Once upon a time I was wandering around one of my usual haunts, And I came upon the original image of the building above. It came with a fun little snippet about the urban legend surrounding it, telling of the escaped mental patient that lives in the tunnels and attacks children at night. When I posted about it on twitter, one of the filmmakers actually let me know that they made a “Crospey” documentary. So I checked it out and it turns out, it’s not exactly an urban ledgend…

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This documentary was made by Staten island natives, Joshua Zeman and Barbara Branaccio. It starts off by exploring the surface layer of the Cropsey legend, “Stay indoors kids, and be good, or Cropsey will drag you into his tunnels and you’ll never be seen again!”

The abandoned Willowbrook mental institution looming over the neighborhood was the inspiration for the ledgend. Cropsey is supposed to be a hook handed, ax wielding ex-patient, lurking beneath the decaying remains of Willowbrook. Skittering around the tunnels that used to connect the various buildings of the institution.

But as the film progresses it’s revealed there actually were children going missing in the neighborhood. And the discovery of a girl’s body brought the legend out of the darkness and into the harsh light of reality.

This film was incredibly well made, linking from one clue to the next and tying together the events surrounding the children’s disappearances into a very concise tale. It opened my eyes to some true horrors happening in an otherwise unremarkable neighborhood. It held my attention all the way through, And I really must commend the filmmakers for the risk they put themselves in for contacting the man that is believed to be the real Cropsey.

I give this film 5 out of 5 blood spattered stars.

Want more? Check them out on IMDB or on their website: and you can watch the whole thing for free on

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