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- I think the M-80 firecracker,
is the weapon of choice.
- [James] Oh, what're you gonna do with that?
- [Joe] Well I think you have to,
shove it down the front of her dress.
(cackling) (bomb exploding)
And, set it off, because otherwise how are you gonna
get rid of her?
(chainsaw revving) (techno synthesizer music)
- [James] Hey I'm James A. Janisse,
and some of you may know me as Dead Meat.
If you do, you probably already know
that I love to watch people die.
(screaming) You know, like, on screen.
I've always wanted to talk to the horror legends
who put those kills on screen and find out what scares them.
And also, if they could survive their favorite kill scenes.
This is Meat Up.
Today's guest, director and Gremlins creator Joe Dante.
(slow swing music)
- Hi Joe, I'm James. - Oh, Hi.
Come on in.
- Thank you. Thank you.
Hey, welcome back to another episode of Meat Up.
I'm James A. Janisse and today I'm here with Joe Dante,
who has done so much marvelous work, thank you.
- And, we've got the meat, for Meat Up.
- That's right.
- Foods here, it's from Lala's
- [James] Yep, we ordered out.
- You have the best one which is pechuga dijon.
- [James] Oohh
- It's the best thing they have.
- And Lala's is an Argentinian grill
from, its in Studio City.
I've gone there before.
- There's one here in Hollywood.
- Oh, this is from the Hollywood one.
- Because this would really be cold
if it came from the Studio City.
- That's what I thought, yeah.
[Casual Music]
Horror fans might best know you for Piranha or Gremlins
but your career has spanned a lot of different genres
and a lot of different films but they all have
that kind of fun play to them.
The're kind of fantastical.
- I like the genre and um when you start out in something
and it works then they tend to tell you
that we like you to make more of it.
- Mhmm
- But it's fine with me because I enjoy these pictures.
- Yeah, and I've heard ah, various other people
kind of complain or like it rubs them the wrong way
that they get kind of pigeon holed into the genre
but even though you say your fine with it.
It does seem like you've been able to
breakout of it a little bit.
You haven't just done horror.
- Well yeah because, because I think horror
and comedy are kind of aligned
and some of my favorite comedies are
horror pictures and uh vice versa.
- What are some of your favorites, like that?
- Well everybody always says
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
- Of course.
- That's the one that that blends all the stuff
that scared you when you were a kid with the things
that made you laugh when you were a kid.
But I remember watching the James Whales movies,
um, like the Invisible Man.
Where you know the Invisible Man is obviously crazy
and he does a lot of weird crazy things
and it was sort of funny, but then in the middle
of it he will hit someone over the
head with a stool and kill them.
You sort of, you laugh kind of catches in your throat.
- Yeah
- And a laugh in the right place is a relaxer and
you can scare people a lot more easily if their relaxed.
(upbeat swing music)
- [Jame] Roger Corman, would it be fair to say
like you started your career with him?
- I wouldn't have a career if it wasn't for Roger Corman.
- Yeah, yeah.
- And I am not the only one who can say that.
There's a whole generations of people in Hollywood
whose career wouldn't exist if it wasn't for
working for Roger, because you made movies
that were under the radar for not much money
and you learned all these problem solving ticks
that you wouldn't get otherwise.
- Mhmm
- And because you had to have a movie at the end
of your ten days or whatever it was that
you got to shoot it and it got released
which was fairly terrifying.
And so many of the people who went through The Corman School
became Academy aware winners and became
the pillars of the industry.
And Roger is still going, he's 92.
I had lunch with him yesterday.
- Oh wow
- And he just doesn't show any signs of quitting.
He's still making movies.
- That's so good to hear. I love hearing that.
You began by editing some stuff for him right?
Editing trailers and uh.
- Yeah, I started in the trailer department,
uh, which is a great way to learn
how to make movies because you have to take every scene
and reduce it to down to its components.
Uh, you take a three minutes scene
and you got to reduce it down to 30 seconds
and then in doing that you start to realize,
well you don't really need that
angle at all. You can go from here to here.
All those things are in your head when
you finally get a chance to direct a movie.
- Mhmm
- So instead of wasting time shooting angles
that you don't need and covering the scenes
as if every angle in every shot and every actor
is going to be important.
You do what you need to do,
in order to be able to make it work.
- Did you ever edit any of your own features?
- I, yes, I started out editing my own picture
Hollywood Boulevard, which I co-directed
with Allan Arkush and he also
- Mhmm
- co-edited it with me.
And then I did Piranha which I was one of the editors on.
I did The Howling which I was one of the editors on.
But I discovered when I got into the studio business
that to give the director the power
of editing his own movie.
Is really in their eyes giving him a little too much power.
- Yeah.
- And so its like, they feel that you're
not really the best judge of what it is that you shot.
So, its better to have someone else do it.
(energetic groovy music)
- Yet you have this tendency to blend genres,
a Gremlins is, it's like what kind of movie is this even?
Is it a kids movie?
Is it a holiday move?
A comedy?
A horror?
And I always appreciate that.
I am fine with ambiguity.
I'm fine with things not being put into boxes but ah.
- But you obviously don't run a studio.
- Exactly. Yeah, or how do you respond to people
trying to tell you to make things that
are more one or the other?
Which I'm assuming--
- Nobody wants to be dictated to.
On the other hand, you know, these people are
spending a great deal of money
and they have a market and they have ways of
doing business and stuff and you want to make them happy.
In the case of Gremlins, which was made
for Steven Spielberg, who was very accommodating,
to letting directors make their own movies.
Once the time comes to show it to studio
and the studio was totally confused by the movie.
They just didn't get it. They didn't understand it.
They think Gremlins are so ugly and
they rub their nose on the curtains and its like urgh.
Why can't they all be like Gizmo.
Why can't they just all be cute and lovable.
Part of the success of that movie is due entirely
to Spielberg's insistence that even
at the last minute like a month before
we started shooting, that Gizmo does
not turn into Stripe the bad Gremlin.
Gizmo stays Gizmo for the entire movie
and that character I think led parents to
thinking this was going to be E.T. two.
Once the Gremlins came out, uh, a lot of the
parents were annoyed and disturbed and
particularly when they went into microwave.
- I was going to bring that up. Yeah.
- And so the studio was not pleased with this stuff
and they said there's just too many Gremlins.
And so Spielberg said, I think, correctly,
why don't we just cut out all the Gremlins
and we'll call it people.
(laughing)
- But nobodies going to go see it.
But again the benefit of working for Speilberg
was that director makes his movie.
And that's the version of the movie that gets previewed.
But if we had done to the movie
what they wanted to do with the movie.
We'd be, we wouldn't be talking about that movie at all.
- Yeah
There wouldn't be dozens of Gizmos around your house.
- Yeah.
- I love it. (laughing)
(slow jazz music)
Well, now is the fun and games segment of this show.
- There's fun?
- Well, hopefully, fingers crossed.
Yeah.
Before we started we had to give us
three of your favorite horror movies.
But the movie I chose for this game
was the, Horror of Dracula.
Also known as Dracula.
And this was the first, Hammer film, Dracula.
Right?
- It was the first Hammer Dracula.
It followed the success of,
The Curse of Frankenstein.
And it lead the rather small company,
onto a whole new path of making gothic horror movies.
And the Dracula adaptation is particularly
interesting in that there wasn't a lot of money.
And they cleverly wrote in materials saying,
that its a common fallacy-- - Yeah.
that people think--
- yeah they hang the lampshade on it,
no we can't do that.
(laughing)
- And its also very a very sexy movie.
And it set a tone and a template
for all the pictures that followed it.
Its efficient, its well done,
its beautifully photographed.
Its a terrific movie.
- Yeah, watching it,
its actually shocking that it was made in fifty-eight.
And its got such like vivid colors and its you know,
a little more extreme than you might expect
to come out of the 50's.
- No it was a big hit, it really put them on the map.
- Well, hopefully you understand Dracula,
cos we're gonna put you in it,
for this little segment that involves the,
Chum bucket.
- Why, have you had that all along?
- I have, I have.
- You've been hiding it.
- I had the Lala's delivery guy
- It must have been under your shirt.
- drop it off with me.
Inside here it has a bunch of index cards
with ramdon items on it,
so what I'm going to have you do,
is draw three of them, and then I'm going to put you
in the place of Jonathan Harker actually
in one of the scenes form Dracula.
And your gonna tell me what you would do in his position.
But, unlike him you will have these three items
to work with.
Alright, so lets see what you draw out.
- A rusty corkscrew.
A broom handle.
An M80 fire cracker.
- Okay.
So this is a scene earlier on in the movie.
And its when Jonathan Harker, he is staying over night there
and he ran into this woman earlier
who was asking him to help her
and at the time he was like
I can't help you right now.
But after getting settled in
he comes downstairs
and is looking around the castle
and he runs into her again.
He finally agrees to help her,
and that's when she goes for his neck.
Now your Jonathan Harker.
What are you gonna do?
- Have I been bitten yet?
- You have not been bitten yet.
- [Jo] I think that probably the broom handle
isn't going to help me.
- Okay.
- The rusty cork screw, if I have it in my pocket
I suppose I could stab her in the neck.
But I think the M80 fire cracker is the,
weapon of choice.
- Oh, what are you going to do with that?
- Well, I think you have to shove it down
The front of her dress.
( explosion) (laughing)
And set it off, because otherwise
how are you gonna get rid of her?
- Alright, unfortunately that commotion
got the attention of one Sir Christopher Lee,
Dracula who comes out of the room and attacks you.
Now Jonathan Harcker,
he didn't do that well against him.
He kinda knocked out - He got thrown around.
But maybe I'll wait with the fire cracker.
Maybe I'll wait until Dracula comes in the room.
- Okay, so she's still all in one piece
- Then I'll be bitten
But lets face it, I'm gonna get bitten anyway.
(biting) (shouting)
- Yeah probably.
- Because its part of the story.
So I'm bitten,
and now I throw the fire cracker
at Dracula when he comes in.
- Did you remember to light it?
- No I may not have.
- Oh no!
Oh man!
- Besides he would probably just kick it away.
- He probably yeah, would just like swat it away.
- Yeah it looks like I'm doomed.
- Its okay.
- Its all over for me.
- I think your the first person,
we have played this game with
who's is like,
no I wouldn't make it.
(crowd cheering) (stake stabbing)
(crowd laughing)
But hey, man with Christopher Lee attaching you
what are you suppose to do?
- You know he's got a lot of sequels to make.
So I don't want to knock him off.
- That's true. Right.
(upbeat Jazz music)
What have you been up to lately?
I believe you have been working with
Frank-- - If I were doing anything,
I wouldn't be here.
(laughing)
No, I'm doing my usual stuff.
I have Trailers from Hell going on.
And all that thing.
I have got a new podcast.
- Yeah.
- The movies that made me.
Which just did one, last weekend.
With Raymond Franken.
- Oh great.
- Its not the usually podcast.
They don't just come on and talk about their work
They come on and talk about the movies
that made them won't to make movies.
And we have had Rod Prowman and
Ernist Dickernson, a lot of really good people.
- And you mentioned Trailers from Hell.
- Trailers from Hell,
you know we record a couple of times a year.
And every week we put up three trailers.
And the idea hopefully is to,
familiarize people with movies
they might not know about.
- And then you directed a segment of,
Mick Garris film.
- Mick Garris produced a show,
called , Nightmare Cinema.
Which is a series of short bits
wrapped up with a framing story,
much like the Amarcist pictures or Dead of Night.
And it makes.
Ideal was to get all overseas directors.
But in order to get the picture made.
He needed two Americans.
So I said I would do one.
- Oh great.
- Its been very well received.
And I think we have finally found a distributer.
So I think you will be seeing it fairly soon.
- And thank you so much for having us into your home.
And for this awesome conversations.
And for the Lala's.
- No its great.
So your gonna clean up right?
- Yeah, I got it, I got it for ya, yeah.
So long as you don't mind me just
peaking around at all your awesome stuff in here.
- No no, that's fine.
The garbage disposal is over there.
- Okay. And-- - you can take this home.
- Any soap preference on the dishes?
- Any soap?
I usually lick them clean, or I have the cat do it.
- Oh the cat, Okay, cool.
I'll pet her why she does it.
(laughing)
Thanks again Jo.
Really appreciate it.
(80s techno music)
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MEAT UP with Dead Meat James ft. Joe Dante | Crypt Culture | Crypt TV

101 Folder Collection
Amy.Lin published on August 8, 2019
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