Movie Reviews

Cabinet Of Curiosities: Lot 36 Ending Explained (In Detail)


  • Nick’s greed leads to a Lovecraftian demon unleashed from a storage unit, punishing his evil deeds in “Lot 36”.
  • Despite facing a dangerous debt situation, Nick’s choices are driven by his own evil nature in “The Autopsy” episode.
  • The demon in “Lot 36” spares Emilia because she lacks the evil that feeds its hunger for hate, revealing a moral lesson.

The first episode of the Netflix horror anthology series Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities is a cautionary tale. However, viewers may not understand the meaning of “Lot 36” explained upon first viewing. The Cabinet of Curiosities premiere episode stars Tim Blake Nelson as Nick, a bigoted war veteran desperate to make money. Striving to repay a debt he owes to mobsters, he makes a living via the ethically questionable method of buying repossessed storage units and re-selling their contents.

Nick buys lot 36 at a storage auction. However, he meets a woman named Emilia (Elpidia Carrillo), who informs him somebody mistakenly sold her unit to him. The uncaring, racist Nick dismisses her, and he soon gets what is coming to him. At the end of “Lot 36,” Nick accidentally unleashes a Lovecraftian demon from the storage unit and attempts to escape the monster’s grasp by fleeing the storage warehouse. However, he meets a locked door, Emilia standing on the other side, and she leaves him to deal with the demon.


Cabinet Of Curiosities: The Autopsy Cast & Character Guide

Here are the cast and characters of “The Autopsy”, the third episode of Guillermo Del Toro’s 8-part horror anthology series Cabinet of Curiosities.

What Happens In Cabinet Of Curiosities: Lot 36’s Ending

Nick Releases A Lovecraftian Demon

“Lot 36” explained that when Nick opened the titular storage unit, he discovered an antique candelabra, prompting the warehouse’s owner to refer him to Agatha (Martha Burns), an antique dealer. Nick brings Agatha the notable contents of lot 36, including a séance table whose hidden compartment contains several books. Agatha calls Roland (Sebastian Roché), an excited collector of occult paraphernalia.

The episode gives Nick a choice. Roland tells him he will pay $10,000 for the three books that Nick has or $300,000 if Nick returns to lot 36 and finds the fourth and final volume. Nick chooses the big payday and returns to get the final book. This was his fateful decision, as he had already shown in “Lot 36” that he is not a good person, and he chooses his fate here.

Director Guillermo Navarro was the cinematographer for Guillermo Del Toro’s
Pan’s Labyrinth

However, Nick makes one more bad decision. He ignores Roland’s warning and breaks a seal to retrieve the fourth book, which unleashes the demon it was binding. When the demon emerges, it is a fascinating form of tentacles straight out of a Lovecraft novel. It chases Nick through the caverns and makes the man pay for his greed and hatred, which is shown when Amelia is there and refuses to help him escape.

Did Nick Need To Go Back To Lot 36?

Nick Has Fallen Into Debt With Local Mobsters

Nick on the phone in Lot 36.

It is easy to argue that Nick didn’t need to return to lot 36 at the end and that greed alone doomed the character to his gruesome eventual death but that is not entirely true. A mobster who appeared earlier in the “Lot 36” episode of Cabinet of Curiosities smashed Nick’s car windows and brutally beat him with a hammer before demanding $12,000. Thus, $10,000 would not be enough to ensure Nick could keep these mobsters happy.

Nick sustains severe injuries from the earlier attack, and the mobster clearly won’t pull his punches next time, meaning Nick doesn’t have many options beyond returning for the fourth book. While Nick does many bad things in the episode as a person, he has to go for the bigger payout because he needs to get out of this dangerous situation.

Why Doesn’t Nick Give Emilia Her Unit’s Keys?

Nick Shows His Intolerance For Others

Emelia talking to Nick in Lot 36.

The “Lot 36” episode of Cabinet of Curiosities pointedly provides its lead character with a moral choice early on in the story. Before he is attacked by the mobster and well before he learns the terrible secrets of the storage unit, Nick is approached by Emilia, who explains her sad story. The warehouse sent her eviction notice to the wrong address, meaning she did not know that lot 36 would go up for auction.

Nick could do the decent thing here and give her the keys to her unit, which he admits was filled with sentimental items of no value to him. But he opts to be cruel for no reason and, in fact, he goes out of his way to not help her. Nick justifies his decision by noting that no one helped him when he returned from war, but the owner of the storage warehouse is quick to explain that he and Emilia have suffered just as much.


Cabinet Of Curiosities: The Viewing Ending Explained (In Detail)

Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities episode “The Viewing” relies on building dread and tension reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies.

Why Roland Is Obsessed With Lot 36

Roland Wants To Learn More About The Eldritch Tomes

Roland leading Nick with candles in Lot 36.

Roland is the reason Nick returns to Lot 36 and the character who helps him unearth the unit’s terrible secret. However, Roland is also obsessed with “Lot 36,” and there is a reason for this. He needs to know about the unit’s long, sordid history to warn Nick about its powers later.

The unit’s original owner, a monstrous Nazi war criminal who fled Germany, offered his sister as a sacrifice to the eldritch tomes that the duo has uncovered. This detail sets up the ending’s big twist as it sees Roland state that the demon can sense someone’s inherent evil, which proves important for Nick’s character journey. When it’s mentioned that this Nazi was a twisted monster, Nick notes that Roland also seems morally dubious.

Star Tim Blake Nelson also appeared in Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio, voicing the Black Rabbits.

Roland gets cold and demands to know whether this is a problem for Nick. In this Guillermo del Toro-produced horror show’s most unsettling moment, Nick answers no, revealing that he is aware that he is no saint. This admission foreshadows the revelation when the pair later enter lot 36’s hidden room. Roland states that the demonic entity contained will sense the evil in Nick and feed off of it if given the chance. Refusing to believe in the occult, Nick ignores this advice.

Why Lot 36’s Demon Doesn’t Attack Amelia

Amelia Is A Better Person Than Roland & Nick

The Demon in Lot 36.

Episode #

Episode Title



Lot 36

Guillermo Navarro


Graveyard Rats

Vincenzo Natali


The Autopsy

David Prior


The Outside

Ana Lily Amirpour


Pickman’s Model

Keith Thomas


Dreams In The Witch House

Catherine Hardwicke


The Viewing

Panos Cosmatos


The Murmuring

Jennifer Kent

The demon seen at the end of Cabinet Of Curiosities’ “Lot 36” is a terrifying amalgamation of a human body — the desiccated corpse of the Nazi’s sister — and a writhing mass of tentacles. The Lovecraftian monster of the show does not seem like an entity that a warehouse door could contain, yet the demon doesn’t break out of the warehouse. Instead, it devours Roland and then Nick but leaves Emilia alone. The reason for this is that Emilia isn’t tainted by the same evil as the two men.

As such, Emilia offers nothing for the demon to feed on. From the moment that the elderly Nazi is introduced as she’s butchering rodents to feed the demon, to the scene where Nick nods in agreement with a racist radio host’s right-wing rhetoric, it is clear that the characters of “Lot 36” are largely awful people. However, even though she refuses Nick the same decency he refused her, Emilia is the sole survivor of the “Lot 36” episode of Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet Of Curiosities because she doesn’t stoop to their depths.

The Real Meaning Of The Lot 36 Ending

The Demon Punishes & Feeds On Evil People

The Lot 36 title screen

The ending of “Lot 36” explained that demons feed on hate. There was no hate in Amelia’s heart despite her final decision to leave Nick locked inside the unit. However, throughout the installment, Nick shows he is not a good person. While he wanted to get out of debt to the mobsters, he had put himself in that position by his own free will. Roland also has ulterior motives and has no problem dipping his toes into evil worlds. These are evil men, and they deserve their fate.

When Nick finally breaks the seal and releases the demon from captivity, it needs something to feed upon to replenish itself. Nick and Roland offer that through their inherent evil. The most interesting thing about the episode’s end is that Nick sees the demon; he knows it is real and still pushes on. He wants the money. When Roland dies, Nick realizes his mistake and runs, but the demon senses the evil and hatred in him and needs to consume that evil. Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities presents morality tales, and that is evident in “Lot 36.”

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