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The Amusement Park Movie Review

One last gem from a master filmmaker.

Originally commissioned by the Lutheran Society, “The Amusement Park” is a long lost 1973 film from the late great influential filmmaker George A. Romero. Clocking in at less than 54 minutes, the Walton Cook scripted story revolves around an elderly man (decked out in a white suit) exploring the outside world. More specifically, an amusement park called WestView Park. This is no ordinary amusement park, however, as there is a grocery store, a pawn shop, an eye Doctor, a roof salesman, a church and more. As the man journies further into this theme park, he comes across horror after horror as he is mistreated, taken advantage of, outcast and abandoned.

Restored in 4K by IndieCollect, “The Amusement Park” is a real treat for cinema fans and especially George A. Romero fans. Despite its short running length, Romero still manages to create a poignant and hard hitting tale about the elderly, ageism, class, and financial difficulties which feels all too timely in these chaotic times. Of course, Romero puts his own spin on this material which apparently did not sit well with the Lutherans. Romero gives the story a surrealistic horror feel to expose the horrors that elderly people can face (including looming death). There’s also a level of ambiguity here as the audience wonders if what they are seeing takes place in a nightmare, hell, the after life or some horrific real world. Suffice it to say, it’s not your typical educational movie in the best way imaginable.

Speaking of Romero, Anyone with a strong familiarity of the director’s work will notice that his style here is very reminiscent of films that would come later in his career. It has that distinct, fresh, raw indie filmmaker visual approach.

Cast wise, this is pretty much all Lincoln Maazel’s movie. Not only is the actor the only central player, but he also addresses the audience before and after the movie in a traditional educational movie fashion. He does a fine job of guiding Romero’s movie while also taking the viewers on a hellish journey. It should be noted that much of the cast was volunteers which gives the film a unique atmosphere.

Look for “The Amusement Park” exclusively on Shudder June 8

June 1, 2021 - Posted by | Movie Review | ,

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