Cabinet of Curiosities, Second Half

So I found the first four episodes of Guillermo del Toro’s horror anthology uneven, but interesting enough to finish the series. So here we go on to episodes five to eight.

Episodes five and six have much in common: each is based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft, and features paintings. I had trouble with episode five, “Pickman’s Model”. It might as well have been made for laughs: a parody of Lovecraft; and Pickman’s strange accent. I did appreciate Pickman’s art, and its effect on a fellow artist.

Episode six, “Dreams in the Witch House”, worked a little better, but was still one of the weaker episodes in the anthology. The witch house itself was the strongest aspect, and one of the best settings in an anthology full of creepy settings. Perhaps Lovecraft doesn’t work for me (even though I live near Providence, his home) or perhaps he wasn’t well served by the teleplays.

In episode seven, “The Viewing”, a wealthy recluse summons four famous people to view… something; I won’t spoil what it is. Again, the setting is impressive, although even I began to weary of (my favorite color) orange. So far, the second half of the anthology wasn’t as much to my taste as the first.

The eighth and last episode, “The Murmuring”, is about married ornithologists who have lost their daughter. They go to study dunlins on a remote island, where a house is prepared for them to stay in. Yes, the house turns out to be haunted.

This episode differs from the other episodes of the anthology in several ways. It has fewer horror tropes than most. It was, for me, better than most, perhaps the best since the first. It was one of two for which the Guillermo wrote the story (but not the teleplay); the other was the first.

As for the anthology as a whole, the direction, acting, and cinematography were excellent, and consistently so, despite the cast and crew varying between episodes. The writing was, for the most part, not as good. If there is a second season, I’d like more input from Guillermo.

What did you think of Cabinet of Curiosities? Would you watch a second season?

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