Four years ago, the tragic death of George A. Romero deeply struck at the heart of the horror community as we said goodbye to the father of onscreen zombies. However, the legendary director’s legacy lives on as his long-lost film The Amusement Park re-emerges becoming available to the public for the first time. Last week, a first ever sneak peak of this elusive relic of horror history hit the internet turning heads with its bizarre premise and nihilistic undertone. All while promising an upcoming premiere on the horror streaming platform Shudder.
Directed by Romero in 1973, this new tale of terror follows the story of an elderly man’s visit to an amusement park. However, this ordinary day transforms into a living nightmare as the unsuspecting man enters an overwhelming world dominated by younger park goers and a grim reaper presence looming in the background. The elderly man struggles to maintain his sanity as his situation spirals out of his control placing his fate in the hands of those less concerned for his well-being.
When news first broke last February of Shudder acquiring the rights to Romero’s never-before-seen film, Variety reported on this project’s intriguing origin. Commissioned by the Lutheran Society to create a film addressing topics of ageism and elderly abuse, Romero brought to life an allegory deemed too gruesome by the nonprofit for mainstream audiences. As if that badge of horror honor weren’t enough for genre fans, Romero’s widow says The Amusement Park is her late husband’s most terrifying film featuring George’s signature in every frame.
Anyone familiar with Romero’s unique stylish horror seen in Night of the Living Dead (1968) and The Crazies (1973) know the director’s ability to evoke unsettling fear while incorporating social criticism and societal nightmares. So it stands to reason that a Romero film tackling the inevitability of old age and death most certainly will find its way under anyone’s skin.
We’ll find out soon enough when it premieres as a Shudder exclusive in all its newly restored 4K glory later this summer.