Wikipedia’s entry for Action Park, a (now shuttered) amusement park near my home town in New Jersey, does an amazing job of capturing the spirit that made the park so popular:
Many of Action Park’s attractions were unique. They gave patrons more control over their experience than they would have at most other amusement parks’ rides, but for the same reason were considerably riskier.
Its popularity went hand in hand with a reputation for poorly-designed, unsafe rides; inattentive, underaged, underpaid and sometimes under-the-influence employees; equally intoxicated and underprepared visitors — and the poor safety record that followed from this perfect storm of circumstances.
This section on the Alpine slide, probably one of the most dangerous amusement park attractions ever, is just perfect:
The sleds themselves were a large factor in the injuries. A stick that was supposed to control speed led, in practice, to just two options on the infrequently maintained vehicles: extremely slow, and a speed described by one former employee as “death awaits.”