• Or is it . . . the beginning? From Joe Dante’s The Movie Orgy

Like John Carpenter, who’s featured on the B Side of the Reader this week, Joe Dante is one of those rare Hollywood filmmakers who trade in horror and fantasy but still command the respect of auteurists. Partly this is because he knows his film lore (I once had the pleasure of hearing him introduce the W.C. Fields comedy It’s a Gift), but mainly it’s because his movies are so smart. Since Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) he’s operated well inside the parameters of Steven Spielberg’s fun-at-all-costs ethic, yet movies like Gremlins (1984), Matinee (1993), and Small Soldiers (1998) are also witty and slyly subversive. Dante appears in Chicago at Music Box on Friday for a double feature of his latest movie, The Hole, and a midnight show of Gremlins 2: The New Batch. On Saturday at Nightingale he’ll preside over a rare screening of The Movie Orgy, an epic montage of pop-culture effluvia he first presented in 1968.