John Carl Buechler, the director behind Troll and Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, passed away today following a battle with prostate cancer. A GoFundMe page that Buechler's wife had launched last month to help pay for his medical bills confirmed the news, saying, "John passed away Monday March 18th at 1:00 a.m. His family is absolutely devastated, as are many of his fans and friends. His wife, who works for the school system, has been left with thousands of dollars worth of bills and the position to care for three children. Please donate to this newly captioned memorial fund help them get through this terrible tough time."
In addition to the films named above, Buechler directed cult classics like Ghoulies Go to College and several episodes of the '90s TV series Land of the Lost. Buechler, who was 66, was probably more well-known for his work as a special effects supervisor. In that role, he had a hand in films like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, TerrorVision, Carnosaur, and The Garbage Pail Kids Movie. The breadth of his career and his impact on the effects community is significant, even if his name might not be a household one outside of the hardcore horror-junky community.
Born in Illinois in 1952, Buechler began his special effects career in 1980 with Dr. Heckyl And Mr. Hype, then quickly became a staple in the horror biz, working on movies like Trancers and Ghoulies before moving to directing with Troll. His career would remain mostly in the effects realm, with the occasional directorial effort thrown in, and almost exclusively in the horror, sci-fi, and fantasy spheres.
Before his death, Full Moon Entertainment donated copies of Buechler's work to be given away to donors on the GoFundMe page. "John is of course, Full Moon and Empire Pictures royalty, with groundbreaking practical effects work gracing such classics as Re-Animator and Ghoulies and having himself directed major genre pictures like Troll and Cellar Dweller," the statement said in part. "This is the man who gave a generation a window into the world of the fantastic and frightful. We owe him."
Buechler is survived by his wife, Lynn, and their three children. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends, and fans at this difficult time.