Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities: a sinister dive into unique horrors

We take a look at the frightening anthology series, headed by Del Toro, created by the many faces of horror.

George Bell
14th November 2022
Image credit: IMDB
There are a great many curious things out there, but there is one that this show never seems to address. How can a man as adorable as Guillermo Del Toro be responsible for something as heinous as this anthology series?

Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities is the latest work from the revered filmmaker in partnership with Netflix and numerous different directors. It is an anthology series with each episode having a different person at the helm, telling a range of spooky stories. The episodes have no direct connection except for short introductions by Del Toro and his titular cabinet.

From Rupert Grint and Andrew Lincoln to Sofia Boutella, Cabinet of Curiosities is bursting at the seams with talent

With eldritch monsters, otherworldly entities, grieving ghosts and cockney rats, there is plenty to love in this show. While each episode was directed by a different person, Del Toro’s influence is clear with consistently brilliant, and chilling, monsters brought to life with delightful prosthetics and makeup. Due to its anthology nature, each episode introduces us to a swath of characters, with many recognisable faces. From Rupert Grint and Andrew Lincoln to Sofia Boutella, Cabinet of Curiosities is bursting at the seams with talent, which all the directors manage to make excellent use of.

Image credit: IMDB

Episodes 3, 'The Autopsy', and 7, 'The Viewing', were highlights of the season that set a bar that the other episodes struggled to reach. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, the dialogue is exemplary here, making you connect and feel for the characters when everything eventually does hit the fan. Secondly, all the episodes make use of fantastic effects, but it is within these two episodes that the reveal of those effects, or monsters, is the most well-deserved. By gradually building tension and fleshing out the character rather than having the effects front and centre too soon (which I’m not complaining about), the effect is much more impactful here.

There are challenges in reviewing an anthology show as each episode has no direct effect on the next, meaning the weaknesses of one may only be isolated there. But is a final product only as good as the sum of all its parts? Every episode of Cabinet of Curiosities is an interesting and engaging dive into the world of horror, but I’m unsure if they collate into as well-rounded a show as I would have liked. 

With eldritch monsters, otherworldly entities, grieving ghosts and cockney rats, there is plenty to love in this show

Ordering is essential. With it being an anthology show, you could pick and choose the order you watch the episodes and doing so would be well within your right. But for many, myself included, it is easier to start from one and watch all the way to eight and by following that order. Perhaps the show would have gone down better if I didn’t watch each episode in close succession, but with Netflix’s binge-style focus on content consumption, one cannot be blamed for doing just that. 

Despite these shortcomings, each episode adds something fun and original to the horror genre, with some of them being stories I can see myself coming back to in the near future. 

I hope we get to delve back into Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities again soon.

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AUTHOR: George Bell
One half film addict, one part computer nerd. All parts Croc lover

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