The documentary, currently streaming on HBO MAX – “Class Action Park” is one of the rare documentaries that has to be seen to be believed. From the late 1970s to the mid 1990s, entrepreneur Gene Mulvilhill created a water park he called “Action Park” in Vernon New Jersey. For reasons that will not make sense to anyone who sees this documentary, this entertainment resort became the most dangerous in the history of the United States. Despite 5 deaths and hundreds of injuries, this park continued to operate unchecked for almost 20 years. One would have thought that because of all the lawsuits and injuries, the State government of New Jersey would have shut the park down, but this never happened – until word of mouth and financial issues finally closed the park for good on September 2, 1996.
There are numerous side stories in this documentary and interviews with many of the former workers and one woman who lost her son who died on one of the most dangerous rides in Action Park. The owner of the facility, the late Gene Mulvilhill, never settled any of the many lawsuits, choosing instead to fight every one of them to make others think twice about suing him. The rides were never inspected and even built by workers who had no engineering experience and as a result just about every ride in the resort was extremely dangerous.
Mulvilhill even created his own fictional insurance company, so he would not have to pay the very high insurance rates to cover the park. The events that led to this resort being open for so many years is another documentary in itself, to investigate the corruption of that allowed this park to be open for so long with no government regulation.
I highly recommend “Class Action Park” as one of the best documentaries of his kind I have ever seen.