Doctor Quintus (Val Dufour) tries to prove his theories about regression
(meaning helping people remember their past lives) by hypnotizing streetwalker
Diane (Pamela Duncan) with sonme techniques he has learned in Nepal & thus
letting her life one of her past lives ... & she is sent to the Dark Ages,
where her former self, Helena (also Pamela Duncan of course) is about to be
burned as a witch (albeit innocent). But advice from Diana, her future self
able to talk to her on a mental level, help her to escape her dungeon &
hide from her pursuers in a coffin the mad gravedigger Smolkin (Bruno VeSota)
carries on his hearse. & Smolkin, though mad, shows pity with the girl
& hides her at Meg Maud's (Dorothy Neuman), a good witch.
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& Maud Meg
even gets her lover Pendragon (Richard Garland) to her, who's worried stiff
about her & whose soul & love evil witch Livia (Allison Hayes) tries to
win over - but with little success once Meg Maud steps in & challenges her
to a magic duel.
Soon though Livia manages to cause enough confusion to tear the loers apart
again & convince Pendragon that Helena has been recaptured, & the only
way to free her is to sell his soul to the devil - who conveniently enough just
happens to stop by at the local cemetary tonight since it's witches' sabbath.
Reluctantly, Pendragon agrees ...
But wait, help is on the way in the form of Doctor Quintus who, in the
present, has realized his regression experiment will alter time if Helena is
not executed this night, & thus Quintus travels back in time (in a quite
corporeal form) to convince Pendragon to not sell his soul & to convince
Helena to end her life tonight on the scaffolding so that all her future selves
- including streetwalker Diana - can live.
Heavy heartedly, Helena agrees & rushes to her own execution which she
reaches just before dawn, & ther she is beheaded ... & her future self
Diane wakes up, having become a better woman because of this experience.
But Doctor Quintus ? He is doomed to live his life in the Dark Ages, having
apparently not thought his experiment through to the end - & Satan (Richard
Devon) has the last laugh.
In the 1950's, when Roger Corman was churning out drive-in fodder for AIP
& Allied Artists
by the dozen, he made many a wild movie ... & this quite possibly was his
wildest: an enjoyable if somewhat muddled blend of esoteric theories, time
travel, black magic & witch hunt all done in a medieval setting &
definitely on the cheap (a studio forest & massive fog are used to hide the
absence of adequate sets - to charming results though). The result - needless
to say - is unintentionally funny ... but at the same time highly entertaining.