I keep thinking I'm going to miss it back in Los Angeles. But I don't. The only thing I miss is driving out in the desert in the Southwest.
They took a baseball bat
and whacked open his head.
Mummy Boy fell to the ground;
he finally was dead.
Inside of his head
were no candy or prizes,
just a few stray beetles
of various sizes.
The good thing about animation is that you can affect it. If something is not working, then you just fix it.
Maybe it's just in America, but it seems that if you're passionate about something, it freaks people out. You're considered bizarre or eccentric. To me, it just means you know who you are.
Danny Elfman, the composer, tells me the only time he thinks I'm happy is when I'm on the scoring stage, and I see the pressure's on him and it's a little off me.
For me, fantasy has always been a means of exploring reality: it explores the fact that your internal life, your dreams and the weird images and the things that come to you are things that are actually important tools for dealing with real issues.
Whether you like it or not, a child really connects you to that time when everything's new. It's so important -- not just for artistic endeavors, but for humanity.
That's what I always loved about Federico Fellini's films: You see the weird joy of the weird filmmaking family and the abstract craziness that goes along with it, and there's something about it that's quite beautiful.
Everything in this room is edible. Even I'm edible. But, that would be called canibalism. It is looked down upon in most societies.
If you've ever had that feeling of loneliness, of being an outsider, it never quite leaves you. You can be happy or successful or whatever, but that thing still stays within you.
I try not to go back in retrospect and say oh, I shouldn't have done this or shouldn't have done that. You make your decisions and you live by them.
If I touch a burning candle
I can feel no pain
If you cut me with a knife
It's still the same
And I know her heart is beating
And I know that I am dead
Yet the pain here that I feel
Try and tell me it's not real
And it seems I still have a tear to shed.
I had seen other stop-motion animated features, and they were either not engaging or they're just too bizarre. There was one I liked when I was a kid called Mad Monster Party. People thought Nightmare was the first stop-motion animated monster musical, but that was.
They took a baseball bat and whacked open his head. Mummy Boy fell to the ground; he finally was dead. Inside of his head were no candy or prizes, just a few stray beetles of various sizes.
I wasn't a big comic book reader. I always had trouble knowing which box to read next. I was always reading from the wrong box. I was like, this is a comic book that doesn't make any sense! I think I was reading them all out of sequence.
I'm not a big fan of spiders, rats, especially if they're like -- I got up one morning on a holiday recently, and there was a centipede in the bed that big. I wasn't very happy about that.
There's something about taking a classic movie that people love and doing another version of that, you're setting yourself up for a mistake.
Nobody had his Ed Wood's style. That's something I try to do in my films. You have your own kind of cryptic messages in there -- cryptic things that most people wouldn't understand but are important to you. Things that kind of keep you going through the process.
People always think I get really good reviews, but I don't. That's why I don't go on the Internet much -- because you can go down a dark hole looking at stuff. Once, I clicked on my name and freaked out. It's too bizarre, it's too weird, it's too unsettling.
I'm going to put that on my gravestone. He created such a category of unwanted pop culture -- Famous for directing unwanted cultural references.
Technology is technology and then art form and people's creativity is another thing. Anything that helps an artist do anything -- great! Technology for technology sake doesn't mean much to me anyway.
When we were growing up and saw a Ray Harryhausen movie, we were interested in how it was done. But thank God we got to go through the magic of seeing it before we knew how it was done. You were able to get this beautiful, pure, visceral response to something without knowing too much about it.
When I was a kid I always wanted to be a mad scientist. I don't know... a regular scientist just was no one.
I grew up watching monster movies and horror movies, which I felt were like fairy tales and I think this always spoke to me. Something about that is symbolism -- the beauty and the magic which helps me work with film and start making modern fairy tales.
It's really nice to work with people who understand and really love the artistry of building sets, it's great.
When you don't have many friends and you don't have a social life you're kind of left looking at things, not doing things. There's a weird freedom in not having people treat you like you're part of society or where you have to fulfill social relationships.
The problem with film is you never know when you're going to be able to make a film so you can't have people waiting around for you. Sometimes it's fun to work with the same people and work with new people and mix it up.
The great thing about visual horror films is there's real potential for strong, beautiful imagery. It's the one genre that really lends itself to creating strong images. And I've always loved that idea of windmills -- your mind aimlessly spinning.
One of the things that we were trying to do with this show was the complexities of relationships and love. There is both passion and longing and a bittersweet quality to it that is a part of life.
What I feel that Alice in Wonderland did for me and other people in exploring your dream state, and using fantasy in your dream state to deal with real issues and problems in your life. People like to separate those things but the fact is that they are things that are intertwined.
That's why I like old monster movie actors, because they transform into different characters or creatures.
If you ever had a pet, with me it was a dog, with that sort of unconditional love that only dogs can give, people can't do that; that sort of thing where it's very powerful, it's kind of your first love and your first real relationship, and usually your first experience with death.
I worked at Disney many years ago. They just let me sit in a room for a couple of years and draw whatever I wanted to draw, so it's a very personal thing to me. Drawing and everything you do there is something meaningful and personal.
He can't fly around tall buildings, or outrun a speeding train, the only talent he seems to have is leaving a nasty stain!
Certain things leave you in your life and certain things stay with you. And that's why we're all interested in movies- those ones that make you feel, you still think about. Because it gave you such an emotional response, it's actually part of your emotional make-up, in a way.
Unwisely, Santa offered a teddy bear to James, unaware he had been mauled by a grizzly earlier this year.
Most people say about graveyards: Oh, it's just a bunch of dead people. It's creepy. But for me, there's an energy to it that it not creepy, or dark. It has a positive sense to it.
Things like 'mad as a hatter' or 'grinning like a Cheshire cat', are so powerful that music and songs incorporate the imagery. Writers, artists, illustrators, a lot of them have incorporated that.
I guess I feel so tortured most of the time, when I see someone else feeling tortured, I get a little perverse glee out of it.
Working on 'Nightmare Before Christmas,' I had endless arguments, like the studio saying, 'You can't have a main character that's got no eyeballs!' 'How is anybody going to feel for somebody with just eyesockets?' You know? So, it's those kind of things that really wear you down.
When it comes to art and science, people don't like a lot of either. Instead of being open to it, they're closed off about it.
I think of Ray Harryhausen's work -- I knew his name before I knew any actor or director's names. His films had an impact on me very early on, probably even more than Disney. I think that's what made me interested in animation: His work.
It's hard to find logic in things sometimes. That's why I can't analyze things too much, because it often doesn't make much sense.
It's like getting into film -- I didn't say early on, 'I'm going to become a filmmaker,' 'I'm going to show my work at MoMA.' When you start to think those things, you're in trouble.
Anybody who knows me knows I would never read a comic book.
Anybody who knows me knows I would never read a comic book. And I certainly would never read anything written by Kevin Smith.
I remember early in my career with Disney, which was a very strange time in the company -- there were a couple of executives who were very supportive of me and kind of let me do my own thing.
Things that I grew up with stay with me. You start a certain way, and then you spend your whole life trying to find a certain simplicity that you had. It's less about staying in childhood than keeping a certain spirit of seeing things in a different way.
A lot of things you see as a child remain with you... you spend a lot of your life trying to recapture the experience.
Jack Nicholson is a textbook actor who's very intuitive. He is absolutely brilliant at going as far as you can go, always pushing to the edge, but still making it seem real.
Anybody with artistic ambitions is always trying to reconnect with the way they saw things as a child.
My parents suffered from that ideal of a perfect nuclear family. They found that a difficult pressure, I think.
People say I am stuck in childhood, but it's not that. I remember seeing a Matisse retrospective, and you could see he started out one way, and then he tried something different, and then he seemed to spend his whole life trying to get back to the first thing.
I've always been misrepresented. You know, I could dress in a clown costume and laugh with the happy people but they'd still say I'm a dark personality.
I get so tired of people saying, 'Oh, you only make fantasy films and this and that', and I'm like, 'Well no, fantasy is reality', that's what Lewis Carroll showed in his work.
I've found that the people who play villains are the nicest people in the world, and people who play heroes are jerks. It's like people who play villains work out all their problems on screen, and then they're just really wonderful people.
I can't remember any dreams in my life. There's so much strange in real life that it often seems like a dream.
I used to have a phone machine that you turn 'on' and 'off,' which was great. Now, it's so technological that it's like going down the rabbit hole.
I find that the most special thing to me is if you've connected to people in some way: If someone comes up to you on the street and says something to you, and you know it's meant something to them, and it's connected to some project. That, I find, is amazing.
When I went to Warner Bros., there was a woman named Bonnie Lee who was an executive who helped me to get to 'Pee-wee's Big Adventure.'
I am not a big technology person. I don't go on the Internet really much at all. Drawing is like a zen thing; it's private, which in this day and age is harder to come by.
There's something quite exciting when you have a history with somebody and you see them do new and different things.
In Hollywood, they think drawn animation doesn't work anymore, computers are the way. They forget that the reason computers are the way is that Pixar makes good movies. So everybody tries to copy Pixar. They're relying too much on the technology and not enough on the artists.
When I was growing up, Dr. Seuss was really my favorite. There was something about the lyrical nature and the simplicity of his work that really hit me.
I never really got nightmares from movies. In fact, I recall my father saying when I was three years old that I would be scared, but I never was.
I don't know what it was, maybe the movie theaters in my immediate surrounding neighbourhood in Burbank, but I never saw what would be considered A movies.
I don't look at my films or my old drawings much, so that was an interesting way to kind of reconnect with myself a bit.
I've always been more comfortable making my decisions from the subconscious level, or more emotionally, because I find it is more truthful to me; Intellectually, I don't think like that because I get uncomfortable.
I have a problem when people say something's real or not real, or normal or abnormal. The meaning of those words for me is very personal and subjective. I've always been confused and never had a clearcut understanding of the meaning of those kinds of words.
There's something about seeing this little inanimate object coming to life that's just very exciting. That's why with 'Nightmare' I held out for so long to do it.
You don't know whether chimps are going to kill you or kiss you. They're very open on some levels and much more evil in a certain way.
I never saw Frankenstein or King Kong or the Creature from the Black Lagoon as bad guys. They were the good guys.