This funny satire of horror stories (inspired by Poe’s poem) is set in 15th-century England – a time ruled by magic, fear, and superstition.
Dr Erasmus Craven (Vincent Price) is the son of a great sorcerer, now dead, who was once himself quite skilled at that profession, but has since abandoned it and now lives quietly with his daughter, Estelle (Olive Sturgess).
One evening, a talking raven appears at his window and informs him that the evil Master Sorcerer, Dr Scarabus (Boris Karloff), has turned him into a raven.
The raven regains his human shape of cowardly magician Dr Adolphus Bedlo (Peter Lorre), who tells the reluctant wizard that Craven’s long-lost wife Lenore (Hazel Court) – whom he loved greatly and thought dead – is living with the despised Scarabus.
Sorcerers Craven and Bedlo set out to get revenge on the power-hungry colleague Scarabus. Bedlo’s son, Rexford is played by future Hollywood megastar Jack Nicholson.
Dr Scarabus greets them with friendly hospitality, but he is secretly concerned to learn of Craven’s special and long inactive magic.
There is a complication when Craven’s wife, Lenore, appears, and Scarabus now reveals his evil designs, imprisoning Craven and Bedlo and threatening to torture Estelle unless her father reveals the secrets of his magical powers.
Dr Erasmus Craven
Dr Adolphus Bedlo