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.


Joshua Zeman
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Joshua Zeman ... Self
Barbara Brancaccio Barbara Brancaccio ... Self
Bill Ellis Bill Ellis ... Self - Professor of Folklore, Penn State (as Dr. Bill Ellis)
Dorothy D'Eletto Dorothy D'Eletto ... Self - Archivist & Researcher
Geraldo Rivera ... Self - Reporter (archive footage)
Karen Schweiger Karen Schweiger ... Self - Jennifer Schweiger's Mother
David Navarro David Navarro ... Self - Former Newscaster
Donna Cutugno Donna Cutugno ... Self - Founder, Friends of Jennifer
Ralph Aquino Ralph Aquino ... Self - Retired Detective, NYPD
Bobby Jensen Bobby Jensen ... Self - Retired Detective, NYPD
Ernie Anastos Ernie Anastos ... Self - Reporter (archive footage)
Andre Rand Andre Rand ... Self - Suspect
Jim Callaghan Jim Callaghan ... Self - Former Editor, Staten Island Eagle
Jim Dolan Jim Dolan ... Self - Reporter (archive footage)
Theresa Doyle Theresa Doyle ... Self - Searcher for Jennifer


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.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


What if your urban legends were real? See more »


Not Rated

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Was awarded Hammer to Nail's Grand Jury Prize for best documentary at 2009's Tribeca Film Festival. See more »


Barbara Brancaccio: Despite constant threats by state officials to stay away from Willowbrook, Donna and the Friends of Jennifer kept going back.
Donna Cutugno - Founder, Friends of Jennifer: This area had been covered thousands of times by volunteers, by police, by dogs, but in that time one gentleman came across an area that he noticed had clay balls. Up on top like someone patted down and then this was all, you know, pushed back over with the trees, it was just a little spot that he noticed the clay balls. And that's what made us go back, or made him go, ...
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References Father Knows Best (1954) See more »

User Reviews

A Gripping Tale of Child Murder and the Big Picture
4 May 2011 | by gavin6942See all my reviews

Two film-makers document the second trial of serial killer Andre Rand on Staten Island, and connect it to the overall picture of the Cropsey urban legend and the fate of those who were released from institutions. Also, Satanic cults come into play.

The film has been called atmospheric, ghoulishly fascinating, creepy, intelligent, nightmarish, profound, absorbing, terrifying and unsettling. These are words from reputable sources like the New York Times, New York Post and Wall Street Journal. There is little I can add that has not been said. This film is a triumph.

I had a minor issue with it, because it did not really explore the legend of Cropsey, or mention the "Burning" movie. But the focus was never on Cropsey, but Andre Rand. If I can forgive this sleight of hand, I have to say I loved the film and the issues it discusses.

What is in the forefront is the fate of Willowbrook and by extension the other mental health institutions in this country. As they closed down in the 1980s, millions of people were let loose on to the streets, creating a homeless epidemic. Much of this was harmless, but some was terrifying. Having no job or skills, some homeless turned to crime and some with more severe issues turned to murder. Rand is shown here as a form of evil, but he is a symptom and not the cause.

The film has a wide variety of interviews, and I have to give them plenty of credit for tracking down the people they did and finding the documents they needed to find. The police officers who were willing to talk on camera added a great deal to the story. Most striking was the conversation with Robert Graham. He comes across as a potential killer himself, but also has the most insight inside Rand's mind.

I could talk about whether I felt Rand was innocent or guilty, but the truth is I really am not sure either way. I found the evidence against him to be a stretch, and although he did not come across as a "good guy", it was unclear that he was involved in the crimes he was accused of. Was he guilty, or did the police just need someone to blame and he was the sort of guy people were happy to lock up?

I spoke with Joshua Zeman, who says there is no plan at this time for a forthcoming book. I hope he changes his mind. The DVD has extra footage (about 30 minutes) but does not fully cover all the angles the film begins to explore. I want to know more about Rand, I want to know more on Willowbrook, and what is the big picture?

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Release Date:

25 April 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cropsey See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,306, 6 June 2010

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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