Returning home from the gym last night, I made myself some dinner and sat down to do my homework. I watched George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Really. Actually, this is the second time I watched the movie this week, since I listened to the DVD audio commentary the other night.
Now, you may ask, how in the world is this homework? I am taking a class in Religious Humanism at Meadville Lombard Theological School this coming January. My final project is about Religious Humanist Themes in the Films of George A. Romero. I love being in seminary!
It’s actually not all that far-fetched. Romero’s films (both the living dead series and his other horror films) are filled with socio-political content and observations on humanity that reflect a humanist perspective. For instance, Romero deconstructs every “monster,” removing all supernaturalism. His zombies, vampires, witches, etc. are all products of our modern scientific world. Second, his films frequently deal with morality and the impact of circumstances on people’s moral decisions. But, most important, his films always address the importance of community, communication, and altruism in the successful survival of humanity. When the monster wins in a Romero movie, it isn’t because the monster is more powerful – it’s because the people couldn’t stop fighting amongst themselves long enough to battle a common enemy.
So, I am watching each movie twice, once to listen to the audio commentary (they are actually fairly boring) and the second time to glean good material to cite in my paper. Of course, I have already seen all of his movies (some many times). It is great, though, to have an excuse to indulge once more in this guilty pleasure. I am doing my homework…honest!