Edgar Allan Poe fanatic Dr. Richard Vollin (Bela Lugosi) saves the life of Jean Thatcher (Irene Ware), but seeks vengeance when Thatcher's father, the local Judge, forbids the doctor from pursuing his daughter. When criminal on the run Edmond Bateman (Boris Karloff) appears at Vollin's door asking for facial reconstructive surgery, the doc makes Bateman's face a hideous mess.
Vollin promises to fix his face only if Bateman agrees to help kill the Judge, using, of course, the Poe-inspired torture devices Vollin created. This 1935 film is pretty much every bit as cool as the description sounds. The level of celebrity of both Lugosi and Karloff at the time this film was made truly cannot be understated, and the decision of Universal to pair them was a no-brainer.