John Lafia, who co-wrote 1988 horror film Child’s Play and also co-wrote and directed Child’s Play 2, has passed away aged 63.
Lafia died by suicide on April 29 in Los Angeles, he is survived by his children, Tess and Kane, and his former wife Beverly.
Lafia collaborated with Tom Holland and Don Mancini on the horror movie screenplay, and was credited with coining the name Chucky and contributed the famous line, “Hi, I’m Chucky, wanna play?” In 1988, the original Child’s Play went on to top the box office and received a Saturn award for best horror film, as well as a nomination for best writing. He also received a writing credit on the 2019 remake.
Child’s Play creator and screenwriter Don Mancini said in a statement provided 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. 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.”
Lafia was born in 1957 and received a BFA in Motion Picture and Television from UCLA. He worked in the art department on Alex Cox’s Repo Man and on Space Raiders before moving into screenwriting.
His first major credit was 1988’s The Blue Iguana, an action film starring Dylan McDermott, which he wrote and directed in addition to producing its soundtrack.
His other directing credits include the TV series Freddy’s Nightmares, TV movie The Rats and the live action video game Corpse Killer.
Lafia’s last project was the TV movie Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone in 2006, starring Scott Foley and Richard Burgi.
Aside from the big and small screen in 2012, Lafia, released his passion project, a musical drama he wrote, directed, shot and edited, The Ballad of Frank and Cora. He also co-produced the soundtrack with musician Bill Jones.
After starting out in L.A.’s underground music scene in the 1980s, he returned to composing and recording and released a double album John Lafia 1980-1985 in 2019.
Check out our interviews with Child’s Play Alumni below: