Years after witnessing his father being executed by the guillotine, Hans is working as an assistant to Baron Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein, with the help of Dr. Hertz, is in the process of discovering a way of trapping the soul of a recently deceased person. Frankenstein believes he can transfer that soul into another recently deceased body to restore it to life.
Hans is also the lover of Christina, daughter of innkeeper Kleve. Christina's entire left side is disfigured and partly paralysed. Young dandies Anton, Johann and Karl frequent Kleve's inn, yet refuse to pay. Johann threatens to have his father revoke Kleve's license if he complains. The three insist that they be served by Christina and mock her for her deformities. The taunting angers Hans, who fights the three of them and cuts Anton's face with a knife.
Eventually, Kleve throws the dandies out. They return in the night to steal wine from his inn and when Kleve catches them, they beat him to death.
Meanwhile, Hans spends the night with Christina, and in the morning sees her leave on the stagecoach. Returning to town, Hans sees a crowd outside Kleve's tavern and is arrested for the murder. He will not reveal his time with Christina as an alibi and, known for his short temper, is convicted. Despite Frankenstein and Hertz's defences against the accusations, Hans is executed by the guillotine. Seeing this as an opportunity, Frankenstein gets hold of Hans' fresh corpse and traps his soul.
Distraught over Hans's death, Christina drowns herself in the river. The peasants fish out her body and bring it to Hertz to see if he can do anything. Frankenstein and Hertz transfer Hans' soul into her body. Over months of complex and intensive treatment, they cure her physical deformities. The result is a physically healthy woman with no memory of her past life. Frankenstein insists on telling her nothing but her name and keeping her in Hertz's house. Despite coming to her senses regarding her identity, Christina is taken over by the spirit of the vengeful Hans.
Christina kills Anton and Karl, driven mostly by the ghostly insistence of Hans. Frankenstein and Hertz become suspicious of her behaviour and take her to the guillotine where Hans and his father were executed. However, they believe she subconsciously retains the memories of Hans' father's death rather than of Hans himself. By the time Frankenstein realises the truth, he finds her already murdering Johann. Despite Frankenstein's pleas, Christina knows she now has no one and nothing left to live for and drowns herself again. Frankenstein, disappointed and having apparently learned a lesson, walks away silently.
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