Review by Jacquelin Hipes
David Huggins comes from a humble background. Raised on a farm in rural Georgia, he left behind the limited prospects and abusive parents of his home at age nineteen. Now in his seventies, David lives in New Jersey where he works part-time at a deli and paints. He is divorced with one son and collects VHS tapes. Nothing in his outward appearance or manner suggests that David differs from the crowd in any significant way. To believe this, however, would be a mistake. Ever since his childhood David has said that extra-terrestrial beings visit him. All of his paintings are memories from these encounters, including a romantic relationship with a female named Crescent. And that VHS collection? All science fiction and horror titles, many of them centered on alien landings or abductions. Brad Abrahams’ documentary Love & Saucers lays out the entirety of David’s story, leaving its final interpretation to the viewer.
He claims his first encounter with extra-terrestrials occurred in 1952 when he was 8 years old. A small, hairy creature with glowing eyes appeared to him on the farm, frightening him. Each successive encounter introduces him to new creatures: a praying mantis-like alien, stereotypical “little grey men”, and Crescent. David says that he lost his virginity to her at seventeen; later he discovered they had many children together. These visits continue even after he moves to New Jersey, although by the 1970’s they’ve stopped long enough for David to marry and have a (human) son. With time, he claims, the memories faded but then returned, leading to the break-down of his marriage. His paintings are a way of working through the memories, sorting and recalling them, preserving a period of his life that David cherishes greatly.
Stories of alien abduction most commonly garner rolled eyes and audible scoffs, but David exudes such a warm familiarity whenever he talks, that one must concede at least he believes in the truth of his experiences. Most of those around him do too, including his son and his boss. (His ex-wife declined to be interviewed.) Abrahams’ attempts to maintain his neutrality throughout, but he is even more careful to shield Huggins from ridicule. The only academic featured is neither a doctor nor a psychologist, one of whom might provide alternative interpretations of David’s memories, but Dr. Jeffrey Kripal, a professor of religion. Far from a skeptic, Dr. Kripal claims to have had a transcendental experience of his own, naturally inclining him to credulity.
This lack of skepticism ultimately works because of Huggins. He is neither a snake oil salesman nor a conspiracy theorist. Although he believes in events that many others would deem impossible, his personal belief and those memories suffice. He seems like a delightful man and there are far worse stories to spend an hour’s time listening to. Director Abrahams presents more of an enigma, though. His next project on cryptozoology (think: “Big Foot and Nessie are real!”) has already been announced. Shedding some light on the eccentrics of the world can prove amusing, or even educational. One only hopes that he isn’t a card-carrying member of the club.
The doc will begin streaming on December 12th.