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Spooky Shudder Spotlight: ‘The Amusement Park’

Spooky Shudder Spotlight: ‘The Amusement Park’

Spooky Shudder Spotlight: ‘The Amusement Park’
October 22
05:00 2021

Every so often we get a horror movie where the scares don’t come from monsters and murderers, but instead real-life horrors we will inevitably face in our life. In 1973, George A. Romero constructed a film so terrifying and real, it may as well be the scariest thing in Shudder’s catalog. “The Amusement Park” was lost back when it was shot but has recently found a home on the platform, and it is amazing how well it holds up decades later.

Lincoln Maazel is our protagonist, and following his journey through the film makes you feel every emotion in your arsenal. Maazel is an older man and the movie tackles ageism for the entirety of its runtime. Watching the protagonist in a constant state of uncertainty is enough to make this film a compelling watch. When dealing with something like ageism, it is easy for the film to have a generic “respect your elders” message. However, the film manages to earn your empathy for every minute passing. Maazel’s performance is the main reason this movie works, and his monologues before and after the movie help polish an amazing overall experience.

With the runtime only being 54 minutes, you would think there would be limitations on the conversations this film provokes, but you would be far from right. We are all human beings, and sooner or later we are all going to become old. Sure, there will always be a stereotype revolving around how older people are cranky and rude, but seeing the best in people is something we should do as a default. This film provides numerous examples of older people getting skipped over or completely ignored, simply because of their age. Death is something most find terrifying, and this film manages to take a lot of those feelings up a notch or two.

The most effective way to scare an audience is to find something everyone can be scared by. “The Amusement Park” has a fast-paced style of editing, creating a dark cloud of anxiousness. The best way I can describe this film is being inside of a literal amusement park on one of the scariest roller coasters you have ever been on. No matter how safe everyone says you are, and no matter how tight you are buckled into the seat, something can go wrong at any time. The message of the film could not be more clear or more relevant today.

This film was deemed too disturbing to release to the public back in 1973, which just goes to show how Americans were not ready to have a conversation about ageism. There are no zombies in this film, and there is not even a lot of blood, but it still remains one of the scariest movies I have ever seen. The thought of getting older and being mistreated for something you cannot control is terrifying. The constant worry and anxiety have been sitting in the back of my head for a couple of days now, and it shows just how effective this film was.

It’s so great that Shudder was able to house this rediscovered classic, and it goes to show just how dedicated the platform is. Just when I think I am running out of something to say about Shudder, it gives me five more reasons to love it. “The Amusement Park” is a different type of entry on the list of films and shows I have covered so far, but it is very much my favorite. This movie changed the way I look at a lot of things, and I would encourage anyone to watch it. Out of all the pieces available on Shudder, nothing has been as effective as “The Amusement Park.”

Jaden’s final rating: 4.25/5

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Jaden Oberkrom

Jaden Oberkrom

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