The game takes place within the West Mansion, nicknamed "Splatterhouse", in which a parapsychologist, Dr. West, conducted experiments and later vanished under mysterious circumstances. Curious and brave individuals who dared to enter the mansion for various reasons never managed to escape from its confines. None have lived to tell the tale of what might have befallen them while inside.
Two local university students, Rick Taylor and his girlfriend Jennifer Wills, happened to be majoring in parapsychology and were familiar with Dr. West and interested in his research. The two decided to visit the site of the mansion as part of a school project. As they neared the mansion, they were met with a sudden downpour of rain and an accompanying thunderstorm which managed to force them to seek shelter inside of the mansion as quickly as possible.
Shortly after they entered, darkness enveloped the area completely. It was broken by a sudden flash of lightning outside, accompanied by the noise of a frenzied scuffle and a shrill scream. Something inside the house had managed to abduct Jennifer and in the process managed to leave Rick lying unconscious (presumably dead) and covered in blood on the floor of the mansion.
Hours passed, and Rick soon awoke to the sight of his own blood. The more terrifying sight and revelation to him though was that a mysterious mask had become affixed to his face somehow. He had recalled reading about this mask, deemed “Terror Mask” (also called the "Hell Mask"), in material written by Dr. West. An ancient Aztec sacrificial mask, West had believed it to possess unknown spiritual powers.
Rick, taken aback, resolved that the power the Terror Mask held was his only hope and he chose to rely on it to instill him with the strength and courage he needed in order to find and rescue Jennifer from the clutches of her sinister captors.