REview: Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities (2022) | Pickman’s Model and Dreams in the Witch House

It’s interesting to me that a series overseen by Guillermo Del Toro, who has yet to get his interpretation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness off the ground, would have not only one, but two adaptations of Lovecraft-penned stories and they’re somehow the weakest episodes thus far.

Though keep in mind that the word ‘weakness’ is relative in that the prior four episodes were so good that even weak episodes might appear stronger if they appeared elsewhere, in another context.

For those who haven’t read the story, Pickman’s Model revolves around Richard Upton Pickman, who’s weird and haunting paintings are inspired by things not only more horrific than one could imagine but that exist in more places than the mind of the artist.

It’s not a literal interpretation, and adds the idea of insanity-inducing art work, kind of similar to John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness (itself a homage to H.P. Lovecraft).

Dreams in the Witch House was last adapted by Showtime’s Masters of Horror by Stuart Gordon a few years ago and it leaned into nudity and overt displays of sexuality – not unusual for Stuart Gordon though something extremely atypical for Lovecraft.

This version, directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), felt more like a ‘monster of the week’ type story than anything else, which really bothered me, truth be told.

Neither episode is terrible, though as I implied, if you’ve ever read H.P. Lovecraft you might be able to roll with Pickman’s Model, but Dreams in the Witch House is a misfire, the first by my reckoning.

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