A concert pianist, Paul Orlac (Conrad Veidt), loses his hands in a railway accident. Replacement hands are transplanted onto him in an experimental procedure, but the hands are those of a recently-executed murderer. From now on the pianist is tortured by panic attacks and irrational fears. He believes that with the hands of the murderer he has also gained the murderer's predisposition to killing. Strange signs and bizarre threatening letters reinforce these fears. When his father is killed, with whom he was on bad terms, the pianist is suspected of the murder. He only finds peace by clearing up the plot.
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