Die Monster meiner Kindheit

Scherenhände, Vampire und Zombie-Hunde: Tim Burton ist der Meister schaurig-schöner Horrormärchen. Im Interview erzählt er von filmischen Halluzinationen und kindlichen Ängsten.

© Sebastian Kim

Als Kind fand Tim Burton, aufgewachsen in den Suburbs von Kalifornien, seinen Alltag deutlich angsteinflößender als Monster oder Horrorfilme. Was sind schließlich Zombies und andere Kreaturen gegen reale Probleme wie Langeweile und Verlust? Oder Eltern, Lehrer, Schule und Frühstück?

Mittlerweile ist Burton über 50. Seit 30 Jahren macht er Filme, die eine kindliche Handschrift aus Traurigkeit, Humor und Horror tragen, vereint mit einem Hang zu gotischer Schönheit und mystischem Surrealismus. Ob Beetlejuice, Batman, Mars Attacks! oder Edward Scissorhands: Burtons Helden sind Außenseiter und kämpfen auf die eine oder andere Weise mit ihrer Identität und Monstrosität. Ein Happy End ist in diesen Märchen nicht immer vorgesehen.

Neben Johnny Depp und Helena Bonham Carter gehört Danny Elfman zu Burtons ständigen Komplizen: Seit Jahrzehnten komponiert er die Musik für dessen Filme. Für uns sprach er mit Burton über filmische Einflüsse und Alpträume.


DANNY ELFMAN: Okay, we’re rolling. Be aware that we can stop and start; we can even redo a question if you don’t like what you’ve said. You can suggest a topic. No pressure.

TIM BURTON: I say stream of consciousness, and whatever happens, happens.

ELFMAN: Then let’s start with something easy. Growing up, which films and directors had the greatest impact on you?

BURTON: Well, being a big monster-movie fan, the Universal monster movies and the Japanese science-fiction movies, like the ones by Ishirō Honda. Then there were the Italians, like Mario Bava.

ELFMAN: Which particular films really got under your skin?

BURTON: Bava’s Black Sunday [1960] is probably the one that did it. I remember, in L.A., I’d watch a whole weekend of horror movies. And after you watched about two movies in a row, you’d go into this dream state, and sometime around 3 A.M. on the weekend, Black Sunday came on. It really was like your subconscious, like a dream, almost like hallucinating. I also think that I’m one of the few fans who actually likes dubbing in foreign films. I love Fellini or Bava dubbed because it adds a surreal nature. I prefer dubbing because the images are so strong you don’t want to take your eyes away to read the subtitles.

Tim Burton: “I never really got nightmares from movies. I think it would be more of a nightmare if someone told me to go to school or eat my breakfast. ”
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ELFMAN: Did any film give you nightmares?

BURTON: 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 was much more terrified by my own family and real life, you know? I think it would be more of a nightmare if someone told me to go to school or eat my breakfast. I would wake up in a cold sweat about those issues. I think that movies probably help you sort those kinds of things out and make you feel more comfortable. I did get freaked out when I saw The Exorcist [1973] for the first time, but that was about it. Images like the ones in Black Sunday stay with you. I always just enjoyed them.

ELFMAN: That takes me to monsters from our childhoods. How do you think they stack up against the monsters of today?

BURTON: The thing I love about the old monsters is that they had such a strong, immediately identifiable image. I find that a lot of monsters today are just so busy. They have so many little tentacles and flaps and whatever else that they don’t have the kind of strength in their images that the old monsters had. It’s also due to the CGI heaviness. You’re missing the human element – like Boris Karloff, who actually played the monsters. Even in Creature From the Black Lagoon [1954], the guy had a complete costume, so you felt like there was a human being underneath. I think that’s important. It’s always an interesting challenge to see if you can create a character that’s got emotion. It can be done and it has been done.

ELFMAN: You once said that monsters are usually more heartfelt than the humans around them in those movies. Do you still feel that way?

BURTON: Oh, yeah. It’s like society. In fact, it’s probably gotten more extreme. We sort of equate the monster with the individual, getting devoured by bureaucracy. Even in making films with studios, you used to be able to deal with people as individuals. Now you’re dealing with a vague bureaucracy, where no one’s in charge when there’s a problem. [laughs] So I think that’s only intensified over the years.

06.01.2015 | Kategorien Film, Interviews | Tags , ,