“Bleak, nightmarish and 100% Romero”
George A Romero’s film The Amusement Park remained lost following its brief run in festivals in 1975, and was widely believed to never be seen again. However, a 16mm print was discovered in 2017, and a full restoration was completed two years later. Overseen by The Romero Foundation, the film premiered on Shudder last year and is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Romero is synonymous with the horror genre being the Grandfather of the zombie sub-genre, but The Amusement Park is a very different kind of horror. Opening with a prologue that wouldn’t look out of place on Black Mirror, we’re informed how older people in society are being overlooked and cruelly shunned by the younger generation. It is a sad fact of life; if we are lucky, we all get old, and the world views us differently as we get older, and Romero leans into the complete manic terror of that simple truth.
Lincoln Maazel stars as an unnamed elderly man who becomes ever more disoriented and afraid as he wanders around a seemingly ordinary amusement park. However, this place is anything but ordinary. Serving as a fever dream metaphor for the pains of ageing and how society treats its senior citizens, Romero once again taps into evergreen themes that are just as relevant (if not more so) today. Romero sadly passed away in 2017, so to see an early film of his that has barely been seen in over 45 years is a real treat.
Running at a lean 54 minutes, it feels more like an extended episode of Tales of the Unexpected or The Twilight Zone, but the runtime is what an old-school B-movie would have been. With a nihilistic tone and plenty of Romero satire on a crumbling society, The Amusement Park is vintage Romero and further evidence he was so much more than the Grandfather of the zombie movie. Loaded with a range of special features, The Amusement Park is now on DVD and Blu-ray and is a must-own addition to any horror movie collection.
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