- A Tribute to Joe Dante

  We are delighted to have Mr. Joe Dante for this special tribute with his latest film Homecoming on Sunday, March 12, 2006 @ 05:30 PM


Born: November 28, 1946, in Morristown, New Jersey

A life long movie buff who turned his love into his career, Dante first displayed his encyclopedic knowledge of movies (especially horror/fantasy/sci-fi movies) in the 1960s publication "Castle of Frankenstein." When his boyhood friend Jon Davison got a job with producer Roger Corman in the 1970s, he sent for Dante and had him hired as a New World Pictures's principal editor of preview trailers. (Along with the typical New World exploitation fodder, Dante also cut trailers for the likes of Fellini's Amarcord. He also got to edit an occasional feature, including 1973's Arena, as part of a two man team, and 1977's Grand Theft Auto which marked Ron Howard's directing debut.) When Davison bet Corman that he could produce a new World film in one week for $50,000, it was up to Dante and Allan Arkush to direct it. The result was Hollywood Boulevard (1976), which gave Dante his baptism of fire behind the camera.

In 1978 he directed his first feature, Piranha, an effective, tongue-in-cheek, low-budget thriller about killer fish written by John Sayles. He followed it with the more ambitious The Howling (1981), a vivid werewolf tale co-written by Sayles. This brought him to the attention of Steven Spielberg, who hired both Dante and Jon Davison to work on one segment of Twilight Zone-The Movie (1983). Their's was a bizarre story about a boy who holds his family prisoner in a cartoonlike house.

Dante's career then took a giant leap as Spielberg hired him to direct his big budget scare movie Gremlins (1984). His career has moved in fits and starts since then, with hits and misses along the way, including Explorers (1985), Amazon Women on the Moon (1987, some sequences only), Innerspace (1987), The 'burbs (1989), Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), and Matinee (1993).

At his best, Dante manages to capture in his work the wondr--and humor--of 1950s and 1960s movies that first turned him on; his films are overflowing with in-jokes for like-minded movie buffs. He remains loyal to many actors of that period (and the sci-fi/fantasy genre) and uses them in his films as often as possible. He also indulges his love for cartoons, having given famed animation director Chuck Jones a cameo in Gremlins and hired him to create animated gags for the closing credits of Gremlins 2.

Filmography (Actor):

Hollywood Boulevard (1976)
Cannonball (1976) (origionally: Carquake)
Roger Corman: Hollywood's Wild Angel (1978)
Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal, The (1985)
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990-91) (uncredited)


Oscar (1991)
"Eerie, Indiana" ep. "Reality Takes a Holiday" (1991) TV Series
Magical World of Chuck Jones, The (1992)
Sleepwalkers (1992)
Fling Saucers Over Hollywood: The Plan 9 Companion (1992)
Century of Cinema, A (1994)
Silenzio dei prosciutti II (1994)
The Vampire Interviews
Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)
Flesh and Blood: The Hammer Heritage of Horror (1994)
A Century of Cinima (1994)
Hollywood Rated 'R' (1997)
She's Alive! Creating the Bride of Frankenstein (1994)
It Conquered hollywood! The Story of American International Pictures (2001)
Cinerama Adventure


Hollywood Boulevard (1976)
Piranha (1978)
Howling, The (1981)
"Police Squad!" (1982) TV Series
"Ring of Fear"
"Testomony of Evil"
Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
"It's a Good Life"
Gremlins (1984)
"Twilight Zone, The" (1985) TV Series
"Shadow Man, The"
"Amazing Stories" (1985) TV Series
"Greibble, The"
Explorers (1985)
Amazon Women on the Moon (1987) (originally: Cheeseburger Film Sandwich)
"Bullshit or Not"
"Critic's Corner"
"Roast Your Loved One"
"Reckless Youth"
Segment only included in TV version: "French Ventriloquist's Dummy"
Innerspace (1987)
'Burbs, The (1989)
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990-91)
"Eerie, Indiana" (1991) TV Series
"Retainer, The"
"Losers, The"
"Heart on a Chain"
"Hole in the Head Gang, The"
Matinee (1993)
Runaway Daughters (1994) Showtime TV Movie
Picture Windows (1995) Showtime TV Series
Second Civil War, The (1997) HBO TV Movie
Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy, The (1998) UPN TV Movie (originally: The Osiris Chroniles)
Small Soldiers (1998) (originally: Commando Elite, The)
Night Visions (2000) FOX TV Series (Working Title: Night Terrors)
"Quiet Please"
"The Occupant"
R.L. Stine's The Haunted Lighthouse (2002)
Looney Toons: Back in Acton (2003)
Homecoming (2005)


Seven Hour All-Night Once in a Lifetime Atomic Movie Orgy (1968)
Hollywood Boulevard (1976)
Grand Theft Auto (1977)
Piranha (1978)
Howling, The (1981)


Fly Me (1972) (dialogue director)
"Eerie, Indiana" (1991) TV Series (creative consultant)
Mr. Stitch (1995) TV Movie (special thanks)


Flesh and Blood: The Hammer heritage of Horrors (1994) TV (associate)
Phantom, The (1996) (executive)
Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy, The (1998) (originally: Osiris chronicles, The) TV Movie (executive)
"Jeremiah" (2002) TV Series (executive)


Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979)
Related Career:
Managing editor, Film Bulletin
Creator of advertising campaigns for films (first trailer done: Caged Heat)

*Biography taken from Leonard Maltin's Film Encyclopedia

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