Guillermo Del Toro’s CABINET OF CURIOSITIES -so far

The first three eps are all I’ve seen thus far but I thought they were all exceptionally good for television horror. Especially the one based on Michael Shea’s story “Autopsy”. That’s one of the best television adaptations of horror I’ve ever seen–and one of the best adaptations generally. If I had a list of top five in great television horror stories–it’d be number one. What makes it great, besides F Murray Abraham, is the presentation of Shea’s dialogue for the alien and the doctor, as the alien prepares to body-snatch the doctor. It takes a mere body-snatch story and makes it like a great exchange in Tom Stoppard or Dostoevsky. The writing is right up there with the big guys, in that exchange. And the actor playing the alien wearing a stolen body does a fantastic job–a British actor named Luke Roberts. He is superb. And the way that part was directed. Cunning, wicked–and that upside down shot of the face of the body-snatched guy, was used so incredibly well. Oh and the scene where the cam follows the alien’s pov in the invaded body of the doctor–the wonderful imagery there…excellent twist with the doctor’s triumph…Luke Roberts is vastly better than the guy playing the graverobber in the Kuttner story, who swallowed and babbled a lot of his lines. The Kuttner thing, though–big respect Del Toro for taking that on and really resonating in me, making me remember reading that famous story in a horror compendium fifty-five years ago! It’s classic horror classically don. All the sets were just great–the production values excellent. The atmosphere masterful. . .Tim Blake Nelson excellent as always in the first one. Good idea to have a horror story set in one of those old storage places…Not an unpredictable story, that one, but so well staged and carried out…..The only weak part of the show thus far is Del Toro’s introduction. He is no Rod Serling, no Hitchcock introducing Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He’s hard to hear, doesn’t articulate well–it’s not just his accent–and he has no timing, and no real charisma. Vanity, vanity Guillermo! Doubtless there are sycophants who won’t tell him he needs another ten or so takes for those intros to make them work…But so far it’s a wonderful show. Very interested to see how they present the two HP Lovecraft stories they’re doing.