Nightmare Alley Production Designer Confirms Easter Egg for Guillermo del Toro's Mimic

Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is considered by many to be one of the most imaginative and inventive filmmakers today, though his career in Hollywood got off to a rocky start with his English-language debut Mimic, a film which suffered extensive oversight from producers and strayed from del Toro's own vision of the adventure. Despite del Toro himself repeatedly detailing his disappointment with the experience, production designer on his latest film Nightmare Alley Tamara Deverell recently recalled how del Toro asked her to reconstruct a specific neon sign she had previously developed for Mimic, serving somewhat as an homage to that doomed project. Nightmare Alley is in theaters now.

"The 'Jesus Saves' neon that we built was actually a little bit of an Easter egg. Years ago, I worked with Guillermo on a movie called 'Mimic.' We built that same cross, that same 'Jesus Saves,' very similar," Deverell recently confirmed to /Film. "It played where this priest is running away from the creature-monster and falls with this big neon sign in the background. When Guillermo said, 'Let's do that sign again,' I was like, 'Oh, my God, I can't believe I'm designing and building that sign again.' It was fun to do it again."

She continued, "On the night they were shooting, it actually fritzed. They had rain towers and a lot of rain and it fritzed and I was getting calls from the set, having already opened the set and gone home for the night, 'The sign's not working!' I'm like, 'Well I'm not an electrician. I don't know!' So apparently it went on the fritz and they shot the scene without it. They said, 'Okay, the VFX will shoot it and they'll fix it after.' And then as soon as they finished shooting the scene, one of the electricians took the plug and fiddled with it and it went on. The whole thing was working the whole time. So I was like, 'Oh, my God, I can't believe this happened.' We all felt really bad."

In the 1997 film, which was based on a short story by Donald A. Wollheim of the same name, a group of deadly insects who have evolved to be able to replicate their prey, develop to the deadly degree of becoming large enough to be able to mimic humans after witnessing them travel through the subway. In spite of his initial disappointment with the experience, del Toro did develop a Director's Cut of the film in 2011, allowing him to more authentically represent his original vision.

More than just being a clever nod to a former collaboration, Deverell explained that the sign in Nightmare Alley also had thematic relevance.

"Then I noticed in the film last night, he left it off. He let it fritz and go off and I thought, 'Oh, my God, that is so brilliant because, really, it shows sort of the demise of religion and the demise of morality, bringing this dead guy down and Jesus saves, but who's Jesus saving?' the production designer pointed out. "Really, you're asking that question and [Bradley Cooper's character] Stan is beyond saving at that point. It's one of those moments in the film where you go, 'Morally, this guy, he's going down a deep dark alley now.'"

Nightmare Alley is in theaters now. A Mimic TV series is currently being developed.

Did you catch this Easter egg? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!