In the spirit of Halloween, well-known filmmaker Guillermo del Toro recently released his new TV horror series, “Cabinet of Curiosities” to Netflix. The show, based on books, was set to release eight episodes in total, two each day starting on Oct. 25.
From the atmospheric, story-telling style introductions to the extraordinarily dark and fantastical themes of each episode, this experience truly teleports viewers to another universe– a spooky one at that.
At the start of each episode, del Toro, in a dimly-lit room, gives a short monologue introducing the story to follow. He completely sets the scene, placing the audience in the world of spooks and scares. Del Toro even presents a few props related to the episode’s contents, giving the audience a little hint as to what is to come.
Despite being a TV series, each episode is completely unrelated to the others, immersing viewers in a unique, eerie world for about sixty minutes. In fact, each episode is directed by a new person, and the differences in style are completely apparent in the best way possible. I absolutely loved that each title screen was decked out in its own art style and font, fitting the “vibe” of the episode.
The large range of themes in each episode is great for those of us who have trouble committing to an entire series with a long winded plot. Sometimes, we just want to have a low-commitment show that will be summed up within an hour. From large graveyard rats who steal dead bodies, to ghosts and world domination by aliens, this show didn’t cease to amaze me with its creativity.
Despite the show seeming to be mainly used for entertainment and shock factor, there are actually many life and moral lessons embedded in several of the stories. Episode four of the series titled “The Outside” is a great example of this.
In the episode, a woman discovers a cream that will transform her physical appearance, making her beautiful according to societal standards. As the episode unfolds, the cream is clearly more than just a skin product. It begins to morph into human-like figures, break the woman out in hideous rashes, and control her life.
She becomes hooked on the idea of attaining physical perfection, as she has always been an outcast due to her “unattractive” appearance and “awkward personality.” To fit in, she succumbs to the cream’s malicious plan, and honestly just becomes a terrible person.
This episode aims to focus on society’s unrealistic beauty standards, and to represent the lengths that people, specifically women, will go to to achieve the unachievable. Such a harsh lesson represented in just sixty minutes of a horror TV episode.
After finishing the series, I walked away from it completely saturated with the creeps in the best way possible. However, I must admit that I am biased, as I am an avid horror-enthusiast.
Del Toro did something magical here, from addressing pressing societal issues, to allowing the viewers to live in the world of spooks and scares even if only for an hour. I look forward to everything to come from del Toro.