Child's Play screenwriter John Lafia and co-writer/director of its sequel died April 29 in Los Angeles at the age of 63 according to Variety. Lafia teamed with Tom Holland and Don Mancini on the classic horror screenplay, giving the murderous doll Chucky his name and the famous line, "Hi, I'm Chucky, wanna play?"
The film would go on to spawn a successful franchise and topped the box office upon its release. The original won a Saturn award for best horror film and was remade in 2019, featuring a writing credit for Lafia.
The horror community lost a good one today. John Lafia is responsible for one of the most unique series in horror by co-creating “Child’s Play”. He also directed arguably the most fun entry in the series with “Child’s Play 2”. Thank you for your fun work sir. #RIPJohnLafia pic.twitter.com/6NllpxzkSW— Alex Lehew (@ALehew381) May 2, 2020
According to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, Lafia's cause of death was the result of suicide, leaving behind his children, Tess and Kane, and former wife Beverly. Child's Play creator and fellow screenwriter Don Mancini shared some words in a statement released by the 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," Mancini wrote. "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 earned a BFA in Motion Picture and Television at UCLA, later working in the art department for Alex Cox's cult-favorite Repo Man and Space Raiders before his turn to screenwriting. His first major credit according to Variety was The Blue Iguana starring Dylan McDermott, selected for a midnight screening during the 1988 Cannes Film Festival. Away from Child's Play, Lafia also directed Man's Best Friend, the movie that follows a genetically engineered killer rottweiler, and the TV mini-series 10.5 and sequel 10.5: Apocalypse.
He also directed some episodes of Nightmare on Elm Street TV series Freddy's Nightmares, giving him another horror icon connection, and was involved in the Los Angeles underground music scene during the 1980s. Rest in peace.
If you or someone you know are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.