Friends, earlier this evening by way of a Deadline article from Anita Bennett, Earl Green passed along the sad news that John Lafia has passed away at the age of 63. Lafia wore many hats throughout his career from being a musician, producer, writer of screenplays as well as teleplays, and Director. Two of his earliest professional jobs in show business involved ’80s cult films – the first was as a set dresser for Space Raiders, the 1983 ‘space Western’ produced by the legendary Roger Corman. While I will be the first to admit that I quite enjoy the rather cheesy science fiction film starring the likes of David Mendenhall (Over the Top) and Vince Edwards (Ben Casey) – it was the second film that Lafia worked on the following year as leadman that is one of the greatest cult films of all time – Repo Man!
John Lafia would write and direct his first feature film in 1988 with The Blue Iguna which starred Dylan McDermott and Jessica Harper – in addition Lafia would produce the soundtrack for the picture. That same year though saw the release of Child’s Play which was directed by Tom Holland (Fright Night, Thinner) who also co-wrote the screenplay with Lafia from the original screenplay by Don Mancini. Lafia has been credited with coming up with the name Chucky and providing the murderous doll’s catchphrase “Hi, I’m Chucky, wanna play?”.
While not contributing to the screenplay for the 1990 sequel, Lafia did get to helm Child’s Play 2 – working from a screenplay by Don Mancini. John Lafia during that time would also direct two episodes of the short-lived syndicated series Freddy’s Nightmares as well going on to write and direct Man’s Best Friend starring Lance Henriksen and Ally Sheedy. He would also direct episodes of Babylon 5, The Rats TV movie, and the popular television mini-series 10.5 as well as the follow up 10.5: Apocalypse.
Obviously it is never enjoyable to write these types of articles, but it feels important to share our appreciation of the work of John Lafia – just for his part in the creation of Chucky and the beginning of the Child’s Play franchise he will be long remembered.