The eccentric director wasn't like the other kids at school and found comfort in scary films.

"My parents used to say I watched monster movies before I could walk or talk," he tells Parade magazine. "I always felt empathy with monsters. In those films, the monsters were the most emotive characters - King Kong, Frankenstein, the Creature from the Black Lagoon; the people were the scariest ones."

And Tim found the schoolyard and his classrooms to be the scariest places, adding, "Going to high school was... terrifying. I had a feeling that I was an alien that didn't quite fit in - alone, lonely. It was quite heavy for me."

He retreated into his imagination, which has since given movie fans spellbinding films like Edward Scissorhands, The Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Alice in Wonderland.

His new film, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, starring Eva Green and Asa Butterfield, is based on the bestselling novel by Ransom Riggs, and his young leading man insists only Tim Burton could turn the author's vision into a major movie.

"It's very surreal and gothic and odd," the Hugo star says of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, "which I think Tim is best at capturing, compared to any other director."

And his director seems to agree, admitting he likes to make dark, interesting movies that challenge film critics and fans alike.

"I could wear white linen and dye my hair blond and make happy movies and they'd still think, 'What is he doing? Something is wrong'," Tim adds. "I could make The Sound of Music and people would say, 'It's too dark'."