CROPSEY: must-see documentary exploring a Staten Island urban legend

CROPSEY investigates an urban-legend from the 70s on Staten Island. It’s creepy and fascinating. Less than 10 minutes in, I got up to make sure my front door was locked. Directors Barbara Brancaccio and Joshua Zeman grew up on Staten Island and knew about this story about a man who went around taking children. As the two met later as adults, they decide to probe the story they repeatedly heard as adults that a bogey man ran around Staten Island harming children.

Staten Island is a notorious dumping ground for the unwanted and undesirable: trash; mob hits; TB patients (there was a well-known hospital for TB patients on the island); the insane (again, there was a long-running insane asylum on the island) and mentally disabled children (a school existed called Willowbrook State School for the mentally disabled).

It turns out that this myth that the bogey man might get you if you’re not careful was somewhat true. Between 1972 to 1987 several children went missing. Eventually authorities arrest and convict Andre Rand. Is he really responsible for the brutal murders or a scapegoat? Zeman and Brancaccio make CROPSEYan engrossing documentary that delves into the mysteries of the now abandoned Willowbrook State School, the insane asylum and other unexposed secrets about Staten Island. It’s an investigation of Staten Island’s history as well as about the ongoing case with Andre Rand. Interviews, explorations of the abandoned buildings on the island and news footage make CROPSEY thorough, provocative and mesmerizing.

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