Joseph James Dante Jr. (born November 28, 1946) is a film director known for a string of cult 1980's sci-fi/fantasy films that oftentimes ran on pure crazy moon-logic.Dante's work is notable for the strong affection he has for '40s and '50s horror movies (Matinee is a love letter to William Castle, for example), and his taste for black comedy and political commentary. He first got attention for The Movie Orgy, a seven-hour-long collection of weird film clips, ads and trailers that Dante still curates and screens around the country. After a few smaller successes, he directed Gremlins, which launched a long, contentious relationship with Hollywood, which didn't seem to understand that Dante had a few axes to grind, especially with the political climate celebrating the '50s as a happy Golden Age and the suburbs as a great place to be. With a few exceptions, though, he's relatively subtle about his opinions.Actually probably better known to people of a certain age for Eerie Indiana than for his movies; he was an executive producer and directed five episodes.The films he directed include:
- Piranha (1978)
- The Howling (1981)
- Gremlins (1984)
- Explorers (1985)
- Innerspace (1987)
- The 'Burbs (1989)
- Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
- Matinee (1993)
- Small Soldiers (1998)
- Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003)
- Burying the Ex (2015)
Tropes present in Dante's work include:
- Author Appeal: Giant monster movies, Universal horror, and cartoons.
- Black Comedy
- Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: Has a love for both, but his films tend to be comedy-dominated.