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Guillermo Del Toro's Cabinet Of Curiosities: The 10 Creepiest Creatures From The Series, Ranked

Guillermo del Toro is an exceptional director. His visual style is nearly unmatched today, whether we're talking about "Pan's Labyrinth," "The Shape of Water," or "Nightmare Alley." His use of color and framing (credit here to the various cinematographers he's worked with) creates full-bodied worlds in which the audience can live. His signatures are so potent that you know exactly when you're watching one of his horrifying creations. 

When he's not creating his own stories, he has a keen eye for talent. With "Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities," the filmmaker brings together some of the most talented filmmakers working today to share their own terrifying tales. Directors Jennifer Kent, Ana Lily Amirpour, and Guillermo Navarro are a few of the names you'll find attached to the anthology series, and each brings a unique voice to horror.

"Cabinet of Curiosities" features eight tales spanning the genre's most familiar categories, from alien invasions ("The Autopsy") to body horror ("The Outside") and psychological ("The Murmuring"). Along the way, the various creative teams have created some of the creepiest monsters of the entire year. Some do very little to petrify the audience, while others are what nightmares are really made of. Below, we have ranked the series' creepiest (or not so creepy) monsters from worst to best.

10. Lotion monster

In "The Outside," Stacey (Kate Micucci) just wants to be accepted by her co-workers at the bank. She'll do literally anything. When invited to a co-worker's holiday party, Stacey receives a box of Alo Glo, the best lotion in the entire world. Her face immediately breaks out into a bright red rash, so she's clearly allergic to the magical cream. However, she doesn't care, and she slathers on the lotion every chance she gets. Her skin soon blisters and oozes, peeling away at the edges.

As she descends further into her obsession, Stacey orders more and more crates of lotion and stores them in the basement. One afternoon, she discovers that the lotion has formed a giant, gooey creature that seems to mimic her movements. Stacey leans in and begins kissing and caressing the creature. The camera cuts away, and later she emerges from the basement completely covered in a thick layer of lotion, truly taking self-care to the next level. Eventually, she hops in a bathtub and immerses herself in the monster, which has liquidated and reformed around her body. It's an almost orgasmic experience for her.

With such a cool setup, you'd expect the creature to be downright terrifying. That is simply not the case here. On a scale of one to 10, it's the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. While the creature is not even remotely creepy, it is Stacey's behavior that actually makes your skin crawl. Kate Micucci deserves all the recognition here.

9. Keziah Mason

"Dreams in the Witch House" centers around a witch named Keziah Mason (Lize Johnston), who was hanged for performing witchcraft. Her twin brother, Walter (Rupert Grint), desperately wants to reconnect with his dead sister on the other side. As part of a spiritualist society, he's dedicated his life to unlocking the bridge between the two worlds — and it all somehow relates to Keziah.

After befriending two men while out at a pub, Walter finds that drinking "liquid god" allows him to transport to the Forest of Lost Souls. There, he finds his sister Epperley very much lost, unable to cross over. Spending the night in Keziah's hold house, Walter ventures to the other side and doesn't know he has an extra traveler. Keziah manages to transport with him, which causes a ripple in space and time. 

When shrouded in darkness and shadow, Keziah is a terrifying visage with beady yellow eyes, the best of the worst nightmares. That is owed to the work it took to bring her to life. Director Catherine Hardwicke told Newsweek that Johnston wore a Puritan-style dress with branches and roots woven into the fabric. Credit goes to costume designer Luis Sequeira (known for work in "Nightmare Alley") for conceptualizing the design. 

While the look is quite effective with cooler, darker lighting, it loses its power in brightly-lit scenes. Once Keziah fully reveals herself, the mystery fades away. She's a real presence, that's for sure, yet she's simply another witch with very little, if any, actual creepiness.

8. Lavinia the witch

Art student Richard Pickman (Crispin Glover) draws inspiration not from his mind but from real life. "Pickman's Model" tells the disturbing tale of Pickman and his dark and twisted paintings, which seem to jump out of their frames. In conversation with fellow student Will Thurber (Ben Barnes), Pickman reveals his ancestral heritage. His family resided in New England for generations before the Salem witch trials. "My mother told me stories as a boy," Pickman begins. He soon reveals that his great-great-great-great grandmother Lavinia was a witch and killed her husband, serving up his "still warm flesh" to her coven.

Pickman shows Will a painting depicting Lavinia and her fellow witches having a feast. Her eyes are piercing, two menacing orbs cutting through the picture's darkness. Lavinia's likeness penetrates Will's mind and causes him to have wicked nightmares. He first beholds the feast in the painting and then imagines Lavinia taking out a hacksaw and chopping off his head. It's so explicit it could be something right out of "Saw" or any grindhouse exploitation film.

Lavinia may not be a particularly inspired creation, relying on tropes and a familiar design. Still, there's enough mystery surrounding her witchcraft to entice, and she never overstays her welcome. The creep factor just might give you some decent nightmares.

7. The zombie

David Hewlett stars as Masson, a grave robber, in "Graveyard Rats." Bearing a hefty debt, Masson is desperate to uncover a grave or a body in the coroner's office that'll fulfill what he owes. He's cut a deal with the coroner (Dean Buchanan) that allows him early access to bodies, sometimes before an autopsy has even been conducted. One afternoon, the coroner gives Masson a peek at five new bodies, and the findings are disappointing. One is missing a head, another has wooden teeth, and the others have no gold fillings.

Behind a separate curtain, Masson discovers the body of a wealthy gentleman. Inside his mouth, his teeth are littered with gold fillings and gold caps. Jackpot! When the dead man's widow comes to identify the body, she reveals plans to have him buried with a sword once owned by King George. That night, Masson digs up the coffin, where he finds a mischief of rats dragging the body down into an intricate series of tunnels. Following the procession probably isn't the smartest decision of Masson's life, but he's a desperate man. 

After tumbling down a tunnel, he lands inside a pit of human bones and spots a corpse wearing a gold medallion. He tries to steal the piece, but the corpse comes to life, "The Walking Dead" style. "Mine!" it screeches, lurching toward him. Masson falls backward and the zombie plops onto his chest and chomps off an ear. Terrifying doesn't begin to properly describe this scene — consider yourself warned.

6. Body snatching alien

A highly-intelligent alien crashes to earth during a meteor shower. "The Autopsy" is not only the story of humanity teetering on the edge of an apocalypse but one man's sacrifice to save it all. After an explosion in the mines causes the death of numerous miners, Dr. Carl Winters (F. Murray Abraham) conducts the usual autopsies to confirm a cause of death.

During the procedures, Carl discovers that several bodies have been totally drained of blood. This odd discovery indicates something far more sinister than asphyxiation occurred underground. While observing one body, another comes to life. Missing person Joe Allen (Luke Roberts) is not himself in more ways than one. The alien life form reveals itself to be a body snatcher, inhabiting warm bodies as a way to keep itself alive. "I feared death," it tells Carl. It lumbers forward, and its real form flies out of Joe's mouth.

Moments later, Carl awakens to find himself bound to a metal slab and paralyzed from the neck down — except for his left arm. The alien must perform surgery on Joe's body and transfer itself to Carl, as it needs a fresh vessel to continue its mission for world domination. Its voice is deep and throaty, chilling down to the bone. When a possessed Joe removes the alien from his open chest, the creature slithers with many tentacles and reveals a mouth within a mouth. Its small teeth are razor-sharp and ready to tear into flesh. It's a creature design worthy of an "Alien" film, and it'll forever be seared into your brain.

5. Dottie

Speaking of creatures who would fit right in with "Alien," Dottie the possessed lies at the heart of "Lot 36." The story follows Nick Appleton (Tim Blake Nelson), a down-on-his-luck guy who makes a winning bid on a storage unit. The lot contains the usual items — photo albums, appliances, and other personal effects. While picking through various boxes, he finds a seance table and three spell-casting volumes. His discovery eventually leads him to uncover a secret passageway located in the back of the unit. 

Along with appraiser Roland (Sebastian Roché), Nick ventures deep within a dark tunnel and comes across a pentacle harboring a missing woman named Dottie. Her face has been consumed and inside writhes an unholy monster. Disregarding the obvious ritualistic space, Nick awakens the beast, which reveals itself to be composed of tentacles from the waist up. It quickly pounces on Roland and consumes him whole in one gulp. If faced with Dottie, Medusa wouldn't know what hit her.

Lead designer Mike Hill explained to Mashable that he married practical effects and visual FX to bring Dottie to full, ghoulish life. There was body casting, fiberglass, extra latex molds, oh my! What results is one of the most impressive creations in not only the show but all of recent horror.

4. The Hyde

"Pickman's Model" also contains a far more terrifying monster. Years after studying art at Miskatonic, Pickman has forged quite a lucrative career for himself off his disturbing paintings. He reenters Will's life by first shipping him a very special painting and later mounting an art opening at the same gallery. Much to Will's dismay, Pickman shows little remorse or concern over how affecting his work is.

When showing Will more of his work, a series of paintings far darker than he ever previously attempted, Will shoots Pickman in the stomach. He crashes to the floor, and in his final breath, he confesses that his work is based on reality, not his imagination. A devilish, frightening creature called a Hyde creeps out of a nearby well, and it's a ghastly sight. Its face looks eerily human, capping off a lizard-like neck and long bony arms. 

It only appears on screen for a few seconds yet manages to be one of the show's creepiest and most nightmarish creations. The important thing was making sure the pay-off lived up to the build-up. "You really need to make these things seem like undeniably living creatures with a personality and with a soul," Mike Hill stressed to Mashable. He also drew a comparison to Dracula, noting that the audience is waiting with bated breath for the monster's reveal. "If that creature doesn't work, your movie's lost, the audience is lost." 

3. Rat queen

"Graveyard Rats" features another oversized creation. Masson's excursion through the rat-infested underworld is largely a futile effort. The tunnels are tight, and the rats are far smarter than he estimates. As they're dragging the body of a rich man, they lead Masson in several directions, and he soon becomes disoriented and confused. After nearly gouging out his eye on a root, Masson becomes trapped beneath a heap of rubble and dirt.

Once he climbs out, he flees a mischief of rats and accidentally shoots his big toe. As Masson screams in agony he cocks his gun again and shoots a rat, its guts exploding and covering the ground. The other rats scamper away into a darkened tunnel, from which Masson begins hearing a monstrous grumble. He shines his lantern down the passage and discovers a queen rat heaving in the blackness. She awakens and disappears into the tunnels. When Masson turns around, she bares her saliva-dripping teeth and shrieks in his face.

Rat Queen is pure nightmare fuel, plain and simple, and strikes a similar terror that Raatma from "V/H/S/94" does. What is most impressive is how life-like the Rat Queen looks. It could very well be scurrying beneath our feet in the sewers. In an interview with Mashable, Mike Hill also expressed that their approach intended to stay "away from the Hollywood fabrication type of things" and instead aims to create monsters that could exist on planet Earth. The approach is certainly effective, as there's just something absolutely horrifying about long-toothed oversized rodents.

2. Jenkins the rat

In "Dream in Witch House," the ghoulish Keziah Mason has a companion. You could call Jenkins the rat her familiar. Possessing a human head, this rat mutation hides within the walls of Keziah's former home and lives off whatever scraps he can find. When Walter takes up residence in the house, he has far more than Keziah to contend with. In fact, Jenkins the rat may be far more formidable than he reckoned. Walter's search for his dead sister takes him deep into the forest of lost souls, where Epperley wanders in a sort of hazy purgatory.

Upon defeating Keziah and understanding that to bring his sister to life he must sacrifice his own, Walter falls prey to Jenkins. Quite literally. The rat crawls into his chest cavity and rips him to shreds, carving out a hole in real "Alien" fashion. Now lifeless and cold, Walter becomes a vessel for Jenkins to control. All of Walter's motor functions are his own, and he leaves the dilapidated abode to live a new life. He truly has "a happy ending," his voiceover chuckles. 

Believe it or not, Jenkins originally didn't talk in the script. Through the process, however, it became clear Jenkins Brown (DJ Qualls) needed to speak. In fact, he has the same accent as Keziah from the Salem witch trials era. Jenkins most definitely would not be nearly as terrifying without his coarse, snarling voice. There's no other way to put it — burn Jenkins with fire.

1. Rock monster

"The Viewing" contains the most surprising and creepiest creature of all. The story centers around wealthy recluse Lionel Lassiter (Peter Weller) and his invitation for an exclusive viewing of a rare item. He extends an invite to four strangers, which include renowned novelist Guy Landon (Steve Agee), to a secluded mansion in the middle of the woods.

Following a lengthy conversation about life, work, and morality, Lassiter guides the group into another chamber to behold the object. A giant rock with deep crevices shimmers in the light before them. It's an unknown formation, and Lassiter has brought this particular group of deep thinkers to brainstorm how to pinpoint what or perhaps who it might be. When Lassiter places his hands on its surface, a shrill scream radiates from within and casts a near-catatonic trance on the group. Most of the attendees then undergo a startling and grisly end. Guy's head explodes, and another partygoer, spiritualist Targ Reinhhard (Michael Therriault), has his face melted into marshmallow fluff.

The biggest transformation occurs after the rock breaks into tiny pieces and reveals an alien creature with two sticky, wiggling tentacles. It liquidates and fuses with Lassiter's body and morphs into a truly horrifying monster with gnashing teeth and a bulbous head. "Help me," whimpers Lassiter from inside. The monstrous blob murders whoever has managed to stay around, eventually making it out of a sewer tunnel and into the world.