Though the Humboldt County-centered, true-crime documentary Murder Mountain was first released by Fusion, it saw a surge in popularity after dropping on Netflix in late December. The six-episode series takes its name from Alderpoint, a small, census-designated area of Humboldt County that has earned itself the grim, alliterative nickname with salacious tales of mystery and murder. In Murder Mountain, filmmakers show the halcyon “hippie paradise” days of early cannabis farmers juxtaposed against a modern Humboldt where more people go missing annually than any other county in California. An unresolved murder, alleged outlaw culture, a group of vigilantes, and gritty missing posters are the sometimes overly dramatic hooks of the series. However, viewers will also find heroes in long-time farmers trying to secure permits to legally grow cannabis, as well as community members dedicated to finding justice for the missing and the dead.
The narrative has been cause for controversy, with rebuttals coming from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Humboldt County residents, and the filmmakers themselves. But if there’s one thing parties can agree on, it’s that Humboldt County ought to be a place where farmers can equitably make a safe and legal living. We spoke to filmmakers and subjects to get a fuller picture of “Murder Mountain” and what happens next.
Humboldt County’s Missing
Murder Mountain was directed by Joshua Zeman and produced by media company Lightbox, co-founded by cousins Simon and Jonathan Chinn. Jonathan Chinn tells High Times that they were first drawn to the county’s missing persons statistics, as well as its long-standing ties to cannabis—an industry that finally, at least in California, might offer a legal way to earn a living.
“From a storytelling point of view, it was kind of a perfect storm,” Chinn said. “All these missing people [and] …
Author: Juliet Bennett Rylah / High Times