In 1806, Andre Duvalier, a French soldier lost in the Confederation of the Rhine, is saved by Helene, a young woman who bears a resemblance to Ilsa von Leppe, the wife of Baron von Leppe who died 20 years before. Andre sets out to investigate Helene’s true identity and, in doing so, learns the Baron’s darkest secret: after he found Ilsa with another man, the Baron killed his wife while his servant killed her lover.
Over the last two years, the Baron has been tormented by Ilsa’s ghost, who has beseeched him to kill himself so that they can be together forever. After much hesitation, the Baron decides to do so and atone for his crimes. Unbeknownst to him, Ilsa’s ghost is being commanded to haunt him by a peasant witch named Katrina.
After preventing the Baron from killing himself, Andre and Stefan, the Baron’s major domo, capture Katrina and force her into compliance. Katrina then reveals herself to be the mother of a man named Eric, whom she believes that the Baron killed 20 years before and hopes to avenge his death by damning his soul to Hell. In a stunning revelation, Stefan reveals that Eric was Ilsa’s lover, that it was the Baron who had died 20 years ago, not Eric, and that Eric felt so guilty about it that he took the Baron’s place, pretending to be him (thus explaining why the Baron had never left the castle in the past 20 years). Over the years, Eric has convinced himself that he is the true Baron von Leppe.
Realizing her error too late, Katrina goes with Andre and Stefan to stop Eric from flooding the castle crypt. Katrina’s pact with the devil, however, makes her unable to walk on consecrated ground and she ends up burning to death after being struck by lightning.
At the von Leppe castle, Eric floods the crypt as Ilsa’s ghost attempts to kill him and Stefan struggles to stop her. By the time Andre gains access to the crypt, it is already starting to cave in and he is only able to save Helene. The two share a moment outside the castle before Helene turns into a rotting corpse.