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In 1973, after the groundbreaking success of Night of the Living Dead but before he expanded his legendary undead universe with Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, George A. Romero took on an interesting filmmaking assignment. He was commissioned by The Lutheran Society to create a movie that would dramatize poor treatment of elderly people in America, but by the time he was done, the film was considered too dark and brutal to be released, and so it was shelved. Now, after it resurfaced in 2019, The Amusement Park is finally hitting streaming, and you can check out the first trailer today.
Horror streaming service Shudder announced Thursday that it will release The Amusement Park, Romero's legendary lost film that those who've seen call a fascinating stylistic precursor to his later work, on June 8, making that day a very exciting one for Romero completists. The film stars Lincoln Maazel (who also worked with Romero on Martin) as an elderly man who descends deeper into isolation and darkness as he tries to navigate the chaos of an amusement park, which emerges as a metaphor for the disorienting nightmares of aging. Some who've seen it already have dubbed it Romero's scariest film, in part because of the subject matter and in part because of the imaginative and terrifying way in which he's able to convey the loss of control that comes with again.
The trailer below has also captured that, and the result is a very unnerving experience.
The wide release of this fascinating piece of movie history is part of what Shudder has dubbed its "Summer of Chills," during which the streaming service will drop at least one high-profile horror release onto its service each week from June 3 to August 19. It all begins with the Shudder Original psychological thriller Caveat, continues through much-anticipated releases like Son and The Boy Behind the Door, and culminates with the streaming debut of Jakob's Wife, the new horror film starring Barbara Crampton.
This is also, notably, not the only major Romero revival news of the year. Back in February, Romero's wife Suzanne noted that there are potentially dozens of new films to be made from the developing scripts her husband left behind upon his death in 2017, and just last week there was movement on his script for what was to be his final word on the zombie genre, Twilight of the Dead. Romero may be gone, but his impact on horror continues.