Black Sunday // Oli Johns


Whim of your whim of a wet witch lit by hag-tag cinematography

desperate for coffin scene, beyond it

getting there


[Bava Methodology]









Bava Junior at twice-his-height wheel

scared of wheel

wheel that looks like Istituto Luce, turns like it


Accept anything they give me

Not a marketing agency


Steer with god hand, chin, elbow, forehead and lighting schematic

Eyebags wondering what it’s all about

Horror is for thing in corner

Cornered and arch

Shadow in pocket of bolder shadow’s shadow pal

Much to be ashamed of

Sorry dad




Trapped cemetery, not so cold, extras that are excited to be there, who understand where there is.

Pop-up witch trial in corso, efficient judge, also brother.

If you had just put down that Munich Manual, the John Dee sex tape, then we could have continued our feudalist dreams, but no, you had to be Asa Vajda, J pronounced like a Y, and now look where we are

eleven o clock in a graveyard

morning time

grey as Hull

with this spiky thing Ubaldo made to put on his wife so he wouldn’t have to finger her anymore.

You like this, B?

More than the pendulum?

[Moon Eyes]

Can you imagine if I took this hammer and genuinely nailed this lunacy to your face?

Ja, screams are barren when there’s no if-a-bitch inquisition about, but do it anyway

and curse later generations, not me

we’re family close.


[Torture Mask Solipsism]


Get angle right and may not kill, beyond that can holiday together, in next fief over, on back of right-place-right-list peasant maid, ordered into dark bush symptom of expressionistic sacrifice [well-lit]

to milk cow ostensibly

cow also abandoned

both valued same as other, cow bit bit more cos at least has shack around it, but peasant maid, nothing, only stool to be slaughtered on, yet not slaughtered on cos reanimated satanist has better things to do, mask off

at least that’s how it’s remembered

in this scape

pleasant time scrape between betwixt

next survivable puritan



[The Ones Who Make It All Tick]


In the castle, it was hauntological fun time.

Get up, exit chamber, shout at help, pose in base symbolic storm with dogs that won’t turn, find fault in father’s faulting of centuries old satanist pic that still has a place

in our hearts, there is early bed time

no matter what age you are cos tomorrow will be a hard day of getting up and exiting chamber and shouting at the help and what if the dogs decide to turn that day, what if they sense the future direction of the image you capture them in, what if the dogs want more than just

endless enjoyment of introducing yourself as an academic

German university of course

before Hegel but not beneath him cos he knew Bava would do all of this, as did the hero of our story, Andrej, a giant strutting dick with lips who doesn’t care what young B. does in her free time as long as it doesn’t involve besting him in private conversation or asking if it’s in yet.

Is the brother a threat?

Be amiable and hope he falls down a hole

at some point

probably will cos what else would happen to a good-looking man who wanders a castle all day, the same castle stalked by the reanimated satanist, they have to meet eventually, and how do you kill something that really doesn’t want to die

without one more crack at Asa Vajda

who’s content to lie ripe in her coffin, directing things, reading Goethe, slowly and with special attention paid to the sunny bits

god it’s dark in this crypt, can’t even make out the tip of the doctor’s cock

is he supposed to be this charming

or is it epistemological sophistry?

Could be the lights

yeah lights

film crew look like wraiths back there, outlines of them


is that my stake?

Looks cheap, lindenwood not




For this scene, I lay in the coffin under leash-like orders from Mario don’t call me maestro all the time Bava who was channelling Ernst, channelling and rejecting cos a coffin shaped like the Russian orthodox cross was not his kind of caper, and

the weirdness had to come from my eyes, allegedly, but Mario, I said [in my guise as the young B. of that time], my eyes can only do so much before they start to water, and he said, si, but lighting, 70% effective, big hero dick man, enigma face, keep blouse buttoned up tight and don’t forget to rub pussy off camera


in some ways, I resented the sexualisation of the stake burning scene, strapping me to a long wooden thing and calling it punishment club, but Mario and his wife both wanted me to die euphoric instead of the original ending which had me posing with the two dogs again, glaring at an even taller, more single-minded man-shaped libido machine as he told his mentor to find his own way back to the inn cos he was off to have some well-lit atavism behind one of the cracked gravestones, and after that some hentai fun with cow left unguarded in the shack with no TV, no radio, no beat poetry zines, no

chance of fingering myself next to my father’s open coffin cos Mario wouldn’t allow it, said it was too Jungian, which I think was a mistake as Jung would’ve loved that kind of debauched baronial eroticism, and as the future version of myself right now, with the knowledge of how it all dried up in later years, I truly think…truly, truly think…that fathers create daughters like this when they keep paintings of ancestors who look like that daughter in the main hall and behind that painting is a secret passage leading to the coffin wreck of said ancestor and what does that mean if not I want to fuck my own daughter and all people who look like her even in skeletal form cos if I don’t then why would she bother fingering herself over my corpse in the ancestral hall?


[Inevitable Analysis]


Is it too much to call Bava a genius, do we have to do that, wasn’t he just good at lighting? Even said it himself, created scenes out of emergency, no real script, papier mâché rocks equals alien planet, we can respect it and enjoy it but it doesn’t really mean anything, does it?


Substance/depth in Black Sunday: Asa Vajda makes no Satanist references, has no serious reflections on anything, just wants to inhabit the body of a younger B. All that time dead and got no thoughts on Satan or void solitude, no anxiety about re-entering a human body and existing within its confines, no reluctance about living in the same castle she was expelled from two centuries earlier, is there no room for any of this? No Andrej scenes we could cut, Italian Studio System?


 Perhaps the vague dread of the younger B. is vassal anxiety projected from the psyche of Asa Vajda, the need to escape versus the desire to stay and become that painting, to open her legs for the brother or walking dick hero, whichever one survives longest, the idea that wandering around chambers built on the back of the working class without lifting a finger to make breakfast or do a bit of dusting now and then is inherently conservative, which is the eternal adjunct of capitalism, which is something only a summertime Satanist would be comfortable with, so she’s either one of those or the real deal, either set on running a tighter castle as overlord or Agorist looking for a sexier commune, or anarchist looking to plant an oak stake in the main hall and burn the whole mess into mood-lit ash, replace it with nothing cos frankly she wouldn’t be the boss anymore.


Wishing his critics to know he had no budget, was Bava hoping they’d be even more impressed?

It poses as practicality…look what I did with pebbles…but also rejection of critics who revered other film-makers as geniuses.

Did that irk him?


Such was the genius of the screenwriters, myself included, that absolutely nothing remained of Gogol’s tale

Based on Nikolai Gogol’s short story Viy in no discernible way.

Themes of sovereign decay, holy place desecration, dual roles symbolising good and evil – all visual, yet completely unexplored via character or action.

The painting of Satanist B. kept on the wall, after her disgrace and execution centuries earlier, perhaps a nod to the shackles of a tradition inculcated from above? Chained inexorably to original sin.

But then who was the sinner? Asa Vajda or the feudalist brother who executed her?

Mussolini or Sorel?

Structures decrepit yet still inter-connected by a secret fireplace passageway, specifically the crypt and the castle, the horror and the renovated horror, the general air of superstition that would all go away if they just knocked the crypt down and burnt Asa’s skeleton.

But tradition. Even with the nightmares.

Did Bava intend any of this, with his budgetary limitations? When he sketched out the crypt set design and hung the Satanist B. painting and added in the secret passageway, did he think, yes, this is related to systemic aristocratic decay, symbolic of it? Or was it just incidental?

Working on something for any length of time, with a functioning brain…maybe. Yes. Probably. Bava’s a genius. Every shadow a thread, every secret passageway the subconscious etc.

But then aren’t crypts usually decrepit in the gothic style?

i.e. legwork done by others


[A Type Of Climax]


In the well-lit finale, the brother gives up his chance to bed the sister he spent the shadow version of the film fantasising about and falls down a hole that seemingly has no end, perhaps symbolic, perhaps just a hole, and

our giant upright dick costume, Andrej, is given the implicit all clear to [reluctantly] send bad B. to the stake and good B. to his bed [previously hers] where he will keep her in a constant state of maybe tonight I’ll listen to your feelings again

like I did that one time

in the sterile arboretum [well-lit]

but in all probability I’ll be downstairs with my phrenology paper, measuring the new butler’s skull, seeing if it’s applicable across class lines

and if you get really lonely

you can use the spike mask that Ubaldo made

but not Ubaldo himself

he’s poor and untalented and doesn’t understand cinematography at all whereas I Mario own the light and all its pet residue, not to mention the

wait, she went where?

The dogs again?

But they’re not even


Oli Johns is at normal speed another green-skinned alien with dark blood patch on his degree, wondering if it’s the same purple orb each time or something northern, a spray tan KOL, demon harassed by painting-less demons, keep spraying until crux of the matter becomes soulmate with work pretty much nowhere including Spork Press, Psycho Holosuite, Schism Press, Psycho Holosuite, Nauseated Drive and Psycho Holosuite.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s