Shudder has acquired rights to George A. Romero’s “The Amusement Park,” the film from the “Night of the Living Dead” helmer that was considered lost until a print surfaced in 2018.
The AMC Networks’ horror-centric streaming service will make the movie available in North America, U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand this summer.
After a print of “Amusement Park” was tracked down by Daniel Kraus, longtime collaborator with director Guillermo del Toro, in 2018, the 1973 film was restored in 4K by IndieCollect in New York City.
“Amusement Park” was commissioned by the Lutheran Society with the charter make a movie about shoddy treatment of the elderly in contemporary society. But Romero’s 52-minute production was never released because the nonprofit group found it to be too gruesome for mainstream audiences.
“Amusement Park” stars Lincoln Maazel as an elderly man who finds himself increasingly disoriented and isolated during a visit to the amusement park. What he initially assumed would be an ordinary day quickly turned into a hellish nightmare filled with roller coasters and chaotic crowds.
Shudder described “Amusement Park” as “perhaps Romero’s wildest and most imaginative movie, an allegory about the nightmarish realities of growing older.”
“The moment we heard ‘The Amusement Park’ had been rediscovered and was being restored, we knew we had to bring this unseen George A. Romero masterpiece to Shudder members,” said Craig Engler, Shudder general manager.
Suzanne Desrocher-Romero, founder and president of the George A. Romero Foundation, served as a producer on the film. George Romero died in 2017 at the age of 77.
“The first and only work-for-hire in Romero’s career sheds a new perspective on an ongoing issue of ageism and Romero’s uncanny sense of reflection on society, and the Romero ‘footprint’ is ever present and bodes well for the future of his impact on American cinema,” Desrocher-Romero said. “We are thankful to Yellow Veil Pictures who helped forge a path for us to find the most perfect custodian for this piece. Shudder understands that this film adds an important element to the Romero oeuvre. We are grateful.”