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Outer Space: Hexus Journal Pick An Experimental Horror Bakers Dozen
The Quietus , October 13th, 2017 10:06

To start our run up to Halloween, Thogdin Ripley and Philippa Snow of avant-horror publishers Hexus Journal pick thirteen films that blur the worlds of horror and the avant-garde to frightening, funny and sometimes shocking effect


Kuso (Flying Lotus, 2017)

A marathon of how-low-can-you-go scatological overabundance for the post-attention span generation, Flying Lotus’ gruelling patchwork of disaster and disgust extrudes in a (bodily) fluidic way through the viewer; a tapeworm consciousness that glories in its own dumb ass. Much like Jimmy ScreamerClauz’s (who has a cameo here) 2012 Where The Dead Go To Die, Kuso’s horror is horror as violently queasy humour as, ultimately, a very modern form of digital white noise, designed on one level seemingly to provoke as much as entertain.

With both films (as well as their gleefully tabooclastic absurdist antecedents like Brass’s The Howl and Makavejev’s Sweet Movie), the thing that’s interesting to me is the configuration of offense into an aesthetic of its own; Kuso elevates shock and disgust to a language, and then wetly burps it in the viewer’s face for the entire runtime, finally spitting a glistening instant-trash experience into the lap at the same moment as it, crucially, shits you out – bookended, suitably enough, by a scatted jazz soundtrack.

After the gross-out, after the boundaries have been danced over, after the meanings and morals have dissolved into the rivers of brightly-coloured viscous goo, Kuso has the power to leave the viewer in a singular place: immersed in a kind of disgust-fatigue that points to a realm outside the human, despite being right up in there with all those distended organs.

Hard to generally recommend, other than for the spectacle, much of the criticism of the film has been that there’s little there but spectacle. Ironically enough this is the nihilistic non-point that seems to lurk at the sludgy centre of the film. As Flying Lotus said on Twitter, it’s a film “for the 16 year old me”.