Review: Cabinet of Curiosities

Guillermo del Toro’s newest series Cabinet of Curiosities is currently available on Netflix. It is composed of eight episodes of about an hour or so in length. Each episode is an original story by a different director, writer, and cast. The framing of the series is that Guillermo del Toro is presenting some object or item from his Cabinet of Curiosities, a term for a space that housed notable prized possessions. In this case, del Toro’s cabinet is housing the items and totems that represent each story the audience is about to view. With Halloween is just around the corner, this is a perfect series of stories to get into the spooky mood.

If you are looking for outright terror or gore a la Slashers or Torture Porn or jump scares every ten minutes, this is probably not the series for you. Make no mistake, Cabinet of Curiosities is a Horror anthology, but it is one with del Toro’s influence and perspective of what Horror is. I have always been fascinated by del Toro’s approach, particularly how he focuses on creatures and monsters. There is odd beauty and tenderness and care with his creations even within the darkest and horrendous of them. Similarly, there is great terror and disgust to be found in the humans that pepper the worlds Guillermo del Toro creates.

Accordingly, the stories that make up this anthology are in the same vein and style. While there is horror and monsters and some gore and violence, the primary focus is always on the people and their choices and impact amid the supernatural forces around them. As in del Toro’s past work, and in most classic horror, the true terror is to be found in the humans that these films center on and how they see and treat their fellow man, and the few actual monsters they happen to come across. Furthermore, every tale in this anthology has a unique style and influence and application that showcases each director and writers skills while demonstrating why del Toro would be interested in each particular piece including the obvious one he wrote himself.

I really hope Netflix makes this anthology an ongoing annual series as you can quickly see how much fun Guillermo del Toro is having, and it is a great avenue for giving new talent some attention and a budget to make quality work. It is in step with del Toro’s own history of giving young, up and coming talent some help in whatever way he can. Seriously, if you are looking for something to get in the holiday spirit of the season, Cabinet of Curiosities is one of the better offerings at this time.

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