Joe Dante

Biography

Date of Birth 28 November 1946, Morristown, New Jersey, USA Mini Biography Joseph Dante Jr. was born on November 28, 1946 in Morristown, New Jersey, and raised in the nearby borough of Parisippany. His parents were professional golf players and his father wrote some books on the instructions of playing golf some of which included Four Magic Moves to Winning Golf, and Stop that Slice. After a bout with polio that nearly crippled him at age 7, he slowly recovered and decided to take up drawing rather than athletics as his parents did. Dante studied at the Philadelphia College of Art after graduating from high school. As a teenager, he contributed to Castle of Frankenstein and Famous Monsters of Filmland magazines with various drawings, and upon graduation from he College of Art, he became a film critic for the Film Buletin newspaper for which he later became the managing editor. With a friend, named Jon Davidson, Dante cut together a series of movie clips and film trailers and edited them into his first short film which was titled The Movie Orgy (1968) which was shown on college campuses. In 1974, Jon Davidson was the head of advertising for Roger Corman's New World Productions and persuaded Dante to move to California to work for them as an editor for various movie trailers and films. In 1976, Roger Corman allowed Dante, to direct his very first feature film with New World staffer Alan Arkush which was titled Hollywood Boulevard (1976), a low-budget feature filmed in black-and-white in just 10 days on a $50,000 budget, in which Date and Arkush inserted stock footage from other Corman-produced films. Hoping to get the jump on the success of the Steven Spielberg film Jaws, Corman commissioned Dante to direct Piranha (1978) around the same time Jaws II was being made. Working with a budget of $660,000 and with a script by John Sayles, Dante had his first serious problems with the filming which included last-minute cast changes, underwater cameras that kept breaking down, union woes, and unusable second unit footage. But the finished film was a miracle of low-budget exploitation filmmaking and has become a cult favorite. Date worked as a second unit director for Rock and Roll High School (1979), and was then offered by producer Mike Finnell to direct The Howling (1981). With another script by John Sayles and with a budget of over $1 million, the movie about California werewolves proved to be another box-office hit, highlighted by state-of-the-art special effects by Rob Bottin. After directing two out of six episodes for the short-lived comic TV series "Police Squad! (1982), Dante found himself working alongside Steven Spielberg, John Landis and Australian director George Miller for the anthology movie The Twilight Zone, The Movie (1983) in which Dante directed the third segment, a remake of a 1961 original Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life", which allowed him to draw the script from his love of cartoons which played a major part in the segment. Steven Spielberg then hired him to to work as director for the Chris Columbus script of Gremlens (1984) which was another box-office success. Dante then directed Explorers (1985) which starred Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix as suburban kids seeking alien life. But the Paramount distributors rushed the film before Dante was finished editing it and the studio's lackluster effort to advertise it led him to become disillusioned with the movie industry. He directed some episodes for the Sci-Fi series "Amazing Stories" before directing his next Science Fiction feature which was Innerspace (1987) a take on the 1966 movie Fantastic Voyage, but was another box office failure. After directing five episode for the series "Eerie, Indiana", Dante returned to the big-screen with the the well-received Matinee (1993), an affectionate period satire set in 1962 against the background of the Cold War and starring John Goodman as a film director, inspired by gimmick filmmaker William Castle. Dante spent the next several years working for television and re-making several movies such as Runaway Daughters (1994) and directed a satire on politics with The Second Civil War (1997). Dante's next two films, Toy Soldiers (1998), and Loony Toons: Back in Action (2004) were not well received by critics. He was recruited by Mick Garris to direct an episode of the anthology series "Masters of Horror" (2005) with the episode "Homecoming" which was played as another angry social commentary and pitch-black political satire on the USA policies. Spouse Sylvia (? - ?) Trade Mark Always casts Dick Miller in a cameo or supporting role. Frequently has films/TV shows with themes similar to the movie in various scenes. Always includes a reference to the Warner Bros. cartoons somewhere in each of his works. Frequently casts Robert Picardo in supporting roles or cameos Frequently casts William Schallert in support roles or cameos. Frequently hires composer Jerry Goldsmith Frequently casts Kevin McCarthy. Trivia Former Roger Corman protégé. Also helped by Steven Spielberg. Directors he has cited as his principal influences include Chuck Jones, Frank Tashlin, James Whale, Roger Corman, and Jean Cocteau. Was interested in directing Batman (1989) Was scheduled to direct a Jaws parody (under the National Lampoon banner) in the early 80s "Jaws 3 People 0" in the early 80s. Universal Studios dropped this concept in favor of a "straight" film (which became the critically lambasted "Jaws 3-D"). Personal Quotes (About producing movie trailers for Roger Corman.) "We did all kinds of things in trailers to help sell films. We had a famous exploding helicopter shot from one of those Filipino productions that we'd cut in every time a trailer was too dull because that was always exciting." - Halliwell's Filmgoer's & Video Viewer's Companion

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Person Photo

Birth Name

Joseph James Dante, Jr.

Birth Place

Morristown, Nueva Jersey, Estados Unidos

Birth Date

11/28/1946
Known For
Movie Poster

Sleepwalkers

Lab Assistant

Movie Poster

Creature Designers - The Frankenstein Complex

Self

Movie Poster

Butterfly Room

Cab Driver

Movie Poster

Phil Tippett - Des Rêves et des Monstres

Self

Movie Poster

42nd Street Memories: The Rise and Fall of America's Most Notorious Street

Self

Movie Poster

Chuck Jones: Extremes and In-Betweens, a Life in Animation

Himself

Movie Poster

The Puppetoon Movie Volume 3

Self (archive footage)

Movie Poster

Trailer War

Self

Movie Poster

Time Warp: The Greatest Cult Films of All-Time- Vol. 2 Horror and Sci-Fi

Self

Movie Poster

Time Warp Vol 3: Comedy & Camp

Self

Starring In
Movie Poster

The Puppetoon Movie Volume 3

Self (archive footage)

Movie Poster

Sharksploitation

Self

Movie Poster

In Search of Darkness: Part III

Self - Interviewee

Movie Poster

Boris Karloff: The Rest of the Story

Self - Interviewee

Movie Poster

In Search of Tomorrow

Self - Interviewee

Movie Poster

Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster

Self - Interviewee

Movie Poster

Tales of the Uncanny

Self

Movie Poster

Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies

Self (2019)

Movie Poster

In Search of Darkness: Part II

Self - Interviewee

Movie Poster

Time Warp: The Greatest Cult Films of All-Time- Vol. 1 Midnight Madness

Self

Movie Poster

Time Warp: The Greatest Cult Films of All-Time- Vol. 2 Horror and Sci-Fi

Self

Movie Poster

Time Warp Vol 3: Comedy & Camp

Self

Movie Poster

In Search of Darkness

Himself

Movie Poster

Making Apes: The Artists Who Changed Film

Himself

Movie Poster

Phil Tippett - Des Rêves et des Monstres

Self

Movie Poster

Love, Antosha

Self

Movie Poster

24×36: A Movie About Movie Posters

Himself

Movie Poster

Long Live the King

Himself

Movie Poster

42nd Street Memories: The Rise and Fall of America's Most Notorious Street

Self

Movie Poster

Creature Designers - The Frankenstein Complex

Self

Movie Poster

That Guy Dick Miller

Himself

Movie Poster

House of Wax: Unlike Anything You've Ever Seen

Self

Movie Poster

¡Zarpazos!

Self

Movie Poster

Butterfly Room

Cab Driver

Movie Poster

Trailer War

Self

Movie Poster

The Flesh and the Fury: X-posing Twins of Evil

Self - Director

Movie Poster

Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan

Himself - Director of Piranha & Gremlins

Movie Poster

Produce Your Own Damn Movie!

Self

Movie Poster

Corman's World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel

Himself

Movie Poster

Herschell Gordon Lewis and the Making of the Uh-Oh Show

Self

Movie Poster

Machete Maidens Unleashed!

Himself

Movie Poster

American Grindhouse

Himself - Director, Gremlins

Movie Poster

The Man Who Saw Frankenstein Cry

Self

Movie Poster

The Wolf Man: From Ancient Curse to Modern Myth

Self

Movie Poster

Pure in Heart: The Life and Legacy of Lon Chaney Jr.

Self - Director

Movie Poster

Monsterland

Himself

Movie Poster

Nightmares in Red, White and Blue

Himself

Movie Poster

Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story

Himself

Movie Poster

Любовь-Морковь

Movie Poster

Lugosi, the Dark Prince

Self

Movie Poster

Karloff, the Gentle Monster

Self

Movie Poster

RKO Production 601: The Making of 'Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World'

Self

Movie Poster

Shadows in the Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy

Self

Movie Poster

Behind the Tunes: Crash! Bang! Boom! - The Wild Sounds of Treg Brown

Self

Movie Poster

The Cutting Edge - The Magic of Movie Editing

Himself

Movie Poster

Edgar G Ulmer: The Man Off-Screen

Himself

Movie Poster

Mario Bava - Maestro of the Macabre

Himself

Movie Poster

She's Alive! Creating the Bride of Frankenstein

Self - Host

Movie Poster

Making the Earth Stand Still

Self

Movie Poster

Beverly Hills Cop III

Jailer

Movie Poster

Flesh and Blood: The Hammer Heritage of Horror

Himself

Movie Poster

The Silence of the Hams

Dying Man

Movie Poster

Sleepwalkers

Lab Assistant

Movie Poster

Flying Saucers Over Hollywood: The 'Plan 9' Companion

Self

Movie Poster

Oscar

Face on the Cutting Room Floor

Movie Poster

Gremlins 2: The New Batch

Grandpa Fred Director / Beanie Gremlin / Wicked Witch Gremlin (voice) (uncredited)

Movie Poster

A Time to Die

Bodyguard

Movie Poster

Piranha

Scuba Diver #2 (uncredited)

Movie Poster

Cannonball

Kid

Movie Poster

Hollywood Boulevard

Party Waiter (uncredited)

Movie Poster

Hollywood Boulevard

Party Waiter (uncredited)

Movie Poster

Nippon chinbotsu

(US version)

Movie Poster

Chuck Jones: Extremes and In-Betweens, a Life in Animation

Himself

Movie Poster

King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen

Himself

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