Staten Island’s Willowbrook mental institution is frightening enough for its sordid history; the children housed in the overcrowded and unsanitary state-run facility were physically and sexually abused by staff, a scandal uncovered by Geraldo Rivera in the ’70s. But it got even scarier after it was shuttered in the ’80s. Stories of an escaped mental patient supposed to be hiding out in the abandoned crazy house, named Cropsey, tormented kids at sleepovers and at camp-outs. When a real-life girl with Down syndrome went missing in 1987, the legend of Cropsey became all too real. Filmmakers and Staten Island natives Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio investigate the boogeyman behind the abduction in their documentary, named for the Island’s most spooky villain.
Sat., Oct. 24, 8 p.m., 2009
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 20, 2009