A maniac, a scientist who buries himself alive, a greedy aunt and uncle, a fast talking reporter, a dimwitted cop, a scared of everything chauffeur, a woman who goes into trances and a babe. They’re all overseen by Bela Lugosi. This is fun.
So far a maniac has killed twelve people. He leaves newspaper clippings attached to the bodies. Now he’s creeping around outside the Rinehart estate. Inside is scientist Arthur Hornsby. The manic is coming through the window knife in hand. A couple knocks on the door makes him go back outside.
It’s Uncle Dick Rinehart dropping in on Arthur. That day Arthur read his paper before the Academy. It’s all about his discovery that allows someone to be put in suspended animation. He’s going to prove it by being buried alive for eight hours. He doesn’t know it but the man digging the grave for him has just been killed by the maniac.
Degar (Bela Lugosi) the servant says death is hanging over the house. His wife Sika is going into a trance. He wants her to stop. Dick is upset that his niece Mary (Sally Blane) is out. She’s Arthur’s fiancee. Since he’s too much into his work she’s with newspaper reporter Tom Hartley (Wallace Ford). Tom is really putting the moves on her with approving smiles from Martin the chauffeur (Oscar Smith).
The manic strikes again. This time it’s Dick. His will divides everything equally including shares for Degar and Sika. His greedy brother John and even greedier wife Sarah want them cut out of any inheritance. They’re even angry Martin gets twenty-five bucks a month for life.
Scientists from the Academy show up to view the experiment. Arthur puts a bottle of serum in a locked cabinet. He has to have it injected after eight hours. He gives the key to Degar for safekeeping. Time to bury Arthur. Degar falls asleep and John sneaks out, grabs a knife and then the key from Degar’s pocket. John ends up dead. Tom comes back by cab. He puts more moves on Mary. He hears the cab horn being leaned on. The maniac has another victim. Detective Bailey thinks he can solve everything. Tom keeps making fun of him because he’s so full of himself.
Sika starts going into a trance. It turns into instant seance. The lights are turned off. Degar yells at her to stop. She won’t. She says she sees the murderer. Guess he sees her too as she gets a knife in the back through the chair. Bailey arrests Degar.
Before it’s all over secret passages, a man in a black mask and other assorted gimmicks associated with these kinds of movies parade through the rest of it. Bela is super stoic as the mostly unflappable Degar. Fans of these movies have to have a big smile with the very end. As a huge Bela Lugosi fan I had fun with it all.