In the horror anthology series Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities, the Oscar-winning filmmaker takes audiences on an eight-hour journey filled with genre-bending tales that challenge our preconceived beliefs surrounding horror. As expected, the Netflix original has received a positive response from critics, bearing a 91 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Although the overall series is beloved by viewers and critics alike, there are definitely a few installments worth watching and ones that we suggest you skip. On that note, here's our ranking of all eight Cabinet of Curiosities episodes, from worst to best.
8. "Dreams in the Witch House"
As part of an H.P. Lovecraft double-feature, "Dreams in the Witch House" centers on a haunted man (Rupert Grint) who embarks on a quest to find his dead twin sister. Although there are plenty of spooky visuals, the adaptation strays too far from the source material — there are pacing and tone issues, which makes this the weakest entry in the collection.
It was fun to see Rupert Grint surrounded by magic again, though.
7. "The Murmuring"
The final episode of the collection is far from scary.
Based on an original story from creator Guillermo del Toro, "The Murmuring" follows married ornithologists who struggle to overcome the tragic death of their daughter and the ghostly presence in their new home. The episode relies on emotion rather than scares, which makes it more of a grief-struck drama than a horror tale. Regardless, the leads — Essie Davis and Andrew Lincoln — give remarkable performances.
6. "The Autopsy"
We know this is a controversial take, but "The Autopsy" simply isn't our cup of tea. Based on the short story by Michael Shea, the episode tells the story of a gruesome missing persons case that turns sinister when the lead suspect dies. The only thing that can reveal the truth is an autopsy performed by Dr. Carl Winters (F. Murray Abraham).
Unfortunately, the extended bloody scenes turned us off of this tale.
5. "Lot 36"
When it comes to the first episode, one Letterboxd member said it best — "Storage Wars but make it scary." Based on the short story by Guillermo del Toro, the episode tells the story of a right-wing xenophobic veteran (Tim Blake Nelson) who purchases a storage unit to pay off a debt collector. In the end, he gets much more than he expected. The concept is gripping and delivers a satisfying monster reveal.
4. "The Outside"
Based on a webcomic by Emily Caroll, the psychological thriller known as "The Outside" centers on a self-conscious and awkward bank teller (Kate Micucci) who starts to use a fancy lotion that produces a dramatic transformation. The darkly funny installment cleverly depicts the horrors of the beauty industry while noting the drawbacks of "fitting in."
We'll leave it at this: #JusticeforKeith.
3. "The Viewing"
Let's face it — "The Viewing" has the biggest WTF moment of the anthology series.
From the writers of the action-horror Mandy, the episode follows a wealthy recluse who invites four accomplished professionals to his mansion for the perfect nightmare. The tale doesn't necessarily come together in the end, but the suspense and trippy atmosphere are powerful enough to reel us in.
2. "Pickman's Model"
The second half of the H.P. Lovecraft double-feature is none other than "Pickman's Model." The tale centers on a young artist (Ben Barnes) whose life is turned upside down by a macabre painter (Crispin Glover). Although it also strays from the source material, this adaptation is much better than "Dreams in the Witch House" because it remains faithful to Lovecraft's cosmic horror. Overall, this episode excels due to its pacing and otherworldly visuals.
1. "Graveyard Rats"
At last, Vincenzo Natali delivers the best episode of Cabinet of Curiosities.
Based on the 1936 short story by Henry Kuttner, "Graveyard Rats" centers on a cemetery caretaker-turned-grave robber (David Hewlett) who finds himself clashing with the titular rodent population. Overall, this installment is the most fun in the collection; from the thrilling tension to the spooky imagery of the underground tunnels, we were on the edge of our seats the entire time.
Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities is now streaming on Netflix.