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In turn-of-the-century Baltimore, madman Jason Cravette forces a minister to marry him to the corpse of a woman he has strangled with her own hair. After the macabre ceremony, the minister races to the police and relates his story to Inspector Strudwick. Also present are Anthony Draco and Harold Blount, who, along with a Spanish dwarf called Pepe, are co-owners of the House of Wax, a museum specializing in the re-creation of infamous murders. When a police search uncovers only Cravette's dead bride, Draco tracks the sadistic killer to a brothel. Cravette is captured, a trial is held, and he is sentenced to be hanged. He escapes from a train passing over a river and survives only by hacking off his manacled hand. His body is never recovered, and he is assumed dead. The House of Wax adds a Baltimore Strangler tableau to its displays. Cravette, meanwhile, has acquired a wooden hand stump that can be fitted with hooks, scalpels, or cleavers; and he plans to murder all those connected with his death sentence. So clever is he in carrying out his vendetta that each one of his intended victims except Draco comes to a violent end. He goes to the wax museum to complete his revenge by slashing Draco's throat, but he himself dies when he is impaled on a hook protruding from his own wax effigy.