The setting in this suspense-filled film is an old, dark Gothic mansion located in New England at the turn of the century. Young innocent Helen Capel (McGuire), long ago made mute due to a childhood trauma, is a servant for Mrs. Warren (Barrymore), a cantankerous, widowed invalid. The
wealthy widow has two sons: one (Oliver), a hell-raiser, and the other (Brent), a gentle professor for whom Helen carries a secret torch. When three local girls--all physically handicapped--are murdered, everyone worries that Helen will be next. The tension builds as her suspicion of the killer's
identity proves wrong and she is forced to confront the real madman.