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In the 1920s, impoverished horror writer Randolph Carter rents a room from Mrs. Caprezzi, an elderly land lady. Not long after settling into the shabby and almost bare room, he discovers a pool of ammonia on the floor that has leaked down from the room above. Mrs. Caprezzi, while cleaning up the ammonia, regales Randolph with strange stories of Dr. Muñoz (Jack Donner), the eccentric old gentleman who lives in the room upstairs. Later, Randolph suffers a heart attack and painfully makes his way to the doctor's room where he is treated with an unconventional medicine and makes a remarkable recovery. Befriending the doctor, Carter soon discovers the awful truth about the doctor's condition, why his room is kept intensely cold, and the fragile line that separates life and death.