Sasquatch spoilers follow.
Sasquatch, a new docu-series on Hulu, asks a simple yet mind-boggling question: Did a mythical creature really kill three men on a Californian marijuana farm in the '90s?
What sounds absurd at face value soon flips the entire true crime genre on its head with an engrossing and sometimes unnerving exploration of what really happened on that fateful night in 1993.
With the help of an investigative journalist called David Holthouse, filmmaker Joshua Rofé dives into Sasquatch lore and soon uncovers something far more sinister lurking among those ancient Redwood trees.
To recap, Holthouse first learned of the murder in question back when he was working on the farm where these deaths occurred. One night, a few co-workers returned from the fields all shaken up, convinced that a Sasquatch had killed and mangled three people. Their boss quickly dismissed it all as a joke, but that night stuck with Holthouse for 25 years, until one day, Rofé called him up while researching ideas for a new documentary.
Across three episodes, Holthouse ventures into dangerous territory while also opening up about his own past traumas. The result is fascinating from start to finish, thanks in large part to David's storytelling abilities and the lengths he goes to uncover what really happened.
However, as thorough as Sasquatch is, bias of some kind inevitably creeps into any kind of documentary filmmaking, particularly when one voice dominates the investigation.
While discussing *that* night with The Believer, Holthouse casually mentioned something quite important that didn't make the final cut:
"My buddy and I had taken a pretty epic psilocybin mushroom trip. We really took a heroic dose. This was going down in the cabin, and I was still coming down from the mushrooms, just to add to the surrealism."
It's easy to see why Rofé didn't include this in the series. David's story is already quite hard to believe as it is, and knowing he was coming down from an "epic" drug trip at the time would definitely impact the way viewers digest his account.
But still, by omitting such a key fact, it does cast at least some doubt on Sasquatch's overall reliability, even though Holthouse's present-day investigation seems legit.
Speaking to Esquire, Rofé mentioned that there were some other things that didn't make the cut either, but these were due primarily to "concerns about other people's safety".
"There's a no-holds-barred version of this doc that could have been made," says Rofé. "That let's just pretend lawyers and legal departments didn't exist, right? Whispers, rumours, things that could have gone in the doc that either, hey, they don't pass legal muster, or okay, they do, but there are people who are not even in this thing who are going to be in real trouble. And maybe someone's going to want to come and hurt them if this piece of information winds up in here."
Because they were exploring an active investigation, Rofé had to take all these extra things into account while assembling his final cut. "I mean, we really kicked the hornet's nest on this one." And he wasn't kidding, either.
While chatting to The Guardian, Rofé recalled one day in particular where David met an informant in the daytime and ended up being driven three hours away alone at night to a completely different place.
"That whole night, any time David could sneak away, he was texting me with updates, just to have a record of where he was and what was happening. I didn't know which way it would shake out. We had a few nights like that, where we didn't know if he'd be leaving the place he'd gone to."
Holthouse also visited Spy Rock Road regularly on his own, and as anyone who's watched the documentary will recall, that wasn't a safe decision either, particularly because cell phones don't even work up there.
While some footage from these visits did end up in the final product, it's inevitable that cuts would be made. Rofé probably had hundreds of hours of footage to sort through, and the end result is powerful indeed. But still, it's a bit suspect that info like the key witness being high was omitted.
And who knows? Maybe Bigfoot did pop by for a visit that night and David just missed it because he was tripping too hard? Perhaps those Sasquatch hunters really were onto something after all...
Sasquatch is now available to watch on Hulu. A UK release date has not yet been announced.
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