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Author Topic: Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities - disappointing (no spoilers)  (Read 452 times)

Reckall

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An anthology of eight horror tales presented by Maestro del Toro with an interesting framework: a Cabinet of Curiosities. What could go wrong?

Honestly, I don't know. Not a single episode out of eight made any kind of impact. On further reflection, I found a common problem across all the stories: all build up and no payoff. It is like the various directors had 60 minutes for episode but for some reason them all wrote a 90 minutes script - being thus forced to solve everything in an unsatisfactory way in the last 10 minutes. Anyway, these are my non-spoiler comments:

- Lot 36: Very interesting buildup about a storage locker that was rented for years by a secretive guy. They finally discover its secret and... my CoC players would look for another Keeper right there. Banality incarnate.

- Graveyard Rats: Not bad but the idea (an "empire of rats") has been done earlier and better both in literature (Frank Herbert) and in cinema ("Willard"). This episodes features one of the most intriguing locations in the whole series... which is promptly forgotten.

- The Autopsy: Possibly the only decent episode, and even if you have the "evil plan" laid out by the most improbable baddie in the series, the way F.M. Abraham solves the conundrum is pure horror. And, then again, "The Autopsy of Jane Doe" - while with a different plot - is above and beyond. Watch that instead.

- The Outside: A fun entry about the obsession for beauty. However, when after 15 minutes I predicted the ending I just knew that creativity was not the main dish here.

- Pickman's Model: One of the two episodes based on HPL's tales. The problem is that the original story is short, to the point, and never meant for twists and surprises. Here they tried to elaborate a bit but the ending is so painfully obvious that... they should have stuck with the original one.

- Dreams in the Witch House: The original tale by HPL is among his most fascinating and intellectually challenging. You won't find it here. This episode has a house and a witch - both thrown in as an afterthought.

- The Viewing: A group of "geniuses" from various fields is invited by your run-of-the-mill "mysterious super rich host". They talk, and talk, and talk... It is even interesting, in a way. Then... "something" happens. That's it. The ending it so random that maybe it has even a meaning, dunno.

- The Murmuring: A couple of ornithologists gets a grant for a study about how flock of birds do seem to act like a single organism. The idea is interesting - so the story is not about this. They rent a big mansion in a preserve and... you will be able to nail the ending halfway through (including a concept robbed from a famous story by HPL). This episode reunites Jennifer Kent and Essie Davies of "The Babadook" fame, but no joy here. It also has the fastest resolution of the whole series - blink and you will miss it. Not an easy feat.
For every idiot who denounces Ayn Rand as "intellectualism" there is an excellent DM who creates a "Bioshock" adventure.

Grognard GM

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Re: Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities - disappointing (no spoilers)
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2022, 11:32:33 PM »
Well that's a shame. With anthologies you can normally pan for the odd gold nugget, 8x swing-and-a-miss is actually kind of impressive.

It's funny how old schlock like Creepshow were made as disposable entertainment, but manage to have diamonds in the rough.
I'm a middle aged guy with a lot of free time, looking for similar, to form a group for regular gaming. You should be chill, non-woke, and have time on your hands.

See below:

https://www.therpgsite.com/news-and-adverts/looking-to-form-a-group-of-people-with-lots-of-spare-time-for-regular-games/

Reckall

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Re: Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities - disappointing (no spoilers)
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2022, 04:10:59 PM »
Well that's a shame. With anthologies you can normally pan for the odd gold nugget, 8x swing-and-a-miss is actually kind of impressive.

It's funny how old schlock like Creepshow were made as disposable entertainment, but manage to have diamonds in the rough.

V/H/S and V/H/S 2 are good examples of this and both movies presented a host of remarkable short movies only a few minutes long each (V/H/S Viral, sadly, was terrible). I must say that I'm amazed by how Del Toro managed to flunk 8 out of 8 episodes. Didn't anyone read the scripts before approving them? Considering how money wasn't a problem (the production value of each episode is very high) and there was good talent both in front and behind the camera, all came down to the disappointing scripts. They weren't even "woke" or anything, only bad. I actually hope that there will be a second season with the same production value but better heads in the writers' room.
For every idiot who denounces Ayn Rand as "intellectualism" there is an excellent DM who creates a "Bioshock" adventure.

Trond

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Re: Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities - disappointing (no spoilers)
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2022, 02:53:41 PM »
An anthology of eight horror tales presented by Maestro del Toro with an interesting framework: a Cabinet of Curiosities. What could go wrong?

Honestly, I don't know. Not a single episode out of eight made any kind of impact. On further reflection, I found a common problem across all the stories: all build up and no payoff. It is like the various directors had 60 minutes for episode but for some reason them all wrote a 90 minutes script - being thus forced to solve everything in an unsatisfactory way in the last 10 minutes. Anyway, these are my non-spoiler comments:

- Lot 36: Very interesting buildup about a storage locker that was rented for years by a secretive guy. They finally discover its secret and... my CoC players would look for another Keeper right there. Banality incarnate.


I was a little put off by how racism was handled in this one. So the main guy was a douchebag. Sure some of the stuff he said I could see happening in real life, but it was virtually his whole personality. And so in the end it seemed like we were supposed to feel the “diverse” woman was in the right when she lets the guy be devoured by a Lovecraftian-style monster. Seriously she just revealed herself to be a complete psycho.

Are the other episodes like that? 

oggsmash

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Re: Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities - disappointing (no spoilers)
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2022, 06:11:03 PM »
An anthology of eight horror tales presented by Maestro del Toro with an interesting framework: a Cabinet of Curiosities. What could go wrong?

Honestly, I don't know. Not a single episode out of eight made any kind of impact. On further reflection, I found a common problem across all the stories: all build up and no payoff. It is like the various directors had 60 minutes for episode but for some reason them all wrote a 90 minutes script - being thus forced to solve everything in an unsatisfactory way in the last 10 minutes. Anyway, these are my non-spoiler comments:

- Lot 36: Very interesting buildup about a storage locker that was rented for years by a secretive guy. They finally discover its secret and... my CoC players would look for another Keeper right there. Banality incarnate.


I was a little put off by how racism was handled in this one. So the main guy was a douchebag. Sure some of the stuff he said I could see happening in real life, but it was virtually his whole personality. And so in the end it seemed like we were supposed to feel the “diverse” woman was in the right when she lets the guy be devoured by a Lovecraftian-style monster. Seriously she just revealed herself to be a complete psycho.

Are the other episodes like that?

  This is because you do not understand that feelings of racism are much, much worse than murdering someone -or- having those feelings/thoughts is enough to earn you a horrible death/execution.   Congrats on being a sane, sensible person and realizing racism is a character flaw (and a long ways from the biggest one a person can have) and not a capital crime.