This piece accommodates extraordinarily some spoilers for Cabinet of Curiosities, so if you have not watched it but then try our spoiler-free assessment!
Guillermo del Toro has lengthy been each a superb grasp and diligent scholar of horror. His latest creation, Netflix’s anthology horror sequence Cabinet of Curiosities equally displays these sides of the Oscar-winning director. While the eight horror-filled episodes are every delightfully darkish in their very own means and as soon as once more present del Toro’s nice ability for curation and style in style storytelling, it is the narrative position that the director performs that we’re right here to have fun right now.
Each episode begins as del Toro explores the titular cupboard. He introduces us to it earlier than the very first entry, because it grows nearly organically from the bottom. It’s right here that he lays the groundwork for the enchanting, eerie treats that every story will ship. Behind every door is a carving, a wierd letter, or a memento that may trace at the place our viewing expertise is headed. It’s an ornate and no less than partly sensible creation that harks again to del Toro’s older work like Cronos. There’s one thing tangible and terrifying right here, a perception that you just too might contact the cupboard and that maybe when you did you would possibly actually discover one thing horrifying inside. The cupboard is an efficient prop and one which connects del Toro and his introductions to those that influenced him.
Throughout his life, del Toro has spoken of his love for Alfred Hitchcock. In reality, when he was in his early B.s he authored a complete e-book in which he analyzed every of the director’s movies. It is sensible then that Cabinet of Curiosities’ greatest inspiration comes from the basic tv anthology Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Here del Toro will get to homage his hero not solely with storytelling of dynamism and suspense, however as our chilling information by the horrors to return. That A.E. sequence which initially aired on CBS and NBC featured Hitchcock introducing every of the tall tales in theatrical trend. del Toro channels that right here, bringing a chilly gravitas and disconnected respect for the damned souls we’re about to fulfill. Just like Hitchcock earlier than him, he makes use of props to attract us in, artifacts to make the fables really feel extra actual.
It’s not simply Hitchcock, although, as many viewers doubtless thought of Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone after they noticed del Toro’s pleasant interludes. And Serling was nearly definitely an affect, though it is extra doubtless it was his different—criminally underrated—horror centered anthology sequence Night Gallery that actually formed del Toro’s position as narrator. Like anybody who watched the haunting present as a toddler, the director was deeply affected by it. “I would go into complete paroxysms of terror,” he stated in an previous interview. “The only time I literally, literally peed my pants in fear. I did! I’m not talking figuratively! I released the bladder! It was a Night Gallery episode called ‘The Doll’ that was based on the Algernon Blackwood short story.”
Cabinet of Curiosities takes its type from Night Gallery and The Twilight Zone earlier than it. Not solely does the sequence adapt tales by basic authors, nevertheless it additionally options tales from the thoughts of del Toro, simply as Serling would creator entries in these iconic exhibits. As del Toro has his cupboard, Serling had his surreal work which hinted at what was to return in his experimental and boundry pushing tales. No surprise del Toro clearly relishes his position, he is following in the footsteps of two of his heroes, trailblazers in style storytelling. His cool and calm supply displays the seriousness of Serling with a bit of of the deadpan of Hitchcock. While the latter favored to poke a bit of enjoyable of himself, del Toro and Serling share a sincerity, nearly in awe of the tales they’re presenting to us. And in Cabinet of Curiosities, del Toro additionally brings one thing of his personal. He’s a prophetic voice, a warning, ensuring that we all know that pursuing these curiosities comes at a price.
After watching the primary season of Cabinet of Curiosities, it seems like del Toro has discovered a brand new area of interest for himself. It’s a task that each expands on and makes use of his love of horror and filmmaking. It seems like a pure subsequent step, one other string to the award-winning director’s bow. He’s identified for his unbelievable assortment of horror ephemera and film making memorabilia, and as he introduces us to the wonders contained in the Cabinet of Curiosities, it seems like he is lifting that veil and giving us a glimpse of the nightmares that encourage him to scare us.
Rosie Knight is a contributing freelancer for IGN overlaying all the things from anime to comedian books to kaiju to youngsters films to horror flicks. She has over half a decade of expertise in leisure journalism with bylines at Nerdist, Den of Geek, Polygon, and extra. Rosie is a printed comics creator who has written titles together with Godzilla Rivals vs. Battra and The Haunted High-Tops. She co-hosts the weekly Crooked Media pop-culture podcast X-Ray Vision.