A couple of years ago, digging into the abundant material left unreleased by the late iconic horror filmmaker George A. Romero, it was discovered, together with novel material and several scripts, a nearly finished lost film with the title The Amusement Park. Daniel Kraus and his team were brought in to complete the movie, shot originally in 1973. This month, the finished version of the movie was part of the Cannes Virtual Market, and Yellow Veil Pictures acquired the worldwide distribution rights for the film.
Restored by the George A. Romero Foundation and produced by Suzanne Romero, The Amusement Park (2019) is an alluring snapshot of the filmmaker’s early artistic capacity and style, and would go on to inform his ensuing filmography. The film was originally commissioned by the Lutheran Society to raise awareness about ageism and elder abuse. Romero, however, conceived of what was perhaps his wildest, most imaginative movie, an allegory about the decadent realities of growing older. The Amusement Park (2019) stars Martin’s Lincoln Maazel as an elderly man who finds himself disoriented and increasingly isolated as the pains, tragedies, and humiliations of aging in America manifested through roller coasters and chaotic crowds. The elderly gentleman goes for what he assumes will be an ordinary day at the amusement park, only to find himself in the middle of hellish nightmare instead.
After watching the film and being as shocked as astonished by the images seen, Daniel Kraus mentioned that The Amusement Park (2019) “with the exception of Night of the Living Dead (1968) it is maybe Romero‘s most overtly horrifying film. Hugely upsetting in form & function“. He added “it was never shown publicly. The people who funded it wouldn’t allow it. And no wonder. It’s hellish. In Romero‘s long career of criticizing American institutions, never was he so merciless”. It’s believed that the project was funded by a religious group, so I can only imagine what kind of shock it would have been if what is said about the film is true. Suzanne Romero said about the film “Though not in the horror genre it is George’s most terrifying film. It has Romero’s unique footprint all over it!”.
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