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Sundance’s Grossest Movie Ever? Multiple Walkouts Reported at ‘Kuso’ Screening

Variety logo Variety 1/26/2017 Lawrence Yee
© Provided by Variety

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.”

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