John and his wife Louise are taking a night boat ride. Louise is complaining about her mother-in-law changing her will leaving her fortune mainly to charity. To Louise anyone who would give money to charity rather than her is off the deep end.
John mentions if he dies before his mother, Louise will be penniless. Mother-in-law can’t stand her. Immediately after saying this, John has a heart attack. Louise tries rowing to shore but, he dies before she reaches the dock. She weighs the body down and drops him in the lake.
The credits roll as creepy music plays. Possibly the strangest producer director combination in history graces the screen: Roger Corman and Francis Ford Coppola. Louise runs to the car, looking scared.
Louise is typing a note about missing Kathleen’s memorial service. She is packing and learning to forge John’s signature. A voiceover informs us, she’ll take care of Lady Halloran, John’s mom. She leaves and tosses John’s clothes into the lake.
Louise will meet with John’s brother, talking about the Halloran ancestral home. Supposedly, the castle is haunted by Kathleen, John’s little sister. She drowned right before her brother’s wedding seven years ago.
Kate, Richard’s fiancée is met at the airport by Billy, the youngest brother. They arrive at the castle, where the touching reunion of Richard and Kate ensues.
Louise arrives and will stay at the castle for a while. Only immediate family will be at the ceremony. Louise will be left out of it. Richard wants to marry Kate. Apparently, Lady Halloran can’t stand her. We get the standard if you hurt her, I’ll never forgive you spiel.
Kate is riding around the castle as Richard watches her. Louise talks with him. Guess what, he can’t stand her either.
Louise talks with the castle caretaker. She learns that Kathleen died as the wedding was about to start. He doubts that Richard and Kate will be married at the castle.
Billy is having a flashback about Kathleen. He is startled by Kate. Billy talks about how they re-enact the funeral service every year even how Lady Halloran faints at the end while fondling an axe. Billy turns to leave and spots Simon, the local poacher. Billy allows him to go this time with calling the law on him.
At the service, Richard, Billy, and Lady Halloran stand at the tombstone while Louise watches from afar.
Here we come walking down the street, we get the funniest looks from everyone we meet.
Lady Halloran collapses like she does every year. Louise rushes to help her. They get her to her bedroom and Louise looks over her. She tells Lady Halloran how she hears a child, trying to psychic-John-Edwards her instead of gaslight her. A sign will appear soon. Louie promises she will see a sign and leaves.
Walking down the halls, she heads to Kathleen’s room. Creeping in, allowing the audience to know she’s up to no good. Looking at the toys, she takes several of them. An axe-wielding toy monkey starts up. This is foreshadowing….Someone seems to be following her. Louise bumps into Richard telling her she’s in the wrong part of the castle.
She goes outside, has the toys with her, after disrobing as much as she can without showing anything she wades into the pool. Underwater, she sees what appears to be a shrine around Kathleen’s body. Needless to say, she is suitably freaked-out by this. Louise manages to get to the edge of the pond when the Axe-wielder lives up to his name. Imagine a very hard to see version of Psycho’s shower seen at a pond. This guy isn’t a very good hitter strikes 10 times and gets her once. He drags her body away from the pond.
Later, Dr Caleb is talking with Lady Halloran. She has the maid to find Louise who is missing, not been to bed all night. She remembers Louise talking about a sign from Kathleen.
The maid checks with Billy. At lunch, they are all gathered when Lady Halloran spots some toys float up from the bottom of the pond. The ones left in the pond by Louise the night before. Lady Halloran believes this is the sign. Dr. Caleb thinks whoever did it was sick to disturb their mother. Billy gets the rest of the dolls from the pond.
Richard is working on another of his brilliant art pieces, randomly welding pieces of metal together. Kate thinks he’s not himself around the castle. They talk and settle everything.
Around the pond, Simon (My name is Simon and like to do drawrings…) roams about before opening fire. Something Is Out There besides the NBC miniseries from the late 80s. He ducks and takes cover. Instead of the spring-loaded cat, we get the spring-loaded owl. He spots a body, Kathleen’s. The axe-wielder finishes him off with one blow and Simon’s head rolls away. Nice to know that the head rolling gag wasn't startedin full color grue. This guy is improving his technique sat least. Axe-wielder takes Kathleen’s body away.
Dr. Caleb and the caretaker are talking. Caleb wants him to drain the pond.
Lady Halloran is mumbling has a tiara for Kathleen. She heads to Kathleen’s old playhouse. Kathleen’s body is there. Lady Halloran places the tiara on her head then it slides off. Axe-wielder strikes at the playhouse as she runs away. Lady Halloran collapses. Axe-wielder takes the body away. Kate finds Lady Halloran outside the castle. Everyone gathers around her and take her inside.
Billy is talking with Kate. He talks about his nightmares concerning an insane man climbing into his room. Lady Halloran is insane and drowns him in his nightmares. This is suitably disturbing Kate. Billy realizes the insane man is his brother Richard.
The caretaker arrives wanting to talk to Dr. Caleb. There is something he needs to see. Richard angrily follows them. Billy and Kate take up the rear. In the drained pond is a stone shrine to Kathleen. Dr. Caleb mentions that only Richard has his father’s skill to work with stone. He denies making it and storms away.
Dr. C wants to figure what’s going on and who is tormenting Lady Halloran. He has Billy help to find Louise.
Richard is prowling the hallways and, Kate is tailing him. He is looking a bit disturbed, untouched by sanity. Richard heads to his father’s workshop. Kate is spooked and screams. This draws Richard’s attention and grabs her. He’s looking to see if any of the stonecutting tools are gone. They embrace unaware of Kathleen’s body in the workshop just out of their sight.
Dr. C and Billy head to the pub. No one has seen Louise. Dr C knows that Billy saw his sister drown. He asks about Richard throwing him in the pond. Billy starts singing.
This got a little confusing we get the wavy flashback image that cuts to several days to the wedding reception of Richard and Kate. She is trying to find Richard. Dr C talks with her, mentioning the mental problems of Richard’s family. He even thinks that John isn’t on a business trip and how Louise has disappeared off the face of the Earth. Dr. C believes she is in danger from Richard mainly. Kate thinks this guy is evil, sinister and runs off with Richard, go outside.
Richard and Kate are by themselves. Dr. C heads outside, has some sort of revelation, roaming about. He finds Kathleen’s body and Louise and Simon, too, and carries Kathleen’s body away.
Richard and Kate are having married people relations. A scream interrupts them. Richard rushes off. Dr. C is in hiding. People see Kathleen’s body lying on a fountain. Kate approaches her. The Axe-wielder charges at her. It’s Billy. Billy and Richard struggle until Dr. C shoots Billy.
We get a legitimate flashback of Billy and Kathleen playing, roughhousing. She falls in the pond and, he runs away.
Dr. C explains everything. Kathleen is actually a wax doll made by Billy. He grabs the axe and smashes the wax figure’s face in as the credits roll.