Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities: Dreams in the Witch House
November 2, 2022 6:38 PM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Rupert Grint stars as Walter Gilman in this adaptation of the H. P. Lovecraft short story of the same name.

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, best known for Thirteen and Twilight. The story was previously adapted by Stuart Gordon in 2005 for the Showtime series Masters of Horror.
posted by whir (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
(Meant to post all of these before Halloween, oops)
posted by whir at 6:49 PM on November 2, 2022

I liked this better than Pickman's Model, although they both took extreme liberties with the original story. There weren't many actual dreams in the witch house, though, were there?
posted by Spike Glee at 7:33 AM on November 3, 2022

I had high hopes for this for about the first half or so. Giving Gilman more of a motivation than "I like math" for exploring the cosmic beyond seemed like a good idea, and so did the spiritualist society, and updating the story so that he's taking drugs to cross over is an interesting spin. But it all kind of collapses at the end, spackling on a lot of elements that don't make much sense, like the painter of triangular paintings and the whole thing with the twins. The showdown in the church just seemed kind of dumb.

I did like Grint's bug-eyed performance, at least, and his Massachusetts accent has seemed the least grating to me this season, maybe because he's been playing a guy from Boston over the past few years in Servant.
posted by whir at 10:16 AM on November 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

I largely agree with whir. The accent was the least bad of the entire series so far and the first half was pretty solid, plot wise.

It all fell apart later on, including a few points of extremely bad writing. When Gilman sees the painter at the Witch House, is apparently stunned and says, "I've seen you before!" Yeah, no shit dude. The fact that you've seen her before and your former boss literally told you she rents a room in the Witch House is the entire reason you investigated and went to the Witch House in the first place. Why are you shocked that she's there? Why do you act like seeing her is confusing?
posted by asnider at 8:45 AM on November 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

The first one by a director I've met, back in my media journalism days, so it's got that going for it. Otherwise, I liked this a lot more than the last Lovecraft adaptation. But I agree it kind of went off the rails halfway through. We've got Rupert Grint (who I like, so bonus points for casting him too) trying to bring back his dead sister. Okay, fair enough, I got that part. But where does the witch come into it? What's the deal with the rat-man? Presumably the witch's familiar? But why is he a rat? And suddenly we've got a magical battle in a church? Why is any of this stuff in the back half happening? It almost feels like two different stories stitched together and sent shambling out into Netflix.

I did, as usual, think the production design was just brilliant. These shows look great even when they aren't. And I appreciate that they cast a lot of non-white actors as smart and competent characters just to piss Lovecraft off.
posted by Naberius at 1:11 PM on November 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

I can't help but compare this with the Masters of Horror episode of Dreams of the Witch House, mentioned by the op, whereby this Cabinet of Curiosities chapter simply lags behind overall. I find this episode to have extraneous characters and storyline. In comparison with the 2005 MoH series, the latter is tighter storytelling in about the same amount of time.
posted by 2N2222 at 4:29 PM on December 3, 2022

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