In a suburban Miami house, a young woman arrives home and turns on her portable radio which broadcasts news of a murder, one of several within a few days. The woman turns off the radio and begins to take a bath. Suddenly, a gray-haired, wild-eyed man appears in the bathroom and brutally stabs the woman in her left eye, killing her. The man hacks off her left leg with a machete and leaves with it.
The next day at the police station, Detective Pete Thornton reviews the latest murder to a homicidal maniac killing nearly five women now, and there are no clues. His chief superior advises him to continue pursuing the case.
At Fuad Ramses' Catering shop, Dorothy Freemont, a wealthy socialite, arrives where she arranges for Fuad to cater a party for her daughter Suzette. Fuad agrees to cater the party for Suzette and tells Mrs. Freemont that what he's preparing hasn't been prepared for over 5,000 years. Mrs. Freemont wants the catering done in two weeks and Fuad tells her that it will be enough time to get the last of his ingredients. After Mrs. Freemont leaves, Fuad ventures to the back storage room where he has a large gold statue of the "mother of veiled darkness", the goddess Ishtar. Fuad is repairing a blood rite for her in order for the goddesses resurrection. The solution that Fuad mixes in a huge vat contains the parts of the dead women.
That evening, two teenagers, Tony and Marcy, make out on a nearby beach when Fuad attacks them, subduing Tony and slicing off the top of Marcy's head & removing her brain to serve as the latest ingredient. Pete Thornton arrives on the scene with the police chief where, after not getting much from the distraught Tony, interrogate Marcy's mother who can only tell Pete that her daughter belonged to a book club.
At a local motel, Fuad is staking out the place when he sees a drunken sailor drop his wife off at her room before taking off. Fuad knocks on the woman's front door to the room and attacks her when she opens the door. Fuad rips the woman's tongue out of her mouth as another ingredient to his 'blood feast'. Pete continues to investigate this latest killing and also discovers that the latest murder victim also belonged to a book club too.
Pete attends his weekly Egyptian studies lecture at the local university with his girlfriend, who happens to be Suzette. The lecturer tells them about the Cult of Ishtar, and describes how virginal women were sacrificed on a altar as a blood offering to the Egyptian goddess. When the lecture is over, Pete takes Suzette out for a evening drive where she becomes worried about these events and of a serial killer loose in the area. Their date is interrupted by their car radio which the announcer says that another victim has been found near death. Pete drops Suzette home and races to the hospital where the police chief is there and informs him that the maniac has struck again and hacked off the face of another woman named Janet Blake. Pete questions Janet in her hospital bed, in which the woman, with a bandaged face, tells the detectives that the man who attacked her was old with gray hair, with wild eyes, wearing a funny-looking dark suite, and he said something which sounded like "Etar". Janet Blake then dies, while Pete can't shake the feeling why that word sounds familiar.
Fuad receives a letter from Trudy requesting a copy of the book 'Ancient Weird Religious Rites', of which Ramses is the author. Fuad calls Trudy's home phone number and learns that she's staying with Suzette. That afternoon, Fuad stakes out the Freemont residence and kidnaps Trudy from the grounds and takes her to his store. He whips her savagely and collects her blood, the last ingredient of his concoction for Ishtar.
With Trudy missing, Mrs. Freemont insists that the party continue. Pete calls Suzette to inform her that he will be late in arriving. Meanwhile, Fuad arrives with his food that he bakes at his store. Elsewhere, Pete calls upon the college lecturer and gets more information about the Cult of Ishtar and about the book that Fuad Ramses had wrote and figures out that Fuad is the killer since all the victims were women who personally called upon him to send them copies of his book. Pete and the police race over to Ramses' store and find Trudy's mutilated body in the back of the store. Pete tries to call Suzette to warn her, but at coincidentally the same time, Fuad cuts the phone line to the Freemont house.
At the Freemont party, Fuad is ready with the food, but he first asks Suzette to come into the kitchen to help him. He has Suzette lie on a counter, which he makes his altar, and say a prayer to Ishtar, as he prepares to stab her in the chest with a butcher knife as a final offering to his goddess. Because she won't take him seriously, Ramses' attempt to sacrifice her is delayed. Dorothy Freemont interrupts Fuad just as he's about to stab Suzette, and Fuad escapes just as the police arrive.
Pete and the rest of the police chase Fuad through a nearby garbage dump where Fuad attempts to escape by climbing into the back of a departing garbage truck. The truck's compact blades suddenly activate and Fuad is crushed to death. The police stop the truck and see there's not much left of Fuad Ramses as Pete puts it, "he died a fitting end, just like the garbage he was."