Legendary Horror Director and SFX Artist John Carl Buechler Dies at 66

director John Carl Buechler -Getty-H 2019
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The Hollywood makeup master directed 'Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood,' 'Troll' and 'Ghoulies Go to College.'

John Carl Buechler, whose Hollywood horror makeup and special effects made movies like Hatchet, Deep Freeze and the Michael Moriarty-starrer Troll into classic frightfests, has died. He was 66. 

Buechler died Monday after a bout with stage 4 prostate cancer, New York City-based genre film and Fantasia Film Festival publicist Ted Geoghegan confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. News of Buechler's death also appeared on a GoFundMe page launched a month ago by his wife, Lynn Buechler, to help pay for medical expenses incurred as part of his treatment.

"His family is absolutely devastated as are many of his fans and friends ... To all of you who sent good wishes and love please know that your communication really lifted his spirits," the fund-raising appeal said Monday in a statement.

Besides completing creature effects for classic genre pics like Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator and Ghoulies, Buechler directed such films as Troll, Cellar Dweller and Friday the 13th: The New Blood.

His FX work also showed up in the ReNightmare on Elm Street franchise, Halloween, Ghoulies and Ghoulies II, The Garbage Pail Kids and Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade.

VFX creators and those who were inspired by Buechler's work, or worked alongside him, paid tribute to the makeup master and director.

"Absolutely gutted to hear the news of John Carl Buechler’s passing. A kind, humble genius who made two films I was in soar with his mastery. Gone way too soon. We will all miss you, love you for what you gave us...RIP gently, your suffering is over xx," actress Barbara Crampton, who co-starred in 1985's Re-Animator, said on her Twitter page.

"Rest In Peace #johncarlbuechler you were incredible in every way and far more amazing than the creations your talent gave us. You will be missed every day but will live on in the imaginations of all. Bless you, sir. And thanks," Zombieworld and Dread Central Live producer Steve Barton said on his own Twitter page.

Born on June 18, 1952, in Belleville, Illinois, Buechler got his start in horror films in 1980 upon being employed as a special prosthetics artist on the Oliver Reed-starrer Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype. He soon established a name with monster makeup work on Ghoulies in 1984 and Troll in 1986, which Buechler created and directed.

By 1988, Buechler introduced slasher movie audiences to Kane Hodder as Jason Vorhees when he directed Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. He also did VFX through his production shingle, Mechanical Imageries, in the sci-fi and horror/fantasy movie genres.