Whether or not they believe in him, most residents of the Edenwald section of the Bronx have heard of the legend of Mr. Wiggly, an old man who supposedly has spent the past several decades lurking in Seton Falls Park.
One thing few would have believed, however, is that one day Mr. Wiggly would be making an appearance in a feature-length movie, shown on the big screen.
Mike “TS” Demitro, a 36-year-old Bronx native has written, directed, produced and acted in a horror movie based on the tale of Mr. Wiggly. The film, titled Seton Falls Park (The Boogie Man of Sousa Woods), is based on five young couples whose outings into the park take a turn for the worse, thanks to Mr. Wiggly.
Demitro was able to organize a world premier of the film at AMC Bay Plaza Movie Theater on Friday, April 8 at 7 p.m.
Horror movies about young people being stalked and attacked have universal appeal, such as Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Blair Witch Project, but Seton Falls Park was made with the Bronx in mind.
“If you’re from Edenwald Houses, or if you went to Sousa Junior High on Baychester Avenue, I don’t care how old you are, you’ve heard of him,” Demitro said.
Demitro said that while he was attending Sousa (which locals colloquially named the park after), the entire student body knew of Mr. Wiggly, and was scared to go into Seton Falls Park because of him.
“You couldn’t walk through those woods without being terrified,” he said.
Demitro even has a scar on his head from his junior high days when he and some friends were in the park throwing rocks at an abandoned house that they believed belonged to Mr. Wiggly, and one of the rocks hit Demitro by accident.
Not only is Seton Falls Park made for the Bronx, it was made by the Bronx. Besides Demitro, virtually everyone involved with the film is from the borough.
Cast member Craig Scott, who Demitro found through their mutual barber, grew up on E. 166th Street and now lives in Riverdale.He first heard about the legend of Mr. Wiggly from another actor who grew up in Edenwald.
“I was shooting a movie called Hard White, and during a break from the set, someone told me about Mr. Wiggly,” Scott said. “It was kind of ironic that Demitro was talking about shooting that. Basically it sounded good to me and I auditioned for the role and I got the role.”
The role of Mr. Wiggly is played by Al Pussycat, a 50-year-old resident and native of Woodlawn. Pussycat met Demitro while they were both working as taxi drivers in Scarsdale.
The Seton Falls Park project has been a goal of Demitro’s and Pussycat has always been at the center of it.
“He had me in mind for this role ever since he could remember,” Pussycat said. “He told me that not only did he have nightmares about Mr. Wiggly, but that in those nightmares I was Mr. Wiggly.”
Pussycat has been working in entertainment for decades, including stints as a bodyguard on tour with Aerosmith, Bon Jovi and Motley Crue in the 80s. He was the oldest one on the Seton Falls Park set and even as a veteran, he was impressed with Demitro.
“From beginning, the fact of what he did, write, direct, produce and put the movie in the theater himself, he went out and did it,” Pussycat said. “It’s just amazing.”