Runtime: varies per episode (8 episodes)
Directors for first episode: Guillermo Navarro, Vincenzo Natali
Writers for first episode: Regina Corrado, Guillermo del Toro (original story), Henry Kuttner (original story)
Actors: Tim Blake Nelson, Sebastian Roche, Elpidia Carrillo, Demetrius Grosse, David Hewlett, Julian Richings
By Joan Amenn
For horror fans, this is the best time of the year and this year, Guillermo del Toro has treated us to a feast with his “Cabinet of Curiosities” (2022). No tricks here for this first episode but plenty of creepiness, foreboding and beautifully shot gothic goodness. A special appreciation shout out to Holly Amber Church for her contribution to the Main Title theme which is just outstanding. Each episode is introduced by the Master himself, which adds the prefect touch of ominous anticipation.
Lot 36: The opening story of this episode is an amuse bouche with the main course being the latter installment. However, it sets up a wonderfully dark tale of greed and the occult which seem to be the overarching themes of this series. Tim Blake Nelson plays his typical sad, grimy less than intellectually sparkling character who falls prey to his own avarice. A touch of Lovecraftian slithery horror ratchets the plot up from just being chilling to downright icky. Director Guillermo Navarro has a long history with del Toro, having been his cinematographer for films such as “Pan’s Labyrinth”(2006) so he is the perfect choice to kick off this series.
Graveyard Rats: Based on a short story by pulp science fiction legend Henry Kuttner who also contributed to the Cthulhu mythos with his wife and frequent writing partner C.L. Moore. If you love horror and Golden Age science fiction and are unfamiliar with either, you owe it to yourself to get to a secondhand bookstore and seek their work out. They can typically be found in yearly anthologies. This story features an excellent performance by David Hewlett as Masson, a cemetery caretaker and bon vivant. Those who are claustrophobic should be warned that this episode could be triggering. You may also find yourself squealing, cringing, gasping-in other words, having a great horrific time! Director Vincenzo Natali is best known for the film “Cube” (1997) and knows how to scare an audience.
I can’t wait to see the rest of the series but it’s off to a wonderful start. Thank you, Maestro del Toro for this dark gift! Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities can be seen now on Netflix.