The midnight screening of “Kuso” was not well received by some Sundance Film Festival attendees.
Audience members began walking out of the theater after just “10 minutes of boil-bursting, pus-oozing revulsion,” according to Variety reporters.
Chris Plante, a reporter for The Verge, chronicled the exodus:
“I’ll start with the footage of an erect penis being stabbed. As with most footage of an erect penis being violently gored by a long steel rod, it’s certainly unexpected. A large chunk of the audience left my screening early, when a boil-covered woman choked a man with a strap until he covered half her face with semen that looked like a muted version of Nickelodeon slime. But the walk-outs continued in a consistent stream up to the final scene. Some gross-out films are one-note, but ‘Kuso’ finds new ways to test viewers’ fortitude. Some folks stuck around after a woman chewed on concrete until her teeth disintegrated, but still peaced out when an alien creature force-yanked a fetus from another woman’s womb (accompanied by a ‘Mortal Kombat’ sound clip: ‘Get over here!’), then smoked the tiny corpse.”
The film — which is the directorial debut of deejay Flying Lotus, whose real name is Steven Ellison — apparently chronicles the aftermath of a deadly earthquake in Los Angeles. But viewers wouldn’t be able to tell that from the trailer — a psychedelic stream of disturbing images, including boil-covered faces, and at one point, an inflatable sex doll. It stars Anders Holm, George Clinton, Hannibal Buress, and Tim Heidecker.
Flying Lotus downplayed reports of mass departures, tweeting: “It was only like 20 people out of like 400 who walked out. Wasn’t as dramatic as they make it out to be. I tried to warn folks.” He agreed with a Twitter commenter who asked if he was influenced by avant-garde filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, tweeting back, “Maybe a lil” and saying his next film would be even more so.
Consider yourself warned, but here are a few other advisories.
Plante said “Kuso” is “the grossest movie ever made.” Variety film critic Peter Debruge called it “a film so off-putting and/or upsetting you wish you could take your eyeballs out and scrub the experience from memory.”