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October 31, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
It was just before dinnertime, about 6 p.m. when Bryan Sweatt called the emergency operator in Greenwood, S.C., a rural town once known for its textile mills. He told the woman who answered the 911 call that he was stressed out. A woman is heard crying in the background of the emergency recording released by the sheriff's office. The operator asks Sweatt whether he has a gun. “A .44,” Sweat is heard answering and then the telephone line goes dead. According to authorities, Sweatt broke into his girlfriend's parents' home in Greenwood, a community of some 23,000 people, where he shot and killed five people, including two children, before committing suicide.
October 30, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
British food regulators' proposal to lower the minimum sugar content for what can be labeled as jam has stirred up a hyperbolic debate in Parliament that pits hidebound culinary traditionalists against those seeking to boost trade. The proposed change would allow jam makers to market their wares with as little as 50% sugar content, instead of the current mandatory 60% minimum. But the law would still leave it up to the cooks to decide whether they wanted to change their recipe or stick with the old ways.
October 30, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
Deborah Cavallaro is a hard-working real estate agent in the Westchester suburb of Los Angeles who has been featured prominently on a round of news shows lately, talking about how badly Obamacare is going to cost her when her existing plan gets canceled and she has to find a replacement. She says she's angry at President Obama for having promised that people who like their health plans could keep them, when hers is getting canceled for not meeting Obamacare's standards.  "Please explain to me," she told Maria Bartiromo on CNBC Wednesday, "how my plan is a 'substandard' plan when ... I'd be paying more for the exchange plans than I am currently paying by a wide margin.
October 29, 2013 | By Nico Lang, guest blogger
I know what it's like to be Carrie White, the titular pariah in the classic horror film "Carrie. " I used to be her. In middle school, I was the kid who sat by himself at lunch, listening to my CD player or reading a book, hoping not to be noticed. I thought if I stared hard enough at the pages, I might disappear. Invisibility had its advantages. If the other students couldn't see me, they couldn't laugh when I walked past or whisper the nickname they had made up for me. Some time around the sixth grade, my classmates figured out that my name sounds a lot like “Dick Wang,” and every time someone pushed me into a locker or threw my backpack in the garbage, it wasn't me they were doing it to. It was him. For current and former teenage losers, Carrie White has become an icon, which explains her continual rebirth in pop culture.
October 26, 2013 | By Alene Dawson
Halloween is the time to indulge those seemingly pathological cravings to get scared out of your skull. Who in their right mind would subject themselves to blood-splattery horror movies or haunted houses blaring high-pitched screams while serving bowls of grapes dressed as slimy, edible eyeballs? Lots of us, and experts say good can actually come from these predilections. Fear protects us "People think being afraid is a bad thing, but the reason we evolved to be afraid is that the world is pretty dangerous and we've evolved very powerful systems that automatically force us to do our natural defensive and protective behaviors," says Michael Fanselow, a UCLA behavioral neuroscientist.
October 25, 2013 | By Steven Zeitchik
Ten months into the moviegoing year, and many of the most lucrative surprises at the box office are cut of the horror cloth: “The Conjuring” ($137 million), “Insidious Chapter 2” ($81 million), “Mama” ($71 million). Conceived with low expectations and lower budgets, all three coasted to weekend wins and have ended up in the box office top 50. You could imagine, then, how it was easy to think "Carrie" could continue the trend last weekend -- A-list cast, big marketing spend and the added selling point that the film shares name and concept with one of the most popular horror movies of all time.
October 24, 2013 | By Mark Olsen
By 1980, John Landis had a string of successes under his belt - including "The Kentucky Fried Movie," "Animal House" and "The Blues Brothers" - but the writer-director had long been unable to get his script for "An American Werewolf in London" off the ground. Landis had written the script in 1969 as a teenager. The screenplay earned him a number of writing jobs in the ensuing years, Landis recalled this week, but "everyone, literally unanimously, had the same response, which was either 'this is too funny to be frightening' or 'this is too frightening to be funny.' And I kept saying, 'it's both.'" Finally, Universal, home to many horror classics, released the $10-million picture in 1981, and it took in more than $30 million at the domestic box office (about $86 million in today's dollars)
October 24, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Richard Kadrey's new novel, "Dead Set," gave me nightmares. And I can't stop myself from telling him - even though the bestselling horror author dresses in black, has intimidating tattoos and the watchful bearing of an assassin. He's reluctant to take off his dark glasses. "Cool," he says, stirring his coffee in the dim daytime light of a Los Angeles bar. "It's an experiment. " "Dead Set" (Harper Voyager, $22.99) is far less violent than the bestselling Sandman Slim series he's known for: "There's fewer bad words and less actual bloody body parts.
October 23, 2013 | By Susan King
The American Cinematheque Aero Theatre' s eighth annual Dust-to-Dawn Horrothon, which kicks off Saturday evening, features six horror flicks, trailers, shorts, giveaways and even coffee and energy drinks to help die-hard fans make it through the night. The fun stars at 7:30 p.m. with "Amityville II: The Possession," the 1982 prequel to 1979's "The Amityville Horror. " The prequel stars Burt Young and is directed by Damiano Damiani. Next up is the 1977 cult fave "Kingdom of the Spiders," starring William Shatner as a vet whose Arizona town is being overrun by some nasty tarantulas.
October 21, 2013 | By Laura King
CAIRO - It was nearly 9 p.m., but the Church of the Virgin Mary, the heart of the Christian community in a ramshackle neighborhood on Cairo's outskirts, was alive with activity. One elaborate Coptic wedding ritual was ending, and another was soon to begin. Relatives and friends of the couples crowded the church's entryway, spilling onto the sidewalks of a busy street that roared with traffic night and day. That was when the gunfire erupted. The assailants were masked and riding motorbikes, witnesses said.
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