‘The Autopsy’ Shows Fans Some Things Are Scarier Than Death

The Netflix anthology series, Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, is a collection of stories, writers, and directors curated by del Toro himself. The eight-episode limited series debuts two new episodes each night this week starting on Oct. 25. On Oct. 26, fans watched “The Autopsy,” and it showed us all there are some things worse than death.

[WARNING: This article contains detailed spoilers regarding Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities Episode 3 “The Autopsy.]

F. Murray Abraham as Dr. Winters in ‘The Autopsy’ of Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Cabinet Of Curiosities.’ | Cr. Ken Woroner/Netflix © 2022

‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ Episode 3, ‘The Autopsy’ is directed by David Prior

This episode, based on the short story by Michael Shea and directed by David Prior, opens up with a starry sky before transforming into the depths of a mine. A group of men gathers in an elevator to take them up, and a man named Joe (Luke Roberts) jumps on top of the steel cage. When the elevator stops, Joe throws a strange ball out in front of him and runs past it as it beeps and makes a weird snarling noise. The ball explodes, several men die, and Joe leaps over the edge of the mine shaft.

Ten men died in that mine shaft, and the local sheriff, Nate (Glynn Turman), calls in an old friend, Carl (F. Murray Abraham), to do the autopsies. The mining company’s insurance policy only pays the survivor’s families if they died while doing their jobs, not if they were murdered. Carl asks if the men died as a result of a bomb in the mine shaft, and Nate tells him they said there was “presumptive evidence.”

Nate then gives Carl some information regarding some strange occurrences he’s dealt with lately. Previously, a mill worker went missing in the town. When Nate and his deputies searched for him, they stumbled upon a body drained clean of any blood. Authorities in a nearby town identified the body as Abel Dougherty, who went missing earlier in the year.

The last time anyone saw Abel was at a local bar, and he was talking to a man named he recognized as Eddie Sykes. Eddie corrected him, however, and said his name was Joe Allen.

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Aliens and autopsies

As Cabinet of Curiosities’ “The Autopsy” progresses, we learn that Joe was the man who tossed the explosive in the mine, killing himself and the other men. When Carl begins the autopsies, he starts recording himself for Carl to hear. He discovers that all of the men’s blood has been drained from their vital organs, and soon after, Joe’s body begins to move. Carl watches in horror as Joe’s corpse begins explaining the truth behind everything.

A parasitic alien controls Joe’s body, and at first, it pleads for sympathy from the coroner. The thing says it only wants to escape from Joe’s body so it can get back home. The explosive was its ship, and it tried to use it as a way back to its home somewhere in another galaxy. However, we soon learn it has much more sinister plans in mind.

The alien used the bodies of the men as its way to walk around earth unnoticed, and it planned to use Carl next. It causes Carl to go unconscious, and he wakes up to find himself strapped to a gurney. Joe’s corpse begins to perform an autopsy on itself so the alien can free itself from Joe’s human body. He quickly makes a slit in Carl’s side so the alien can slither in, but Carl’s knowledge of the human body as a coroner works to his advantage.

Carl sacrifices himself to save everyone else in ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ episode ‘The Autopsy’

Working quickly, Carl gouges out his eyes and pierces his eardrums so the alien can’t use the eyes and ears of his body. He then uses blood to scrawl something on his bare chest with his fingers. He finally makes a fatal cut on his neck and uses his last moments to explain his plan to the alien. Carl knew Nate planned to return in the morning. With the creature already so weak from going without food for so long, it can’t animate Carl’s corpse. Nate walks in to find a mutilated Carl on the floor with the words, “Play tape. Burn me,” written on his chest in blood. Thus, putting an end to the alien’s plans to destroy the planet.

Cabinet of Curiosities’ “The Autopsy” highlights some extremely gory special effects, and it certainly isn’t for the squeamish. However, it nails the unsettling vibe Prior seemed to aim for throughout the episode.

Check back in with Showbiz Cheat Sheet for more Cabinet of Curiosities recaps!

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