“This is truly one of those magical (cursed?) objects that I cannot believe has fallen through the cinematic cracks .” That’s how bestselling author Daniel Kraus describes – on his Twitter feed – seeing the unreleased GEORGE A. ROMERO film THE AMUSEMENT PARK, for which we’ve reposted some of the stills he took.
Kraus, who co-wrote with Guillermo del Toro the Trollhunters and The Shape of Water novelizations, is currently completing the unfinished Romero novel The Living Dead (planned for a fall 2019 release). Part of his immersion into Romero’s world was to watch the unreleased 1973 film (shot in between Season of the Witch and The Crazies), which is not a horror movie but a meditation on ageism, set in an amusement park, that’s so scathing, it was shelved. A synopsis of it, for a screening at the Spectacle Theater in Brooklyn (no date listed yet, just the description of the film), reads: “An elderly gentlemen sets out for what he thinks will be a normal day at an amusement park and is soon embroiled in a waking nightmare the likes of which you’ve never seen! … Witness a crackup on the bumper cars where the police and insurance agents show up! See swindlers and hucksters take advantage of old people left and right! Witness a coffin plunked right in front of innocent attendees!”
As Kraus describes it, “It’s hellish. In Romero’s long career of criticizing American institutions, never was he so merciless.”
The film, which also features a cameo from its creator, sounds absolutely fascinating, and the good news is there’s a plan in place to restore and release it. And you can help by donating to the GARF: the George A. Romero Foundation (georgearomerofoundation.org). Founded by George’s wife, Suzanne Desrocher-Romero (also the President), and overseen by a board that includes his daughter Tina (Vice President) and several former collaborators such as producer Peter Grunwald, composer John Harrison and manager Chris Roe, “The GARF is dedicated to honoring the life, work and cultural influence of George A. Romero, and supporting a new generation of filmmakers and artists inspired by his legacy.” One of the Foundation’s initial projects is to restore The Amusement Park, with the help of fans. Visit the website to find out how you can help.