An ambitious carny with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist who is even more dangerous than he is.

Nightmare Alley.

Nightmare Alley | December 17, 2021 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United States, Mexico, CanadaLanguages: English, French


The film opens with Stan, dragging a body into the floorboards of his home and then dropping a match to set the entire place on fire


He then takes a bus until it drops him off at a carnival


He watches as the troupe leader Clem Hoatley presents a geek to the audience


The man is advertised as is it a man or a beast before an amused crowd, Clem drops a live chicken down as the Geek comes out and bites the head of the chicken to the horror and amusement of the crowd


Stan is spotted by other carnies strongest man Bruno


and the world’s smallest man Major Mosquito, who thinks he is up to no good but Stan ends up getting a job as a carny working with them


After proving himself to be useful, Clem allows Stan to join them as they make their move to another carnival


On their next job, Stan starts to grow close to one of the carnies Molly Cahill  whose act is to allow electrical charges to run through her body


At one point, Geek flees from his cage, and Stan and Clem have to look for him


The Geek hits Stan over the head with a rock  and tries to escape, but Clem stops him and he retaliates by throwing him down and hitting him over the head but Clem stops him from killing the man


Stan stays with fellow carny Zeena whose act is being a clairvoyant to the patrons, along with her husband Pete


later, He helps them with their act, which sees Zeena pretending to be a medium between herself and the customers


Pete misses a cue because he is drunk so Zeena has to improvise, but she gets the audience to cheer for her


Meanwhile, Stan tries to come up with a gimmick for Molly where she is strapped to an electric chair and would allow him to join her act


Bruno knows that, and warns Stan not to hurt her since he promised her father that he would look after her and he threatens Stan with violence if he does anything to her


Stan spends time with Clem, who shows him the stash of liquor that he has, but warns him against taking the wood alcohol which is poisonous


After taking the Geek to get medical attention, Clem tells Stan about how a man becomes a Geek, after being broken and left with nothing to his name


He also shows Stan a collection of oddities he possesses such as a fetus with a third eye that killed its mother in childbirth


Stan learns some tricks from Zeena and Pete, after Pete demonstrates his techniques on Stan, by mentioning him wanting the love of his father


Although Pete says this is just a run-of-the-mill trick it does hit Stan, since he did have a tumultuous relationship with his father


Zeena and Pete warn Stan against putting on a spook show involving trying to channel the dead in their acts


Stan brings Pete some liquor per his requests


While Pete appears passed out Stan attempts to swipe his little black book of tricks, but Pete catches him


In the morning, Bruno and Major go to Zeena and tell her something happened to Pete


Everybody runs to the middle of the field finds Pete dead having been poisoned although it’s not clear if Stan gave him the wood alcohol on purpose or by mistake and Zeena wails over his body


while Stan tosses the chicken corpses into a hole in the ground, he saw four cop cars, coming up the South


he hurries to Clem to tell him that


Clem drags the Geek out of his cage and hides him while Stan covers the Geek banner with a fake one


The officer says that he got a complaint that there is an illegal performance


emphasizing cruelty to both animal and man


The cops didn’t find anything and they leave the Carnival and later they celebrate with Stan for saving the carnival from stopping


Stan then grows closer to Molly, and he eventually convinces her to leave the carnival behind and run away with him


Bruno catches them and he starts punching Stan, but Molly holds him off says she loves him and has agreed to go with him


On their last day, Stan says his farewell to Zeena


He offers her Pete’s book but she declines to take it


Two years later, Stan and Molly have put on an act in New York with him as The Great Stanton


He wears a blindfold and guesses what Molly is holding based on certain signals


During one show, they are approached by psychologist Dr. Lilith Ritter


She opts to do the act with Stan herself asking him to guess what is in her clutch


Stan correctly guesses, that she is holding a pistol in there and The crowd applauds


Afterward, Stan speaks to Judge Charles Kimball, who employed Lilith to see if Stan was the real deal and Stan claims to be channeling Kimball’s deceased son Julian


He offers to pay Stan handsomely for a private reading, which Molly says they don’t do, but Stan cannot turn down the opportunity


He goes to Kimball’s house to meet with him and his wife


learns that Julian died in No Man’s Land and claims to feel his presence, which is enough to convince them of Stan’s abilities


Stan later meets with Lilith in her office


She knows he is a con man, but she is intrigued by his methods and plans to help him exploit New York’s elite since she has several sessions with them recorded


She also begins sessions with Stan, learning of his guilt in Pete’s death since he implicitly viewed him as something of a surrogate father figure


It is also shown that Stan was with his father in his final moments, as he made his father freeze to death and later dumped his body in the house before setting it on fire


Molly calls Bruno, and he arrives to visit her with Major and Zeena


Stan talks with Zeena, who also advises him against doing the spook show


Per Lilith’s suggestions, Stan meets with Kimball and is introduced to Ezra Grindle a wealthy man who wants to speak to his late wife Dory, who died after suffering a miscarriage


Stan meets Grindle and his loyal assistant named Anderson and he is hooked up to a lie detector


When asked about being a medium, Stan is almost exposed as a liar, until he manages to make claims related to Dory, which convinces Grindle that he is who he says he is


Stan begins an affair with Lilith


and Molly learns of the affair and packs her bags to leave Stan, but he catches up to her at the train station, and convinces her to stay


At the Kimball house, Mrs. Kimball has lost her mind and believes that based on what Stan told her, she will be reunited with Julian


She shoots her husband in the head, before turning the gun on herself


Grindle wishes to see Dory again, so Stan plans with Molly to fake a seance since Molly slightly resembles Dory based on a sketch he saw


Stan meets Grindle in the cemetery, where he admits to Stan that he abused women in his lifetime and he feels responsible for what happened to Dory


Molly puts on her outfit and throws fake blood on herself


However, when Grindle gets too close and starts grabbing her Molly backs out


Grindle becomes angered and strikes Molly, before threatening Stan


Stan responds by punching Grindle to death, hitting him hard enough to break his nose clean off


Anderson comes out in response, but Stan and Molly begin driving away and Stan runs Anderson over twice killing him


When they get away, Molly leaves Stan for good


Stan returns to Lilith’s office, where she reveals that she was scamming him and taking all the money he was collecting from Grindle


She shoots Stan in the ear, and when he attacks her she gets the police to come


Stan flees, before he is caught and runs to a train


A few years pass


Stan is now homeless, broke and a full-blown alcoholic


He ends up at another carnival where he speaks to the boss tries to offer himself to do the clairvoyant act, but the boss turns him away


He does offer Stan a drink and a job at being the new geek


Stan says he was born for it and he begins  to laugh through his sobs

Nightmare Alley.

1 comment
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