Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities is an anthology horror series curated by the legendary filmmaker and written and directed by various directors. The episodes are now streaming on Netflix.
Episode 3 recap: The Autopsy
A group of miners are travelling down a shaft in a lift when another one of them jumps on top of it. As they reach the bottom, the man jumps off the lift and runs through the mine before throwing a round object in the centre.
The object glows before triggering an explosion killing several people.
An old man arrives in town and heads straight to the sheriff’s department. The old man is Carl, a coroner and he’s friends with Nate, the sheriff. Carl is brought in by the company that employed the miners to certify the cause of death and whether the company is responsible.
Nate tells him that this case is a lot more complicated than that, along with the fact that there are 9 dead miners and one abnormal inhuman. Carl asks him about the case so far.
Nate says that once people in town started going missing, they carried out a search and found a body in the woods with very intricate cuts made on the flesh. They placed it back and kept people watching to catch the culprit but to no avail.
Then Nate was contacted by the sheriff of another county who said that they found a body with similar cuttings. The man was last seen at a bar, speaking to their primary suspect, Joe Allen.
Joe Allen was actually a man named Eddie Sykes who had gone missing months ago after going to see a meteor shower. Nate visits his residence while he’s at work and finds the spherical object that the landlady said he brought in after the meteor shower.
They go to his workplace with the object in Nate’s squad car. Joe shows up, steals the object from the car and then makes his way into the mine. This is the story that preceded the opening tragedy.
Nate takes Carl to the refrigeration factory where the bodies are being kept. Carl gets set up and tells Nate that he’ll get 3-4 of them done by morning. Carl then begins the autopsies of the miners while recording his findings on tape.
The first body he examines doesn’t show any strange signs but when he checks the two bodies found near Joe, they appear to have been drained of all their blood.
That is when he goes into the freezer room and sees Joe’s body get and walk towards him. Joe says that he’s an alien using that body as a host and the round object was his ship which had to be destroyed because he was close to being identified.
He then makes Carl unconscious and ties him up to the table without his clothes. Carl wakes up and asks Joe what he plans to do and Joe says that he will perform the autopsy on himself so his alien form can get out and go into Carl’s body.
Carl calls the alien a parasite rather than some great being because they don’t have any organs there and survive on the blood of their hosts.
As soon as the alien leaves Joe’s body, it goes limp with the scalpel left in his hand within Carl’s reach. He realizes that until the alien goes into his body, it is deaf and blind for a short time.
Carl tries to attack the alien but it is out of reach so he decides to take the drastic route. He slashes his neck and stabs his eyes and ears so that he can bleed out and trap the alien. Carl also uses blood to write a message on his body.
When the alien finally gets in place, it is angered by what Carl has done. Carl also tells the alien that it didn’t realize that the recorder was running and his truth has been recorded. When Nate arrives the next morning, he finds Carl’s body with the words “PLAY THE TAPE, BURN ME” written with blood.
Episode 4 recap: The Outside
Stacey is a slightly peculiar woman who works at a bank and is married to a police officer named Keith. She has an interest in taxidermy and envies her colleagues because she feels they are prettier than her.
Stacey is invited to a secret Santa party at one of her colleague’s house and she is very excited. But the others don’t follow the secret Santa tradition and instead, the host gives them a box of Alo-glo products, a beauty brand.
Stacey applies it on herself like the others but her skin begins to have an allergic reaction and she is forced to leave. Stacey is annoyed that the cream doesn’t work for her and that she can’t be as beautiful as the other girls. Keith assures her that’s perfect and doesn’t need to change anything about herself.
That night, Stacey couldn’t sleep because of her itchy face. She goes down to watch some television when an advertisement for Alo-glo comes up. Suddenly, the person in the commercial begins talking to Stacey about the benefits of the lotion.
She says that she’s allergic but the person says that she’s only itching because her transformation is underway and she’s healing. He tells her to commit to Alo-glo and keep using it, so she orders a box through the phone.
The box is delivered the next morning and Stacey places it in her basement. She takes a few days off work and continues to use the lotion despite the reaction her skin is having. Keith tries to get her to stop but to no avail.
She talks to the Alo-glo person once again who tells her that her transformation is close to completion and she just needs to trust it. She goes down to get another tube but suddenly all the tubes open and the lotion oozes out.
Stacey and Keith get into an argument about her obsession with getting more beautiful. She goes to the basement where she finds that the lotion has formed a human shape and is mirroring her movements. She gets closer and shares an intimate moment with the figure.
When she goes back up, Keith becomes very angry to see her covered in lotion and orders her to stop but she wants to become beautiful so she stabs his forehead with a scalpel. As he’s trying to radio for help, she attacks his back with an axe, killing him.
She goes up and sees the lotion figure entering the bathtub so she steps in and soaks herself. She comes out the fresh, smooth skin and her teeth and eyes are realigned in perfect symmetry.
She takes Keith’s body to the basement and treats him using her taxidermy skills to preserve him. She then gets all dolled up and goes to the bank where she’s admired by her colleagues. The parting shot is of Stacey staring into the camera with a maniacal look on her face.
- These episodes don’t have the same kind of fear factor as the first two but they still tell wonderful stories. The different genres depicted in the episodes are impressive.
- ‘The Outside’ could very well work as a retro episode of Black Mirror even though it doesn’t involve technology as much. It focuses on humans’ obsession with vanity and about their greed.
- Once again, the episodes don’t feel overly long and move at a suitable pace to build up the suspense. The way both episodes end is in contrast to one another and will leave the viewers with varying emotions.
Cabinet of Curiosities season 1 episode 3 and 4
Director: David Prior, Ana Lily Amanpour
Date Created: 2022-10-26 12:30