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The Plot

The film begins in a graveyard with the caretaker, Jonesy (Ben Wright), and the town's constable, Henry Hooke (Bernard Fox), discussing the recent death of Lord Arnold Dwellyn as they observe the funeral procession carrying Arnold's coffin into the chapel. The mood abruptly changes, however, to the sound of wedding bells and Karen (Stella Stevens) in a bridal gown, accompanied by her bridesmaids, appearing in the graveyard and entering the chapel. Puzzled by this rather unusual scene, Constable Hooke decides to peek in on the scene in the chapel.

There, he observes the wedding of the very dead Arnold and the very alive Karen, performed by the minister (Victor Buono)...who is so unnerved over this he periodically has a few drinks out of the chalice on the altar! The wedding guests include Arnold's now-widow, Lady Jocelyn (Shani Wallis)...who is none too pleased at this turn of events, Arnold's sister Hester (Elsa Lanchester), his younger brother Robert (Roddy McDowall), his cousin Douglas Whitehead (Patric Knowles), Douglas' law partner Evans (Farley Granger), and Arnold's foreboding and mysterious Hindu servant, Dybbi (Jamie Farr). Everyone is surprised when Arnold himself somehow replies "I do" during the ceremony! Afterwards, Douglas Whitehead invites both the Constable and Jonesy back to the Dwellyn manor house for the reading of the will.

At the manor house, the will is read by none other than Arnold himself! Prior to his death, Arnold recorded his own voice reading the will, as well as his wedding vows, with the recordings played on a tape recorder built right into the side of Arnold's own casket. Most everyone in Arnold's life receives something, however small it may be, except for younger brother Robert...who receives nothing, and Jocelyn...who is left only with the Rolls Royce and one share in the cosmetics company. Everything else is left to Arnold's new bride, Karen...with the condition she always keep Arnold near her for "as long as you shall live". Most surprising, however, is how everyone's reactions have been anticipated by seems as though his taped recording responds to their reactions! Arnold apparently was a genius who made a study of human psychology and reactions, so he could predict exactly how each person would react to the will.

Arnold also knew how greedy and unfaithful everyone around him truly was. Karen has been carrying on behind Arnold's back with Robert, Jocelyn dallies with Evan, and everyone else is eventually revealed to be just a greedy and money-hungry as the next! A series of tapes from an unknown deliverer begins mysteriously appearing one by one, each containing Arnold's own voice with a warning to one person or the next.

Karen somehow wants out of her premarital agreement with Arnold. After Jocelyn is inexplicably killed by something in her cold cream that eats away her face, Karen and Robert try to figure a way out...but Arnold is one step ahead of them. When the two of them run off to Robert's place for some privacy, Arnold has somehow gotten there first! Quickly hurrying back to the manor house, Robert helps himself to a newly arrived red velvet suit ordered for Arnold. Wearing the suit and gloating over Arnold's body, his delight is short-lived when the suit constricts around him and squashes him into bits! ("crushed velvet" pun?)

Karen almost immediately turns to Douglas Whitehead to figure a way out of the binding agreement she made with Arnold. Douglas agrees to help her, for 50% of her inheritance "plus fringe benefits" (i.e. sexual favors!). Unfortunately for Douglas, the agreement doesn't last long...when helping himself to cousin Arnold's expensive cognac, Douglas is rendered unconscious by the drugged drink, and ends up compacted in the back of a garbage truck.

Next in line is Evan Lyons, to whom Karen turns to with the same offer she made to Douglas. While the two are discussing the possibility of where the "enormous horde of cash" that Arnold mentioned is hidden, Dybbi overhears their mentioning the possibility of the money being hidden in Arnold's basement laboratory. Faithless as all the rest, Dybbi finds a hidden alcove in the lab, sticks his head in to have a closer look...and is promptly decapitated.

This arrangement with Evan is a little more agreeable for Karen, since Evan is younger, handsome, and (presumably) more virile than Douglas. But while enjoying the embrace of Evan, who steps into the shower with her to "properly scrub her back", it's the last embrace for both of them as the shower walls come together and flatten the couple (the bodies are later discovered in a wrecked car).

Hester slips one last tape into the tape player in Arnold's coffin, and we find out it was all a plot between Arnold and his sister to rid themselves of the greedy inheritors of Arnold's will, leaving Hester as the sole inheritor of Arnold's estate. But Arnold goes too far...gloating to Hester about his genius and planning. Enraged at Arnold's lack of giving credit where credit is due (Hester, after all, was responsible for delivering the tapes of Arnold's voice around), she sees to it that Arnold's body is immediately cremated for burial.

In the graveyard, Jonesy has dug a grave for the urn containing Arnold's ashes. Jonesy also had a hand in helping Hester (he's the one who moved the body to Robert's place and back again), and he sees to it that he gets his fair share, otherwise he threatens to spill the beans on Hester. Asking Jonesy to remove a rock from within the grave so Arnold will "be all comfy", Hester grabs the shovel and kills him with it, saying "The grave is not for's for you, Jonesy!", and fills the grave in.

Going into the family mausoleum to place the urn in its place in the wall, Hester remembers a small clue as to where the money is. She crawls into the space with the urn, finds a hidden button, and a second wall inside opens up...revealing pile upon pile of the money! Hester's glee is short-lived, as the wall behind her closes and shes hears Arnold's last time...saying he knew she'd betray him, and how they "will be together...forever". Outside in the graveyard, Constable Hooke is making his rounds, and finding nothing unusual in the area, bids farewell to Hester's cat.

As Hooke rides off on his bicycle, the cat spots the raven that inhabits the graveyard (and which the cat has pursued throughout the film), and immediately chases it behind a headstone. The raven has the last laugh (so to speak) and swoops down on the cat, and the last we see are pieces of cat fur flying out from behind the headstone.


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