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2009, Crime  -   36 Comments
Ratings: 7.47/10 from 59 users.

Realizing the urban legend of their youth has actually come true; two filmmakers delve into the mystery surrounding five missing children and the real-life boogeyman linked to their disappearances.

Cropsey is an investigative-crime horror-documentary film, written and directed by Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio.

The film initially begins as an examination of "Cropsey," a boogeyman-like figure from New York urban legend, before segueing into the story of Andre Rand, a convicted child killer from Staten Island.

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. Buy the film at

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36 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Evan

    Who narrates this? Sounds like Joseph Gordon Levitt

  2. T K

    Rand was also a maintenance worker in the Tysens lane apartments in New Dorp. When Alice Pereira went missing, how did the cops not suspect him from the beginning. The Trumps owned those apartments and did little to help. (Trumps father) Andre Rand burn in hell!

  3. Kim russom

    Who is this guy that found the grave and why did he wait till next day to say something and why did they not interview him who is he?

  4. Nikki Anela Utufa Evans

    So sad! I don't think I have ever heard of this before. I haven't even watched the doc. yet since my internet is so slow I need to let it load but it sounds like it will be very hard to watch and make me very angry! Thanks for the heads up!

  5. disqus_9JCvCtbisE

    So a guy walks up to a grave and says dig here and no one questions that? I don't know all the details but it's quite a coincidence. Did they get the right guy, God I hope so.

  6. dmxi

    williwbrook.......americas own little 'rumania',quite telling of a societies approach to their defenceless.

  7. oQ

    I had never heard of this case, it reaffirmes how many mental hospitals in those days were treating people like caged animals and even guinea pigs for scientific experiments.
    Rand sure has the appearance and the look of a deranged person even though he sounds intelligent enough in his correspondance.
    Very well made documentary.

    1. Pysmythe

      A bit surprisingly, neither had I, since I've been living only about 60 miles from Staten Island since 1995. It's a little puzzling to me that a horrifying crime spree like this is apparently as obscure as it is, though maybe I'm just less informed than I'd like to think.
      Believe it or not, though, I do recall seeing the Rivera report on Willowbrook from way back in the seventies... I just don't remember if I actually saw it IN the seventies...
      But images like those aren't easily forgotten, even if some of the details are.

  8. DigiWongaDude

    Disturbing. He may have been convicted wrongly, but he wasn't wrongly convicted:

    I, for one, am convinced beyond reasonable doubt they got the right man. He's not behaving like any innocent person would. He's behaving like a guilty person, who has been locked up for breaking the rules by a society that themselves didn't play by, in convicting him with circumstantial evidence; as though this argument should sway more moral weight than the crimes themselves. So ultimately he taunts...but never agrees to actually meet - this is the telling part, for he knows if he slipped up even a little in conversation, his little game of righteous finger pointing will be put firmly in it's rightful place - he led those children to their deaths.

    The rest of the finger pointing is for society as a whole to take heed from, in it's reluctant quest to confront such horrific crimes. But the crimes themselves, the loss of those innocent children, lie firmly with Andre Rand. Justice, has been served.

    1. Pysmythe

      Exactly my impression, too. I can't easily imagine an innocent person playing the sort of games he did with potential interviewers.

    2. DigiWongaDude

      Hey you, nice to see you again...ssshh... (whispering) ...with this new stuff, I've got myself an ankle biter's ok it doesn't really bite...just clicks a little, love it! :-) Following you now (me following you, not the A.B.F.)

    3. Giacomo della Svezia


      Glad you're back, missed your comments. Any ideas who your ankle biter is?

  9. WiseGapist

    Powerful documentary, horrific but captivating. Not one to watch while eating, but definitely satisfies that all too human desire to peer into a sick and depraved reality (hopefully) far-removed from our own.

  10. dmxi

    the cop with the mono-brow looked like he knew 'his' satanic stuff & rand was mates with christopher walken (look-a-like) which explains alot !
    "off with their heads!"-i say -

    1. Pysmythe

      Oh, yeah, that mono-brow chap was a bit of a snap back, with his oversized, pearly white demon-teeth, his thin head, and his frank admission of esoteric info, which he rather good-humoredly refused to share. My impression was, if Marilyn Manson was a cop... he'd be that guy, lol.
      (at least, during THAT interview...)

  11. Shadowblur

    ....What about the illuminati, they do ceremonies, crucify children for Satan? Stanton Island is a perfect place to build a mental institution, (powers-that-be purposely built it there) Stanton Island is well hidden in a way. Once every so many years, the heads of some countries gather for this secret ceremony it was recorded by someone, you can find it on youtube somewhere, were these kids used in it? Place the blame on the homeless who live on Stanton, perfect stooges.

    1. WiseGapist

      It's id*ots like you that detract credibility from those who voice a genuine concern that a number of people in positions of power are indeed Freemasons... Not only a foolish comment but also an irrelevant one.

  12. onepercenter13

    Why do I get he feeling that there has been a massive injustice here.
    I have my doubts if this man is even guilty.
    Everything in this Docco is hear say, could have, I believe he probably, ect ect....been the so called eye witnesses are etremely unreliable.
    SOMEBODY did kill those kids, and thats a fact.......but there is little or no evidence to suggest this guy has done it.
    I might be wrong....but this case needs to be properl examied, by independant inestigators

  13. Carl Franklin Hendershot

    I hate being a physic ~ but you had solved this case with a few people who all know a bit more then they are talking about. Dam it ~ now I have to have horrible dreams of these bastards.

  14. Pysmythe

    Pick one? Okay, I'll subscribe to the idea that some part of Rand actually believed he was doing the world a favor by ridding it of unwanted, subpar children. After all, even the most murderous, twisted freaks the human race can produce probably sleep better at night with some type of good cover story for their own purely hellish impulses.
    Very well done doc, but a tough watch.

  15. bringmeredwine

    A disturbing story that I'd never heard of.
    Do not watch this doc if you are easily upset by pictures of severely neglected children.
    Images from Willowbrook looked exactly like the footage from the Romainian orphanages.
    To think we had a place like that right here in North America.
    Whatever happened to those poor little souls from Willowbrook? At least some of the Romanian children were adopted.(by Americans)
    In my mind, places like Willowbrook create a portal to Hell.
    No wonder the ex-worker from Willowbrook was nuts. Maybe he did have something to do with the disappearences, but all of them?
    If a guy was living in the cemetary and supposedly committing necrophilia, where were the authorities?
    Why were people allowed to live in the old tunnels and in the woods?
    Why didn't the police flush them out BEFORE children started disappearing?
    Who owned the abandoned property?
    What the hell kind of place is Staton Island?
    As if retarded children could play outside at night with out any supervision, and weirdos just roamed the streets inviting kids into their vehicles and no one ran home to tell their parents.
    I didn't believe "Little Miss Cornrows" for a second, by the way.
    None of this makes sense.

    There will probably never be real answers about who killed those children. It could have been a "pillar of the community" (it usually is) or a relative.

    1. Carl Franklin Hendershot

      The real answer is in your face. Sick sadistic son of bitches. I wish we could all realize what JESUS meant when he said return the cheek.

    2. linda

      Thanks for the warning. It will upset me, so will pass on it.

    3. wald0

      You wrote:"Why were people allowed to live in the old tunnels and in the woods? Why didn't the police flush them out BEFORE children started disappearing?"

      You say this like the police should have known as soon as they heard there were some homeless in the area that the murder/disappearance of children would surely follow. What a pampas and distorted attitude to have toward homeless people, the vast majority of which are quite harmless I assure you .In fact you may be homeless one day, it happens to all peoples from all financial, religious, and cultural backgrounds. If so you will be quite happy to find an abandoned tunnel or building to shelter in, that is if the police don't "flush" you out before kids start going missing.

    4. bringmeredwine

      wald0,I didn't mean to sound "pompous" at all!I was under the impression that scary people had been hanging out in the woods since the hospital shut down, and everyone in town knew about them and were worried that weird stuff, like devil-worshipping was going on; BEFORE any children started disappearing.I have NOTHING at all against the homeless!!!I never meant to offend anyone. Subject: [topdocumentaryfilms] Re: Cropsey

    5. LoggerheadShrike

      You wonder what happened to the poor little souls in Willowbrook .... well I would imagine those who survived are part of the homeless community in New York, some of them probably inhabitants of the homeless groups living in abandoned subway tunnels, others living in abandoned buildings, others in woods. These were abandoned people with no one to care for them. It only gets worse as they become adults.

      I'm not going to bother pointing out the irony here ...

  16. wald0

    Haven't we seen something about Cropsey on this site before, some other doc.?

    1. Carl Franklin Hendershot

      It was a little different. Does this bring you back to something. I am not a psychic just saying that I am reading your mind.

  17. Shadowblur

    ....My God, this would make one incredible mystery/thriller movie!! It has all the hall marks of a horror movie, no need to add any fiction in it; it has all that in truth! Has anyone made a movie out of this? If not, they ought to!

    1. Giacomo della Svezia

      Shutter Island, maybe?

    2. Carl Franklin Hendershot

      You could be right. I think its more then just Stanton Island.

    3. Carl Franklin Hendershot

      Sucks that real life has to make for a movie that others will watch off somebody else's misery.

  18. wald0

    They should prosecute whomever is responsible for the conditions at that mental hospital Willowbrook. Those children were abused horribly, neglected, and abandoned by everyone who knew their struggle and did nothing. This guy looks crazy/retarded himself its hard to picture him as staff at a mental hospital. He looks as if he should have been a patient. Anyone entering such an environment with a pre-existing mental illness would seem doomed, in my opinion. How could such an environment not contribute to their psychopathy?

    1. Guest

      If you only knew the truth. Son of bitches had ruined far to many lives.

    2. Carl Franklin Hendershot

      He looks crazy retarded only because he was doped up in hopes that he would come clean. Looks like he was over dosed. If you feel the way you do, it would be best to find some actual facts before coming to a conclusion for resolve. This whole story is horrible and to many fishy characters. It clearly was cultist activities.

    3. LoggerheadShrike

      He was a groundskeeper, not a member of the staff taking care of the kids. Remember that the place had 65 acres of land ... that's an enormous piece of land. An acre is about 3/4 of a football field. So they had over 40 football fields worth of grounds. I doubt he was even in much of the building other than the office and maintenance areas.