THE BIGFOOT FILES/Chapter Twenty-Four: ‘Grabbing at Smoke’

Hulu’s true-crime documentary, Sasquatch, begins its three-episode arc with a story “about a Sasquatch wasting three dudes in dope country.”

The series title feels like a bait-and-switch because it invokes the creature’s name to empower a metaphor rather than expose the mythic monster.

Titled “Grabbing at Smoke,” the first episode follows investigative journalist David Holthouse on a wild goose chase through his memory and the dangerous cannabis farming region of Northern California called the Emerald Triangle.

In the fall of 1993, Holthouse worked on a cannabis farm with a friend. The second night there, his friend received an intense phone call before two men arrived saying that a Bigfoot dismembered and killed three other men.

Twenty-five years later, Holthouse decides to return to the scene and investigate the triple murder.

Holthouse is a credible and compelling subject, and director Joshua Rofé effectively blends in creepy animation and an eerie soundtrack to create an atmosphere of anxiety and paranoia.

The first episode finds Holthouse at the start of his investigation and provides an interesting lesson on the dark history of the Emerald Triangle, including Native American massacres and the timber industry’s wanton destruction of ancient redwood trees.

However, the arrival of the hippies and back-to-the-landers in the 1970s fuels thriving cannabis farms off the grid and sets the stage for murder and mayhem in the shadows of the dense forest.

Back to the investigation, Holthouse fails to find any links to the 1993 Bigfoot murder story and hires a private investigator, hoping his connections will locate a lead.

The episode sprinkles in interviews with Bigfoot hunters and witnesses, including James “Bobo” Fay of Finding Bigfoot and Jeff Meldrum, a professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University.

“I’m convinced Sasquatch exists,” said Meldrum, who estimates 300 Bigfoot live in Idaho. “It’s the evidence that convinces me.”

The most interesting interview is Bob Gimlin, the gentleman forever associated with the famous Patterson-Gimlin film of 1967.

The documentary shifts back to the investigation when Holthouse’s private eye provides an intriguing lead.

A cannabis farmer named Razor recalls a similar story about three Mexican nationals killed around the Spy Rock Road area in 1993.

The episode ends with Holthouse planning to meet the mysterious Razor in person followed by a texted warning from the suddenly skittish private investigator.

“You. Please be careful.”

NEXT UP: Chapter Twenty-Five: Sasquatch. I review Episode 2 of the 2021 Hulu series. 

THE BIGFOOT FILES : Chapter Nineteen/ Sasquatch

Released in 2014, Sasquatch by K.T. Tomb is Book 1 in her five-book Sasquatch Series. It’s a throwback adventure story about a motley crew of investigators hired by a wealthy cryptozoologist to find the legendary creature.

Tomb Sasquatch.jpg

The team is led by a conflicted but strong female character named Lux Branson. Lux is a professional tracker who’s talented but broke and needs the money offered for the job. Her task is to guide a group of four people, including an anthropologist and a biologist, deep into the Piney Woods of Texas and return with proof of Sasquatch.

Lux is not a believer in cryptids, but once in the forest, she starts to see proof of something lurking in the woods. However, she can’t shake the feeling the trip may be a hoax even as the evidence piles up.

When the team’s anthropologist commits an overzealous act in the name of science, Lux must face the shocking truth and rely on her instincts to survive.

Lux is the heart of the story, and I liked her. She was tough but not invincible, and she showed the fear of a normal human. Lux reminded me of a less tech version of Sanaa Lathan’s guide character Alexa Woods in the 2004 film Alien Vs. Predator.

With a couple of surprising encounters in the second half, including a stunner near the end, Sasquatch is a memorable series opener sure to please readers of Bigfoot fiction.

NEXT UP: Chapter Twenty: Track: Search for Australia’s Bigfoot. I review the 2020 documentary.


OTHER BOOK REVIEWS FROM THE BIGFOOT FILES

THE BIGFOOT FILES | Chapter Seventeen: Bigfoot Trail

THE BIGFOOT FILES | Chapter Fifteen: Night of the Sasquatch

THE BIGFOOT FILES | Chapter Five: Wood Ape

THE BIGFOOT FILES | Chapter Four: ‘The Road Best Not Taken’

THE BIGFOOT FILES | Chapter Three: Swamp Monster Massacre

THE BIGFOOT FILES | Chapter Two: Dweller