SASQUATCH DIRECTOR MIXES LEGEND WITH TRUE CRIME
By Michael Ahr
Director Joshua Rofé usually makes social issue documentaries, but in making Sasquatch for Hulu, he uncovered the hidden power of the Bigfoot legend in the criminal underground.
Sasquatch contains interviews about Bigfoot, but it also investigates how marijuana growers in Northern California have exploited the myth to explain vanishing interlopers.
When a friend recommended the Sasquatch Chronicles podcast to Rofé, he was skeptical, but when he listened, he was “overwhelmed by what I sensed was authentic, visceral fear.”
He came to an agreement with himself: “I'm going to make a Sasquatch-centric story. I don't know if it's a doc, I don't know if it's scripted, but this is amazing.”
Sasquatch is seen through the eyes of investigative journalist David Holthouse, who had heard of the so-called Bigfoot murders in 1993 while laying low to avoid some gangs.
Rofé had Holthouse revisit the story by interviewing both “squatchers,” those who believed in and were terrified by Bigfoot, and members of the criminal underground.
“There are a ton of people up there who believe in the existence of Sasquatch, and they would base that on experiences they will tell you they've had,” says Rofé.
The director understood that fear of the paranormal could run deep. “I grew up terrified of the Jersey Devil… You grow up and sort of never think about that again but it's still in your being.”
But the murders in California’s Emerald Triangle could also be associated with the off-the-grid secrecy of the area’s illegal marijuana trade, which benefited from blaming Bigfoot.
Rofé knew it was dangerous to ask questions: “We were sort of being overcome with this feeling [that we’d] better not overstay our welcome, because we're not welcome here to begin with.”
Sasquatch addresses both dangers. “I think fear is a very powerful tool, and legends are often born out of people feeling afraid or wanting to make others feel afraid,” Rofé concludes.