The Reel Review
The Hulu docu-series Sasquatch is less a hunt for the mythical hairy beast and more a crime drama about unsolved killings in Northern California’s Emerald Triangle, a three county area where the world’s best marijuana is grown – much of it illegally. In the three episodes, gonzo journalist David Holthouse returns to where, while working on a pot farm in 1993, he was told Bigfoot had killed three men.
Produced by Jay and Mark Duplass, producers of the 2018 docu-series Wild Wild Country, Sasquatch details the gruesome killings with ominous music, animated re-enactments, and visuals of the heavily wooded region. There is enough about Bigfoot to justify the title, but Holthouse then shifts gears, taking the series down a more plausible and sinister path, as he explores the true monster – the heavily-armed criminals the region’s illegal marijuana industry has spawned.
Over the decades, the carefree image of laid back, pot-smoking hippies wanting to live off the grid has evolved into one of machine gun-toting drug lords setting up booby traps and motion detectors and killing and disposing of anyone who trespasses – many of them illegal immigrants without ID. The Sasquatch angle is more of a red herring, but the series is still a well produced, interesting look at a lawless element of American society which few people are even aware.
• Growers have been cultivating cannibis plants in the sparsely populated Emerald Triangle (Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties) since the 1960s. The industry has exploded since the 1996 passage of California Proposition 215.
• The 1967 Patterson-Gimlim Film made Sasquatch, or Bigfoot, a household name.
• David Holthouse’s journalistic exploits have included him infiltrating a group of Denver neo-Nazis and writing about three day benders with meth addicts.
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