California is Bigfoot country. Only Washington can count as many sightings of the elusive hominid as the Golden State, where some of the most famous glimpses of the creature happened under redwood trees.
As we enter year two of the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor activities are still at the top of the list of things we can do. Have you considered hunting Bigfoot, or have you given up on a life of adventure?
Here are some films to put on in the background as you pack up your gear to go on a cryptozoological pilgrimage.
For California Bigfooting research purposes, the new essential piece of media is Hulu’s “Sasquatch” docuseries. The show stars investigative journalist David Holthouse, famous for infiltrating drug gangs and neo-Nazis. He was working on a cannabis farm in Mendocino County in 1993 when rumors began circulating that a Bigfoot had torn three Mexican men limb from limb.
What follows is his attempt to piece together what really happened. Along the way is the wild tale of how former hippies obsessed with getting back to nature built Northern California’s network of pot farms, as well as how the increased presence in the woods launched the modern Bigfoot industry. Anyone who has driven through the woods in the Emerald Triangle has probably seen references to Sasquatch, and towns like Willow Creek have become full-on Bigfoot cultural centers.
“Sasquatch” has everything, from true crime aspects to history to monster hunting. Renowned Texas monster investigator Ken Gerhard once told me that the connection between illegal drug operations and Bigfoot sightings is far stronger than most documentaries will admit, so seeing Holthouse’s direct look at it is quite refreshing. Do not miss this absolutely bananas series.
Watch it: Available to stream on Hulu starting Tuesday, April 20.
‘The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot’ (2018)
Like “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” everything you need to know about the plot is right there in the title. Sam Elliott is Calvin Barr, an elderly veteran of World War II who was part of a secret plot to kill Adolf Hitler, which succeeded but was hushed up by both the German and American governments. He just wants to sit on his porch and fade away, but joint Canadian-American forces recruit him to hunt a Bigfoot infected with a deadly virus that threatens human civilization.
For all the implied action high jinks, the movie is more about the nature of legends and secrets than hunting and killing. Calvin has long grown disillusioned with his life and wonders if his monumental feats ever actually made the world a better place. While his desire to help people has never faltered, the shadow forces behind society’s problems have exhausted him. In the end, it’s a movie about being tired but going on, because what else is there to do? That’s certainly a feeling we can all identify with right now.
Watch it: Available to stream on Hulu.
‘The Legend of Boggy Creek’ (1972)
Charles B. Pierce’s “The Legend of Boggy Creek” might be the most influential monster movie made in the late 20th century. Not only did it inspire an entire generation of filmmakers when it comes to found footage films (including Daniel Myrick’s “The Blair Witch Project”), but I’ve had at least three cryptologists tell me that seeing this film as children is what drove them into the woods to hunt for mysterious beasts.
Shot in a fauxcumentary style, the movie examines a series of attacks and incidences in Fouke, Ark., where a Bigfoot menaced the small town for years. Using a combination of real-life interviews and an incredible series of re-enactments that are still pretty scary to this day, it blurs the line between documentary and straight-up horror movie. The film was remastered in 2019, which ramps up the creep factor even more. If you had to pick a place where the current generation of monster hunters got their start, the surprise success of “Boggy Creek” would be it.
Watch it: Available to stream on Shudder.
Let’s be real: Bigfoot probably doesn’t exist. That doesn’t mean that we can’t have fun or learn something about ourselves through the lens of Sasquatch. “Pottersville” feels the same way.
Set in a tiny town in upstate New York, Maynard (Michael Shannon) runs a small general store that is slowly going broke now that the big mill has closed. He comes home one day to find that his wife (Christina Hendricks) and the local sheriff (Ron Perlman) have been getting together to express themselves as furries. Heartbroken and betrayed, Maynard storms off to his store and dresses in a gorilla costume in a drunken plan to reignite his wife’s love. Instead, he accidentally turns the town into a media circus when he is mistaken for Bigfoot.
“Pottersville” is a silly but touching comedy of errors where a man tries extreme means to bring life back into his home and community. While the presence of Bigfoot is (probably) a big hoax, Maynard uses the opportunity presented by monster hunters to turn the spotlight on small-town values like loyalty and civic-mindedness. It’s a love letter to everyone that’s ever done something really stupid out of good intentions.
Watch it: Available to stream on Netflix.