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.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: After the modest American success of Film/{{Godzilla 2000}}, the writer of the dub teamed with Joe Dante to assemble an American produced sequel titled "Godzilla Reborn" that would have had Godzilla attack Hawaii and starred genre staples like Creator/BruceCampbell, Creator/ChristopherLee and Creator/LeonardNimoy.
** After directing ''Gremlins'', Joe Dante tried creating a bio-film about Creator/ChuckJones entitled "Termite Terrace", but the executives at Warner Bros weren't interested in a drama about animators and were pushing to relaunch the characters in a more modern fashion with ''Film/SpaceJam''.