In Haiti in 1932 as Madeline Short (Madge Bellamy) with her fiancé Neil Parker (John Harron) travel to the home of Charles Beaumont (Robert W. Frazer) to be married they are stopped on the road by an unusual funeral. When the driver stops a suspicious figure by the name of Murder Legendre (Bela Lugosi) who is accompanied by a league of his personal zombies grabs Madeline's scarf. Beaumont has promised Parker a job running his sugar cane plant. When they meet local priest Dr. Bruner (Joseph Cawthorn) he entreats them to leave the island and not return as there are weird things taking place. When Beaumont meets Madeline he is obsessed by her beauty and goes to Legendre for an elixir that will allow Beaumont to have her under his control as a zombie. After Beaumont has Madeline under his power he becomes dissatisfied by her lack of emotion and asks Legendre to change her back but Legendre has plans of his own and drugs Beaumont. When Parker appeals to Dr. Bruner for help they discover that they may be in for the fight of their lives.