‘Lot 36’ shows you sometimes get more than you bargain for

In honor of Spooky Season, Netflix recently launched Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities. The anthology series curated by Oscar-winning filmmaker del Toro himself brings together eight different tales, each directed by a team of writers and directors chosen by him. The first in the series, titled “Lot 36”, stars Tim Blake Nelson as an unlucky man who buys an abandoned storage unit. Of course, nothing is ever as simple as it seems in this show.

[WARNING: This article contains detailed spoilers regarding Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities Episode 1, “Lot 36.”]

Tim Blake Nelson as Nick Appleton, Sebastian Roche as Roland in “Lot 36” | cr. Ken Woroner/Netflix © 2022

Guillermo Navarro directs episode 1 of “Cabinet of Curiosities” “Lot 36”

Guillermo Navarro, the cinematographer behind Pan’s Labyrinth, tells us a story that revolves around an abandoned storage unit. In the opening minutes of “Lot 36” from Cabinet of Curiosities, the audience sees an older man watching the news as President George Bush talks about the military targeting Iraq and Kuwait. After finishing his TV dinner, he puts on a rubber apron, picks up a knife, and begins cutting up dead fish. Before he is done, he has a heart attack and dies. As the camera pulls away, we see a set of keys with a tag that says “36”.

In the next scene, we meet Nick (Nelson). Nick is angry, owes money to shady characters, and is really just a miserable human being in general. The radio program playing in the background rails against immigrants and people of color as Nick nods in agreement.

Nick has made a deal with Eddy (Demetrius Grosse), who runs the local 24-hour storage facility. A group of people gather at the facility to bid on abandoned units from long-term tenants, but Nick wins the auction.

Later, in Eddy’s office, a Hispanic woman arrives and finds that Eddy has accidentally sold her unit (other than lot 36) to Nick. Eddy tells her to talk to Nick to see if he still has any of his possessions, but Nick rudely dismisses her when she does. He refuses to return any of his items and walks away.

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What’s in the storage unit?

Nick rummages through the Cabinet of Curiosities’ “Lot 36” storage unit, but finds only a few items that he thinks might earn him some money. He also comes across an old photo album belonging to the man that viewers saw in the opening minutes. The photos show his time in the German army as a Nazi. Additionally, we see Nick picking up a piece of scenery which we later learn is made of human hair and a round table with a pentagram carved into it. Eddy gives Nick an address that Nick is driving that evening. There, he meets a woman who specializes in antiques. She explains that the table is a sitting table, and when she runs her finger over the sculpture, a secret compartment opens, revealing three books.

The woman calls an associate named Roland (Sebastian Roché) to inspect the books. We learn from Roland that a fourth book is the most valuable because it contains spells that bind a demon to earth. He tells Nick that if he finds the fourth book, they could fetch him over $300,000. Roland and Nick leave immediately to search the rest of the unit.

Roland and Nick meet a brutal end in the “Cabinet of Curiosities” episode “Lot 36”

On the ride, Roland admits he knew the family that owned the unit. The man dabbled in occult circles in Vienna and Berlin before emigrating to the United States. The man summoned a demon with the books and gave him an entity to occupy – his sister, Dottie Wolmar. Authorities never found Dottie once her family reported her missing.

Cabinet of Curiosities spotlights some of the best in the business when it comes to creating terrifying monsters with special effects, and Navarro’s work is delightfully gross. Roland and Nick discover a secret area of ​​Lot 36, and when they go inside, they find Dottie’s decomposing body strapped to the ground in the middle of a pentagram. A hole replaces the space where his face once was, and a sprawling creature squirms inside. Roland, horrified and knowing what they fell on, warns Nick not to move. However, he doesn’t listen and Nick breaks the circle, binding the demon as he tries to get the book that will clear his debt.

The body on the ground begins to move and the tentacles come out of the hole, trapping Roland. The monster eats Roland and Nick navigates the maze of a warehouse. When he reaches the door, he finds it locked but sees the woman from earlier, whom he sent away. He begs her to unlock the door, but she refuses because of how he treated her. Nick hears the sound of the demon and turns to find it right behind him. The monster devours Nick and the Cabinet of Curiosities credits “Lot 36”.

Check back with Showbiz Cheat Sheet for more recaps of Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities!

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