Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video that explores the early filmography of horror director Joe Dante.
If you wanted to make a film about the Hollywood horror scene in the early 1980s, you couldn’t pick a more fruitful subject than Joe Dante.
The man’s early career plays like a Forrest Gump-style who’s who of genre film: from a pivotal internship with low budget legend Roger Corman to multiple stints with Rick Baker’s protégée, Rob Bottin, to a fatefully friendly partnership with Steven Spielberg.
But Dante’s early films also speak to a tonal truth that not only feels characteristically early-’80s but also defines the gait and appeal of Dante’s later filmography. Namely: a gift for balancing the frightening and the fun.
From the get-go, Dante was never pretentious when it came to reveling in B-pictures. Like his contemporary Sam Raimi, Dante had a knack for lacing genuine genre beats with a lighter touch. So, for instance, when Piranha‘s genetically engineered monstrosities gnaw a swimmer’s legs down to the bone, it’s as much a gorefest as it is a live-action Looney Tunes gag.
For a more in-depth introduction to Dante’s pre-Gremlins career, we recommend a peek at the following video essay, which covers Dante’s output from the copyright nightmare of Movie Orgy to his ghoulish contribution to Twilight Zone: The Movie.
Watch “The Early Films Of Joe Dante – Piranha, The Howling & More!“: