KUSO, the first feature film from musician Flying Lotus, was so gross it sparked massive walkouts at the Sundance Film Festival when it screened this week.
The film, four vignettes about survivors of a massive Los Angeles earthquake, has been labeled "the grossest film ever" and a "93-minute nightmare" by reviewers who attended the screening, The Daily Mail reported.
Chris Plante of The Verge said the troubling scenes - including footage of an erect penis being stabbed - prompted many in the theater to leave in disgust. But director Flying Lotus, whose real name is Steven Ellison, said Plante exaggerated the number.
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. https://t.co/j3GTtO906o— FLYLO (@flyinglotus) January 26, 2017
Some of the notable grotesque scenes included a man having sex with a talking boil on a woman's neck, genital mutilation and a doctor (played by funk legend George Clinton) who keeps a 'toddler-sized' cockroach in his anus.
The revolting scenes didn't stop there. There's also a scene in which a pygmy eats maggot-infested soup and another in which a woman gnaws on concrete.
"At one point, [actor Tim] Heidecker is framed mid-coitus with what appears to be a hybrid of a turkey and a human torso, and it's maybe the fifteenth most unsettling image in the film,"Consequence of Sound reviewer Dominick Suzanne-Mayer recalled.
Suzanne Mayer said audiences were warned before the start of the film they were in for something unusual.
"A Sundance representative advised the audience that 'the film you're seeing tonight will melt your f****** brains. There will be no survivors'," he said.
Once the film started up, Plante wrote that there was a consistent stream of people leaving the theatre until the film's final scenes.
"Anecdotally speaking, watching fellow moviegoers leave one by one was like witnessing a real-time trigger-warning test. 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," Plane wrote.
Suzanne-Mayer called the movie a "93-minute nightmare" but admits there's "more to Kuso than shock value".
"Though Ellison works in lurid tones, it's clear throughout that Kuso is firing on the kind of level that a certain kind of moviegoer will want to unpack for some time to come," Suzanne-Mayer wrote.
Plante agreed, but said the deeper meaning is almost impossible to take in with just one viewing, due to the shock value of all the gore.
"The copious gore, the cruel extended rape joke, the abortion sight-gags, and any number of other vomit-inducing pseudo-goofs are so distracting and disorienting that making sense of the film would require a repeat viewing. I'm not sure how many folks have the stomach for that," he wrote.
A similar incident happened at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, when some members passed out while seeing the cannibal movie Raw.
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