November 28, 1946
Morristown, New Jersey, U.S.
|Occupation||Director, producer, editor, actor|
Joseph James Dante Jr. ( // ; born November 28, 1946) is an American film director, producer, editor and actor. His films—notably Gremlins (1984) - often mix 1950s style b-movies with cartoon comedy.
Dante's films also include Piranha (1978), The Howling (1981), Explorers (1985), Innerspace (1987), The 'Burbs (1989), Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), Matinee (1993), Small Soldiers (1998), and Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003). His work for television and cable includes immigration satire The Second Civil War (1997) and episodes of anthology series Masters of Horror ("Homecoming" and "The Screwfly Solution") and Amazing Stories , as well as Hawaii Five-0 .
Dante was born in Morristown, New Jersey, and grew up in nearby Livingston. His father, Joseph James Dante, was a professional golfer, though Dante was more interested in becoming a cartoonist.Dante began his film career working for legendary, low-budget producer Roger Corman, who provided similar opportunities to future directors Francis Ford Coppola and James Cameron. He made The Movie Orgy in 1968. He then worked as an editor on Grand Theft Auto after co-directing Hollywood Boulevard with Allan Arkush.
His next feature film, Roger Corman-produced Piranha , was released in 1978. Inspired by Steven Spielberg's Jaws , the film was written by John Sayles. Dante then invited Sayles to rewrite the script for werewolf tale The Howling , loosely based on the novel by Gary Brandner.
Dante directed episodes of cult television series Police Squad! , before Steven Spielberg invited him to join the directing team on anthology movie Twilight Zone: The Movie . Dante's segment, 'It's a Good Life', featured cartoon-style special effects, and revolved around a woman (played by Kathleen Quinlan) who is 'adopted' by an omnipotent boy.
Gremlins proved one of Dante's biggest hits to date, being the third-highest-grossing film of 1984.Combining horror and comedy elements, the film revolves around Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan), who is given a strange creature he calls Gizmo as a pet. After Billy fails to follow the rules for looking after Gizmo, the creature spawns other creatures, which transform into destructive monsters who then begin rampaging through the local town. Six years passed before Dante directed the even more anarchic Gremlins 2: The New Batch , set this time in a New York high rise.
Aside from the Gremlins films, Dante also worked with producer Steven Spielberg on comedy adventure Innerspace (1987), in which Dennis Quaid's character is miniaturised and injected inside a human body. His 1985 boys meet alien tale Explorers marked the film debuts of actors River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke. Dante would later work with Tom Hanks on The 'Burbs (1989), a black comedy in which Hanks' character deals with nightmare neighbours.
In 1993 Dante directed Matinee , which received positive reviews. Set during the 1960s, the film pays homage to B movies and the showmen who made and promoted them. Matinee has a 91 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In his review for the Chicago Reader, Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote, "At the same time that Dante has a field day brutally satirizing our desire to scare ourselves and others, he also re-creates early-60s clichés with a relish and a feeling for detail that come very close to love". USA Today reviewer Mike Clark wrote "Part spoof, part nostalgia trip and part primer in exploitation-pic ballyhoo, Matinee is a sweetly resonant little movie-lovers' movie".
Dante was creative consultant on short-lived fantasy series Eerie, Indiana (1991–1992), and directed five episodes. He played himself in the series finale. In 1995–1996 he worked on The Phantom . When he was removed from the film, he chose screen credit (as executive producer) rather than pay.
In 1998, he directed the science fiction film Small Soldiers which received mixed reviews and was a moderate box office success.
Dante directed the 2003 live-action/animation hybrid, Looney Tunes: Back in Action .A box office bomb, the film received mixed reviews.
In 2007, Dante launched the web series Trailers From Hell,which provides commentary by directors, producers and screenwriters on trailers for classic and cult movies. He is also a contributor to the website.
Dante's 2009 film The Holereceived positive reviews, and was awarded the Premio Persol at the 2009 Venice Film Festival. The new award was for the "3-D feature deemed the most creative among those produced globally between September 2008 and August 2009."
With Roger Corman producing, Dante also directed the interactive web series Splatter for Netflix. The series stars Corey Feldman as a rock star seeking revenge on those he thinks have wronged him.
Various projects Dante is officially involved in are struggling with funding for years, among them the anthology film "Paris, I'll kill you", the werewolf feature "Monster Love", and the Roger Corman biopic "The Man with Kaleidoscope Eyes".
In 2014, Dante made Burying the Ex , a horror comedy about a young man whose controlling girlfriend suddenly dies in a freak accident but when he tries to move on with his life along with his new partner he discovers that his now undead Ex has come back. The film stars Anton Yelchin and Ashley Greene. It was selected to be screened out of competition at the 71st Venice International Film Festival,and was released in 2015.
Dante served as executive producer on the independent feature length thriller Dark, starring Whitney Able and Alexandra Breckenridge, directed by Nick Basile. The film is set in New York City during the 2003 blackout. The film was released by Screen Media Films on June 7, 2016.
In 2019, Dante released Nightmare Cinema , a horror anthology film starring Mickey Rourke and featuring shorts directed by Dante, Alejandro Brugués, Mick Garris, Ryūhei Kitamura, and David Slade.
In 2020, Dante returned to the world of Gremlins serving as a consultant on the HBO Max prequel series Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai .
Like most directors, Dante has developed a stock company of actors who have worked with him over a long period of time.
|Shawn C. Nelson|
|Don & Dan Stanton|
Dante's long time friend and business associate, Sylvia, played one of the nuns at the concert in Allan Arkush's Rock 'n' Roll High School . Dante co-wrote and directed five scenes of the film when Arkush became ill.
Dante's films are well known for their many references to other movies and for their special effects.Dante's garage is frequently mentioned in audio commentaries as holding many of the props from his various films, including the Peltzer Peeler Juicer from Gremlins, and where the mock-pornographic scene in The Howling was shot.
His respect for the screenwriter extends to the point where, in order to make sure Dante can confer with the writer on-set and provide some minor, additional remuneration, he always casts the writer in a small part of the production itself. The studio is normally unwilling to pay to have the writer on-set in any other way.
Dante has cited among his major influences Roger Corman, Chuck Jones, Frank Tashlin, James Whale and Jean Cocteau, as well as an admiration for the film Hellzapoppin' , from which he frequently borrows jokes because of how difficult the film is to see in the United States.
The moving image collection of Joe Dante and Jon Davison is held at the Academy Film Archive. The joint collection includes feature films, pre-production elements, and theatrical trailer reels.
|1976||Hollywood Boulevard||Also editor|
Co-directed with Allan Arkush
|1979||Rock 'n' Roll High School||Co-directed with Allan Arkush, uncredited|
|1981||The Howling||Also editor|
|1990||Gremlins 2: The New Batch|
|2003||Looney Tunes: Back in Action|
|2014||Burying the Ex|
|1983||It's a Good Life||Segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie|
Bullshit or Not;
Roast Your Loved One;
French Ventriloquist's Dummy;
|Segments of Amazon Women on the Moon|
|2006||Wraparound||Segment of Trapped Ashes|
|2018||Mirare||Segment of Nightmare Cinema|
|1968||The Movie Orgy||Compilation of preexisting clips|
|1982||Police Squad!||Episodes "Ring of Fear" and "Testimony of Evil"|
|1985||The Twilight Zone||Episode "The Shadow Man"|
|1986||Amazing Stories||Episodes "Boo!" and "The Greibble"|
|1991–1992||Eerie, Indiana||5 episodes|
|1994||Rebel Highway||Episode "Runaway Daughters"|
|Picture Windows||Episode "Lightning"|
|1997||The Second Civil War||Television film|
|1998||The Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy||Television film, also producer|
|2001||Night Visions||Episodes "Quiet Please" and "The Occupant"|
|2005–2006||Masters of Horror||Episodes "Homecoming" and "The Screwfly Solution"|
|2007||CSI: NY||Episode "Boo"|
|2011–2017||Hawaii Five-0||10 episodes|
|2014||Witches of East End||Episodes "When a Mandragora Loves a Woman" and "Poe Way Out"|
|2015–2016||Salem||Episodes "The Beckoning Fair One" and "Night's Black Agents"|
|2016||Legends of Tomorrow||Episode "Night of the Hawk"|
|MacGyver||Episode "Wire Cutter"|
|1994||The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror||Theme park pre-show film.|
|2003||Haunted Lighthouse||Theme park film|
|2019||In Search of Darkness||Documentary film; appears as himself|
|2020||In Search of Darkness: Part II|
|2021||Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster|
Roger William Corman is an American film director, producer, and actor. He has been called "The Pope of Pop Cinema" and is known as a trailblazer in the world of independent film. Many of Corman's films are based on works that have an already-established critical reputation, such as his cycle of low-budget cult films adapted from the tales of Edgar Allan Poe.
Looney Tunes: Back in Action is a 2003 American live-action/animated comedy film directed by Joe Dante and written by Larry Doyle. The plot follows the Looney Tunes characters Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny as they help aspiring daredevil Damian "D.J." Drake, Jr. and Warner Bros. executive Kate Houghton find the "blue monkey" diamond in order to prevent the evil Mr. Chairman of the Acme Corporation from using it to turn mankind into monkeys that will manufacture his products; the group also attempts to rescue D.J.'s father, an actor and spy who has been captured by Mr. Chairman. The animation was directed by Eric Goldberg. It was made following the success of Space Jam (1996), to which it was originally developed as a direct sequel, titled Spy Jam.
Rock 'n' Roll High School is a 1979 American musical comedy film directed by Allan Arkush, produced by Michael Finnell, and starring P. J. Soles, Vince Van Patten, Clint Howard and Dey Young. The film featured the punk rock group Ramones.
Gremlins 2: The New Batch is a 1990 American comedy horror film, and the sequel to the 1984 film Gremlins. It was directed by Joe Dante and written by Charles S. Haas, with creature designs by Rick Baker. Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Dick Miller, Jackie Joseph, and Keye Luke reprise their roles from the first film. New cast members include John Glover, Robert Prosky, Haviland Morris, Robert Picardo, and Christopher Lee; additionally, the film features Tony Randall providing the voice for one of the gremlins. The story continues the adventures of the creature Gizmo, who spawns numerous small monsters when wet. In the first film, Gizmo's offspring rampaged through a small fictional town. In Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Gizmo multiplies within a skyscraper in New York City. The new creatures thus pose a serious threat to the city should they be able to leave the building, and much of the story involves the human characters' efforts to prevent this disaster.
The Howling is a 1981 American comedy horror film directed by Joe Dante and starring Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan, and Robert Picardo. Based on the novel of the same name by Gary Brandner, the film follows a television newswoman sent to a remote mountain resort after a near-fatal incident with a serial killer, unaware that the resort's residents are werewolves.
Richard Miller was an American character actor who appeared in more than 180 films, including many produced by Roger Corman. He later appeared in the films of directors who began their careers with Corman, including Joe Dante, James Cameron, and Martin Scorsese, with the distinction of appearing in every film directed by Dante. He was known for playing the beleaguered everyman, often in one-scene appearances. Miller's main roles in films included Gremlins, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Explorers, Piranha, The Howling, A Bucket of Blood, The Little Shop of Horrors, Not of This Earth, Chopping Mall, Night of the Creeps, The Terminator, The 'Burbs, Small Soldiers and Quake.
Paul Bartel was an American actor, writer and director. He was perhaps most known for his 1982 hit black comedy Eating Raoul, which he wrote, starred in and directed.
The Undead is a 1957 horror film directed by Roger Corman and starring Pamela Duncan, Allison Hayes, Richard Garland and Val Dufour. The authors' original working title was The Trance of Diana Love. The film follows the story of a prostitute, Diana Love (Duncan), who is put into a hypnotic trance by psychic Quintis (Dufour), thus causing her to regress to a previous life. Hayes later starred in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958). The film was released by American International Pictures as a double feature with Voodoo Woman.
Belinda Balaski is an American actress. She is perhaps best known for her large supporting role as Terri Fisher in Joe Dante's The Howling (1981), and has continued to appear in most of Dante's films, including Piranha, Gremlins, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Matinee and Small Soldiers, as well two segments that Dante directed for Amazon Women on the Moon. She also co-starred in The Food of the Gods and Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw, both featuring Marjoe Gortner, and in Cannonball! as a navigator in a cross-country car race.
Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf is a 1985 American horror film directed by Philippe Mora and direct sequel to the 1981 film The Howling. The film stars horror film veteran Christopher Lee along with Reb Brown and Annie McEnroe as they try to defeat Sybil Danning's werewolf queen Stirba and stop a werewolf group's plans to conquer the world. Although Gary Brandner, author of The Howling novels, co-wrote the screenplay, the Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf is largely unrelated to his 1979 novel The Howling II.
Rick Sloane is an American cult filmmaker. He is credited as writer, director, producer, Film editor and cinematographer of much of his own work. He directed the B-movie film Hobgoblins, which was featured on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Piranha II: The Spawning is a 1982 American independent horror film directed by James Cameron in his feature directorial debut. It is written by Charles H. Eglee and stars Tricia O'Neil and Lance Henriksen, who would later star in Cameron's The Terminator and Aliens. Part of the Piranha film series, it is the sequel to the film Piranha (1978) directed by Joe Dante.
Michael Finnell is a film producer active from the 1970s to the present. He has produced several horror-comedy films, particularly with the director Joe Dante. Finnell worked for the American producer Roger Corman before emerging as a producer in his own right.
John Charles Hora was an American cinematographer and actor active from the 1970s to the 2000s. He also worked as an actor in the 1980s and 1990s.
Hollywood Boulevard is a 1976 film directed by Allan Arkush and Joe Dante. It is the feature film directorial debut of both directors. This film stars Candice Rialson as an aspiring actress who has just arrived in Los Angeles, and was made as a result of a bet between Jon Davison, and Roger Corman to make the cheapest ever film for New World Pictures. This was accomplished by extensive use of footage from other New World films.
Allan Arkush is an American director and producer of films, television and videos. He is a collaborator of Joe Dante.
Runaway Daughters is a 1994 television film directed by Joe Dante that originally aired on the cable television network Showtime as part of the anthology series Rebel Highway. It is a loose remake of Runaway Daughters, an American International Pictures production from 1956, the year in which both the original and the remake are set. Much of the cast of Dante's The Howling is reunited on this film, including Christopher Stone, Dee Wallace, Robert Picardo, Dick Miller, and Belinda Balaski.
Kent Beyda is an American film editor.
Trailers from Hell is a web series in which filmmakers discuss and promote individual movies through commenting on their trailers. While the series emphasizes horror, science fiction, fantasy, cult, and exploitation cinema, films from a wide variety of genres have been covered. Trailers from Hell launched as a website in October 2007, as a collaborative project by film director Joe Dante, new media entrepreneur Jonas Hudson, graphic artist Charlie Largent, web developer Tom Edgar, and producer Elizabeth Stanley. It also premiered at SXSW in 2009.
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