This is a quick note to let people know that Cropsey, the Tribeca documentary about a possible child murderer, has just hit VOD. It just enjoyed a six-week run at the IFC Center here in NYC, and this might be your best chance to check it out in the immediate future!

Growing up on Staten Island, filmmakers Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio had often heard the legend of ‘Cropsey.’ For the kids in their neighborhood, Cropsey was the escaped mental patient who lived in the old abandoned Willowbrook Mental Institution, who would come out late at night and snatch children off the streets. Sometimes Cropsey had a hook for a hand, other times he wielded a bloody axe, but it didn’t matter, Cropsey was always out there, lurking in the shadows, waiting to get them.

Later as teenagers, the filmmakers assumed Cropsey was just an urban legend: a cautionary tale used to keep them out of those abandoned buildings and stop them from doing all those things that teenagers like to do. That all changed in the summer of 1987 when a 12-year-old girl with Down syndrome, named Jennifer Schweiger, disappeared from their community. That was the summer all the kids from Staten Island discovered that their urban legend was real.

Now as adults Joshua and Barbara have returned to Staten Island to create Cropsey, a feature documentary that delves into the mystery behind Jennifer and four additional missing children. The film also investigates Andre Rand, the real-life boogeyman linked to their disappearances.

Embarking on a mysterious journey into the underbelly of their forgotten
borough, these filmmakers uncover a reality that is more terrifying
than any urban legend..

I’m still not convinced of the need to insert themselves in the material (and synopsis) in the way they have, as the subject matter more than speaks for itself, but the film is quite recommended. It’s fascinating and even quite scary at a few points, a twisted and sad story for everyone involved.

You can find Cropsey on Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Brighthouse and many others, but it’s only available till August 12th so get on it if you’re interested!

Check my review of the film from last year and the official site for more.