There’s something very satisfying about the late American filmmaker George A. Romero – sometimes referred to as the “godfather of zombies” – refusing to stay dead.
After passing away from lung cancer in 2017, he continues to loom large over popular culture; his transcendent zombie series that shuddered to life with 1968’s Night of the Living Dead has inspired a mob of mutant offspring – most recently Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead – while the flurry of Romero-adjacent activity includes restorations, soon-to-be realised scripts, as well as newly re-discovered completed works.
The latest is 1973’s The Amusement Park, a “lost” film that enjoyed a few festival outings but was basically relegated to the vault, until almost a half century later when it was painstakingly restored from two badly washed-out 16mm prints.
Originally commissioned as an hour-long educational film about the plight of the elderly by the Lutheran Service Society in the director’s adopted hometown of Pittsburgh, the project saw Romero – broke after a copyright gaffe and a string of commercial flops – step in as a director-for-hire and then make it his own.
The Lutherans were not impressed.