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Following the beheading of Baron Frankenstein for crimes committed by the monster he created, two grave robbers go to the cemetery to dig up the baron's freshly dug grave. When they pry open the coffin, however, they find the body of a priest rather than that of the baron. After the baron, very much alive, appears at the graveyard with his deformed assistant Karl, one of the robbers suffers a heart attack and the other flees in terror. The baron and Karl then rebury the casket and mark it with the baron's tombstone. Three years later, in the town of Carlsbruck, the baron, now known as Dr. Victor Stein, has become the most popular doctor in town, thus engendering the jealousy and suspicion of the Medical Council. Consequently, the council delegates three of its members to go to the Hospital for the Poor where Stein works and convince the doctor to join their ranks. After Stein rejects their offer and dismisses his colleagues, one of the physicians, Dr. Hans Kleve, returns to speak with him in private. Hans then tells Stein about attending the baron's funeral and states that Stein looks suspiciously like the executed man. After parrying with Hans about the many branches of the Frankenstein family, Stein finally admits that he is the baron. When Hans, impressed by Stein's work, asks to become his pupil, Stein consents to Hans becoming his assistant. Stein then takes Hans to his laboratory housed in a cellar and introduces him to Karl. After showing Hans assorted body parts that he has suspended in tanks of liquid, Stein unveils his newest creation¿a perfect specimen of a human being, assembled from the body parts of the poor patients. The only thing it lacks is a brain. Stein explains that he promised Karl a perfect body in return for saving him from the guillotine and hence plans to implant Karl's brain into his creation. That night, after transplanting Karl's brain into the body, they strap him to the bed and transport him to a secluded room in the hospital's attic. When Karl regains consciousness one week later, Stein warns that he must remain in restraints until his brain has healed. Later, Karl becomes agitated when he learns that Stein plans to exhibit him alongside his old body as a medical anomaly. Soon after, one of the impoverished patients who sweeps the hospital offers to show Margaret Conrad, a young volunteer at the institution, the strange patient in the attic. Margaret is sympathetic to Karl and loosens his restraints when he asks. Before leaving, Margaret gives Karl the address of her aunt's estate, where she resides, and invites him to visit when he is released. Soon after, Hans recalls seeing Stein's laboratory chimpanzee, normally an herbivore, devouring meat and asks Stein about the animal's strange behavior. Stein explains that the chimp, one of his first brain transplants, became a cannibal because its brain did not have time to heal properly. In the attic, meanwhile, Karl, now freed from his restrains, dresses, admires his new comely body in the mirror, then escapes out a window. Proceeding to the lab, Karl finds his old body and stuffs it into the burning incinerator. Upstairs, the lab janitor hears a noise and goes to the lab to investigate. Upon seeing Karl, the janitor smashes him over the head with a stool then punches him. The blows invigorate and enrage Karl, who strangles the janitor and flees. When Stein and Hans discover Karl's room empty, they hurry to the lab, where they find the janitor's dead body and a discarded, burning shoe from Karl's former body. At her aunt's estate, Margaret is feeding some ponies in the barn when she finds Karl cowering in the hay. After Karl begs her not to tell Stein where he is hiding, Margaret goes to Hans for help. When they return to the barn, however, Karl has gone and Hans decides he must apprise Stein of the situation. Now thirsting for blood, Karl attacks a young girl in the woods then flees. Soon after, as Stein and Hans cross the woods on their way to the estate, they are stopped by the police who tell them about the murder. At the estate, as Stein questions Margaret, Karl, now hunched and disfigured, crashes through a glass door, calls out the name Frankenstein and dies. The Medical Council then convenes to determine if Stein is indeed Frankenstein. After Stein denies the charge, the council members dig up the baron's grave and, upon finding a priest's hat and rosary, realize that the baron is still alive. At the hospital, meanwhile, the patients rise up against Stein, calling him a mutilator and killer. Just as they fall upon Stein with bats and crutches, Hans arrives and halts the attack. He is too late, however, and the now fatally wounded Stein instructs Hans to remove his brain and transplant it into a new body Stein had compiled from body parts. After the operation is completed, the police arrive to arrest Stein and Hans shows them the doctor's dead body. Some time later in London, Stein, now fully recovered and known as Dr. Franck, confers with his assistant, Hans, then goes to greet his patient.