in The Girl with All the Gifts and Raising Stony Mayhall
Ildikó Limpár 229
If We Could Just Talk to the Creature: The Cognizant Zombie in TV Fiction
Sharon Coleclough 241
What Would Zombie Jesus Do? In the Flesh and Undead Saviors
Nikki Foster-Kruczek and Catherine Pugh 254

About the Contributors 273
Index 277