‘The truth is terrifying’
Cropsey is a 2009 American crime horror documentary film, written and directed by Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio.
The film and its title uses the urban legend of “Cropsey”, akin to the various incarnations of the Boogeyman, as an introduction to what eventually leads the film to its intended subject: Andre Rand, a convicted child kidnapper from Staten Island, New York.
The name “Cropsey”, has nebulous origins. At the time of the kidnappings depicted in the documentary, Cropsey had come to be New York vernacular for any psychotically violent criminal; one of the detectives interviewed in the film suggests that this generic label was used enough to frighten children that the name came to refer to an idea of a particular individual rather than a simple archetype.
Upon shooting their research of the origins of the missing kids’ stories, Zeman and Brancaccio realized that the truth did not dwindle into something concrete; instead, it expanded into something large and convoluted. What began as Jennifer’s missing story became an in depth investigation of five missing children’s stories.
The objective was to bring the distinct elements into one overarching narrative: the oral tradition of urban legends; the mystery of the missing children; the courtroom drama; the search for the roots of Staten Island’s obsession with the case, the community’s need for catharsis.
“Cropsey is a creepy documentary with all the elements of a horror film about a demented serial killer, and an extra ingredient: This one is real, and you see him handcuffed in the film, not merely empty-eyed, shabby and stooped, but actually drooling.”I’ve never seen a perp walk like that,” says a TV newsman.” Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
“… after only a few minutes of this oddly captivating little film I had to pause the disc and double-check the press notes … so guess what? Cropsey is not a “faux documentary” horror film at at all! It’s actually just a really good documentary film that happens to focus on some rather creepy stuff. How cool.” FEARnet
“Cranking up the tinkling piano and effective Blair-Witch style photography of rotted buildings and dark forests, directors and Staten Island natives Barbara Brancaccio and Joshua Zeman present the murders and the subsequent capture of the suspect Andrew Rand through a veil of collected memory …” The Bowery Boys New York History