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THE SEMI-DAILY HORROR MOVIE QUOTE OF THE DAY-JUNE 17, 2013

From NEAR DARK featuring Adrian Pasdar as Caleb Colton and Lance Henriksen (pictured) as Jesse Hooker:

capture-20130617-044338

Caleb:How old are you?

Jesse: Let’s put it this way: I fought for the South.

Caleb: South?

Jesse: We lost.

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ABOMINABLE

ABOMINABLE-United States-2006

Matt McCoy as Preston Rogers

Haley Joel as Amanda

Jeffrey Combs as Clerk

Dee Wallace-Stone as Ethel Hoss and Rex Linn as Farmer Hoss

Lance Henriksen as Ziegler Dane

Paul Gleason as Sheriff Halderman

Directed by Ryan Schifrin

Story by Ryan Schifrin and James Morrison

Written by Ryan Schifrin

Last week there was a video article on Yahoo about a couple of people filming what they thought was a black bear foraging in the bushes. Then the bear stood up and it (allegedly) turned out to be a Sasquatch and the rest of the video is a lot of shaky camera work because the people are running scared and trying not to crap their drawers. I don’t know how true all this is but it got me to thinking; if Bigfoot, or Sasquatch as he is often referred to actually does exist then he has got one hell of a sense of humor. How else do you explain all the shaky videos where some yokel is filming some god-awful looking forest video for God knows what reason only to have a Bigfoot enter the scene and send them running like…like…well crap, I got nothing. But you know what I mean. I guarantee you that before that Sasquatch enters camera range he’s there with his buddies going, “Hey, guys, don’t look now but there’s another one. Ya’ll watch this. This is going to be good.”

Alright, I told you that little tale as a lead in to my review to the latest (it was released in 2006 and if there’s any newer ones after that I don’t know about them) Bigfoot movie extravaganza Abominable. It’s my way of saying that I didn’t take this movie seriously and neither should you. But, I will tell you this much; in the not so long list of Bigfoot movies it offers quite a few scares, is a lot of fun and may very well be the best of the bunch.

Preston Rogers (Matt McCoy, L.A. Confidential, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle) returns to the woods with his therapist as a form of rehab to help him get over the death of his wife in a climbing accident that left him a quadriplegic. It’s also a way to get a little rest and relaxation and it doesn’t hurt that soon after Preston moves in a group of hot young college babes led by Haley Joel (Crash Landing) and the perpetually naked Tiffany Shepis (Nightmare Man, Night of the Demons). But of course poor old Preston starts hearing things in the forest just outside his window and the next thing you know there’s a Bigfoot looking back at him. Now the rest of film deals with Preston trying to save the girls and get out of Dodge before Bigfoot chews them up and spits them out and makes Preston his personal bitch. Good times!!

As I mentioned earlier Abominable is just a whole lot of scary fun. There never seems to be a moment in the film where you felt that director Ryan Schifrin (son of composer Lalo Schifrin) is trying to say ‘Please, we are making a serious movie here,” The guy’s even smart enough to pepper the film with popular genre actors Jeffrey Combs (Re-animator), Lance Henriksen (Pumpkinhead) and Dee Wallace-Stone (The Howling). He’s also smart enough to actually let us get a look at the titular beast. Then again, there also lies the problem. The creature in Abominable is scary in medium shots or quick close-ups; but too much examination and we see that it looks like what would happen if Clint Howard had drunk sex with a Sasquatch and this was the result nine months later. I just hope Clint respected the lady Sasquatch in the morning. Anyway, I’m digressing here. Check out Abominable for some damn good scary Bigfoot and naked Tiffany Shepis fun.

TRIVIA

Sheriff Halderman (Paul Gleason) is seen taking a sip from a mug with the quote “Don’t mess with the bull”. Paul Gleason’s famous character of Principal Richard Vernon from The Breakfast Club (and reprised in Not Another Teen Movie) has a line “Don’t mess with the bull, young man. You’ll get the horns” as he’s reprimanding John Bender (Judd Nelson).

Tiffany Shepis was pregnant when she acted in this film.

Rex Linn agreed to act in the movie under the condition that he got to play the monster in one scene.

The director’s father composed the musical score.

ALIEN³

ALIEN³-United States-1992

Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley

Charles S. Dutton as Dillon

Charles Dance as Clemens

Directed by David Fincher

Story by Vincent Ward

Screenplay by David Giler, Walter Hill and Larry Ferguson

Based on characters created by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett

Do you want to know what it was that doomed Alien³ from the start? It was the fact that it was neither Alien nor Aliens. Seriously speaking, how could you even hope to compete with two of the most perfect blends of science fiction and horror and action and adventure that the cinema has ever seen? Director David Fincher (Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) should not be vilified for what could only in oxymoronic terms be called a successful failure; he should be applauded for attempting it in the first place. Add the fact that there seemed to be enough screenplays and story treatments to make twenty movies; and Fincher meeting with resistance from all sides and it’s a miracle Alien³ was even made in the first place.

After escaping an angry alien queen and an exploding LV-246 (Acheron); Ripley, Hicks, Newt and the android Bishop crash land on Fiorina “Fury” 161, a correctional planet that once housed thousands of Double Y chromosome maximum risk prisoners. Now it’s the home for 22 inmates and 3 custodians and a disgraced doctor (Charles Dance, A Game of Thrones, and Underworld: Awakening). Hicks and Newt are killed in the crash and Bishop is reduced to the kind of crap that you’d buy at your local Radio Shack. Ripley is taken in, reluctantly, by the   inmates, who haven’t seen a woman in years, much less been with one.

Now here is where I remind you that the title of this movie is Alien³. So before these horny, deprived bastards can go all Ron Jeremy on Miss Ripley, they have to contend with the mean and speedy xenomorph that’s stalking and killing them after impregnating a dog and bursting from its abdomen. Might I also add that facehugger (alien) and canine (dog) were never properly introduced and neither flowers nor kibble were exchanged? So now the remainder of the film is Ripley and the stooges trying to not only kill the nasty beast before it kills them, but staying alive long enough for a rescue ship to arrive and make like a giant box of Calgon.

Alien³ is not the horrible motion picture that it’s been made out to be for all these years. There are some unnecessary scenes, i.e. the love scene between Dr. Clemens (Dance) and Ripley (Sigourney Weaver, Aliens, Avatar). It is a well-acted little film that tries, and ultimately fails, to incorporate the elements that made the first two films in the series such a success. Viewed separately, Alien³ is a nifty little sci-fi movie. Alas, instead you have the little Alien film that almost could.

TRIVIA

Multiple proposed scripts caused misleading advertising which implied that the movie would be set on Earth. William Gibson also drafted a script in which Ripley spent most of the film in a coma.

First-time director David Fincher disowned the film, citing constant studio interference and actually walked out of production before editing began.

Early versions of the script and design featured a giant rustic monastery. Also, the alien itself would not be appearing.

The creature that the alien impregnates was originally an ox, but was eventually changed because an ox was cumbersome and was seen as somewhat incongruous when placed in the film’s environment. This sequence was later restored for the extended “Assembly Cut.”

One possible idea for the film included a chest-burster coming out of Michael Biehn‘s character, Hicks. A replica of the actor with his chest torn open was created, but after Biehn discovered this, he threatened to sue the producers for using his likeness without his consent, and the idea was dropped. Later, the producers paid him to use his picture at the beginning of the film for the computer sequence. Apparently he received more money for use of this one image than for his role in Aliens.

One early draft of the script focused almost entirely on Hicks, Bishop and Newt, played in Aliens by Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen and Carrie Henn respectively. The story would tie up loose ends from the preceding film with Newt returning to Earth to live with her grandparents, as well as Hicks and Bishop and a new team of Colonial Marines battling a rival faction of planets who use the Alien as a bio-weapon.

½

ALIENS

ALIENS-United States/United Kingdom-1986

Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley

Paul Reiser (C) as Carter Burke

Michael Biehn as Cpl. Dwayne Hicks

Bill Paxton as Pvt. Hudson

Lance Henriksen as Bishop

Carrie Henn as Newt

Jenette Goldstein as Pvt. Vasquez

William Hope as Lt. Gorman

Al Matthews as Sgt. Apone

Directed by James Cameron

Story by James Cameron, David Giler and Walter Hill

Screenplay by James Cameron

Based on characters created by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett

Do you ever have that problem where, you’re writing a review, and the movie you’re reviewing is so good that you just want to load every superlative onto it that your mind can conjure? The problem with that is that if you do you know you’re going to come off sounding like some pompous jerk.

So what do you do in this situation? You dial it down; which is what I’m going to do. I’m going to dial down all my ‘pompous jerk’ superlatives into three simple words:

Aliens fucking rocks.

There is not one scene in this entire film that doesn’t crackle with excitement, with urgency. Even the quietest scenes are the fuse that will light the powder keg for the more explosive moments in the movie. Director James Cameron has taken all the intensity of his previous The Terminator and cranked it up to ten for Aliens.

I’m giving you the bare bones details. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver, Copycat, The Cabin in the Woods) returns with a squadron of marines to the planet where the crew of the Nostromo first encountered the vicious xenomorph of 1979’s Alien. In the years since that time a mining colony has been established and all contact with it has been lost. For the next 45 minutes or more Ripley and the marines encounter and do battle with hundreds, maybe thousands of the bloodthirsty creatures. The tagline for Aliens is ‘This time it’s war’ and war is what we get as the beasts come out of the walls, from the ceiling and even up from the floors to attack and conquer.

In one of Aliens quieter moments a little girl, Newt, the only survivor, is discovered and Ripley becomes a surrogate mother to her for the rest of the film. The amazing thing about this is that it breaks the main premise of Aliens down into something very simple and that is that a mother, a good mother, will go to any lengths to protect her child. In the end, when it’s down to Ripley, Cpl. Hicks (Michael Biehn, The Victim, Planet Terror), the android Bishop (Lance Henriksen, Pumpkinhead, Millenium) and Newt (Carrie Henn), the last thing standing in the way of them getting off of the planet is the queen alien, a being so magnificent that mere words cannot begin to describe her. That’s a cliché, yes, but one that is loaded with truth. The final battle between Ripley and the queen is an amazing sight to behold. Here, we have two mothers; one human and one alien fighting for the lives of their children.

In the 26 years since its release in 1986, Aliens has stood the test of time as not only a great science fiction film, but as a spectacular action film that can be regarded as one of the finest in cinema. I get the strong feeling that I could make that statement in another 26 years. If Alien is the perfect science fiction/horror film, then Aliens is the perfect science fiction/action film.

TRIVIA

Hicks was originally played by James Remar, but Michael Biehn replaced him a few days after principal photography began, due to “artistic differences” between Remar and director James Cameron. However, Remar still appears in the finished film – but wearing the same armor, and shot from behind, it’s impossible to tell the difference between the two actors.

All of the cast who were to play the Marines (with the exception of Michael Biehn, who replaced James Remar one week into filming) were trained by the S.A.S. (Special Air Service, Britain’s elite special operations unit) for two weeks before filming. Sigourney Weaver, Paul Reiser, and William Hope didn’t participate/attend the training because director James Cameron felt it would help the actors create a sense of detachment between the three and the Marines – the characters these three actors played were all outsiders to the squad; Ripley being an advisor to the Marines while on the trip to LV-426, Burke being there just for financial reasons and Gorman being a newly-promoted Lieutenant with less experience than most of the Marines.

Having hired James Cameron to write the screenplay, 20th Century Fox then did the unthinkable when he left the production to direct The Terminator: they agreed to wait for Cameron to become available again and finish the screenplay. Cameron had only completed about 90 pages at that stage, but the studio had loved what he had written so far.

To bring the alien queen to life would take anything between 14 and 16 operators.

Al Matthews, who plays a Marine sergeant in this film, was in real life the first black Marine to be promoted to the rank of sergeant in the field during service in Vietnam.

In the scene where the crew is getting dressed after waking up from hypersleep, Hudson says, “Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?” to which Vasquez answers, “No. Have you?” This is “borrowed” from Hollywood legend. Columnist Earl Wilson once asked Tallulah Bankhead, “Have you ever been mistaken for a man?” Bankhead responded, “No darling. Have you?”

MONSTER BRAWL

MONSTER BRAWL-Canada-2011

Dave Foley as Buzz Chambers

Robert Maillet as Frankenstein

Kevin Nash as Colonel Crookshank

Jimmy Hart as Himself

Herb Dean as Himself

and featuring Lance Henriksen as the voice of God.

Written and directed by Jesse T. Cook

There are two things I love in this world; horror movies and professional wrestling. It was around the age of seven years old that my sister began scaring the crap out of me and leaving a lasting mark by telling me that there was a werewolf in my closet just waiting for the full moon to ravage and devour my tender young body. Wait a minute, stop, hold on, time out. Did I just say ‘my tender young body’? That sounds so…icky. The next thing you know I’ll have NAMBLA following my blog. Back off, you sick pervs!

Cut to three years later and at the age of ten I attended my very first professional wrestling match in 1972. The main event featured “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Johnny Valentine versus “Number One” Paul Jones and “The Eighth Wonder of The World” Andre the Giant. To say that it made an impression on my impressionable young mind would be the most understated of understatements. I am now 50 years old, and even though I know that pro wrestling is about as real as a Paris Hilton orgasm, I still have no intention of giving it up.

Now, for two interests as diverse as ‘rasslin’ and fright flicks you would think that never the two shall meet. But I am here to tell you right now that is as far from the truth as a porn star saying they’ve never done anal. Just look at the cinematic fright world for the match-ups that have taken place over the years. There’s King Kong versus Godzilla, Frankenstein versus The Wolf Man, Aliens versus Predator and on and on and on. Let us not also forget that professional wrestling has had its share of monstrosities. There’s The Undertaker, Kane, Gangrel, “The Monster” Abyss, Vampiro and many, many more creatures of the squared circle. Wrestling and monsters have been strange bedfellows for a number of years.

This brings me to the main event of the evening, ladies and gentlemen. It’s the battle for the ages, the fight of the century between the creatures and the undead. I am talking about the brawl to end it all and the war that will settle the score; the WrestleMania from the crypt and the death match of death matches. “Monster Brawl” is the type of movie that answers the question that we have all wanted to ask and would have done just that if we had just smoked a little more pot; what would happen if the world’s most (in) famous monsters met in the middle of the ring to determine who is the best of the best among the denizens of the darkness? Frankenstein, Werewolf, Lady Vampire, Zombie Man, The Mummy, Swamp Gut, Cyclops and Witch Bitch pound it out in the middle of the ring in this extravaganza of the weird. Lending a hand to the festivities are none other than “Big Daddy Cool” Kevin Nash and the “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart. So, if you love wrestling and you love horror movies then you just cannot go wrong with “Monster Brawl.” However, if you’re looking for a movie full of metaphors, subtleties and Academy Award winning performances then I suggest you watch something else. But seriously, if you can’t enjoy a movie like this on the lowest of levels then you really need to get that stick out of your ass. Wooooo!!

P.S. There are actually three things I love in this world. The third and most important thing is my wife. I don’t sleep with monsters and I don’t sleep with pro wrestlers. I do sleep with my wife. So if I want that sleep to be a peaceful one I damn sure better give my baby her props. Hail to the queen of my world!!

NO TRIVIA

½

PUMPKINHEAD

PUMPKINHEAD-United States-1988

Lance Henriksen as Ed Harley

Matthew Hurley as Billy Harley

John D’Aquino as Joel

Directed by Stan Winston

Poem by Ed Justin

Story by Mark Patrick Carducci, Stan Winston and Richard Weinman

Screenplay Mark Patrick Carducci and Gary Gerani

The last time I saw “Pumpkinhead” was when the film was first released to video. I remember looking forward to the film as it was the directorial debut of SFX wizard Stan Winston and that it starred Lance Henriksen, an actor that I’d grown to like after his roles in “The Terminator” and as the android Bishop in “Aliens.” I also remember being disappointed as I was hoping the film would be gorier than what it turned out to be. It just so happens that I was at that stage in my evolution as a horror film fan where blood and guts won out over acting, direction and storytelling. Despite the titular creature and its penchant for violence, “Pumpkinhead” is ultimately a tale of suspense and revenge that could have been so much better had Winston had a little more experience under his belt as a filmmaker.

Lance Henriksen portrays Ed Harley, a man of the country and a loving single father to his young son Billy. Billy is mortally wounded after being hit by a motorcycle and when the rider and his friends flee the scene, Ed takes revenge the only way he knows how. He calls on an old woman, Haggis; who in turn conjures the demon known as Pumpkinhead in order to seek out and destroy the ones who killed his child. Pretty soon the demon is hot on their heels and fulfilling his part of the bargain. But Ed soon finds out that vengeance comes with a price tag much too powerful to pay.

The best thing about the film was Winston’s choice in casting Lance Henriksen in the lead role. Henriksen is an actor who has a strong command of the characters he portrays and in the humble opinion of this reviewer he is one of the most underrated actors in the business. That’s okay; horror fans have known for years how good the man is. It’s the rest of the world that needs to catch up.

So, many years later and a little bit wiser, I have come to enjoy “Pumpkinhead” for what it is; a suspense film in horror film clothing. It’s not perfect. Hell, sometimes it’s not even good. But it does what it sets out to do; it entertains while at the same time scaring the hell out of us.

TRIVIA

This film, orphaned by the bankruptcy of De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, eventually garnered a spotty release when acquired by United Artists, which tested the film under the alternate title Vengeance – The Demon.

The one scene that made Lance Henriksen most want to take the role was where the deceased Billy sits up and asks his father what he’s done.

Film debut of Mayim Bialik.

Screenwriters Mark Patrick Carducci and Gary Gerani were inspired by the horror movies of Mario Bava.

½

SCREAM OF THE BANSHEE

SCREAM OF THE BANSHEE-United States-Made for TV-2011

Laura Holly as Professor Isla Whelan

Directed by Steven C. Miller

Written by Anthony C. Ferrante

Story by Anthony C. Ferrante and Jacob Hair

BAD MOVIE!! BAD MOVIE!! Sorry, I had to smack this one on the nose with a rolled up newspaper. The damn thing pissed all over my carpet. I guess that’s what I get when I watch a movie with the SyFy label on it. Fucking trickster; it had the After Dark label on it, too. That’s what made me give it a chance. It’s like George Bush said: After Dark kind of good, SyFy very bad.

A bunch of Irish Knights from the 12th century trap a banshee and a group of dumbass archaeological students and their professor let it loose in this piece of shit movie. After they let it loose they have to figure out how to trap it. That’s the whole damn plot of this movie. This thing is so bad my mind began to wander all over the place. Scream of the Banshee is directed by Steven C. Miller so I thought Steve Miller and was hoping they would play ‘Jet Airliner’ or maybe ‘The Joker’ in the movie. I see Lauren Holly and start thinking about the very first time I saw her on Picket Fences. She was wearing a black bikini and bringing chocolate cake in a dream to the sheriff’s son. That memory caused an odd side effect that I will not go into further detail about. Oh, look, Lance Henriksen is in this movie. The DVD box says “Lauren Holly and Lance Henriksen”; so you would think he would be in the damn movie for more than five minutes.

The banshee looks like the Wicked Witch of the West after somebody dropped a giant box of oatmeal on her head. Yes folks, it is official; this movie sucks worse than a Kardashian on date night. Who said that? I said that!

NO TRIVIA

½

CYRUS: MIND OF A SERIAL KILLER

CYRUS: MIND OF A SERIAL KILLER=United States-87 Mins. 2010

Danielle Harris as Maria

Lance Henriksen as Emmet

Brian Krause as Cyrus

Written and Directed by Mark Vadik

Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer is a complete piece of garbage with no value or quality. It pretends to be a horror film that takes its subject matter (serial killers) seriously; when in reality it knows even less than the average person about it. Director Mark Vadik claims that he based the titular character on German serial killer Fritz Haarmann. That’s all well and good, but did he have to throw in Henry Lee Lucas, Gary Heidnik, David Carpenter Ray and Robert Hansen into the mix? It doesn’t come off like Vadik has knowledge of serial killers; it comes off as pretentious and indecisive.

The plot is threadbare and not worth going into. To put it in a nutshell it’s about a newswoman (Danielle Harris) who interviews a local yokel about a legendary serial killer named Cyrus Danser. I can tell you right now that the idea was done better in Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. Cyrus comes off as the film that’s been there, done that. As for Danielle Harris and her performance; let’s just say I’ve seen sixth graders with more ability. Brian Krause grunts and speaks in a Neanderthal tone of voice in the title role. Lance Henriksen is his reliable self and does a good job with what he’s given. But even he can’t save this film from being excrement.

My advice for Mark Vardik is the next time you get the urge to make a serial killer movie, don’t. You are way out of your element and would only cause yourself further humiliation. Oh, and Mark, remember that there are people like me out there that just love rubbing your nose in it.

NO TRIVIA

½

NEAR DARK

NEAR DARK-United States-94 Mins. 1987

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

Written by Kathryn Bigelow and Eric Red

Starring

Adrian Pasdar as Caleb Colton

Jenny Wright as Mae

Lance Henriksen as Jesse Hooker

Bill Paxton as Severen

Jenette Goldstein as Diamondback

Tim Thomerson as Loy Colton

Joshua Miller as Homer

Long before 30 Days of Night, long before From Dusk til Dawn there was Near Dark. This tale of a gang of nomadic and marauding vampires set the bar pretty damned high for the vampire genre in the years to come. Kathryn Bigelow has directed a white-hot knuckle gripper of a horror suspense film that runs on all cylinders like a 69 Chevy with a 396. The performances, direction and writing are absolutely top-notch. The best performances in the film come from Bill Paxton and Adrian Pasdar. Paxton portrays Severen, a vampire who has sunk so far into depravity that killing isn’t second nature to him but merely a natural instinct. Watch as he almost single-handedly lays waste to the patrons of a shit-poke bar that just happens to be on their radar and therefore in their way. His acting has just the right amount of over the top glee. Pasdar is the young farm boy who is turned by Mae, played by Jenny Wright, who still looks at the world as if it were lit by the sun even though she has left the sun behind. He is the exact opposite of Severen in that it never occurs to him that he needs to kill to survive. This is a whole new world to him and excuse him if he don’t know just what the hell is going on.

The one thing about the film that sets it apart is that it never uses the word vampire. Instead it blends the old standards (like sunlight burning the flesh of a vampire), along with dialogue that gives us hints as to just how old these murderers are (“Hey Jesse, remember that fire we started in Chicago?” or “Jesse, there’s something I been meanin’ to ask ya.” “Yeah,what might that be?” “How old are ya?” “Let’s just say I fought for the South” “The South?” “We lost.’”  Brilliant.

Kathryn Bigelow won the best director Oscar in 2010 for The Hurt Locker. Before that, she honed her craft on films such as Near Dark, Point Break and Strange Days that helped her to sharpen her talents and become the first woman to ever win the Best Director Oscar. Near Dark is proof almost 20 years before that she is deserving of the honor. She has taken a genre that before that had grown stale and over-done and has given it a much-needed jump-start. If I were Robert Rodriguez or David Slade, I’d be kissing her ass and telling her thank you.

TRIVIA

The writer and director both were intent on making a Western but realized that the interest in the Western genre at the time was almost non-existent, so it was recommended that they mix genres. Since the horror genre was in vogue at the time, the two decided to make a Horror Western.
This film marked Kathryn Bigelow’s first solo directorial effort and the film’s producer, Edward S. Feldman told her that if she couldn’t handle or didn’t know what she was doing while filming after five days, she would be replaced. She kept the job.
When Severen and Jesse torch the motor home, Severen asks Jesse if he had remembered about a “fire that they had started in Chicago”. It is assumed that they mean the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that left more than 100,000 people homeless and destroyed businesses. Though apocryphal legend attributes the fire to a cow who kicked a lantern, the cause still remains a mystery.
While shooting in the desert, Lance Henriksen relieved the boredom between takes by hopping in his car and taking short drives through the desert, still in costume and often staying in character. According to Henriksen and Bill Paxton, the two were stopped by a policeman who became so unnerved questioning Jesse about his speeding that the officer became visibly uncomfortable, stepping back and placing his hand on his firearm. The obviously flustered officer decided to send them on their way rather than write them a ticket.
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