Buechler and Kevin McCarthy on the set of Ghoulies III in 1991
Photo: Vestron Pictures (Getty Images)

As reported by Syfy Wire, horror director and special effects artist John Carl Buechler has died following a battle with prostate cancer. The news was confirmed by a GoFundMe page that Buechler’s wife launched last month to help pay for his medical bills (the page has since been changed to a memorial fund to help his family). Though his name might not be well-known, Buechler had a hand in loads of famous horror films throughout his decades-long career, including Friday The 13th Part VII, Halloween 4, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, the original Troll, and more recent slasher movies like Hatchet. Buechler was 66.

Born in Illinois in 1952, Buechler first broke into the special effects business in 1980 with Dr. Heckyl And Mr. Hype, quickly going on to work on a number of early-’80s sci-fi/horror movies like Trancers, The Dungeonmaster, The Prey, and Ghoulies—best known for being the movie with the monster coming out of a toilet on the poster. Just a few years later, Buechler directed his first feature film with Troll, a movie that spawned an infamously terrible sequel (though at this point it’s officially considered “terrible in a good way”).

Over the next few decades, Buechler continued hopping back and forth between directing, writing, and special effects work, with some acting roles thrown in as well. He directed Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood, the one where a resurrected Jason Voorhees battles against a teenager with telepathic powers, and he continued working on effects for the Ghoulies series, The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, A Nightmare On Elm Street 4, and tons of other films with either animatronic creatures, gore, or—more often than not—both.

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Buechler is survived by his wife and children, and you can find the GoFundMe campaign at this link.