With the film set for a December 17 release, del Toro appears intent on getting out the word early that “Nightmare Alley” is different from any film that he’s done before, mainly as a way to manage the expectations of fans of his work. Since del Toro’s career has been so heavily entrenched in horror, fantasy, and sci-fi, the filmmaker admitted in an interview with Vanity Fair that there is a “distinct possibility” that fans may be expecting a certain type of movie with “Nightmare Alley,” but getting another.
“It has happened to me in the past with “Crimson Peak,” where people went in expecting a horror movie. I knew it was a gothic romance, but it was very difficult to put that across,” del Toro explained to Vanity Fair. “But yes, this has no supernatural element. It’s based completely in a reality world. There is nothing fantastic. It’s a very different movie from my usual, but yes, the title and my name would create that [impression].”