Nearly 30 years ago an investigative journalist was working on an illegal pot farm, sampling the fruits of his labor as he overheard a meth tweaker panicking about a massacre he’d seen. Bodies had been dismembered, strewn across a small patch of land, and the culprit behind the grizzly scene was the legendary Bigfoot. Or maybe some dude named “Bigfoot?” Or the Hell’s Angels? Or maybe it didn’t happen at all because, like, it was three decades ago and there were a lot of drugs involved. This is the overall premise of Hulu’s new documentary series called Sasquatch.
There are spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk.
In the late fall of 1993 reporter, David Holthouse was working on a pot farm with a friend in Mendocino, California. Days of working in the field, listening to stories about the mythic Sasquatch attacking camps throughout the area known as the Emerald Triangle culminated in a report of the savage murder of three immigrant farmers carried out by the cryptid. Decades later, Holthouse embarks on a journey to see if there’s any validity to this vague remembrance and, if so, was the purported ape creature really to blame? By the end of the first episode, the idea that anything paranormal or undiscovered is behind this crime is completely tossed aside for the very real likelihood that any murders were carried out by growers living in the infamous area.
Sasquatch takes viewers on an interesting tour of the illegal cannabis culture of Northern California from the late ’70s up until the present day. Holthouse covers all the bases by interviewing growers, criminals, cops, and squatchers familiar with the area. It’s only after a needlessly prolonged series of interviews and self-reflections that we come to the conclusion that the story in ’93 was all a fabrication made to simultaneously cover up a murder while scaring off competition posed by the hired hands working in these operations.
The documentary often discusses the conniving and exploitative nature of the communities in and around the Emerald Triangle as well as mankind in general. There’s a certain poetry to this as Holthouse finishes the documentary by explaining he never once believed that a Sasquatch was responsible for the murders and that he never believed in the creature at all. It’s also worth noting that, while he has collected evidence and testimony from people involved in the murder of three immigrants that he chose to capitalize on and exploit their gruesome killings for the purpose of this series without ever having the intention to identify or seek justice for the victims. As a self-indulgent true crime piece, Sasquatch is entertaining if not overly drawn out. You’ll no doubt walk away with a better understanding of what is still a ruthlessly violent and competitive business still aiming for a criminal clientele despite California’s legalization of cannabis years ago. As an exploration of the mysterious creature that the series is named for, it’s little more than another “gotcha” piece designed to suck in an audience on a false premise.
There’s also one final thing to consider about Sasquatch. With the clandestine nature of the industry and people involved as well as the largely dishonest marketing behind the series, and with absolutely no way to verify the veracity of a single statement made across three episodes, is it possible that it’s a work of fiction disguised as a legitimate investigation? Check out Sasquatch on Hulu and decide for yourself.