Posted by: Peter Hall
Directed by Barbara Brancaccio, Joshua Zeman, 2009
Written by Joshua Zeman
Documentaries often deal with scary subject matter — JESUS CAMP is more terrifying than any work of fiction I saw in 2006 — but rarely do they intermingle with the typical horror movie narrative. Yet such is CROPSEY, a documentary that tackles a story so ripped from a horror movie script that it had a good number of people at Fantastic Fest wondering if it was a indeed a mockumentary. Unfortunately, it’s all true.
Filmmakers Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio grew up on Staten Island hearing scary stories about a boogeyman named Cropsey who stalked the woods surrounding the giant, abandoned Willowbrook Mental Institution at the center of the island, snatching up anyone who came too close with his hook hand. However, when children started to go missing in the ’80s, Cropsey was no longer a work of over-active imaginations meant to keep kids from playing in dilapidated buildings. Their boogeyman was real and he had a name: Andre Rand. And he was allegedly responsible for the serial kidnapping of young, mentally handicapped children around the orbit of Willowbrook, where he used to work.