Flying Lotus (aka Steven Ellison) is nothing if not adventurous. Over the course of five deliriously eclectic and creative albums, he’s kept fans fully entertained, confused, and always guessing what his next move will be.
Turns out, his next move is cinema. He first waded into the movie world in 2012, scoring several films like the positively disturbing short FUCKKKYOUUU. And this year, the world finally got a full visual inside FlyLo’s head with Kuso, a feature-length film written, directed, and scored by the man himself.
Although kuso is a Japanese term literally meaning “bullshit,” it’s typically used in an affectionate way. Kuso is post-postmodernist entertainment: gross-out manga, Adult Swim and Salad Fingers. It’s the outrageous for the sake of outrage; eagerly digested by those with the capacity to appreciate sandwiched levels of irony and plenty of humorous gore.
If the reviews of the film are any indicator, such sensibilities are a necessity to enjoy Kuso. Because holy shit, this film looks like it will melt your brain and irretrievably darken your soul. Its Sundance debut in January inspired walkouts—which surely only served to further hype the film—but also plenty of high-brow comparisons to Jodorowsky, Cronenberg and Lynch. As FlyLo told Rolling Stone, “I was just so tired of everything being so clean and pretty. I want to show the world its ugly ass right now.”
So, as he related to Vice, Ellison basically set out to make the movie that his 16-year-old self would’ve wanted to see. 10 years ago, such a film would have ended up in the curiosity bin, hailed only by Bloody Digusting fanboys. These days, anyone with a decent internet connection can now stream Kuso on Shudder.
If you’re feeling up for a (SFW) preview of Kuso, Shudder posted the first three minutes of the film on YouTube. It’s undoubtedly the most digestible slice of the film, though still plenty unnerving: Like a dark inversion of the glossy La La Land freeway intro, frequent collaborator Busdriver interrupts a newscast with a spoken-word exposition over some furious bop music. The gist of his message: an apocalyptic earthquake has killed millions, all the survivors have hideous boils, and “your god is from the underground.” Good times!
Kuso is playing now on Shudder. The official trailer, which also features plenty of “WTF?!” moments, is available for your viewing (dis)pleasure below.