Guillermo del Toro Discusses Inverting the American Dream in New Nightmare Alley Featurette

The Oscar-winning director also shares how the film is an homage to classic Hollywood noir.

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Stan Carlisle faces away from the camera, toward the mouth of a devilish carnival door.
Bradley Cooper as Stanton “Stan” Carlisle, facing some psychological demons from the looks of it.
Screenshot: Searchlight Pictures

Though Searchlight Pictures’ upcoming feature Nightmare Alley from Guillermo del Toro definitely looks and sounds like an otherworldly thriller, del Toro’s insisted from the jump that his latest project is a straight-up classic noir as drenched in ennui as it is (ordinary) thrills to terrify you.

Never one to settle for going the straightforward route, del Toro’s desire for Nightmare Alley to be viewed and engaged with as a proper noir is more than evident in a new featurette, in which he and stars Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Ron Perlman, and David Strathairn discuss some of the concepts at work in the new project. While much of the featurette’s new glimpses of the movie only further suggest the idea that there might actually be something supernatural to the plot, del Toro himself describes the story as one that’s more focused on mining the darkness that can be found by inverting the American Dream into something more nefarious.

Del Toro could be trying to pull everyone’s legs with this whole “there’s no actual monster-monsters” angle, but there’s a solid chance that he’s actually being quite serious in saying that there’s nothing out of the ordinary lurking in Nightmare Alley’s shadows. Audiences will be able to find out for themselves when Nightmare Alley hits theaters on on December 17.


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