I continue on the LA leg of the journey with a visit to Joe Dante. He is another Corman alumnus who was given the chance to bring a concept to life and spawned the horror smash PIRAHNA. He then set the horror world on fire with the effects-laden breakthrough film, THE HOWLING.

Joe Dante in his office

No other film had made the transformation from human to werewolf so detailed and realistic. And it still stands as a classic in its content, both in concept and cinematography.

Next out of the gate was the Spielberg/Landis production of TWILIGHT ZONE, THE MOVIE. Using his animation background, he spun the tale of a psychotic young man with mind control amongst animated characters that spring to life from the family television, as well as featuring veteran actors Dick Miller and Kevin McCarthy. The combination was a creepy scenario of youth with too much power and how bowing to the bully may not always be the best course of action. Then, came the classic GREMLINS - a home run smash that proved the box office potential of cute gone wrong. Dante was a ROI powerhouse and he continues to be a writer whose vision sparked a whole new generation of filmmakers.

As we checked in at "The Lot" in Hollywood, we were told to go to the Writer's Building. An old, nostalgic art deco looking monster of a place that reminded me of the depression era as we rode to the third floor in the world's smallest elevator. I had never read a personality profile of Joe, so I didn't know what to expect.

Not only was Mr. Dante quite affable and quick with a smile, he was prone to short bursts of laughter that put you at ease. He was also articulate in both the delivery of his answers and his tone. He knows how to make people comfortable and communicates with a level of sincerity you hope to experience from a person of such importance.

It was a worthy experience and a great addition to the project at hand.

Joe Dante and Randy DeFord



All Photos taken by Carol Caldwell