The Whip vs. Satan

The film opens with footage of The Whip cracking his trademark weapon on the steps of an Aztec pyramid. As he gives the air around him a good thrashing, thunder and lightning punctuate his every move. His costume is a bit familiar, black boots, black pants, black shirt, black mask, and flat black hat. The film’s title should be A Zorro Impersonator vs Satan, or actually A Zorro Impersonator vs a Bunch of Topless Guys in Yoga Pants. Satan never actually makes an appearance, just his spandex minions. It could also be titled Men Riding Horses which describes about three-quarters of the film. There is also quite a lot of stock footage of a volcano for the lava enthusiast.

Satan never appears because it turns out that the whole plot is a Scooby Doo-inspired scam put on by a rich industrialist. Apparently, Mr. rich guy discovered a vein of gold under a town and wanted to scare everyone off by convincing them that a satanic cult was taking over.

The plot is full of holes. It’s almost as if they were writing it as they went. It doesn’t really matter because the whole film is more like an hour and a half montage than a narrative movie. With each shot, the cameraman slowly zooms in so the editor was able to line all the reels up and just cut back and forth willy nilly and everything would just zoom together.

Below are some stills from a young woman’s dream sequence. The villagers have accused her of being a witch which might be true, it’s very unclear. She could be a witch, or at least she might think she’s a witch but she might think she is a good witch, or she might be a bad witch posing as a good witch or a good witch who is unwittingly doing bad things. Indeed it is difficult to tell which witch is which. It’s never really explained and the dream doesn’t make anything clearer, and since the whole thing ends up being a hoax it doesn’t make sense that she would be tortured by satanic dreams.

When the film is not indulging in free-associative montages there is of course a considerable amount of whipping. As per his monicker and in compliance with truth in advertising laws The Whip eschews the standard sword that typically completes the Zorro costume and wields instead a whip, just as George Hamilton did as the titular character in the classic Zorro the Gay Blade. Unfortunately, a whip is not a very cinematic weapon. With a whip you don’t really see anything, you just hear a snap and the bad guy goes flying. I found myself waiting for the fight scenes to end so we could get back to the bizarre montages. Below are a series of images taken from another random montage that seemed to be flashing in the memory of a young woman while she stared off into the distance for no apparent reason.

The Whip vs. Satan was directed by Alfredo B. Crevenna. It was one of 152 films he directed. He was 82 years old when he died and averaged around 5 movies a year. He made The Whip vs. Satan in 1979. That year he also made Deadly Nightmare, Cursed Port, and Someone Has To Die, but he didn’t just make horror movies he made films in every genre from science fiction to melodrama. He made other Whip movies and an El Santo movie or two as well. A common feature in all of them is that the bad guys get the best costumes. I’ve always known there was some mysterious correlation between fashion and evil, maybe if I watch enough of Crevenna’s films I’ll suss it out.

The Whip is a pretty bad movie. I would caution even the most ardent whip enthusiasts to probably steer clear of it. The best part may be the fuzzy goat mask that the main bad guy wears. It makes him look like Bill The Goat, the mascot for the United States Navy Football Team. Maybe Q-anon should look into why the Navy has a Satanic mascot.

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I have an MFA in painting and I’m an art professor but I managed to convince my school to let me teach film. https://twitter.com/Filmofile1

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