Recently discovered and restored 46 years after its completion, George A. Romero’s The Amusement Park 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 are manifested through roller coasters and chaotic crowds. Commissioned by the Lutheran Society, the film is perhaps Romero’s wildest and most imaginative movie – an allegory about the nightmarish realities of growing older, and an alluring snapshot of the filmmaker’s early artistic capacity and style.
What We Thought:
When you hear that a lost George A. Romero film has been found and restored you get pretty pumped if you are a fan of his. I consider Romero one of horror’s Mt. Rushmore figures. He single-handedly set the rules for zombie stories decades ago and when you think of zombies to this day, it’s because of him.
The Amusement Park isn’t a zombie film. I personally wouldn’t even consider it horror. It’s shot sort of documentary style at an amusement park with the older generation being treated poorly, being taken advantage of and even being physically abused. It’s a metaphor for how we see and treat older people in America (even back when this was made).
Using one central figure throughout the film it showcases how forgotten these people are especially those of less wealth and fortune. An older man is given a lobster dinner because he has money. The central figure is given pretty much slop with bread which he tries to share with others who take all of it. Older people sell their antiques and belongings for pennies on the dollar just to afford tickets for the amusement park. People walk into them or ignore them altogether.
The movie is shot 100% like a Romero film. It’s tense and grounded in reality. It feels claustrophobic at times and manic as well. Even if you didn’t know this was one of his films you might guess it was someone similar because it has all his touches on it.
The Amusement Park wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought it would be a horror film at an amusement park, but instead it’s a metaphor on aging and ageism. I’m not sure if it’s something I would personally watch again, but Romero fans will definitely have to add it to their collection. Don’t expect a typical Romero flick and you might enjoy it. It is cool it was found and restored though.