Why George Romero’s The Amusement Park Was Lost For Over 40 Years

Fans will soon get to finally check out The Amusement Park, a horror film by zombie master George A. Romero that was lost for over 40 years.

Audiences will soon get to check out The Amusement Park, a horror film by George A. Romero that was lost for over 40 years. Romero sadly passed away in 2017 at the age of 77, after a career full of both highs and lows. Romero made some of the greatest horror movies ever, but he also repeatedly ran into issues getting projects funded, due to a dislike of working within the Hollywood studio system. Romero wanted to retain creative control of his work, which studios rarely offered.

It was quite evident upon Romero’s passing just how much he meant to cinema history though, even if he and Hollywood often weren’t on great terms. Countless past colleagues, filmmaker admirers, and devoted fans offered tributes to George Romero’s work and legacy, celebrating how much great work he was involved in, both in and out of the zombie sub-genre. That sub-genre was essentially created by Romero himself with 1968’s Night of the Living Dead, at least as audiences know it today.

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It’s become well-known that Romero died with many scripts and ideas that had never been realized, but in the case of The Amusement Park, Romero didn’t live to see one of his films get a wide release. Long thought lost, a print was finally discovered in 2018, and thankfully, it’s now set to be shared with the world via the Shudder streaming service on June 8.

What Happened To George Romero’s 1973 Film The Amusement Park

George A. Romero's Lost Film Teased In The Amusement Park Trailer

The Amusement Park actually boasts a very unlikely origin story for a George Romero film. It was commissioned by the Lutheran Society to be an educational film focusing on the real-life horrors of elder abuse and discrimination against the elderly. While that sounds like a straightforward assignment, the Lutherans clearly didn’t know what they were getting into by hiring Romero, who took their mundane mandate and produced a terrifying tale of an old man heading to the local amusement park for a day of fun, only to end up in what seems like a circle of Hell. The Lutherans balked at the final product and refused to show it, feeling it was too disturbing.

Why exactly one would hire Romero and not expect him to make a scary, unrelenting film after he’d already made Night of the Living Dead is baffling, but apparently, the Lutheran Society didn’t see this result coming. For decades, it was known that Romero had directed The Amusement Park, but it didn’t seem like anyone outside of the Lutherans would ever actually get to see it. Thankfully, that injustice will soon be rectified, adding what looks to be another worthwhile entry to Romero’s horror filmography, and enabling his many fans to get a new chance to experience the master at work, even years after his death.

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