Beware of seemingly sweet kids who ask you to drive them home and then invite you in to meet their family…
Made as part of an omnibus movie version of Rod Serling’s famed Twilight Zone series (Steven Spielberg, John Landis and George Miller directed the other segments) this is Dante at his purest and most brilliant. A 26-minute, pastel-coloured horror masterpiece filled with monsters and cartoons and fuelled by total creative freedom, ‘It’s a Good Life’ is a Richard Matheson adaptation of Jerome Bixby’s short story with assistance from Chuck Jones. Look for Bill Murray in the diner scene. —MIFF
Joseph Dante Jr. was born on November 28, 1946 in Morristown, New Jersey, and raised in the nearby borough of Parisippany. His parents were professional golf players and his father wrote some books on the instructions of playing golf some of which included Four Magic Moves to Winning Golf, and Stop that Slice. After a bout with polio that nearly crippled him at age 7, he slowly recovered and decided to take up drawing rather than athletics as his parents did.
Dante studied at the Philadelphia College of Art after graduating from high school. As a teenager, he contributed to Castle of Frankenstein and Famous Monsters of Filmland magazines with various drawings, and upon graduation from he College of Art, he became a film critic for the Film Buletin newspaper for which he later became the managing editor. With a friend, named Jon Davidson, Dante cut together a series of movie clips and film trailers and edited them into his first short film which was titled The Movie Orgy (1968… read more
I wish this could somehow be expanded to a full film. I love it, but it's almost frustrating that what might be Dante's purest work is a mere 20 something minutes. Along with Gremlins 2, showcases that Dante can be wacky and inventive in live action as any animation director. Rosenbaum including this in his 1000 essential films was a bold and badass move.