CROPSEY – Retroview by Jennifer Merin

‘Cropsey’ is an urban legend that haunted Barbara Brancaccio and Joshua Zeman while they were growing up in Staten Island, NY. In this 2009 documentary, the filmmakers return to their childhood environs to investigate the myth about the elusive boogeyman, wacko and supposed satanist who allegedly lived in the abandoned ruins of the notorious Willowbrook Mental Institution, which he used as a base for abducting and killing local children. Ultimately, the discovery of the body of a missing girl proved the legend to be true.

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THE LOST SONS (SXSW 21) – Review by Leslie Combemale

In Ursula MacFarlane’s documentary, The Lost Sons, lead subject Paul Fronczak, searching for his own identity, walks the line between curiosity and egocentricity in a way that is often off-putting. Fronczak’s personality is part of what is being examined in this convoluted true-crime story about newborn abduction, family secrets, and identity. The film will be most appreciated by diehard genealogists, but it has an extended running time that is far too padded to keep any other armchair detectives or true crime nuts engaged.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Zellweger’s TV true-crime series: THE THING ABOUT PAM – Brandy McDonnell reports

NBC has granted a straight-to-series pickup to The Thing About Pam, based on one of the most popular true-crime stories to come out of its venerable Dateline series and its companion podcast. Zellweger, who will also executive produce, will make her broadcast TV series debut in the six-episode series.

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FINDING YINGYING – Review by Carol Cling

Most true-crime tales center on the crime itself. But Finding Yingying isn’t most true-crime tales. To be sure, there is a crime: a harrowing, heartbreaking, haunting one. To this award-winning documentary’s credit, however, the literally gory details play a much smaller role in the overall picture than they generally do.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 15, 2019: ROLL RED ROLL

Following the infamous 2012 case in Steubenville, Ohio, in which two teen boys who were local highschool football heroes assaulted and raped an intoxicated female classmate, Nancy Schwartzman’s compelling documentary, Roll Red Roll, crystalizes the danger of supporting a “boys will be boys” mentality.

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LIZZIE — Review by Martha K Baker

Lizzie resurrects an old axe murder mystery. The year is 1892. The murder: Mr. and Mrs. Borden. The suspect: Lizzie. If this movie were just the unspooling of a Victorian axe murder, it would still balance merit with demerits, but as it’s based on a real murder, Lizzie takes on an element of history beyond the psychological thriller. The story begins in medias res as Lizzie Borden, one of wealthy Alexander Borden’s two daughters, finds her father axed. She screams for Bridget, the servant, to call the police. Then they find Abby Borden, Lizzie and Emma’s icy step-mother, also axed.

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