A scientist theorizes that if one animal can save its life by killing its mate, it will do so. He tests this theory on gorillas by suspending bananas out of their reach and the male does in fact strangle his mate in order to use her body as a ladder to reach the fruit. When he discovers his wife is cheating on him, he stitches the two lover's shoulders together and dumps them in a cave filled with hungry hyenas and an exit wide enough for only one to fit through and leaves them ...an ax.
Francis Tourneau is an executioner to King Louis XVI of France in the year 1769. He labors to find a more efficient means of executing prisoners. A physician named Joseph-Ignace Guillotin provides him designs for a mechanized decapitation device. The device (dubbed the guillotine) is put into use, but a revolution takes place and the prisoners storm the Bastille. They capture Tourneau who subsequently becomes the guillotine's first victim.