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By 1941, Pierce Jackson Dawn, the greatest make-up artist of the early 20th century, is considered washed-up. Pierce's mirror reflection warns him that he has been forgotten and must find work. Pierce brings some new film ideas to studio producer Leonard Schein, who pretends to humor him and then shouts for him to get out. Pierce's idea is to collaborate with the great rival horror actors Pratt Borokov and Janos Blasko. Blasko is "bloated by drugs," and a retired but still arrogant star, who, when flustered and angered by the importunate questions of an interviewer, accidentally overdoses in his kitchen. After consulting the Voodoo Priestess and hearing of Blasko's death, Pierce visits Pratt Borokov. Gardening in his yard, Borokov does not remember Pierce at first and then speaks disparagingly of horror movies. In fury, Pierce seizes the gardening shovel and beats Borokov to death. With the Voodoo Priestess's advice on black magic, Pierce secures a job at a mortuary, ostensibly to cosmeticize bodies in preparation for funerals, but actually to secure access to the corpses of Blasko and Borokov. When he raises them from the dead, they are not as obedient as he expects. Commanding them to gather newsworthy attention, Pierce discovers that they are only too happy to behave as killer zombies. Without intending to, Pierce finds himself the cause of more and more deaths.