Vance Pierson (Barry Sullivan), an English engineer working in Spain, wishes to buy the house occupied by beautiful blonde widow Laura Blanco (Martha Hyer), in which he plans to live with his wife Verna (Sherry Moreland) and young daughter Sally (Pilarin Gomez).
Arriving at the house, Vance discovers Laura is about to set fire to it for the insurance money.
The two begin a passionate affair almost immediately. For a long time, he neglects his family, but advised by a friend, he breaks off the guilty liaison.
Realising that his wife and daughter stand in her way, Laura sets fire to the house.
Vance tries (unsuccessfully) to rescue his family but is horribly burned and disfigured beyond recognition. After a spell in hospital, he plots his revenge against his former mistress.
His first act of vengeance is to set fire to the house where Laura’s daughter Isabella (Marisenka) lives with Laura’s brother and his wife. Isabella is saved, but the brother and his wife perish in the flames.
Laura and her little girl disappear in the face of a widespread hunt to capture the maddened Vance and save the mother and daughter.
15 months pass with no trace of either Vance or Laura, when suddenly Vance strikes again with a fire which kills Laura’s mother and her maid.
There are no clues other than the presence of a travelling carnival in a nearby village.
Vance’s Spanish associate Julio (Fernando Hilbeck) remembers Vance’s childhood fondness for ferris wheels and checks out the operator of the amusement device at the carnival, a Dane called Peter Swenson (who is really Vance, disguised with his appearance altered).
Peter is sought after by Liz (Soledad Miranda), the pretty daughter of the carnival owner.
The carnival subsequently travels to a remote village in Galicia, Northern Spain, in the area where Laura has fled with her daughter to live in isolated fear on a small, desolate island. When the carnival arrives on the mainland, Laura’s daughter hides in the boat of a fisherman to get to see the carnival.
She is spotted by the disguised Vance, who learns where she lives. The frightened Laura alerts the police, but before she can flee again, Vance goes to the island to wreak his revenge despite a last-minute attempt by Liz to stop him.
Vance arrives at night while Laura is taking a bath. He douses the house with gasoline, pulls out the light fuses and waits to confront Laura.
She does not recognise him at first and learns who he really is when she is finally subdued after a struggle. Vance reveals his horribly scarred face and then sets her alight.
When he goes to kill the child, he waivers and instead carries her from the flaming house.
When Vance returns to the carnival with the child, the police have arrived and, in an effort to escape, he goes to the top of the ferris wheel. The police can only wait for fear of harming the child until finally, in answer to pleas to save the girl, Vance places her in a gondola and hurtles to his death below.
Apart from the improbable plot, this Spanish-produced English language film is competently made, the colour photography is impressive, and the production is of good quality.
Released in some markets as Pyro or Phantom of the Ferris Wheel.
Vance Pierson/Peter Swenson
Paco Morán (as Francisco Moran)