The film opens with an outdoor surprise party thrown by a group of swooning black college students. The party is for Dr. Williams, a worldwide traveler, archeologist, and humanitarian with a PHD in "theolo-gee." Dr. Williams is leaving his students for Nigeria, where he will help natives cope with some recent natural disasters. The good doctor also plans to document the Eshu cult of the Yoruba religion.
Dr. Williams tells his inquiring students that the followers of the Eshu cult rejoice in acts of evil and destruction. The main god of the Yoruba religion is Alluran, who created many lesser gods. One of those lesser gods, Eshu, evolved into the god of sexuality ("he became a phallic symbol running rampant through the bush").
The enthusiastic students give Dr. Williams a huge tacky silver cross as a going away present, and he leaves for Nigeria.
After a string of boring African stock footage clips, Dr. Williams finally arrives in an ancient Nigerian cave. He finds a burial idol devoted to the god Eshu, identifiable by a carving of an erect penis ("heh heh heh"). Noticing that the idol feels hollow, he opens the artifact. A gust of wind bursts from the idol, blowing Dr. Williams and his digging crew around the cave. Similar to the famous "subliminal" horror scenes in The Exorcist, a demonic face sporting overgrown eyebrows flashes in and out as Dr. Williams tries to brace himself against the powerful wind.
The film jumps from Nigeria to Louisville KY, where Dr. Williams' preacher son Emmet and his young wife Abby are moving into their new church-sponsored house. An exuberant Abby tells her mother (Mama Potter) that all she wants to do is make a good home for her hubby. Mama curiously replies, "It ain't the size of the house that matters - it's the love that makes any place a home."
Emmet, Mama, and Abby take a break from moving to eat a fried chicken dinner on the porch. Emmet proudly informs Mama that Abby just earned her certificate for marriage counseling. Mama gushes, "Oh really? On top of the youth program, and working with the junior choir?" When Abby objects to Mama's praise, Mama says, "Ain't no sin in being proud of doin' a good job, living a good life, and loving a good man."
Later that night, slamming doors and gusts of wind blowing through the bedroom rouse Emmet from his slumber. He shakes Abby awake to see if she heard anything unusual. She mysteriously reads his concern as a sexual come-on. Emmet doesn't seem to mind. The couple proceeds to make love - but Emmett can't help but remark how cold Abby's skin is.
The next morning, Abby explodes into a spontaneous orgasm while taking a hot shower. The endowed silhouette of Eshu envelops the form of Abby as she touches herself all over.
Abby forgets all about the shower incident, and proceeds to do laundry - humming cheerily as if nothing happened. When she turns to leave, the door slams shut and locks her into the laundry room. She is blown around a bit by shrieking wind. It's all over as quickly as it starts, and she leaves nonchalantly.
In the evening, the family sits down for yet another fried chicken dinner. Abby's cop brother Cass congratulates the couple on their new house. When Emmet goes to toast his loving family, the glass in his hand shatters by way of some invisible force.
The next day, Abby and mama prepare - what else? - fried chicken for a church social. Abby grows increasingly fascinated by the chicken blood as she cleaves the raw meat with a knife. She licks her lips with each slice. Perhaps to avoid eating chicken three days in a row, Abby turns the knife on her own arm and thrusts the blade deep into her skin. She faints and Mama calls for help.
A little while later, Emmet meets with the befuddled white doctor who stitched up Abby's arm. The doctor seems convinced that Abby tried to commit suicide, but Emmet won't believe it. A hysterical Abby sits upstairs in bed. Mama tries to make everything better by offering to put a cold towel on Abby's head.