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Love and Saucers
David Huggins says that he has had over one hundred alien encounters in his life. He lost his virginity to a beautiful female alien, fathered dozens of alien-human children, and continues to be visited by aliens in his seventies. The 2017 documentary Love and Saucers lets Huggins tell his story in his own words, offering ammunition for skeptics without undermining what Huggins says.
Huggins has created over one hundred paintings about his various encounters with the aliens and, along with his verbal recollections, these images help form the backbone of Love and Saucers. There's something raw about the work, which is often highly sexualized and sometimes resembles the covers of classic sci-fi paperbacks. That rawness speaks to the trauma that inspired them. Director Brad Abrahams leaves it ambiguous whether that trauma stems from actual encounters with aliens or less otherwordly events in Huggins's past. Huggins's monologue in the film includes memories of a tempestuous home life as a kid. Later, we are told about behavior from his college days that might be read as symptomatic of mental illness. Yet Abrahams seems unwilling to jump to conclusions about these revelations, offering space for viewers to shape their own picture of Huggins.
The overall impression we get of Huggins is that he leads an unassuming life and is mostly surrounded by people who are either supportive of him or who don't feel like making a fuss about disagreeing with him. (His ex-wife, it is noted onscreen, refused to be interview for the documentary.)
This is a fairly simple and short film, but it's quietly evocative about the coping mechanisms of traumatized people, about the therapeutic power of art and narrative, and about the value of finding community for people who feel marginalized. It's also a compellingly mounted character study with a charismatic oddball at its center. I was bowled over by this film. I highly recommend it.
Love and Saucers is packaged with two-sided art. A limited edition version with an embossed slipcover is currently available exclusively from the Vinegar Syndrome website.
The AVC-encoded 1080p 1.78:1 presentation nicely translates the imagery of this low-budget doc to home video. Most of the footage has a desaturated look, but typically has strong detail and contrast. David Huggins's paintings are boldly presented, sometimes with subtle animated elements to add depth.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround is effective and clear -- especially for a doc -- but not particularly showy. One subtitle option: English SDH.
(An "isolated soundtrack" is noted on the packaging but does not appear to have been included as an option on the disc.)
- Audio commentary by director Brad Abrahams and producer Matt Ralston - Abrahams and Ralston discuss filming with David Huggins and analyze some of his anecdotes in terms of what skeptics might think versus the impressions the filmmakers got from David in person.
- Q&A with David Huggins (HD, 27:33) - A post-screening discussion at PhilaMOCA. The audience asks for more info on some of the stories in the film and other aspects of Huggins's experiences.
- Zoom Interviews (HD, 3:08:24 total) - Brad Abrahams talks to a number of different people over Zoom. The first batch includes the film's composer Derk Reneman, cinematographer Munn Powell, and professor Jeffrey Kripal about their contributions to the film and their impressions of the film. The remaining interviews are more general explorations of the world of paranormal exploration, David's experiences, and David's art. These are conducted with podcasters Julian Feeld and Rob Kristofferson, screenwriter Richard Hatem (The Mothman Prophecies), and artists Robert Crumb and Rob Cordetti (Killer Acid).
Love and Saucers is a documentary about extraterrestrial encounters that is also quietly about the power of storytelling and art to overcome devastating traumas. David Huggins is a disarming and compelling subject whose stories will trigger countless questions in the minds of viewers. It's a simple but potent film, and Terror Vision's Blu-ray is generously supplemented with nearly five hours of bonuses. The whole package comes Highly Recommended.
Justin Remer is a frequent wearer of beards. His new album of experimental ambient music, Joyce, is available on Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple, and wherever else fine music is enjoyed. He directed a folk-rock documentary called Making Lovers & Dollars, which is now streaming. He also can found be found online reading short stories and rambling about pop music.