Before you keep telling everyone that Episode 8 of Twin Peaks was the trippiest visual spectacle in recent history, you might want to catch the Rooftop Films screening of Flying Lotus’s new movie, because Kuso is absolutely insane. And trust, you’ll want to attend the July 11 screening at House of Vans, in Greenpoint, because Flying Lotus himself (real name: Steve Ellison) will be there to explain what the hell you just saw.
Steve (the boundary-pushing producer and musician goes by just his first name as a filmmaker) has co-written and directed a beautiful dark twisted fantasy. Okay, maybe not beautiful. Set in a post-earthquake Los Angeles, Kuso depicts every imaginable body fluid. And plenty of unimaginable body fluids. If you saw Swiss Army Man and thought wet farts would never again be paired with lush landscapes, you thought wrong.
Consisting of several strung-together shorts, Kuso seamlessly blends dystopian sci-fi with Tim & Eric-esque absurdist parody with Lynchian noir with animation that’s a little bit Harry Smith and a little bit Terry Gilliam. Like Naked Lunch, the film has its share of talking anus-like monstrosities and slimy insects (I was also reminded of the snail scenes in Crispin Glover’s What Is It?). But whereas Cronenberg used those sparingly, Kuso is an onslaught of grotesquery.
The humans in the film are no less off-putting. They’re coated in boils, puss, and animatronic appendages that make the chestburster in Alien look like a happy-go-lucky Kool-Aid Man. There are sasquatch-like creatures that look and talk as if they roll with Gorburger. Their roommate’s boyf, played by Tim Heidecker of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, pops out of her toilet while she’s taking a pregnancy test. While that scene is plenty scatological (let’s just say they have a messy relationship), it’s far from the most scatological. In another scene, a talking roach says, “Do not fear the feces, for that is your baby.”
By the time you see a buck-naked Heidecker humping some sort of mutant flesh lump (a Surreal Doll?), you’re not even shocked that you’re looking at his bare ass.
Just for good measure, there’s also a bit of blaxploitation. During a Beetlejuice-esque waiting room scene at the Coat Hanger Clinic, a character played by black porn star Lexington Steele talks about worker ants suffocating the queen in “a hot fucking pulsing fuck-ball.” That fails to impress the man who has come to the clinic to cure his fear of breasts. How is he cured? Well, a “doctor” who probably went to med school with Steve Brule (played by funk legend George Clinton) hatches a crustacean out of his anus and his patient ends up coated in what’s either green tamale or something far less appetizing.
Obviously, this is a love-it or hate-it affair. If you’re the type that had a bootleg of Holy Mountain before it was available in the States, then you’ll definitely want to RSVP for the screening at House of Vans, at 25 Franklin Street, in Greenpoint. Entry is first-come, first-serve. There will also be some midnight screenings at Nitehawk (tickets for the July 21 and 22 ones are still available) and the film will be streaming on Shudder starting July 21.