Director Guillermo del Toro (Shape of Water) has set his sights on adapting Nightmare Alley, a novel published in 1946 by author William Lindsay Gresham that was originally adapted for the screen the following year. Gresham’s novel explores the darker side of show business inside a carnival, following a young, clever, and ambitious carny by the name of Stan Carlisle, who is disgusted by the sleazy and cold ways of his surroundings. He swears to himself that he will never become like that, but the pull of the darkness might be too strong to resist.

Del Toro has described the project as being a “really straight, really dark story“. He is also seeking an “R” rating for the film, “double R” as the director himself puts it in a recent interview with Collider. He is seeking the hard “R” so he can do the dark and twisted story from the original novel justice on the big screen. Del Toro has not commented on how much his direction will differ from the 1947 adaptation, but we can assume that it will be a much darker take on Gresham’s work. This should make horror fans rejoice, as often times, we get a dialed down to PG-13, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it can limit a filmmaker’s attempt to honor the source material.


While we don’t have a full cast list or any other details about the production of the film, del Toro has teased that he has Bradley Cooper (Wet Hot American Summer) and Cate Blanchett (The Lord of The Rings) in talks to join the cast. There is currently no information on who they will be playing, but it’s probably safe to speculate that Cooper will be playing Stan Carlisle or at very least another very important role. Who would you like to see in Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley? Let us know on Twitter, in the Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit, and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club!