Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities is an American horror anthology streaming television series created by Guillermo del Toro for Netflix. It features eight modern horror stories in the traditions of the Gothic and Grand Guignol genres. Two are co-written by del Toro himself, while the others are written and directed by various filmmakers. (Wikipedia)
Truth be told, how much one might get out of Cabinet of Curiosities really depends on your level of expectations in respect of horror shorts. Del Toro is our host and that aspect certainly nostalgically recalls classic anthology series such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Night Gallery. There is no doubt that fans of H.P. Lovecraft will definitely appreciate the atmosphere, tone and approach of each episode, especially as two instalments are adaptation of Lovecraft’s short stories.
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Talking of those Lovecraft adaptations viz. “Pickman’s Model” (by Keith Thomas) and “Dreams in the Witch House” (Catherine Hardwicke), both are ultimately disappointing. Though it’s fair to say that the settings, art direction and costume design are authentic enough to immerse an avid fan but the story telling falls short. Lovecraft’s plots are simple and to the point, any attempt to embellish them comes with the risk of losing the plot entirely. Which is what happens in both instances here.
The pick of the bunch in Cabinet of Curiosities is undoubtably “Autopsy” (by David Prior) where F Murray Abraham delivers a stellar performance as a coroner having to deal with a malevolent extraterrestrial parasite. The entire sequence is creepy and disturbing, with the right amounts of cosmic horror. Speaking of which, “The Viewing” (by Panos Cosmatos) is dripping with Lovecraftian cosmic terror BUT without any adequate story elemental underpinnings, it descends into empty spectacle by the end (notwithstanding the delicious performance from Peter Weller).
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The rest of the shorts range from average and watchable viz. “Graveyard Rats” (by Vincenzo Natalli) and “The Murmuring” (by Jennifer Kent) to downright predictable and odious viz. “Lot 36” (by Guillermo Navarro) and “The Outside” (by Ana Lily Amirpour). Cabinet of Curiosities might be a mixed bag but diehard Lovecraft and Del Toro fans will certainly enjoy!
Watch Cabinet of Curiosities on Netflix.
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