The Core episode 1 - FlyLo and Freaks

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The Core, Shudder's new talkshow, feels a bit like a warm hug. If loving horror is an orientation, then here is a place to identify and relate.

The first episode features Steve Ellison aka Flying Lotus, the director of brilliant arty body-horror Kuso. He was more relaxed than in other interviews I've seen perhaps because of Core presenter Mickey Keating's obvious sympathy.

Vanilla interviewers will say things to Steve Ellison like:

"As balls to the wall bad taste as you could possible get,"

and:

"You've made one of the craziest movies I've ever seen."

Whereas Keating says:

"It's a gross-out movie, people were offended by it, but when you watch it it's got a lot of heart, it's got a lot of comedy."

He asks insider questions, like "How did you fall in with David Firth?" and "What's the reason film school fucked you up?"

The result is a hilarious and inspiring interview.

A regular feature on special effects is great. (FlyLo: "I like even doing funky textures on the walls, I was all throwin' some beans you saw on the walls back there, and that just has a nice look.")

The next interview, with Venice Beach Freakshow proprietor Todd Ray and two of his 'wonders', was unexpectedly touching. I found it uncomfortable at first, because Ray sat in front of Bubble Boy Bob Heslip and Bearded Lady Jessa Olmstead and did most of the talking. But once they did speak it was obvious the Venice Beach outfit is a million miles away from the exploitative freak shows of old and is forging a progressive discourse on difference and the body.

The Core, or at least this first episode, me feel really good about being a horror fan. The genre delves into the stuff society likes to ignore and yes, it's radical and shocking. But it's got heart.

Another Kuso Blog

My husband was shocked that I posted the trailer for Kuso in the blog post below because of the beaver shot on the freeze frame.

His reaction made me think. The film is aggressively shocking and it forces you to be 'in' or 'out'. I felt that it's brilliance justified its style a million times over so I was in. But on reflection I'm not sure you can be 'in' if you are a woman without a bit of discomfort.

Kuso is seductive. You want to be down with it, you want to celebrate it like it's celebrating itself. But then you find you are posting 1970s pornography up on your website...

This is problematic. It doesn't make the film less brilliant, but I'm not going to press it upon my girlfriends. They can find their own way to it if they are want to see it.

I've also removed the trailer, but here is Flying Lotus in his own words and it's pretty unmissable. No beavers either.

Kuso

So Kuso, a film by Steve. What was all that about eh? As we say here in the UK about anything remotely unusual.

Kuso - available exclusively on the excellent streaming service Shudder - is kinda hard to explain.

The title is apparently Japanese for 'shit' in the sense of 'the shit you find on the internet'. But there's plenty of literal poo, alongside sex and death and all that fun stuff.

I've been telling people that Kuso's like Eraserhead but in colour, with jokes and fabulous music. In fact there's much more to the film than that - it goes deep into race in a remarkable way for example.

I loved it. I have never seen actors exude more delight, despite being covered in boils and dealing with, ahem, lots of kuso. I can only presume that the director - Steve aka musician Flying Lotus - is an absolute joy to work with.

I thought the transdimensional beings (aka furry aliens) were a bit aggressive but when I found out what they were actually supposed to be I realised there are no gaps in the mad truth that runs through the film.

Kuso stays with you - after watching it I felt a great need to unburden myself of the experience to all and sundry. So much so that I'm hoping to have a Kuso girls night for some of my unitiated female friends.

Pop the champers ladies, Flying Lotus is a genius!