He may have been known as the godfather of the zombie movie having established many of the tropes and archetypes in 1968’s Night of the Living Dead that the genre still rigidly adheres to over half a century later, but there was much more to George A. Romero than shuffling hordes of the undead.
Admittedly, he leaned into his reputation by delivering Dawn, Day, Land, Diary and Survival of the Dead between 1978 and 2009, but there were many more strings to the filmmaker’s bow, and his long lost movie The Amusement Park is now streaming on Shudder after being painstakingly completed, restored and remastered in 4K. Not only that, but it’s being raved about by critics.
The 1973 chiller was originally commissioned by the Lutheran Society as an educational movie designed to deter elder abuse and ageism, but of course Romero turned it into a psychologically intense and disturbing mediation on what it means to grow old. After the Lutherans canceled the planned release outright, The Amusement Park was long thought lost until a 16mm print was uncovered back in 2017.
It doesn’t exactly have much of a narrative, but the plot follows an old man visiting the titular place of fun, only to discover instead a nightmarish hellscape that’s almost nihilistic to a blackly comedic degree, with the director’s penchant for unsubtle metaphors and social commentary at the forefront as always. It only runs for 52 minutes, and the single public screening happened in late 2019, but you can guarantee there are going to be a huge number of both Romero and horror enthusiasts in general flocking to check out The Amusement Park now that it’s finally been made available to the world on Shudder.