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Greatest horror film of all time.

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October: It starts with bags of discount candy and ends with a rotten pumpkin. In between? Crunchy leaves, homemade ghosts and Michael Myers.

I wasn’t born in 1978, but I knew about John Carpenter’s Halloween long before I ever saw it. At countless sleepovers, older siblings of neighborhood friends would whisper about Michael Myers in passing, leaving us kids to freak out alone in dark dens and shadowy bedrooms. “His mask, dude,” one shaggy-haired brother warned me. “It’ll haunt you forever.”

He wasn’t wrong. And I wasn’t alone.

Today the film celebrates its 35th anniversary, and the soulless gaze of Michael Myers continues to send shivers down the spines of fans both new and old. Yet its terror resonates far beyond a retooled William Shatner mask, strangling, instead, the neck of something fundamentally greater.

The story begins on Halloween 1963, when a 6-year-old Michael Myers murders his older sister with a butcher…

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