It’s been four years since we lost the horror master George A. Romero, but the recent restoration of his long-forgotten film, The amusement park, has proven that Romero can also prove beyond the grave that he was always ahead of his colleagues. Put simply, The Amusement Park’s story is an older man who visits the Title Park but is stuck in the middle of a hellish nightmare. The film was originally shot in 1973 and was intended to be used as an instructional video on age discrimination and elder abuse, but the Lutheran Society, which commissioned the image, decided it was too disturbing to use.
Like so many “lost” works by some great cinema stars, the short film was to become a myth with a running time of just 52 minutes until a copy of the work was discovered in 2017 and published as part of a retrospective by the director at the Torino Film Festival 2019 known, it received a 4K transfer from IndieCollect and will be released on Shudder’s horror streaming platform after acquiring the rights to show it again this February.
The film got a great response from critics and fans of George A. Romero, received 93% approval for Rotten Tomatoes, with some reviewers having no problem giving it a sold 10/10, commenting, “I can’t remember the last time a movie struck me like this.” While there are some who haven’t quite gotten to grips with the film’s segmented style, given its original purpose as an educational film rather than a coherent narrative story, like most of Romero’s work, it’s the images and the air of horror that do of every scene that makes it the work of a true master of their craft.
It is clear from the work that Romero wanted to make a statement about what he meant that America, and possibly even the world as a whole, were created for the sole purpose of humiliating and disparaging the elderly. Considering Romero was only 33 when he made the film, he had an ax to grind and grind, which he did. He could almost see the future coming, a world strongly driven by corporate giants and the gripping hands of capitalism that would propel life forward in a way that suited him, regardless of the consequences for some. His greatest achievement with the film is to show that the actions he portrays don’t just last for a generation, but are a never-ending cycle that continues unless something happens that forces change.
Like many of Romero’s best pics, he doesn’t try to get his message across subtly, and his devastating satirical flair, as seen in Night of Living Dead and Dawn of The Dead, is great for seeing one more time. While many “lost” films are best kept this way, The Amusement Park deserves a place alongside Romero’s other great works.
Topics: The Amusement Park, Shudder