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Ever since Alfred Hitchcock popularized the director cameo, audiences expect to see certain filmmakers pop up in small roles within their own films; from Quentin Tarantino to Spike Lee to M. Night Shyamalan, the faces of the directors are as expected as their distinct visual styles.

But what about those directors who enjoy film so much that they want to appear in OTHER people’s movies as well? Here are ten well-known horror filmmakers who have popped up frequently in a variety of films they didn’t make themselves.

Aside from making brilliant films himself, Joe Dante is also a curator of film history (having created Trailers from Hell) and has many friends in the film world who like to put him in front of the camera. Friend and frequent collaborator John Landis put him in front of the camera for Beverly Hills Cop III alongside Eddie Murphy.

Dante and Landis both had cameos in the recent horror anthology Tales of Halloween, and they also both appeared in Sleepwalkers, directed by friend and Masters of Horror creator Mick Garris.

Director Jack Perez, who previously directed the John Landis-produced Some Guy Who Kills People, cast Dante and Landis in cameo roles in Blast Vegas, and Landis even had an in-joke in the credits for his gangster comedy Oscar, in which Joe Dante is billed as Face on the Cutting Room Floor. There have been other small roles, a bodyguard in 1982’s A Time to Die and the cab driver in The Butterfly Room; however, one of his more memorable cameos is in the opening moments of the horror parody The Silence of the Hams, performing alongside some other famous faces as seen here:
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Director Joe Dante speaks to Eve Jackson about the success of "Gremlins", parodying Donald Trump and why making scary horror movies today is so hard ahead of his Paris retrospective at the Cinematheque Francaise.

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Dans un bled du Midwest (Eerie, Indiana, le titre en V.O.), deux gamins enquêtent sur des phénomènes paranormaux.

Autre série tuée dans l’œuf faute de spectateurs, une merveille encapsulant parfaitement l’esprit Amblin, et la matrice secrète de Stranger Things.

"Deux auteurs, Karl Schaefer et José Rivera, étaient venus me voir avec ce super concept : deux gamins se rendent compte que leur petite ville de province est le centre secret de plein de phénomènes occultes, impliquant aussi bien Bigfoot qu’Elvis ou les soucoupes volantes. C’était un X-Files junior… mais avant X-Files ! Vraiment charmant, très en avance sur son temps. NBC était tellement emballé qu’ils l’ont programmée le dimanche soir face à 60 Minutes. Soit l’émission la plus populaire d’Amérique ! Forcément, ça s’est planté. Ils nous ont coupé les vivres. On a quand même eu le temps de tourner un dernier épisode méta, dans lequel le personnage principal se réveille et découvre qu’il joue dans une série sur le point être annulée. Je jouais mon propre rôle. Assez mal, d’ailleurs, malgré une vie entière de répétitions… Quelques années plus tard, ils ont rediffusé la série le samedi matin et là, ça a été un triomphe. Les gosses adoraient ça.

Dommage que le négatif n’ait pas été conservé, on ne pourra jamais proposer une édition blu-ray digne de ce nom."

Séances : le lundi 6 mars à 17h, le samedi 25 mars à 20h.

So, no bluray for us ever, I guess. Still, oh my God I would love to see Eerie in a movie theatre surrounded by other fans.
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Dante: People hire me for various reasons. But when you sign on to do a TV series, you must adopt the style of the TV series. Now I can shoot the stuff any way I want. But I know that in TV, you do your cutting. You hand it in. And then you see it on TV. And it’s always different. Because the show runners come in. And they change it to the style that they prefer. So you shoot a lot of long takes. But you just have to give them enough material for them to turn it into what they want. It’s never an expressive job. You don’t really feel you’re putting yourself into it. Although as much as I could, I stuck myself into it. And I stuck people who were familiar to working with me in the show. And it was, I think, a little bit different. A little bit offbeat from the usual episodes of the show. But the problem with doing a show like that, there’s an overarching storyline that happened before you came and that’s going to continue after you’re gone. So there’s really not a lot of space for you to insert yourself. Because you’re doing a job of work. And you’re not the auteur of the show. The auteur of the show is the writers. Because they’re the ones who are mapping out this entire scenario. The great thing is if you can get in on the ground floor and get in on the pilot.

Correspondent: Yes.

Dante: If you do the pilot for the show, which I did for Eerie, Indiana, then you get to not only choose the cast.

Correspondent: You set the aesthetics.

Dante: You set the aesthetic and you get to influence the way the stories go and which direction they go. And even sometimes who’s hired to direct them. So that’s very creative and interesting and fulfilling. Doing one-offs is financially rewarding and a chance to work with a lot of talented people that you probably wouldn’t get to see otherwise. But it’s never like making a feature. It’s never like saying, “Okay, this is my movie.” And that’s why I prefer on TV to do anthology shows. Because it’s much more like doing a short film than it is to coming in and doing it. Illustrating an episode of somebody’s series.

Correspondent: Is it also a way of staying in shape so you don’t atrophy?

Dante: Well, it’s also a way of paying the mortgage.

Correspondent: (laughs) That’s true. That’s really the reason you did the CSI: New York episode.

Dante: Uh, I did it because it would be fun. But also, yeah, I did it because I wasn’t working. The great thing about Eerie, Indiana was that if I was going a feature, I could do that. I could go away and then do more Eerie, Indianas. But then it went off the air. And then I couldn’t do that anymore. So the trick is to try and find a way to keep yourself employed that doesn’t turn you into a hack. Basically. I mean, I always try and do things that — for movies, my yardstick is I don’t make movies that I wouldn’t go see. And I think if more people did that, we’d have better movies.
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Buy the Hocus Pocus one here

Buy the Monster Squad one here

And buy the 'Burbs one here

And don't forget their Krampus collection:

And, of course, their Eerie Indiana shirts and pins!


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Eerie Indiana

July 2017

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