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 [[WhatDoYouMeanItWasntMadeOnDrugs crazy moon-logic.]]

Dante's work is notable for the strong affection he has for [[AuthorAppeal '40s and '50s horror movies]] (''Film/{{Matinee}}'' is a love letter to Creator/WilliamCastle, 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 ''Film/{{Gremlins}}'', which launched a long, contentious relationship with Hollywood, which didn't seem to understand that Dante had [[StrawmanPolitical 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 [[Series/MastersOfHorror a few exceptions]], though, he's relatively subtle about his opinions.

Actually probably better known to people of a certain age for ''Series/EerieIndiana'' than for his movies; he was an executive producer and directed five episodes.

The films he directed include:
* ''Film/{{Piranha}}'' (1978)
* ''Film/TheHowling'' (1981)
* ''Film/{{Gremlins}}'' (1984)
* ''Film/{{Explorers}}'' (1985)
* ''Film/{{Innerspace}}'' (1987)
* ''Film/TheBurbs'' (1989)
* ''Film/Gremlins2TheNewBatch'' (1990)
* ''Film/{{Matinee}}'' (1993)
* ''Film/SmallSoldiers'' (1998)
* ''Film/LooneyTunesBackInAction'' (2003)
* ''Film/BuryingTheEx'' (2015)

He also directed segments of the {{Anthology Film}}s ''Film/TwilightZoneTheMovie'' and ''Film/AmazonWomenOnTheMoon'', as well as the ''Series/MastersOfHorror'' episodes "Homecoming" and "The Screwfly Solution" and the pre-show for Ride/TheTwilightZoneTowerOfTerror.

!!Tropes present in Dante's work include:

* AuthorAppeal: Giant monster movies, Universal horror, and cartoons.
* BlackComedy
* SlidingScaleOfComedyAndHorror: Has a love for both, but his films tend to be comedy-dominated.