Mexican director Guillermo del Toro is one of the greatest fantasy filmmakers working today. With Pan’s Labyrinth he mixed up a spellbinding fairy tale with the real-life horror of the Spanish Civil War, to create something both beautiful and horrific. But he’s also been to Hollywood and made the Hellboy movies, Blade II and most recently had Idris Elba commanding giant robots against kaiju monsters in Pacific Rim.

He’s back with Crimson Peak, a Victorian-set ghost story starring Mia Wasikowska as an heiress seduced by Tom Hiddleston to come to his big creepy old mansion and live with his equally creepy sister (Jessica Chastain). Of course, he’s not all that he seems, and it quickly goes into full-on gothic-mode, with atmosphere literally dripping off the screen, and some surprisingly brutal violence. We caught up with del Toro when he was in London, to basically chat all the nerd shit that has influenced his films—horror movies, anime, Godzilla, Mexican wrestling—and tell us about whether he really believes in ghosts.