Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The Amusement Park Review: George A. Romero's Park Nightmare Highlights Societal Issues

Lincoln Maazel		 Harry Albacker	Harry Albacker		 Phyllis Casterwiler	Phyllis Casterwiler		 Pete Chovan	Pete Chovan		 Marion Cook	Marion Cook		 Sally Erwin	Sally Erwin		 Michael Gornick	Michael Gornick		 Jack Gottlob	Jack Gottlob		 Halem Joseph	Halem Joseph		 Bob Koppler	Bob Koppler		 Sarah Kurtz	Sarah Kurtz		 Aleen Palmer	Aleen Palmer		 Georgia Palmer	Georgia Palmer		 Arthur Schwerin	Arthur Schwerin		 Bill Siebart	Bill Siebart		 Gabriel Verbick	Gabriel Verbick

Release date: June 8, 2021
Running time: 52 minutes
Written and Directed By: George A. Romero
Starring: Lincoln Maazel

Recently discovered and restored 46 years after its completion, The Amusement Park stars Martin’s Lincoln Maazel as an elderly man who finds himself disoriented and increasingly isolated as the pains, tragedies and humiliations of aging in America are manifested through roller coasters and chaotic crowds. Commissioned by the Lutheran Society, the film is perhaps George A. Romero’s wildest and most imaginative movie, an allegory about the nightmarish realities of growing older, and is an alluring snapshot of the filmmaker’s early artistic capacity and style and would go on to inform his ensuing filmography.

Produced by  Richard P. Rubinstein	...	associate producerCinematography by  S. William Hinzman	Film Editing by  George A. Romero	Art Department  Jerry Rosso	...	graphicsSound Department  Michael Gornick	...	soundCamera and Electrical Department  Michael Gornick	...	additional photography Simon Manses	...	grip Nicholas Mastandrea	...	gripEditorial Department  Anastasia Cipolla	...	restoration coloristThanks  Jack Hickey	...	special thanks
I've always loved when horror movies have more to them than simple scares.  Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to enjoy a very well done horror film, but I do love that the genre can also expose societal issues while entertaining.  And the Amusement Park has that in spades.  The entire point of the film is to highlight abuses of the elderly in a somewhat entertaining format.  The film takes a place that should be full of magic and fun, and turns it sinister.  The Amusement Park itself and those who work in it intentionally ignore the horrors that are happening to the man, much like how society often ignores the plight of the elderly.  And there were a lot of small touches that helped to show this, such as booths set up with scam products and pickpockets that take advantage when the elderly guest's eyes are turned.  The film has an involved park, with plenty of rides and "attractions" for this man to take advantage of and be taken advantage of.  And it goes in phases, as the man gets progressively more and more beaten down by the experience.  

However, this film is definitely an old one and feels old.  Not in terms of cultural references, but more so in terms of how the movie is to watch.  The effects are not great by today's standards but were probably top notch at the time.  It is a testament to the restoration effort that the film still looks decent enough to watch, but you can definitely feel its age while you are enjoying it.  And on top of that the acting itself is rough at times.  The film has an introduction that emphasizes that these elderly individuals enjoyed their time immensely, which makes it seem like the film used local talent rather than major actors for the supporting parts.  And this idea seems to fit the spirited, but not natural feeling performances by them.  And the movie itself has some strange cuts that make it feel slightly unfinished.  But all that being said, The Amusement Park is an interesting one that uses horror to tell a deeper story.  

The Amusement Park uses horror to tell an interesting story with a deeper message, one that is sadly still relevant even after half a century since the film's completion.

Rent it.

If you liked this review and want to see more from Watch or Pass, please consider 
following us on our various social media platforms: FacebookTwitterInstagramYoutube
The Amusement Park is available to stream on Shudder starting June 8, 2021. 

No comments:

Post a Comment