Travis Hall, heir-apparent to Roosters, is becoming disenchanted with the gruesome rituals of the secret club. His involvement with a beautiful mixed-race girl, Sonny Wilks, induces Travis to make plans to leave Roosters. But there is an obstacle, the prankster ghost of his father, Theodore (Teddy) Hall. Chained to the charbroiled corpse of his wife, Teddy stalks his son to enforce Travis's leadership of Roosters.
As Sonny and Travis’ relationship deepens, Travis becomes increasingly troubled by flashbacks, including his father forcing him to watch the deadly “scrotum pull,” used to discipline Roosters’ club offenders, and finding his mother electrocuted when a toaster “accidentally” drops into her bath.
The story opens innocently, with Sonny's teenage brother Sam Wilks joining his cousin, Jeffrey (Jeff) Wilks, on a fishing adventure. At first haphazardly, then purposefully, the boys investigate the nearby mysterious Hall estate and discover, in the bowels of its farm buildings, strange rooms and paraphernalia used during Roosters gatherings.
At the club’s bicentennial celebration, Travis, bent on destroying Roosters, constructs beneath the club a delayed fire ignition source, a candle placed on gunpowder and straw.
Jeff and Sam descend upon the club to discover what actually occurs at these meetings. A mishap calls attention to them and members call for their eradication. Travis seizes this opportunity to leave, assuring the members that he will “take care of it.”
But he and Sonny rescue the boys and then drive off. Travis keeps looking back, waiting for flames to light up the sky, but in the silo basement, a teenage hand appears out of the darkness and extinguishes the candle flame just in time. It is the hand of Jeffrey Wilks.
Jeffrey is guided up to the banquet hall by Charles, a homosexual Nazi deserted posing as the quiet “English” butler of the Halls. A principal in Roosters, Charles explains that Jeffrey is the bastard son of Theodore Hall and now heir to the Hall fortune and the true “Head Cock” of Roosters.