Minor movie in the werewolf genre. The head of a museum may have been done in by a werewolf from a nearby Gypsy camp. His scientist son and a skeptical cop investigate. Look fast for Fritz Leiber, father of author Fritz Leiber,Jr.
The Latour Museum in New Orleans gives tours of its exhibits about vampires, werewolves and Voodoo. The place was once the home of Marie Latour suspected of turning into a werewolf and killing her husband. She was seen again after that night. There’s still a portrait of her hanging over the fireplace.
Peter the tour guide leads the visitors around and explains everything. The owner, Dr.Charles Morris (Fritz Leiber) is working on a book about Marie. His secretary Elsa Chuvet is from Transylvania. She spots a devil doll on his desk but he doesn’t take it seriously.
The janitor, Jan Spavero asks to leave early. He goes to the Gypsy camp in the Bayou straight to the Princess (Nina Foch) and tells her about the manuscript. That night she sneaks in and goes into a secret passage behind the fireplace. Dr.Morris goes in. He doesn’t come out. Peter hears screams coming from there and goes in.
Morris’ son Bob arrives after being picked up by Elsa. Morris asked him to come in from Washington. Elsa spots Morris’ notes burning in the fireplace and pours water on them. Here comes Peter. He’s out of his mind. Morris’ body is discovered all torn up in the passage.
Lt.Barry Lane (Barton MacLane) is the lead investigator. Bob tells him his father was looking into the legend of Marie Latour. Lane isn’t buying any of this werewolf stuff. Then the police lab says wolf fur was found under Morris’ fingernails. Fingerprints were found inside the passage. Lane thinks they’re Elsa’s but the lab says no. He doesn’t want to believe it.
Bob and Elsa are trying to piece together some of the charred notes. They go outside and Bob proposes to her and she excepts. While they’re doing that Jan sneaks in and destroys the notes. The cops discover Jans’ bloody fingerprint on the lab door and suspect him of the murder. Jan shows up again at the Gypsy camp. The Princess and an old Gypsy women think he’ll bring the police down on them. Looks like he’s toast as he runs from the camp and is followed by a wolf. Now he’s toast. The Princess is upset as she doesn’t like being the daughter of a werewolf.
At the inquest The Princess, whose name is Celeste, tells Bob about her tribe and how they gather once a year for a mass funeral of their dead. Bob goes to the undertakers and he says the bodies are stored in refrigerator vaults until the rite. The undertaker says he can’t see the records of the Gypsies dead.
Celeste and others from the tribe show up. Bob uses the distraction to go exploring. In the basement he hears the tapping of high heels and then….the clicking of paws. He heads for the elevator. When the door opens there’s Celeste. She asks him to drive her back to the camp. Looks like she’s casting a spell on him.
Back at the museum he tells Elsa how wonderful the Princess is and Elsa discovers a love doll in his jacket pocket. Now Elsa is determined to discover the secret of Marie Latour. Celeste finds her staring at her mother’s picture and casts a spell on her calling her sister. She tells her to hate Bob.
Bob goes into the secret passage and finds Elsa. She keeps telling him to stay away from her and that she killed Dr.Morris. Lt.Lane is ready to believe her. Now things start getting weird.
The 40’s had a number of good werewolf themed movies that should be seen before this one.