Charlene Yi and Eric Andre


Netflix’s ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ is your post-Halloween binge 

Horror anthologies can be hit-or-miss, but ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ has many episodes that are great.


Audra Schroeder


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Horror anthologies have seen a revival in the streaming era, but they can be hit-or-miss. I entered Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities with that same thinking, and was pleasantly surprised that I loved so many of the episodes.

Two of the eight episodes in the Netflix series stand way, way out: Ana Lily Amirpour’s “The Outside” and Panos Cosmatos’ “The Viewing.” They feel connected, in a way, though they’re thematically much different.

In “The Outside,” Stacey (Kate Miccuci) is gifted a mysterious purple lotion called Alo Glo at a Christmas party, and begins to experience some alarming side effects. The episode takes aim at the beauty industry and how it preys on women’s insecurity, and features a stunning creature reveal.

Cosmatos’ installment feels like it could have been a feature film: The Mandy director brings the psychedelic visuals and pounding score of that film to the inner sanctum of Lionel Lassiter (Peter Weller), a wealthy collector who has invited a select group of people (Charlene Yi, Eric Andre, Steve Agee, Michael Therriault) there to view a horrible discovery. The last shot remains on autoplay in my mind.

Del Toro loves a period piece, but this series starts to lag a bit when it goes way back in time: “Graveyard Rats” and “Dreams in the Witch House” are a bit too formulaic; “Pickman’s Model,” starring Ben Barnes and Crispin Glover, is a little more effective.

Tim Blake Nelson makes the demonic “Lot 36” memorable, and Jennifer Kent (The Babadook) gets us excited for her next feature film with “The Murmuring,” but Twitter has been buzzing about “The Autopsy,” directed by The Empty Man’s David Prior and featuring a killer performance from F. Murray Abraham. (Who can also be seen in The White Lotus season 2.) It starts off slow, but the second half morphs into something else.

Why it matters

The anthology precedes del Toro’s long-anticipated Pinocchio stop-motion animation movie, which is apparently getting “For Your Consideration” posts, despite the fact that it’s not out yet. Del Toro’s Netflix deal is huge, but with Cabinet of Curiosities, he’s also spotlighting lesser-known directors, and opening them up to a whole new audience.

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