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Shudder rediscovers old Romero movie

Shudder rediscovers old Romero movie

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The wealth of “content” available to stream offers viewers a bewildering wealth of choices. And sometimes, amidst the clutter, a vanished gem can resurface. Shudder, the subscription streaming service dedicated to horror movies, offers a new look at the 1973 shocker “The Amusement Park,” a social allegory from director George Romero (“Night of the Living Dead”) long considered lost.

“Park” reminds viewers of Romero’s bargain-basement origins. While “Night of the Living Dead” was competently made, it was cobbled together in western Pennsylvania, far from Hollywood studios and sensibilities. Like many of the masters of outsider “indie” horror movies of his time, Romero was trained as an “industrial” filmmaker. He cut his teeth making films about manufacturing processes and educational movies about factory safety. Herk Harvey, another industrial moviemaker, directed the 1962 shocker “Carnival of Souls,” arguably among the most original and terrifying horror films ever made. Its production budget was less than $30,000. It was also partially set in an amusement park.

In some ways “Amusement Park” is an industrial film. At least it was a work-for-hire. Romero was approached by the Lutheran Society to make an educational film about age discrimination and how society discards its elderly or considers them invisible. The good Lutherans got much more than they anticipated.

The film stars Pittsburgh native and stage actor Lincoln Maazel as a 71-year-old man visiting a largely abandoned theme park in western Pennsylvania. Dressed in a white suit, Maazel offers the “lesson” of this morality tale: “Remember, someday you too will be old.” And then he goes on to experience a nightmare of rejection, scorn, hostility and invisibility. This short, highly didactic horror film is not for every taste. But what George Romero movie is? It may force us to add another classic to the “spooky amusement park” genre.

— Can feminism be funny? Two of the most notable comedies to arrive in recent weeks have a strident and, at the same time, joyous feminist edge. Streaming on Hulu, the 2021 movie “Plan B” stars Victoria Moroles and Kuhoo Verma as teens making a trip across South Dakota to find a “morning after” birth control pill. Streaming on Peacock, the U.K. comedy series “We Are Lady Parts” follows the fish-out-water tale of a band of punk rockers who happen to be young women from London’s Muslim community.

Fairly or not, feminism has often been attacked as a province of white, upper-middle-class, college-educated women. Both “Plan B” and “Lady Parts” gather strength from their settings, where women from decidedly modest backgrounds run up against the conservative orthodoxy of their religious communities.

— Kirk Douglas, Cyd Charisse and Edward G. Robinson star in the 1962 drama “Two Weeks in Another Town” (7 p.m., TCM, TV-PG) directed by Vincente Minnelli. The drama, about washed-up Hollywood talent trying to reignite their careers by working on an Italian film, was a box-office flop, but has become a cult favorite, particularly among those obsessed with Hollywood history. Just a few years after “Town,” an unknown Italian director (Sergio Leone) turned a minor TV actor named Clint Eastwood into an international star.

Other highlights

— Snipers abound on “FBI” (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).

— Radicalized online, a woman may have graduated to murder on “FBI: Most Wanted” (9 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).

— Max loses a romantic memento on the season finale of “New Amsterdam” (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).

— Kate’s memories of captivity are not consistent on “Cruel Summer” (9 p.m., Freeform, TV-14).

Cult choice

An engineer (Michael Keaton) makes the (then) unusual choice to raise the kids while his wife (Teri Garr) works in the 1983 comedy “Mr. Mom” (6:25 p.m., Starz Encore). Garr just might be the most underappreciated actress of all time.

Series notes

A dog-fighting ring harbors darker secrets on “NCIS” (7 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG) ... “America’s Got Talent” (7 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) ... “Lego Masters” (7 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) ... A sudden departure on “The Goldbergs” (7 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG) ... Cisco departs on “The Flash” (7 p.m., CW, TV-PG) ... Domestic chores on “Home Economics” (7:30 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG).

Rob Lowe hosts “Mental Samurai” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) ... Darlene keeps to herself on “The Conners” (8 p.m., ABC, r, TV-14) ... Smallville earns outsized attention on “Superman & Lois” (8 p.m., CW, TV-PG) ... Dre’s colleague hits the campaign trail on “black-ish” (8:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... “To Tell the Truth” (9 p.m., ABC, r, TV-14).

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