Blue Sunshine and Sound On Sight present Cropsey

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Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio | USA 2009 | 84min.

Saturday July 3 – Doors 8:15pm / Film 9:00pm
Admission $8
co-presented with SOUND ON SIGHT

3660 Boul. St-Laurent / 438-380-5869

Cropsey is a creepy documentary that explores how fact and fiction intersect in a real-life murder case in Staten Island, New York. Like many kids that grew up in the area, directors Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio were told the story of Cropsey, a lunatic child-killer that escaped from the Willowbrook Mental Institution. Cropsey was treated as just another urban myth until Jennifer Schweiger, a young girl with Down’s syndrome, disappeared from her Staten Island home in 1987. After Jennifer’s disappearance, three more kids — all of whom suffered from a mental or physical disability — also turned up missing. Jennifer’s corpse was eventually found near the site of the abandoned Willowbrook campus. Andre Rand, a disturbed transient who worked at Willowbrook until it was shut down, was quickly identified as the main suspect. The evidence against Rand was circumstantial at best, but he was convicted and locked away. Twenty-two years after his initial conviction, Rand was convicted of the murder of one of the three remaining missing kids despite the fact that her body was never found.

Cropsey is built around Zeman and Brancaccio’s detailed investigation of the Rand case. The film presents interviews with family and friends of the victims, police officers who investigated the case, Rand’s associates, and people who claimed to have been witnesses or potential victims to his crimes. The filmmakers also weave the Andre Rand case into the weird, secret underbelly of Staten Island. Through newsreels and new footage, the filmmakers examine the history of Willowbrook, which was famously exposed by Geraldo Rivera as New York City’s dumping ground for the mentally ill. The weed-covered Willowbrook campus was once rumored to be the stomping grounds for transient child-abusing cultists led by Andre Rand. Now, teenagers enticed by rumors of satanic sacrifices visit Willowbrook at night for scary thrills. The film also details the unsolved disappearances of dozens of kids all over Staten Island, and many people believe that Andre Rand was somehow involved. Cropsey asks a lot of questions, and the answers (or lack of thereof) are very disturbing. (Rodney Perkins)

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