John Lafia

John Lafia (April 2, 1957 – April 29, 2020) was an American film and television writer, director, producer and musician.[1] He attended UCLA, where he received his BFA in Motion Picture/Television. Lafia has over thirty produced credits and has written scripts or directed shows for Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, New Line Cinema, Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures, MGM/UA, Warner Bros., NBC, CBS, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate and many other independent companies.

John Lafia
BornApril 2, 1957
Died (aged 63)
Alma materUniversity of California, Los Angeles
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter, producer, musician
Years active1983–2014

CareerEdit

Lafia's first feature film was The Blue Iguana, which he wrote and directed as well as producing the soundtrack. It was selected to screen at a special midnight showing in the Palais des Festivals at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival.[2] Lafia co-wrote the screenplay for Child's Play (1988). As a credited screenwriter he was responsible for coining the name “Chucky” and contributing trademark dialog such as “Hi, I’m Chucky, wanna play?” Upon its release, Child’s Play was number one at the North American box office. The film won a Saturn Award for Best Horror Film, as well as a nomination for best writing. The film was also an Official Selection at the Festival International du Film Fantastique d'Avoriaz. Lafia went on to direct Child's Play 2 (1990). The film debuted at number one on the North American box-office charts. It was nominated for a Saturn Award as well as chosen to be an Official Selection at the Festival International du Film Fantastique d'Avoriaz. Lafia followed Child's Play 2 with Man's Best Friend (1993), which he both wrote and directed for New Line Cinema. The film debuted at number two on the North American box-office charts. Man's Best Friend won the Special Prize at the Festival international du film fantastique de Gérardmer voted on by a jury led by Terry Gilliam and Walter Hill. Man's Best Friend also garnered a Saturn Award Nomination for best Science Fiction Film as well as being an Official Selection at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival and the Beauvais Film Festival Cinemalia.

In the mid-90s, Lafia became an early pioneer of new media. He directed the live-action video game Corpse Killer (1994) for Digital Pictures/Sega, and an interactive featurette, Bombmeister (1995), for Sony/Interfilm.[3] Both works married computer technology with live-action imagery and digital graphics to present the audience with an interactive world that was just beginning to appear on the horizon. Lafia also became active in episodic and longform television, directing multiple episodes of Babylon 5 and TV movies: The Rats, Chameleon 3: Dark Angel, Monster, Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone, and Code 1114 for Paramount, Fox, A&E and CBS. This culminated in the NBC mini-series 10.5 (2004) and its sequel 10.5: Apocalypse (2006) which Lafia wrote, directed and produced. Upon its release, 10.5 became the highest rated mini-series of the year, drawing viewers of twenty million for two nights, and is among the top five mini-series of the decade.

Prior to his career as a filmmaker, Lafia was involved in the underground Los Angeles music scene. Going by the name John J. Lafia, his early work, Prayers (1984) was released on the cassette only label, Tranceport Tapes, featuring an album cover by Lane Smith (illustrator) and original artwork by Lafia.[4] This was followed by tracks on LA Mantra Two (1984) and Phantom Cuts (1985). Lafia was also featured on the spoken word anthology, English as a Second Language (1983) alongside Los Angeles poets Charles Bukowski, Wanda Coleman and Exene Cervenka. He has a track on the German compilation, Voices From North America (1994) recorded with producer/musician Ethan James. In 2008, John began to focus on composing and recording as his primary art practice once again. He created the short rock opera The Ballad of Frank and Cora, (2013) for which he wrote the music and performed vocals for the title role. In 2019, a limited edition double LP of John's music was issued by Discos Transgenero and released by Aguirre Records.[5] This compilation, "John Lafia 1980-1985" was released digitally shortly thereafter. He was preparing more releases covering the same time period and continuing to record new material in his studio in the Los Angeles area of Silver Lake, California.

DeathEdit

John Lafia died of suicide by hanging on April 29, 2020.[6] He is survived by his children and former wife.[7]

FilmographyEdit

Theatrical filmsEdit

Year Title Director Writer Other Notes
1983 Space Raiders Yes Set dresser
1984 Repo Man Yes Leadman
1988 The Blue Iguana Yes Yes Yes Executive music producer
1988 Child's Play Yes
1990 Child's Play 2 Yes
1993 Man's Best Friend Yes Yes
1995 Bombmeister Yes

TelevisionEdit

Year(s) Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1988-1989 Freddy's Nightmares Yes Television series (2 episodes)
1991 Dark Justice Yes Television series (2 episodes)
1996 The Adventures of Sinbad Yes Television series (episode "Still Life")
1997 Babylon 5 Yes Television series (3 episodes)
1998 Ghost Stories Yes Television series (episode "Underground")
1999 Monster Yes Television film
2000 Chameleon 3: Dark Angel Yes Television film
2002 The Dead Zone Yes Television series (episode "Quality of Life")
2002 The Rats Yes Television film
2003 Code 11-14 Story Executive Television film
2004 10.5 Yes Yes Television mini-series (2 episodes) / cameo as "Irate Man"
2006 10.5: Apocalypse Yes Yes Co-Executive Television mini-series (2 episodes) / performing song "Understanding"
2006 Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone Yes Television film / cameo as "Irate Man #2"
2014 Jack's Jacuze Associate Television mini-series (4 episodes)

Video game directedEdit

DiscographyEdit

  • English as a Second Language: Odyssey Girls (1983) – composer, producer
  • Prayers (1984) – composer, performer
  • LA Mantra 2: Queen Of The Nile (1984) – composer, performer
  • Phantom Takes: The Moth (1985) – composer, performer
  • Voices From North America: The Confession (1986) – composer, performer
  • John Lafia 1980-1985 (2019) – composer, performer

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "John Lafia". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Blue Iguana". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  3. ^ Wilson, F. Paul (March 31, 2009). Aftershock & Others: 16 Oddities. Tom Doherty Associates. p. 161. ISBN 978-1-4299-6817-1.
  4. ^ "John J. Lafia Prayers".
  5. ^ https://www.aguirrerecords.com/products/john-j-lafia-1980-1985
  6. ^ Bennett, Anita (May 2, 2020). "John Lafia Dies: 'Child's Play 2' Director And Writer Was 63". Deadline. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  7. ^ Shafer, Ellise (May 2, 2020). "Child's Play' Co-Screenwriter John Lafia Dies at 63". Variety. Retrieved May 3, 2020.

External linksEdit