The latest effort by Guillermo del Toro: Cabinet of Curiosities. It is a horror anthology series that is based on, and draws from, tradition Gothic and Grand Guignol. Eight stories by eight different directors and screenwriters who tell horror in its most diverse forms with personal tones and voices. 

The format anthology it owes its fortune to the 50s in which it flourishes and prospers. Over time this fame diminishes and to date the works that fall under this heading are rare, above all for an economic question. 

A producer who is presented with an anthological project is not always inclined to accept. In this case, Netflix is ​​strong in the name of del toro and the large group of fans that it brings with it. It's bad to always talk about money, but television is business and as such the return must be greater than the outgoings, otherwise the game is no longer worth the candle... and this is how products are lost, even if they are valid. 

By its nature, the anthology is composed of separate stories, united only by the genre they have in common. This means paying directors, writers, screenwriters and other figures from time to time. Not to mention how the cast, always different, affects the budget. The location also changes, with considerable additional costs.  

Un serial it's different. The writing team remains the same for the duration of the project, unless unspeakable tragedies occur, and the episodes are connected to each other by the characters and the setting. Savings across the board.


Cabinet of Curiosities Gullielmo

Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities

Eight episodes taken from classic monsters of the genre, including Lovecraft and the same of Taurus. 

The most interesting part is probably the introduction to the different episodes, held by the same del toro which exposes the facts that the viewer will go to see and introduces the different directors. The problem is that sometimes, as in the case of the third episode (The Autopsy) too much information is given which makes viewing unnecessary.

… Are we alone in the universe? Recorded on a modern device, between blood and death, the answer is a decidedly terrifying "No". 

A very worthy product, especially from the point of view of scenic composition and direction, always punctual in offering the viewer a broad and detailed view of the story being told, however it does not bring anything new to the genre. 

Even the stories told are sometimes affected by the timing dictated by the platform. You notice a rhythm that proceeds in fits and starts. Too often we tend to finish the story in the last ten minutes. A risky choice that becomes counterproductive.  

The decision made to show the viewer the creature that each time represents the very entity of evil and danger does not help. It is one of the limitations of the horror genre and also one of the problems that make it difficult for the director to maintain tension throughout the film.
Once the creature is framed it is never as frightening as the viewer's mind has imagined and this breaks the emotional tension and involvement.
While the thing works on the pages of a short story, just think about Lovecraft for example, it is not easy to recreate the same effect on the screen.    

In different episodes, the viewer sees familiar faces of actors who have more than once tried their hand at the horror genre in its various guises. Impossible not to notice Sebastian Roché (Supernatural) in the first episode, in the role of the occult expert who is the summa between Aleister Crowley and the Italian Gustavo Rol. 

The strength of this project lies in telling the daily horror, what everyone can experience and experience on their own skin. 

Whether this is the horror of war and its consequences, the drama of veterans who are left to fend for themselves, or the decline of society where there are no qualms about looting the graves, violating them and violating the dignity of those in them rests. Or the horror of losing your child and not being able to talk about it with your partner, so you risk losing them too and find yourself completely alone and unable to give voice to your suffering. 

The most attentive viewer, and lover of the genre, can easily notice in Cabinet of Curiosities several homages to films, series and stories that have made the history of horror, but sometimes these quotations are heavy, as if you wanted to focus attention on how the authors know the subject better than the viewer who is only called to watch and learn. This excludes that band of enthusiasts and experts who do not need to be taken by the hand and led where the director wants.


Positive or negative judgment? 

The decisions taken lead to discontent both on the part of connoisseurs and on the part of those approaching the genre for the first time. The episodes are divided into two categories: those that are really well done and those that leave something to be desired. Both critics and the public are in agreement enough to indicate an equality between the two sides. 4 episodes to watch and enjoy, and 4 that leave the time they find. 

Ultimately, as we have already said, a worthy product, but which can also be left in the background when doing other things. Without infamy and without praise, we expected more from a sacred monster like del Toro!