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In 16th-century Spain, Francis Bernard journeys to the foreboding castle of Nicholas Medina, the husband of Francis' recently deceased sister, Elizabeth. Francis is told that his sister, although very much in love with Nicholas, had become increasingly depressed by the gloomy atmosphere of the castle and had spent most of her time in the dungeons built by Nicholas' father during the Inquisition. One night, after locking herself inside an iron box in the torture chamber, she died of fright. The explanation fails to satisfy Francis, and he decides to remain for a few days. Gradually it becomes apparent that Nicholas has become obsessed with the thought that he may have buried his wife alive, a fate that befell his adulterous mother. One night Nicholas hears a woman's voice calling his name, and he follows it to the burial room where Elizabeth, very much alive, rises from her coffin. She is joined by Dr. Leon, Nicholas' closest friend, and, as Nicholas' mind snaps, the two lovers gloat over their plot to drive him mad and inherit his wealth. The crazed Nicholas suddenly assumes his father's identity, battles with Dr. Leon, who falls to his death in the pendulum pit, and locks his unfaithful wife in the iron box. Francis enters the chamber and is seized by the insane Nicholas and lashed to a table under a swinging, razor-sharp pendulum. But before the blade reaches him he is rescued by Nicholas' sister, Catherine, and the butler, Maximillian. In the struggle Nicholas meets the same fate as Dr. Leon, when he falls into the pit. Catherine decides to seal up the torture chamber forever--unaware that imprisoned in the iron box is the terror-stricken Elizabeth.