The Lash of the Penitentes (1936)

Genres - Crime, Drama, Mystery  |   Run Time - 70 min.  |  
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The "Penitentes" were a secretive cult of Catholic religious zealots in New Mexico. During their ceremonies, they whip and lash themselves bloody until they fall into unconsciousness. In the early 1930s, documentary filmmaker Roland C. Price managed to secretly film some of their ceremonies before he was discovered and almost killed; during his escape he was shot several times and lost a finger. Several years afterward, exploitation specialist Harry J. Revier shot some new, and fictional, footage about a filmmaker trying to photograph a Penitente ceremony who gets involved in a love triangle and murder. The new footage included shocking (for the time) scenes of naked women being whipped. He combined this footage with Price's and passed the whole thing off as a documentary.