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Nightmare Alley 2021


David Mudd

Nightmare Alley is an upcoming American psychological thriller directed by Guillermo del Toro and written by Kim Morgan and del Toro. In 2017 del Toro had us mesmerized with his out of the box love story The Shape of Water which earned him Academy Awards. Nightmare Alley 2021 is a must-watch!

Before choosing this project, del Toro had to decide between two genres -horror and noir. And he has gone for a noir-ish dark tale of people and their predatory nature. Exploring the dark side of carnival show business is of the themes that have been undertaken before by many directors. The Greatest Showman and Prestige are popular examples. 

Read on to know more about this intriguing tale of two destructive people who cross paths and engage in a twisted journey.

Adaptation of Nightmare Alley 2021

The movie is based on the novel of the same name written by William Lindsay Grisham. New York Book Review comments that this book came out of Grisham’s demons that he couldn’t keep at bay. Later this book became one of the classic underground classics of American literature. 

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Plot of Nightmare Alley 2021

Stan Carlisle is an ambitious carny. He is excellent at manipulating people. Even though he is good at tricking people, he meets his match over time. Psychiatrist Dr Lilith Ritter enters his life when he needs help in getting over his guilt. 

They both share strong chemistry but Stan cannot even imagine who Lillith is. The story takes a far darker turn.  

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Director speaks

featuring the director of nightmare alley 2021
Guillermo Del Toro, the Director of Nightmare Alley 2021 completed filming before the release date!

Guillermo del Toro is famous for movies like Crimson Peak and The Shape of Water. Needless to say, the audience has a huge expectation from this master storyteller. Del Toro is ready for this challenge. 

Nightmare Alley vel was given to him by Ron Perlman back in 1992. After reading it, he decided that he would like to take up this venture about the dark sides of carny businesses and how ugly things could get. Del Toro said that this movie has no supernatural storyline. It’s just a straight, really dark story.” He added that the book has offered him “the first chance I have to do a real underbelly-of-society type of movie.”

How the pandemic changed everything

a glimpse from the upcoming movie, nightmare alley 2021
Featuring a still from the latest Bradley Cooper movie, Nightmare Alley 2021

Del Toro has admitted that the movie is an R-rated one, as it has a lot of scenes regarding violence, gore and physical intimacy. He has shared how the pandemic changed his perception of the movie. The movie was being shot in March 2020 when there were no rules regarding the restrictions that were employed later on. But Del Toro felt uneasy to continue working like that and shared his fears with the production house. Bradley Cooper, who has formed quite a bond with the director, also agreed that the shooting should be stopped for the time. 

When they all took the time off, Del Toro said that they had already covered 45 per cent of the movie. But this time–off made both Del Toro and Bradley Cooper rethink a lot. They both realised that the movie needed more thoughts and energies than they previously imagined. Afterwards, a lot of the movie was rewritten and presented with a different perception.

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Bradley Cooper as the lead

Initially, Leonardo di Caprio was chosen for the role of Stan Carlisle, the protagonist. But di Caprio was having trouble sorting the time as he was already working with Martin Scorsese project, Killers of the Flower Moon. So he was replaced with Bradley Cooper. Cooper himself, being a director, put forward a lot of inputs. And the two artists started their journey to find the truth.

In an interview Del Toro has said the following :

Curiosity and integrity are the two things, they are very bonded […] We’re like truffle hunters, smelling for that, looking for certain truth, not verisimilitude or realism but the truth which is a higher form of telling a story. How we get to it is only through curiosity. When we have collaborators, the main reward is a point of view that you can bounce off, or get bounced off, and seek for the truth…I found it a blessing at age 56 in this movie to find the marvel of complicity and curiosity. “Is this all we can do with that scene, with that shot?” You keep seeking.”

The ensemble cast of Nightmare Alley 2021

from the production house of nightmare alley 2021
The latest film, Nightmare Alley 2021 has wrapped its production!

The movie has an ensemble cast. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara from the lesbian Romance Carol are reunited and to be seen together in this movie. The rest of the cast includes– 

  • Bradley Cooper as Stanton “Stan” Carlisle
  • Cate Blanchett as Dr Lilith Ritter
  • Willem Dafoe as Clem Hoately
  • Toni Collette as Zeena Krumbein
  • Richard Jenkins as Ezra Grindle
  • Ron Perlman as Bruno
  • Rooney Mara as Molly Cahill
  • Holt McCallany as Anderson
  • Clifton Collins Jr.

Release date of Nightmare Alley 2021

The probable date for the release of the movie is 3rd December 2021.


Del Toro has presented beautiful and complicated pictures with his ventures in Fantasy, Horror and Gothic genres. His obsessive attention to detail and beautiful vision has always been a treat to the audience. 

After 2017 Del Toro is once again here to take us on a trip that will transport us to a sinister world of games, manipulation and deception. It will tell about the danger lurking in the shadows, where people hide their demons. 

Let us know what you think about this movie and previous Del Toro Ventures.

Drop your comments in the comment section below. Hope you enjoy the movie.