R.I.P. ‘Child’s Play’ Co-Writer and Sequel Director John J. Lafia

Heartbreaking news this weekend as the Lafia family has announced the passing of John J. Lafia, a co-writer on the first Child’s Play and director of its sequel, which many consider the best in the franchise.

“It is with great sadness we announce that loving father, film and television writer, director, producer and musician John J. Lafia passed away on Wednesday, April 29,” stated a press release from the Lafia family who also provided a wonderful look back at his career.

“Born in 1957, Lafia was influential in the Los Angeles experimental music scene in the 1980’s before launching a successful film career.

“Lafia attended UCLA. His first feature film was The Blue Iguana (1988), which he wrote and directed as well as producing the soundtrack. It featured a theme song by Kurtis Blow, was Dylan McDermott’s first role as a leading man, and starred a diverse cast including the likes of Flea, Jessica Harper, Pamela Gidley, and James Russo. The Blue Iguana was screened at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival.

“Most notably, Lafia co-wrote the screenplay for the North American #1 theatrical horror film Child’s Play (1988).

What many don’t know is that John coined the name “Chucky” and contributed the cinematic classic line: “Hi, I’m Chucky, wanna play?”

“Lafia went on to direct Child’s Play 2 (1990) and then New Line Cinema’s Man’s Best Friend (1993), which he wrote and directed. Other notable career highlights include multiple episodes of television series such as “Babylon 5”, “Dead Zone”, “Dark Justice” and TV movies such as The Rats, Chameleon 3: Dark Angel, Monster, Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone, and Code 1114 for Paramount, Fox, A&E, CBS and UPN.

“In the mid-1990’s, Lafia also directed the Digital Pictures/Sega live-action video game Corpse Killer and interactive featurette Bombmeister for Sony/Interfilm. These two early works paired computer technology with live-action imagery and digital graphics to immerse the audience in an interactive world.

In 2012, Lafia independently released his passion project, a musical drama called The Ballad of Frank and Cora. He wrote, directed, shot, and edited the film as well as co-producing the soundtrack with musician Bill Jones. The film featured lead vocals from Lafia and Michele Rene and starred Irena Costa and Tobias Jelinek. It was his final film. Watch his final work here.

Child’s Play creator Don Mancini shared the following statement:

Devastated by this news. John was a crucial part of the Chucky family from the very beginning. He co-wrote the original Child’s Play script along with director Tom Holland and myself, and John directed Child’s Play 2 — the consensus favorite film among Chucky fans. John was an incredibly generous artist. He let me tag along with him to every meeting, and shadow him on set; 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. Much love to Beverly, and to John’s children Kane and Tess, of whom he was so proud.

Bloody Disgusting sends our thoughts and prayers to John’s surviving family and friends.

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