Dr. Rossiter (Anton Diffring) botches an operation and flees the police to escape to France under a disguise. Once there, he befriends travelling circus owner Vanet Donald Pleasence), whose daughter was scarred in the war, and offers his plastic surgery skills for free. He then manipulates his way into the family and the running of the circus troupe. Before long the circus is used as a front for his increasingly deranged and experimental surgical exploits, where he befriends disfigured women and transforms them for his internationally successful "Temple of Beauty". However, when they threaten to leave, they meet with gruesome accidents which soon raises the suspicions of the press and Scotland Yard, who are hot on his trail.