THE AMUSEMENT PARK (1973)
Lost film from legendary director George A. Romero has been rediscovered, restored and released on Shudder. Romero made this scathing indictment of the ill treatment of the elderly from a script by Wally Cook. It was a film originally commissioned by the Lutheran Society to educate viewers on how badly seniors are treated by society. Romero’s film was so disturbing, that the Lutherans decided not to release it. The film tells a simple story of a 71 year-old man (Lincoln Maazel) who goes to an amusement park to spend the day and instead finds himself in a nightmare where he and the other elderly at the park are ignored, abused, taken advantage of, and even brutally beaten and robbed. The only senior given any respect or attention is one who is obviously wealthy. Romero presents a nightmare of ill treatment heaped on our elderly hero and his peers and it is quite uncomfortable to watch. It can be a bit preachy…though it’s subject no less important…and the performances of the supporting characters are admittingly amateur. It still conveys a strong message about how the senior members of our society are cast out and abused that resonates almost five decades since the film was made. Romero made this statement so strongly that the very people wanting to spread the message felt it too disturbing to release.