If the Wikipedia for your amusement park includes a section for “Fatalities,” it’s probably not a good amusement park. Action Park was not a good amusement park. Action Park, located in Vernon, New Jersey, was open from 1978 and 1996, and in that time, six people died on the grounds; countless more were bruised and bloodied. It’s now the subject of an HBO Max documentary titled after one of its nicknames: Class Action Park.
Directed by Chris Charles Scott and Seth Porges, Class Action Park “reveals the truth about New Jersey’s Action Park; widely regarded as the world’s most dangerous amusement park and a staple of growing up in the New York/New Jersey area in the ’80s and ’90s,” according to HBO Max. “For the first time, fans new and old will be able to experience firsthand the insanity of this dangerous water park via real-life footage and testimonials.” One talking-head interview in the trailer above calls the story of Action Park a “true crime story,” while you don’t often hear the words “electrocuted,” “decapitated,” “fractured vertebrae,” and “impaled on the bowl” said about Disney World.
Class Action Park is the first-ever feature-length documentary to explore the legend, legacy, and truth behind a place that long ago entered the realm of myth. To some, New Jersey’s infamous Action Park was the most spectacularly fun amusement park on Earth: A place where unruly 1980s teenagers were given free rein to go gonzo on strange contraptions that seemed to violate the laws of common sense (and perhaps physics). To others, it was an ill-conceived death trap. One thing is sure: It’s the type of place that will never exist again.
Class Action Park premieres on HBO Max on August 27.