It’s a great time to be a fan of the late horror icon George A. Romero. News broke at the start of the month that Romero’s widow, Suzanne, is planning to bring the filmmaker’s final zombie movie script “Twilight of the Dead” to life with a new director, and now comes Shudder’s release of the official trailer for Romero’s long lost 1973 feature, “The Amusement Park.” The film has been restored and is finally coming to streaming this summer, three years after author and Guillermo del Toro collaborator Daniel Kraus first announced the film had been discovered, and that he had seen a cut.
The official synopsis for “The Amusement Park” from Shudder reads: “An elderly gentleman goes for what he assumes will be an ordinary day at the amusement park, only to find himself in the middle of a hellish nightmare instead. Shot by George A. Romero between ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and ‘Dawn of the Dead,’ ‘The Amusement Park’ is a bleak, haunting allegory where the attractions and distractions of an amusement park stand in for the many abuses that the elderly face in society. 4K digital restoration commissioned by the George A. Romero Foundation and carried out by IndieCollect.”
Romero was originally commissioned to direct “The Amusement Park” by the Lutheran Society, which wanted to create a film to raise awareness about ageism and elder abuse. The director delivered an allegory about growing old that his widow now says is “George’s most terrifying film…It has Romero’s unique footprint all over it.”
Upon watching an early cut of the lost film three years ago, Kraus deemed the project a “revelation” and “Romero’s most overtly horrifying film” other than “Night of the Living Dead,” adding it’s “hugely upsetting in form and function.”
“The scholar Tony Williams, who saw the film 30 years ago, wrote, ‘The film is far too powerful for American society…It must remain under lock and key never seeing the light of day,’” Kraus added at the time. “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.”