Credo: Guillermo del Toro

Film-maker/writer, 45

I believe

The older I get, the more I like controlling things. I wrote 'The Strain' as a TV show for Fox, but they wanted to turn it into a comedy. I felt my idea would disappear, so I turned it into a novel.

There is a morbid sensuality in the book, rather than the sexuality usually associated with vampires. I took enormous pleasure in minutely detailing the draining [of the characters by the vampires]. One of them is based on a friend who was attacked by a tiger.

Horror allows you to look at the nastiness of the world, and accept it. Understand that it's as natural as beauty, perhaps more so. The monster is the ultimate outcast, the ultimate imperfection. There are no apologies from monsters.

I thought the violence in 'Blade 2' was cartoony enough that it couldn't be taken seriously. I tried to shoot it like a musical, wide shots of dancing, but people say they found it too violent.

I am obsessed by how the Second World War was prefigured by the Spanish Civil War. The political stance in Pan's Labyrinth is that a girl of that age can stand up [to her Fascist stepfather] and say, 'No, I'm not going to do what you want.' Society mirrors the family structure, and that for me is a political stance.

My Mexican identity is in my films, in my full acceptance of supernatural, magic. I've seen some weird stuff – people dying because of a nebulous curse; a UFO; I've seen my mother astral project herself from one city to another.

I have obscure pleasures. I collect art by people no one else collects, such as Lee Brown Coye, a primitivist illustrator from [pulp magazine]Weird Tales. When I show people my collection, no one goes, 'Wow, look at that.'

'The Strain', by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan (Harper Collins, £12.99), is out now

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