Very sad news is coming in today for us to pass along as writer and filmmaker John Lafia has reportedly committed suicide at 63 years old. Known to horror fans for co-writing the very first Child’s Play movie and directing the fan favorite sequel Child’s Play 2, Lafia is credited as the person to coin the name Chucky for the movie’s famous killer doll as well as coming up with the famous phrase, “Hi, I’m Chucky, wanna play?” The details of his reported suicide are not clear at this time, though the news was confirmed by Child’s Play co-writer Don Mancini in a statement released by Lafia’s family.
“We’re devastated to hear of the passing of our friend John Lafia. He was a crucial part of the Chucky family from the very beginning,” Mancini writes, also crediting the Lafia-helmed Child’s Play 2 as the “consensus favorite film” among fans of the franchise. Mancini also adds: “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.”
Born in 1957, Lafia earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Motion Picture and Television from UCLA. Early into his filmmaking career, he would work in the art department he worked as a set dresser for the sci-fi Western Space Raiders and as a leadman for the Alex Cox movie Repo Man in the early ’80s. Tapping into his more creative side, Lafia began to pursue screenwriting and directing, leading to writing and directing his first movie, The Blue Iguana, which was released in 1988. A crime drama following a bounty hunter, the movie stars Dylan McDermott and Jessica Harper.
Around this time, Lafia had also been contributing to the Child’s Play screenplay and directed two episodes of the A Nightmare on Elm Street television series spin-off Freddy’s Nightmares. When Child’s Play proved to be a big hit with horror fans, Lafia returned behind the camera for Child’s Play 2 in 1990, this time as the director. While some of the installments of the Child’s Play series can be divisive with fans, the second movie remains a cult classic with many referring to it as the best in the series. Lafia would follow this up by writing and directing the dog horror movie Man’s Best Friend and the bizarre action-thriller Bombmeister about a mad bomber dressed as a clown.
Lafia would also contribute heavily to various television productions over the years, sometimes as a director and other times as a screenwriter. He’d write episodes of The Adventures of Sinbad and Ghost Stories and directed episodes of Babylon 5 and The Dead Zone. Lafia also directed television movies like Monster, The Rats, and Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone. He also wrote and directed the disaster mini-series 10.5 and its follow-up series 10.5: Apocalypse, which aired on television in the mid 2000s.
Lafia’s survivors include his former wife, Beverly, and two children, Tess and Kane. Our thoughts are with them at this terribly difficult time. May he rest in peace.
If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, please call 1-800-273-8255 or visit the official website for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The program provides free and confidential emotional support to those in emotional distress or a suicidal crisis 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so don’t hestitate to reach out in the event of a suicidal crisis. This news comes to us from Variety.