Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities is a horror anthology series that features eight twisted tales. It’s an absolutely fantastic and spine-tingling show, and each episode is great in its own way. Despite none of the stories being bad by any means, some are so phenomenal or so scary that they get stuck in your brain more than some of the others. Below is every episode of Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities ranked from weakest to best.
Even though this is ranked as the “worst” episode, this one is still fantastic. “Pickman’s Model” is adapted from an H.P. Lovecraft story that follows an art student named Will who meets an introvert whose creepy paintings begin to warp Will’s sense of reality. It’s suspenseful, has a truly horrifying ending, and makes one question if something is actually happening or not. Unfortunately, there’s some pacing issues in this episode that break some of the immersion. Plus, the obviously fake Boston accents are rather cringey despite the performances being fantastic otherwise. The episode’s conclusion is so bonkers and creepy it must be seen, though.
This is the series’ first episode and it’s a solid way to attract an audience into the show. There’s not a whole lot that goes on throughout the story, but what does happen is interesting and builds up to something pretty creepy. The final act is especially suspenseful and features what is easily one of the freakiest monsters in the series. A tentacled demon from Hell possessing a woman’s corpse is terrifying yet hard to look away from. There’s twistedly delightful comeuppance for a character who’s a major jerk. There’s some solid, yet blatant, commentary made throughout the story. What holds this one back is that there’s not much that happens that holds importance despite it being the shortest episode of the bunch. It has a fun finale and an intriguing, mysterious atmosphere throughout, but so much more could have happened.
Dream’s in the Witch House
“Dreams in the Witch House” also happens to be based on a Lovecraft story like “Pickman’s Model.”. This one features a premise that’s extremely creative. A researcher uses a drug to venture into another, much darker realm in order to bring his twin sister back from the dead. This episode features an incredible monster design in the form of an undead witch. The story is told in a way that has the audience rooting for the main hero the whole time. The plot feels a little too stuffed at times, though. There could have been some trimming down in order to make this story just a little bit tighter.
“The Murmuring” is probably one of the scariest episodes in the traditional sense. It follows a pair of married ornithologists who stay in a secluded house to study birds. The story and drama between the two of them, played by Andrew Lincoln and Essie Davis, is quite touching, but it doesn’t take away from the spookiness as the house they’re staying in has a dark past and is haunted by a family of ghosts. There are some especially great scares, like something lurking the halls at night or hearing a strange voice in their recordings. The reason it’s not higher on the list is that it does a lot of the same things as most haunted house movies. It’s not bad whatsoever, but it’s not something new or unique.
As one of the most original and unique episodes, “The Outside” focuses on an awkward bank teller named Stacey, played by Kate Micucci, who starts using a skin lotion to fit in with her coworkers. The skin lotion has some concerning effects on her as an unnerving physical and psychological transformation takes shape. This one isn’t necessarily terrifying, but it excels at making the audience feel uneasy. It leads to some perfectly uncomfortable scenes and shocking moments. Micucci knocks it out of the park with her performance. There’s great social commentary worked into Stacey’s nightmare. It wouldn’t be surprising to see some folks feel disappointed if they were looking to be scared out of their pants, but it’s still an outstanding entry.
This one is probably the simplest premise in the entire series. It’s called “Graveyard Rats” and there’s a graveyard filled with rats. The simplicity doesn’t take away from how wildly entertaining or scary it is, though. A grave robber crawls through an underground maze to steal valuables he needs to pay off a debt, but is chased and tortured by an endless horde of rats. There are moments in this one so over-the-top it’s hard not to have fun with it. The rats are genuinely gross and creepy, and it’s especially terrifying to claustrophobes. This episode is so simple, yet so delightfully disturbing.
“The Viewing” is a fascinating experience, to say the least. It’s a bit on the slow side when it comes to pacing, but it’s worth it. The overall vibe as the episode builds up more and more to something that neither the audience or the characters see coming is something that must be seen and felt. The lighting and color create a truly uncomfortable atmosphere and the dialogue is masterfully-written. A wealthy recluse invites some of the smartest and most accomplished individuals he can for what he calls a “once in a lifetime experience.” He’s a bit of a collector and wants to pick his guests’ brains about his latest, most mysterious addition. As it all ramps up to a finale that is impossible to look away from, the discussions from the colorful characters pull in audiences and make them ponder a lot about life.
The third episode of the series, “The Autopsy,” is essentially perfect horror. There’s mystery, monsters, body horror, suspense, characters worth rooting for in the face of danger, and an overall spooky atmosphere. After a rather strange occurrence that left several people dead, an autopsy must be conducted to figure out what truly happened. Of course, it leads to dark and twisted discoveries that leaves the medical examiner fighting for his life. The makeup and visual effects are top-notch here, and the plot is an overall rollercoaster ride. The ending is bittersweet and will leave viewers with their jaws on the floor. Every episode of Cabinet of Curiosities is a must-see, but “The Autopsy” really takes the cake.