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After receiving strange signals on his equipment, brilliant geologist Dr. Carl Mandel (Boris Karloff) sends a team to search the depths of the earth in an effort to learn its origin; what they discover is a life form encased in solid rock which can communicate telepathically. Upon bringing the mass to the surface, its determined that this entity is "pure crystallized intelligence" and is through to hold many of the secrets of existence. However, the only message this mysterious stone is transmitting is what kind of food it needs to survive - a particular chemical that can only be produced by the bodies of humans which are experiencing pure terror. Faced with this unusual dilemma the good doctor devises the "Fear Chamber" where he has kidnapped subjects frightened to no end with all sorts of satanic rituals and creepy-crawlies so he may obtain this precious chemical. Even though Dr. Mandel and his assistants take care not to physically harm their subjects, the living stone begins evolving. It starts growing appendages and learns how to capture its own prey and extract the fluids it needs. The scientists begins to realize what a dangerous force they have unleashed on the surface of the world...