Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cropsey (2009)

Cropsey is a documentary made by Joshua Zemen and Barbara Brancaccio who grew up on different parts of Staten Island, but both heard the legend of "Cropsey", who was either a boogeyman or a man with a hook for a hand who allegedly lived in the woods by an old abandoned hospital and would sneak out at night to kidnap and kill children. It starts out as a general essay about the folklore of the area, but soon takes a turn into an investigation of Andre Rand, who could very well be a real-life "Cropsey", and the modern history and character of Staten Island itself. Through the Rand case it starts to come out that there were a series of kidnappings/murders in the 70's and 80's, of children, who were all mentally ill in some way. The suspect was homeless and most of the bodies are still missing. I didn't know what to expect when I first started watching this, plucked at random from my Netflix Watch Instantly queue, but what I got was a truly chillingly effective documentary. Maybe its because it deals with actual people, but this really got me in the pit of the stomach in a way a lot of horror movies don't these days. It has a strong narrative which doesn't go where one thinks its going to go, and thats really welcome. A word of advice: don't watch it in the middle of the night, if you're anything like me you'll need to watch something light for a little while to come down from the experience. 


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