Writer-director John Lafia, who co-wrote the 1988 horror movie ‘Child’s Play’ and directed its 1990 sequel, died on April 29. He was 63.
“We’re devastated to hear of the passing of our friend John Lafia,” said ‘Child’s Play’ creator and screenwriter Don Mancini in a statement. “John was an incredibly generous artist. He taught me more about filmmaking during the production of that movie than several semesters in film school. John was also one of the most naturally curious and constantly creative people I ever met, someone who was always taking pictures and jotting down ideas.”
Lafia was born on April 2, 1957, and got his start in the Los Angeles experimental music scene in the 80s before kick-starting a career in film.
After receiving a bachelor of fine arts degree in motion picture and television from UCLA, he worked in the art department on “Repo Man” and “Space Raiders” before pivoting to screenwriting.
He wrote, directed and produced the soundtrack for 1988’s ‘The Blue Iguana’, his first major credit. In 1993, he wrote and directed the sci-fi film “Man’s Best Friend,” which opened at No. 6 and went on to earn more than $12 million at the box office.
For ‘Child’s Play’, Lafia coined the name ‘Chucky’ and contributed the oft-quoted line “Hi, I’m Chucky, wanna play?” to the script.
In 2004, Lafia wrote, directed and produced the TV miniseries ‘10.5’, about a massive earthquake on North America’s West Coast, and its spin-off, ‘10.5: Apocalypse’, two years later. He also directed the TV series ‘Freddy’s Nightmares’, the TV movie ‘The Rats’ and the live-action video game ‘Corpse Killer’. His last TV movie was ‘Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone’, also in 2006.
In 2012, Lafia independently released his final film, ‘The Ballad of Frank and Cora’, a musical drama passion project he wrote, directed, shot and edited, co-producing the soundtrack with musician Bill Jones. In 2019, he composed, recorded and released a double album, ‘John Lafia 1980-1985’.
The cause of death was suicide, according to the Los Angeles County medical examiner-coroner’s office.
Lafia is survived by his children, Tess and Kane, and his ex-wife, Beverly.