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Sasquatch — (Photo by: Hulu)

Television

‘Sasquatch’ and the evolution of true crime

The importance of change.

Sasquatch is an exciting new true crime documentary on Hulu that demonstrates the importance of change. The docu series follows investigative journalist David Holthouse who is investigating an odd triple murder from 25 years ago. What makes this unsolved murder stranger than others is that the killer may have been Bigfoot.

In order to truly appreciate this latest true crime doc, it is important to have some understanding of the genre. While it has been around for centuries it was not until the middle of the 20th century that it found widespread appeal. Books from Truman Capote and Norman Mailer and stories about serial killers and the Manson family took the nation by storm.

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Before long, true crime had flooded stores and television. Shortly after, movie theaters followed. In the age of streaming and podcasts, true crime is an increasingly popular genre. The flip side is how these types of stories are seen. Since true crime has often been the fodder of salacious talk shows and sensationalized headlines, the genre was often looked down upon. It all makes for fun water cooler talk, but no respectable person enjoyed these stories.

In recent years, the perception of true crime has changed. With the increased popularity has come more acceptance. This was due to more effort being put into these shows and podcasts. The mix of outrageous tales with factual storytelling has led to releases that are more about being informative than catering to the lowest common denominator.

Side by side with true crime has been cryptozoology. Every child goes through a phase where they love stories of sasquatch and UFOs. Eventually, this goes away as they grow older and the beliefs tend to die out. The increased access to media has led to larger interest and even more shows. There has been even more debate about the existence of these creatures.

It is into this world that Sasquatch makes its debut.

Even the best true crime stories follow a pattern. There is an introduction to the setting and characters, followed by an investigation with the occasional twist, before an ending that may or may not see the culprit captured. This is surprisingly similar to a show about hunting a cryptid. In both cases, it has worked for years, garning large audiences.

sasquatch

Sasquatch does things a little bit differently. Much like similar shows, it begins by explaining the mystery and the location. Things start to differ here as the first episode goes into an exploration of Bigfoot culture. It is an interesting look at the mythos of the creature and particularly its place in the Pacific Northwest. It is something that most true crime documentaries cannot afford to be: fun. 

The offbeat case and memorable characters will draw viewers in. The murder is a grisly one, yet the mix of urban legend and murder is an intriguing one. When the premiere ends with a cliffhanger, the audience is hooked. The next two episodes follow the standard formula of investigating leads and eliminating suspects. Each turn is fascinating as things becomes larger and more dangerous. But what the Hulu series highlights more than anything else is the room for growth in the genre. True crime constantly walks a thin line between human interest and trash. Sasquatch proves it can also be creative.

Sasquatch premieres on Hulu April 20

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