Brought to us by the inimitable Duplass Brothers and director Joshua Rofé, Sasquatch is the Hulu series that cryptid lovers have been waiting for, wielding a dynamic mix of talking heads, photographs, historical footage, and gorgeously rendered animation to tell the story of one man’s quest to unravel a decades-old, Bigfoot-laden murder mystery.
Investigative/gonzo journalist David Holthouse has a history of infiltrating niche communities in service of his stories, which have focused on groups such as neo-Nazis, meth users, ravers, and Burners.
But the compelling story at the heart of Sasquatch is drawn from his own life.
As a 23-year-old in 1993, Holthouse visited a remote cannabis farm tucked away in the lush forests of Mendocino County, California. When its workers warned him of the dangerous Sasquatches rumoured to inhabit the surrounding wilderness, Holthouse scoffed — until overhearing a discussion about a gruesome triple homicide reportedly committed by the hirsute hominids.
Unable to forget about that fateful night, Holthouse is now determined to seek out answers. Did the murders actually happen? If so, who were the men? And were they really slaughtered by a gang of angry Sasquatches?
We spend the episode learning along with Holthouse, as he peers back at the incident and attempts to piece it all together, searching missing persons reports, reaching out to old acquaintances, trying to track down the location of the cannabis farm, and interviewing Bigfoot eyewitnesses.
The eclectic cast of characters in the first episode includes former hippies, Sasquatch hunters, a retired police officer, a Sasquatch footprint expert, and Bob Gimlin himself (of the famous Patterson-Gimlin film).
The episode ends with an ominous text message from the private investigator David has hired to help him solve the mystery, which hints at a nefarious hidden agenda. It’s a delicious cliffhanger which only fuelled my hunger for more episodes.
The Duplass detour from mumblecore into documentary has been a fruitful one (just watch the brothers’ excellent Netflix series Wild Wild Country if you don’t believe me). Sasquatch takes a wide-ranging approach to its subject matter, looking back to the 1860s, the gold rush, and the brutal massacres of Indigenous people to develop context for the area in question, then moving forward to explore the razing of the redwoods, the incursion of the hippies, and the back-to-the-land movement to deepen our understanding.
While only the first episode was available via SXSW, the series seems very promising. The first three episodes are available on Hulu and an official premiere date of April 20 —if you’re an American with a love for cryptids and engaging storytelling, I highly recommend checking it out.