Joe Dante

Director, Editor, Actor
Though often erroneously considered to be a protg of Steven Spielberg, director Joe Dante actually emerged from the low-budget world of Roger Corman to become a sly practitioner of witty genre films and television shows ... Read more »
Born: 11/28/1946 in Livingston, New Jersey, USA

Filmography

Director (30)

Burying the Ex 2015 (Movie)

(Director)

Hawaii Five-O 2011, 2013 - 2015 (Tv Show)

Director

Salem 2015 (Tv Show)

Director

Witches of East End 2014 (Tv Show)

Director

The Hole 2012 (Movie)

(Director)

CSI: New York 2007 (Tv Show)

Director

Trapped Ashes 2007 (Movie)

("Wraparound Story") (Director)

Masters of Horror 2005 - 2006 (Tv Show)

Director

Looney Tunes: Back in Action 2003 (Movie)

(Director)

Night Visions 1991 - 1992, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Director

Picture Windows 1991 - 1992, 1995 - 1996, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Director

Police Squad! 1981 - 1982, 1985 - 1987, 1991 - 1992, 1995 - 1996, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Director

The Twilight Zone 1985 - 1987, 1991 - 1992, 1995 - 1996, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Director

Small Soldiers 1998 (Movie)

(Director)

The Second Civil War 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Director

Matinee 1993 (Movie)

(Director)

Eerie, Indiana 1991 - 1992 (Tv Show)

Director

Gremlins 2: The New Batch 1990 (Movie)

(Director)

The 'Burbs 1989 (Movie)

(Director)

Amazon Women on the Moon 1987 (Movie)

(("Hairlooming" "Bullshit or Not" "Critics Corner" "Roast Your Loved One" "Reckless Youth")) (Director)

Innerspace 1987 (Movie)

(Director)

Explorers 1985 (Movie)

(Director)

Gremlins 1984 (Movie)

(Director)

Twilight Zone - the Movie 1983 (Movie)

("It's a Good Life") (Director)

The Howling 1981 (Movie)

(Director)

Piranha 1978 (Movie)

(Director)

Hollywood Boulevard 1976 (Movie)

(Director)

Bat Out of Hell (Movie)

(Director)

Runaway Daughters (TV Show)

Director
Actor (26)

That Guy Dick Miller 2015 (Movie)

(Himself)

A Fuller Life 2014 (Movie)

(Himself)

The Real History of Science Fiction 2014 (Tv Show)

Interviewee

American Grindhouse 2011 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel 2011 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Machete Maidens Unleashed! 2009 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Nightmares in Red, White and Blue 2009 (Movie)

(Actor)

Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story 2007 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

The 100 Scariest Movie Moments 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)

Actor

Phil Hartman: The E! True Hollywood Story 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Masters of Fantasy: Industrial Light & Magic 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Hollywood Stars: A Century of Cinema 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

The Roger Corman Special 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Beverly Hills Cop III 1994 (Movie)

Jailer (Actor)

Silence of the Hams 1994 (Movie)

(cameo appearance) (Actor)

Naked Hollywood 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Stephen King's Sleepwalkers 1992 (Movie)

Lab Assistant (Actor)

The Magical World of Chuck Jones 1992 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Oscar 1991 (Movie)

Face on the Cutting Room Floor (Actor)

The Fantasy Film World of George Pal 1985 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Slumber Party Massacre 1982 (Movie)

(Actor)

Roger Corman: Hollywood's Wild Angel 1977 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Cannonball 1976 (Movie)

Kid (Actor)

The Horror Hall of Fame II (TV Show)

Actor
Editor (5)

The Howling 1981 (Movie)

(Editor)

Piranha 1978 (Movie)

(Editor)

Grand Theft Auto 1976 (Movie)

(Editor)

Hollywood Boulevard 1976 (Movie)

(Editor)

The Arena 1973 (Movie)

(Editor)
Producer (4)

Dark 2014 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Jeremiah 1981 - 1982, 1985 - 1987, 1991 - 1992, 1995 - 1996, 2000 - 2005 (Tv Show)

Executive Producer

The Phantom 1996 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Malevolence 1995 (Movie)

(Producer)
Writer (2)

Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever 1991 (Movie)

(Characters as Source Material)

Rock 'n' Roll High School 1979 (Movie)

(From Story)
Other (3)

The Puppetoon Movie 1987 (Movie)

assistance (Assistant)

The Fantasy Film World of George Pal 1985 (Movie)

assistance (Assistant)

Tex 1982 (Movie)

Postproduction Consultant (Consultant)

Biography

Though often erroneously considered to be a protégé of Steven Spielberg, director Joe Dante actually emerged from the low-budget world of Roger Corman to become a sly practitioner of witty genre films and television shows that were obvious by-products of a youth spent watching movies. After working as an editor on several Corman projects like "Student Teachers" (1974) and "Grand Theft Auto" (1977), Dante made his directorial debut with the camp classic, "Piranha" (1978), a satirical take on "Jaws" (1975) that served as a calling card for more mainstream Hollywood movies. He made more of a cult splash with "The Howling" (1981), a comic horror take on the classic werewolf tale that featured then groundbreaking special effects. Dante had arguably his greatest success with "Gremlins" (1984), a landmark comedy-horror film that became a monster box office hit that managed to spawn a 1990 sequel and several unworthy imitators. From there, Dante's career hit a downward slope with "Explorers" (1985), "Amazon Women on the Moon" (1987) and the darkly comic satire "The 'Burbs" (1989). Though he showed exuberant life with "Matinee" (1993), the critically hailed coming-of-age tale was dismissed by moviegoers. Following a brief sojourn into television, Dante returned to the silver screen with the overly violent "Small Soldier" (1998), followed by the rather tame "Looney Tunes: Back in Action" (2003). Though he failed to repeat the success of "Gremlins" later in his career, Dante remained a stylish director of genre pictures who unabashedly displayed his love and obsession with film.

EDUCATION

Philadelphia College of Art

Philadelphia , Pennsylvania
studied cartooning

Milestones

1998

Returned to features at in the director's chair of "Small Soldiers", a somewhat violent tale of action figures that mistakenly are implanted with state-of-the-art military technology and develop minds of their own

1997

Directed the HBO satire "The Second Civil War"

1995

Appeared as an interview subject on "The Roger Corman Special" on the Sci-Fi Channel

1994

TV-movie directing debut, "Runaway Daughters", a remake of a 1957 American International Pictures release, shown as part of Showtime's "Rebel Highway" series

1994

Delivered a cameo as a jailer in Landis' "Beverly Hills Cop III"

1993

Returned to films after a three-year absence with "Matinee", a semi-autobiographical look at the movie showmen (like William Castle) of the 1960s

1992

Performed a cameo as a lab assistant in "Stephen King's Sleepwalkers"

1992

Appeared as an interview subject in "The Magical World of Chuck Jones", a documentary cum compilation film devoted to the celebrated animation director

1991

Appeared as an interview subject on "Naked Hollywood", a British documentary series broadcast on A&E

1991

Credited as "Face on the Cutting Room Floor" in John Landis' Sylvester Stallone vehicle, "Oscar"

1991

Received a creator's credit (shared with Arkush) on the direct-to-video sequel "Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever"

1990

Helmed the sequel "Gremlins 2: The New Batch"; first film under the Renfield banner

1987

Helmed the sci-fi comedy "Innerspace", about a Naval officer who participates in an experiment wherein he is miniaturized and then is accidentally injected into the body of an unsuspecting civilian

1986

Provided assistance for "The Puppetoon Movie", a compilation film of George Pal's animated shorts from the 1940s, directed by Arnold Leibovit

1986

Helmed an episode of "Amazing Stories", a Spielberg-produced fantasy anthology series, entitled "Boo" starring Eddie Bracken and scripted by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel; directed another episode the following season

1986

Appeared as an interview subject and provided assistance for "The Fantasy Film World of George Pal", a documentary directed by Arnold Leibovit about the innovative and influential producer-director

1985

Directed "The Shadow Man", an episode on the revival of "The Twilight Zone"

1984

Directed commercial breakthrough feature, "Gremlins"; produced by Steven Spielberg

1983

Directed "It's a Good Life", a segment of "Twilight Zone - The Movie"; first collaborations with producer-directors Steven Spielberg and John Landis

1982

Helmed episodes of "Police Squad!", a spoof of cop shows from producer-writers David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker

1981

Feature acting debut, "The Slumber Party Massacre"

1980

Directed critical breakthrough feature, "The Howling"

1979

Co-wrote (with Arkush) story for "Rock 'n' Roll High School"

1978

Solo directing debut, "Piranha"

1978

Appeared as an interview subject in the documentary "Roger Corman: Hollywood's Wild Angel"

1977

Served as editor on Ron Howard's "Grand Theft Auto"

1976

Co-directing debut (with Allan Arkush), "Hollywood Boulevard"

1974

First feature credit, editor of "The Arena", a New World period actioner directed by Steve Carver

1974

Started working at Roger Corman's New World Pictures making trailers; first assignment "Student Teachers"

1974

Began working in film advertising

1974

Moved to California with future producer Jon Davison, Jonathan Kaplan and some other people recommended by Martin Scorsese

1968

Served as a reviewer and managing editor for FILM BULLETIN, a trade magazine (dates approximate)

At age seven, suffered a bout with polio

Served as creative consultant and directed the pilot and five subsequent episodes of "Eerie, Indiana", an NBC teen fantasy adventure series

Replaced the director attached to a project entitled "The Howling"; had John Sayles rewrite the screenplay

Invited to direct "Jaws: 3--People: 0", a "National Lampoon" horror-comedy spoof produced by David Brown and Richard Zanuck; left the project due to excessive studio interference

Offered $50,000 by producer Dino DeLaurentis to direct "Orca II"; project was canceled

Formed Renfield Productions

Bonus Trivia

.

Dante's production company is named Renfield after the crazed henchman of Bram Stoker's "Dracula".

.

From "The Ultimate Joe Dante Interview" by Maitland McDonagh, SCI-FI ENTERTAINMENT, June 1994:McDONAGH: So it all began when you were in college with the "All-Night-Once-in-a-Lifetime-Atomic-Movie-Orgy", right?DANTE: The seven-hour-movie-designed-to-be-walked-in-and-out-of-at- any-time-and-you-wouldn't-really-miss-anything. It was made up of about seven different movies all cut together, plus intros to TV shows, commercials, outtakes...a real melange. And because we presented it year after year, the components changed. TV shows from the early days of the medium were a particular revelation to an audience that have never seen them. I spent my childhood parked in front of the television, absorbing the most amazing things, and with the "Movie Orgy" I felt, in a way, as though I was exporting my culture.

.

From McDonagh, SCI-FI ENTERTAINMENT, June 1994:McDONAGH: You've worked on a number of projects with Steven Spielberg, who's known for his sense of childlike wonder. You come out of an exploitation background. Do you see a contradiction?DANTE: That's what everybody says. The line on "Gremlins" was that it was mean-spirited, and I do have a darker view than Steven does. But I think he likes that, likes the fact that there's a contrast. I don't think the pictures I make for Steven are just like all the other pictures other people make for him. And the great thing about working for Steven is that when you work for Steven you don't have to work for anybody else."Gremlins", I think, would not have been made quite the same way if he had made it. It was his idea, and what amazed me was the amount of Spielberg-type stuff you could and turn on its ear....

.

From McDonagh, SCI-FI ENTERTAINMENT, June 1994:McDONAGH: "Matinee" is actually rather sad. It's a love letter to a type of filmmaking that doesn't exist anymore.DANTE: There's no doubt about it. It's a nice little movie, very personal to me. The kid is sort of the way I was at that age, going to the kind of movies I went to see, reading the kind of magazines I used to read. It doesn't seem like that long ago to me, 1962, but I guess to kids today it's like ancient history. That kind of moviegoing is utterly gone. You could send a child to the movies and know that what he'd be seeing would be okay, not have any bad stuff in it. The whole experience was different. I don't think there's a theater left in the country that has a real kids' matinees on a regular basis. It does make me sad, because it was having that kind of childhood that set me on the path to wanting to make movies.

.

"My model has always been James Whale. . . . His pictures sometimes jump between being very violent and being very funny, very black. I've always enjoyed that juxtoposition." --Joe Dante quoted in "Dante's Peaks" by Michael Freidson, TIME OUT NEW YORK, July 16-23, 1998

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