‘Nightmare Alley’ Viewer Advisory

Bradley Cooper stars in “Nightmare Alley.” (Fox Searchlight)

Calculating con man Stan (Bradley Cooper) learns more tricks at a 1940s carnival in Guillermo del Toro’s R-rated “Nightmare Alley,” a remake of the 1947 film starring Tyrone Power.

While the film has the “No Animals Were Harmed” seal of approval from Humane Hollywood, which means the film was monitored for its treatment of animals, are there any unpleasant scenes, like the cat-eating scene in “The Shape of Water”?


The potentially upsetting scenes include the plot line about the circus’s geek, who bites the heads off chickens for his act. At about five minutes into the film, Stan walks out of the show where the captive geek is thrown a chicken and – after much prodding from his handler Clem (Willem Dafoe) – bites into the chicken’s neck before tearing the head off completely.

Although the geek is replaced by another performer later on, this is the only time we see his act in the movie.

Clem’s sideshow also includes the display of several preserved fetuses in bottles, including pigs and humans, whom he refers to as his “little angels.”

We see various rabbits at the circus and later at Stan’s posh hotel when he becomes a well-paid mentalist, but no harm comes to the bunnies.

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