David Higgins is a man who’s seen it all. Greys, giant mantis people, hairy miniature bigfoots, you name it. He’s no stranger to close encounters. Really close encounters. Like, putting-his-penis-in-aliens close. Just as Bill Shatner frequently did in the original series, David went boldly and had sex with a bunch of extra-terrestrials. Or at least that’s what he tells us – the audience – in director Brad Abrahams’ documentary, LOVE AND SAUCERS.
Dave is 72 and lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, surrounded by all sorts of otherworldly paraphernalia. He recounts his experiences in a matter of fact tone. David believes wholeheartedly that he was sexually assaulted by a menagerie of alien species from the time he was a young boy into adulthood.
He had his first encounter when he was eight years old with some sort of hirsute man-beast in the forest. His second experience saw him sprayed with goo by a giant insect. Then came the greys, and as time went on, his encounters became increasingly sexual, with probes and more goo and ultimately resulting in him impregnating his alien girlfriend, “Crescent”.
All of David’s experiences are conveniently visualized and presented for us in paintings; you see, old Dave is a creative man. In retirement, he spends much of his time pressing brush to canvas, and when he’s not doing that, he’s writing a screenplay detailing his encounters. A cursory glance at his living quarters reveal the most likely source of his inspiration; shelves full of 50’s sci-fi films dominate the landscape of his apartment. He’s a collector with impeccable taste, and I’d be more than happy to spend time rifling through his collection.
David seems like a genuinely lovely man, and between bouts of meditation and dream interpretation, his bright, fascinating personality shines through. No wonder the aliens couldn’t resist his charms. He’s a man who wants to leave this planet behind and let his imagination and spirit soar. I can get behind the cut of his jib… stopping short of the weird alien sex stuff.
David’s descriptions of his encounters come across as slightly fetishistic, perhaps stemming from a desire to be controlled, held down and used by a force he has no chance of fighting against. His paintings, while being shy of pornographic, are definitely products of erotic fantasy. When it comes down to it, his accounts sound like very long, elaborate dreams.
Is David medicated? Does he suffer from schizophrenia? Or is he just smart, using his stories as a marketing tool for his art? His sincerity is convincing enough, but considering what lengths people have gone to for the sake of selling their work, the idea that this could be performance isn’t out of the question.
The film doesn’t really take a viewpoint either way, it just listens and stares as David tells us what’s up. But what makes LOVE AND SAUCERS different to the million other alien abduction documentaries we see on the Discovery channel masquerading as edutainment? Well, the answer is: David. We find out early on he has an obsession with impressionist and expressionist art, which is fitting, as much like the works of the artists he admires, the vague accounts of his experiences invite interpretation.
At 67 minutes long, we don’t get much time to make our mind up, and that’s the one major criticism I could level at the film. It never goes into as much depth as it could have. But then again, it leaves us wondering, and maybe that’s the point.