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Peter Cushing
The horrific John Carpenter
The horrific John Carpenter

Thirty-three years ago, a low-cost independent horror movie — one that started with the suggestion to make a film about babysitters being murdered — began making the rounds at movie theaters. Few noticed it at first, but that soon changed. John Carpenter's "Halloween" has become an acknowledged classic, a taut and surprisingly restrained exercise in shock and suspense that changed the American horror film forever. No longer would it be enough to create horrific characters; they'd have to do horrific things as well, and do them right there on the screen. For good or ill, without "Halloween," there would never have been a "Friday the...

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