The Amusement Park: George Romero’s “lost” film inches closer to release

George Romero’s previously-unseen 1973 film, The Amusement Park, is being shopped around for distribution by Yellow Veil Pictures.

Whether making a movie for a major studio (Land of the Dead) or a low-budget independent production, George Romero was nothing if not honest about his strengths and shortcomings as a filmmaker.  His recently-unearthed 1973 filmThe Amusement Park, seems to fit firmly within his inimitable empathy for flawed outsiders brushing up against the escalating madness of the modern world.

While The Amusement Park premiered at New York’s Museum of Modern Art earlier this year, Yellow Veil Pictures has acquired the worldwide sales rights, meaning the film is one step closer to being seen by the masses.

The press release from Exile PR alludes to the film’s plot and production backstory:

The film was originally commissioned by the Lutheran Society to raise awareness about ageism and elder abuse. Romero, however, conceived of…an allegory about the nightmarish realities of growing older. 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 manifest through roller coasters and chaotic crowds.

Whether reinventing the modern zombie in Night of the Living Dead or putting a tragic humanist spin on the vampire mythos (Martin), Romero was always keenly attuned to the vulnerabilities of his characters. Indeed, something I liked about even his lesser films was his unique emphasis on the human factor.

The fact that The Amusement Park sounds more akin to his experimental dark domestic drama, Season of the Witch (which took a non-sensationalized look at the Wiccan lifestyle), has me even more intrigued. While some would call Romero’s outlook on humanity “pessimistic,” I could point to a dozen contemporary horror filmmakers who co-opt his style while completely missing the character beats.

And as the world of 2020 becomes increasingly unrecognizable (in a myriad of ways), I’ll gladly take Romero’s vision of “disorientation and isolation” to bring me back down to earth. Consider my ticket for The Amusement Park paid in full!

Next: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD

Are you excited for The Amusement Park? What is your favorite George A. Romero film? Let us know in the comments.

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