Monday, May 23, 2011

Film Review: Cropsey or Why I Avoid Staten Island and It's Not Because of the Traffic or Monster-Sized Land Fill

I spend a fair amount of my free time in a very uncomfortable retro plastic chair watching movies, social networking and, as of late, hearing about this documentary by the name of Cropsey. I can safely say that I had no idea what this film was about. It had an amazing one sheet. I was debating trying to find a screening nearest me. I was truly excited to see it solely based on reviews on any number of horror news sites I frequent. Bad ass one sheet plus fans reviewing the ever loving shit out of it plus semi-obscurity equals Dr. Terror interest level piqued to red line… and then the reviews faded out a bit. Then I couldn’t find it. Then I couldn’t find it in the film festival circuit. No release date given. I couldn’t even find the damn thing on the torrents which I assure you was not my first or second choice.

Months… years… ok, not years. Months pass. Horror Hound releases their 1981 edition filled with a pile of movies I hadn’t seen, need to see and if I don’t see I’m a candy ass horror fan if you’ve ever seen one and I’m quite certain you’ve seen one and he looks like me no matter how many pictures I see. The Burning gets a full spread and no matter how much press that damn movie got I just wasn’t interested. Until this past month. The Burning was a fun film. Not my favorite. Definitely glad I saw it and in the whole grand scheme of things I’m pretty glad to see any influential horror movie just to have an opinion on it. That’s what we deal in here right? Opinions.

And what should my wandering ears hear? Cropsy. The name from the god damn documentary I couldn’t find. Are they related? I have no idea. I’m just glad to remember that I was looking for that frickin’ movie so diligently that I forgot about it out of frustration. Furthermore it’s on Netflix Instant View, and I have a free night to watch it. Whoopy! Kid on Christmas coming through.

You’d like me to say it was the best damn documentary I’d seen in ages right? That it was worth my mental anguish. That I was satiated. I was not satiated, but I enjoyed myself. I’m not sure if it was built up to much in my dork brain. The first thing you need to know if you’re as dimwitted as the good Doctor here is that there are in fact two different Cropsey’s on this planet. There’s the one The Burning and one in the documentary; difference being that the Cropsey in the documentary has the letter “e” attached before the “y” in the name. One is a serial killer who’s weapon of choice is garden sheers. The other is an unproven serial murderer who’s weapon of choice is unknown and is based in reality. Now that you know that Cropsey is not Cropsy, you can give yourself a break and try to watch the either film exclusively. From what you can gather the Burning’s use of the name and origin come from the myth of Crops(e)y but skew into a tangent far more outlandish than that of reality… ya know like what happens in Back to the Future part 2.

Back to the documentary (post cognitive flux into what we here in the biz like to call, loony land), Cropsey is the tale of a missing children in Staten Island, NY and the fate that potential has befallen them. While no murders have been fully proven there seems to be a dead on balls accurate suspect who’s been in and out of jail over the whole mess for quite some time. Some very convincing interviews, some recanting of the local legend of Cropsey, a court case and kids being killed; you’ve got yourself a documentary folks.

This picture views like an exceptionally long episode of Unsolved Mysteries. I don’t say that to be derogative at all. I love Unsolved Mysteries. It’s just got that same dramatic flair and quick to jump at the obvious or juicy conclusion. It’s fun for that reason. If it gets you thinking and researching than the director made a successful documentary. I’d say you’ve got that in Cropsey. It’s not 100% accurate, but for fuck’s sake directors are allowed to have opinions and draw their own conclusions too.

The one thing I’d love to let ya’ll know about the crazy little setting… Staten fucking Island. This movie opens up with things like:

“Staten Island is the perfect setting for murder.”
“Staten Island is haunted.”
“Staten Island is where the mob buried their bodies.”
“Staten Island is where the boogeyman vacations.”…

WELCOME TO MOTHERFUCKIN’ NEW JERSEY!!! Soooooo… No one is as spooky as Staten Island? Let me ask you… is there a magazine called Weird Staten Island? Does Staten Island have Midgetville and Annie’s Road, Shades of Death Road, Ghost Lake, Colby Mansion (God rest it’s soul), Blairsden… the list goes on and on. Yeah… the mob buried their bodies here too. We got Jimmy fuckin’ Hoffa somewhere! At least we think we do. The world may never know. What does all this mean? Nothing. I just kept thinking this little rant in my head while all those locals were talking up the Hellfire and Brimstone of that little garbage island…. Breath doc, Breath.

I’ve got two words for the Cropsey documentary makers… Hooker Man. Get on that! The Truth is out there :enter exceptionally spacey, ambient synth riffs: Long Valley, New Jersey needs you as much as Staten Island could ever need you.

In all seriousness I’m sure Staten Island is a pretty creepy place. The layout seems to have a magic tunnel, wooded green in the smack dead center of the place for bad guys to skirt around in and enough scum to fill your cesspool. Cropsey is a quality documentary. Cropsey is a fun story to tell your friends about. It reads like one big cautionary tale sayin’, “we live in different times and you can’t just let your children wander around anymore”. I was half way out the door after watching it. I wanted to play Nancy Drew and solve this fucker. My Sherlock Holmes’ days are on hold for now, but take care of yourselves and each other… deep, Jerry.

-Dr. Terror

I must learn to control my random bouts of Jersey pride. They keep appearing at the most random moments. I'll just stick to our untained beachcommunities and diner culture from now on.