It says inspired by Edgar Allan Poe but I don’t know if he would recognize any of it. Still it’s not all that bad. Barbara Steele is more a co-star than a headliner but she manages to scream and run her way through.
It’s 1910. Attorney Albert Kovac (Walter Brandt) shows up at the Villa Hauff. His law partner Joe Morgan got a letter from Dr.Jeronimus Hauff that he’s ready to settle his will. That won’t be easy to do according to his second wife Cleo (Barbara Steele). Huff’s been dead for a year. His daughter Corinne says the letter has his seal which is weird because it was buried with him. The two are there to carry out his wish to be transferred from his grave to the family chapel. For some reason he wanted to spend a year in the ground first.
Albert tried to reach Joe by phone. No luck. The lines are down thanks to a thunderstorm. The next day Dr.Nemek comes by. It’s explained that the villa used to be a hospital hundreds of years ago for victims of the black plague. Hauff dabbled in the occult and thought he could contact the spirits of the victims. Some spread the plague on purpose and polluted the water. They had their hands cut off before they were hanged. Their hands are still in the villa on display.
Nemek takes Albert and Corinne into town. Before they get there Nemek stops to visit a patient named Stinner. That gives Albert and Corinne time to go near the water. She screams and tells Albert she saw her father in a row boat. Last night she thought she saw him in her room. He calms her down and they hit the village.
They go into the pharmacy to see the Mayor. Too late. He’s dead. Nemek and company go to the town clerk’s office so he can fill out a death certificate. The clerk shows them a list of five names. They were witnesses to Hauff’s death. He was drunk and fell down a flight of stairs. Three of them are dead. Stinner is name number four. The fifth name is illegible.
It’s not long before Stinner joins the first three. Now it’s time for the transfer. Hauff’s coffin is opened up so everyone can say hello. Nobody home. Albert finds out Joe is on his way to the villa. His is the fifth name. Now there’s some creepy stuff to come along with revelations about what’s going on. And then there’s that ancient song about pure water.
After you’ve gone through the A list of horror movies you want to see and are ready to start on the B list, this isn’t a bad one to check out.