By MICHAEL GINGOLD
A long-unseen film by the horror master will finally become widely visible later this year.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Shudder has picked up George A. Romero’s THE AMUSEMENT PARK, and will premiere it this summer in the U.S., Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Made in 1973 and scripted by Wally Cook, THE AMUSEMENT PARK was commissioned by The Lutheran Society as an anti-ageism film, and follows and elderly man (Lincoln Maazel, who would go on to play Tata Cuda in Romero’s vampire classic MARTIN) as he makes his way through the titular attraction, where he is both ignored and abused by the younger crowds there. The film ultimately becomes a disorienting, disturbing experience with many of the recognizable tropes of Romero’s horror features; several of his future collaborators on his fright films, including Richard P. Rubinstein, Michael Gornick and Bill Hinzman, also worked on THE AMUSEMENT PARK.
“The moment we heard THE AMUSEMENT PARK had been rediscovered and was being restored, we knew we had to bring this unseen George A. Romero masterpiece to Shudder members,” says the network’s Craig Engler. THE AMUSEMENT PARK was found by the George A. Romero Foundation and its founder/president Suzanne Desrocher-Romero, who restored it in 4K and gave it several screenings last year. “We at the G.A.R.F are thrilled that after this long journey, this Lutheran’s society industrial with its poignant message will finally get its light!” Desrocher-Romero says. “The first and only work-for-hire in Romero’s career sheds a new perspective on an ongoing issue of ageism and Romero’s uncanny sense of reflection on society, and the Romero ‘footprint’ is ever-present and bodes well for the future of his impact on American cinema.”