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#cult classics/ old age / amusement park / society / ageism / discrimination / powerlessness / violence / sadness / circle of life / social education / surreal nightmare /


thriller, drama, social educational program / USA / 54m

The unknown film of George A. Romero

One sunny day, a kindly old man in a white suit decides to go on a trip to the amusement park. He plans to ride the rollercoaster and bumper cars, eat a few snacks, and visit tents full of surprising attractions. He wants to enjoy life and smile at people! There are plenty of opportunities waiting for him at the fair, carefree fun, and pleasant encounters! All in all, it seems like a delightful afternoon in the making.

The nameless character wanders through the crowded carnival, becoming more and more aware that this is no funfair for old men. Elderly people are intimidated, humiliated, robbed, and treated as second-class citizens or freak show exhibits. All they do is cause trouble and spoil everybody else’s fun. An amusement park is a great place… Unless you’re old. Then it sucks.

Just like in real life, then.

“The Amusement Park” is the strange, disturbing, and surreal child of George A. Romero – the creator of the iconic “Night of the Living Dead.” In 1973, the Pennsylvania Lutheran Association hired the director to create an educational film to draw the public’s attention to the issue of exclusion and abuse of older people. What prompted them to give this task to the famous horror film director? We’ll probably never know, but apparently, the irony of the situation has slipped them by. As it turned out, the outcome of his work was so terrifying that the Association decided against exposing anyone to this film. Romero’s production was screened at a few festivals, only to later disappear for many years. Due to its unusual form – suspended between horror, surreal thriller, and educational film – “The Amusement Park” remained largely unnoticed. Today it returns, like the thought of the impending old age, to cause discomfort and painfully remind us of what awaits each and every one of us.

Although the lead actor Lincoln Maazel played the role of a person at the end of his life in 1973, he died 36 years later, at the ripe old age of 106. The actor starred in another film by Romero – “Martin” from 1976.

directed by: George A. Romero
screenplay: Walton Cook
starring: Lincoln Maazel, Harry Albacker, Phyllis Casterwiler, Pete Chovan, Sally Erwin, and others
cinematography: S. William Hinzman
editing: George A. Romero
music: Phil Mahoney
language: English
subtitles: Polish

WORLD PREMIERE: American Film Festival 1975

Age restriction: 16+