SKELETON KEY 3 PART 2 – Movie Review

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SKELETON KEY 3 PART 2

  • RELEASE DATE: Available January 3rd (Click Here for More Info )
  • WRITTEN BY: John Johnson
  • DIRECTED BY:John Johnson
  • STARRING:John Johnson

-Reviewed by Daniel XIII

For better or worse, there are times in this revoltin’ reviewing game where your’s cruelly is sent a motion picture that is just a bizarre experience from beginning to end…and this is definitely one of them.

SKELETON KEY 3 PART 2 (if there’s more of these fuckers instead of it being a LEONARD PART 6 type of deal I have no idea…and given the amount of research I do for this site we both know damn well that will remain a mystery forever), begins with a man named Howard being unfrozen from carbonite (isn’t that trademarked by some big corporation or two?) into a world over run with blue zombies (I say “over run” I mean there’s like six or seven of them). Before long he joins up with his friends (whose ranks include some sort of anime chick, a pirate, a soldier, a leprechaun…my head is starting to hurt) and attempts to set the world to rights. Improvised dialog (at least I think it is), catchy show tunes (yup, this flick is a partial musical), and (admittedly enjoyable) stale and corny jokes bombard your senses for a very, very long time (more on that soon). Oh, there’s also an invisible man, a nipple biting sock puppet, some orange-ass Putty Patrol reject, and…and…I just can’t go on.

On the positive side; SKELETON KEY 3 PART 2 is a truly unique flick that doesn’t give a fuck what it does or how it goes about it…nothing really makes sense and it’s politically incorrect  and for this type of a picture, that is all a bonus. Also, some of the actors are engaging, the songs are really fun, and there is a heapin’ helping of the ol’ red sauce and bouncin’ boobs (if that’s your type of thing…and we all know it’s mine).

Moving on to the negative, this movie is waaaaaaay too long. As a rule, any piece of off-the-wall fright flick nonsense should be 90 minutes max, and this lil’ slice of weirdness pie clocks in at just shy of two hours…that leads to bloat and periods where your attention will definitely wander. Also, this is a mega-low budget affair so don’t expect top shelf (or even competent) acting from many of the participants, or dynamic cinematography, lighting or effects (not a problem for me, but I know some of you just can’t warm up to a production like this).

If you can overlook it’s technical shortcomings and insane run time, there is some fun to be had with SKELETON KEY 3 PART 2, especially if you dig on Troma flicks and their like, but I can almost guarantee it won’t become one of your fav flicks anytime soon.

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SLIME CITY/SLIME CITY MASSACRE DOUBLE FEATURE – Movie Review

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SLIME CITY/SLIME CITY MASSACRE

  • RELEASE DATE: Available Now on Blu-ray (Click Here to Purchase)
  • WRITTEN BY: Greg Lamberson
  • DIRECTED BY:Greg Lamberson
  • STARRING: Craig Sabin, Mary Huner, T.J. Merrick, Jennifer Bihl, Kealan Patrick Burke, Debbie Rochon

-Reviewed by Daniel XIII

Man, the good ol’ days sure did have a fascination with body meltin’ horror; and I have seen the lion’s share of these melty, gooey flicks such as STREET TRASH and…and…o.k. STREET TRASH is kinda the gold star standard here; but it was a good one! Well lo and behold Camp Motion Pictures have saw fit to introduce me to another classic of the genre by sending me their new double feature release of SLIME CITY and it’s 2010 sequel SLIME CITY MASSACRE!

Beginning with SLIME CITY, you can tell right off the bat you are in ultra-low budget land as the film displays that “look” that was made famous by Henenlotter or early Troma; that visual style commonly known as “no money”. But, like around roughly 99% of my all-time fav fright flicks, the film makers said “fuck it”, and decided to go hog wild with outlandish concepts and zany effects (a trend director Greg Lamberson continues to this day as his latest feature KILLER RACK shows).

To put the story in a nutshell; SLIME CITY tells the tale of Alex; a run of the mill art student that moves into an apartment building inhabited by tenants that are…well, they’re fucked up is what they are. Take Roman for instance; this dude (a member of a strange cult) has Alex over to share Himalayan yogurt (that just so happens to come in green and blue) and liquor concocted by an alchemist…which would be odd enough, but the strange repast has the effect of changing Alex into a slime dripping, melt faced murder machine. Glop, puke, and mildly disapproving parents flash across the screen with wild abandon. It’s like Jekyll and Hyde meets bukkake.

While a bit slow here and there, SLIME CITY nevertheless delivers when it comes to off the wall characters and jaw dropping effects; though whether said jaw drops due to technical expertise or a lack thereof varies from scene to scene. That being said, I dug on all of the splattery goodness six ways to Sunday, and applaud what was delivered with the means available, and honestly, that’s all that counts to gore hounds that eat this shit up; the subtle nuances of line delivery or lighting don’t mean a damn, we just want copious gore and red sauce, and I can safely say this flick damn well delivers!

So SLIME CITY is cool AF, but Camp have included a shit ton of extras to accompany the flicks on this release to give ya a lil’ more bang for your barf covered buck! For the lead feature you get two audio commentaries; one from 2006 featuring writer/director Greg Lamberson and star Craig Sabin that is more anecdotal, and another from 2016 with Lamberson flying solo that is more nuts and bolts about the film’s production and distribution. Along with the chit-chat you also get archival featurette detailing SLIME CITY’s production, a lengthy interview with lead actors Craig Sabin and Mary Huner (which covers their work in SLIME CITY and beyond), and a handful of trailers and promos.

So, SLIME CITY was a rollicking good time, let’s see how it’s sequel fares…

SLIME CITY MASSACRE kicks things off with a flashback to 1959, an apocalypse, a bizarre scene with Lloyd Kaufman (that old timey music), and a guitar riff laden song about slime…and this is the first five minutes. For 99% of you I wont even have to type anything else because you are completely sold…but I’ll sum shit up anyway ‘cuz I’m a real pro.

In the shell shocked post-apocalyptic remains of Slime City, a gaggle of survivors stumble across the secret stash of yogurt and hooch of the cult from the original film (whose origins are told via the reoccurring aforementioned flashbacks) which they of course consume. They of course become slime covered lunatics in the blink of an eye and go on a kill-crazy hootenanny (eventually…first they fuck a lot). Also in the mix are a real estate tycoon that wants to develop Slime City into an upscale property and his hired commandos out to eliminate the local homeless population for extra shenanigans. Oh, and there’s also a dude finger banging a bathtub full of slime…don’t ask.

While a completely different animal from it’s predecessor, SLIME CITY MASSACRE is nevertheless a great piece of truly independent cinema; and while locations and means are slim, the creativity and outrageousness are cranked to the nines to give the whole affair an “anything goes” aesthetic that is a ton of fun to lay putrid peepers upon! The only negative is this flick is missing the “warm and fuzzies” of the first flick due to it being a modern production rather than it being a product of the eerie eighties.

As for beastly bonus features, SLIME CITY MASSACRE comes complete with it’s own cornucopia of features including: a lively commentary track with director Lamberson as well as actresses Jennifer Bihl and Debbie Rochon, a blooper reel, a collection of behind the scenes footage, an interview with the film’s composer; MARS (who wears a rad-ass Death Records t-shirt), Also included is a rather awesome feature length “making-of” documentary that sheds light on just what it takes to make a low-budget monsterpiece such as this (trust me, it’ll make you want to get out there and do it for yourself if you’re so inclined).

Honestly, if you love the gritty, D.I.Y. style of 80’s genre film made famous in the grind houses of 42nd Street, then this is an absolute “must have” release!

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THE SUMMONING – Movie Review

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THE SUMMONING

  • RELEASE DATE: Now Available on VOD 
  • WRITTEN BY: Curtis Schultz
  • DIRECTED BY: Curtis Schultz
  • STARRING: Shanna Mclaughlin, Amy LoCicero, Brian C. Chenworth

Reviewed by Daniel XIII

A gaggle of goofs (and I do mean goofs…some of these fools are downright slapstick in their buffoonery) head out to a ragin’ par-tay in a secluded barn only to be waylaid by a group of black hoodie wearing satanic cultists (complete with dodgy CG morphin’ faces™) in the latest from Brain Damage Films; THE SUMMONING.

To elaborate on the above; a group of college kids head to a party, their vehicle’s engine conks out, and they trudge forward on foot through the woods. They are then chased and murdered by the monstrous members of a sinister Satanic cult. Fun practical gore and inexplicable cg nonsensery ensues. Hmmm, that isn’t much of an elaboration really, but this flick is rather simple in premise…and that ain’t a bad thing. It’s a straightforward stalk n’ slay affair with demonic overtones and a few laughs.

So, let’s start with the positives; the cast in this film is pretty damn solid. Even though they are playing “bros” and their vacuous female equivalents, these folks genuinely seem to be giving it their all, and some of the performances are honestly hilarious (like on purpose and everything)…it’s just damn refreshing to see a cast that are playing their roles with an earnest enthusiasm. The same goes for it’s storytelling; it’s an uncomplicated narrative to the max; but it moves at a great clip, and never pretends to be anything more than it is; namely, an excuse for attractive folks to get hacked to pieces by monstrous maniacs…and that earns it a ton of points with me; it delivers on it’s promise without being precious about it.

On the negative side of the coin, the CG in this film…well…she ain’t so good. I don’t know why folks with modest budgets try to utilize cg…it isn’t needed, and always looks off (hell, it doesn’t even look good in multi-million dollar pics). I appreciate what the film makers were trying to do with the tools, but it took me out of the film when it was on screen.

Simply stated, THE SUMMONING achieves what it sets out to be, namely a teens versus evil cult romp, rather successfully. It has heart (which gets you pretty far with your’s cruelly), and it gives us what we crave for the most part (namely boobs, blood, and bad guys). I say give it a watch; I doubt it’ll jump to the top of your favorite fright flicks of all time list; but it’s a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon.

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NEVER OPEN THE DOOR – Movie Review

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NEVER OPEN THE DOOR

  • RELEASE DATE: Now Available on Blu-ray (Click Here to Purchase a Copy)
  • WRITTEN BY: Christopher Maltauro, Vito Trabucco
  • DIRECTED BY: Vito Trabucco
  • STARRING: Jessica Sonneborn, Deborah Venegas, Kristina Page

-Reviewed by Daniel XIII

Three couples sit enjoying a jovial (if somewhat awkward) meal in a secluded cabin when their repast is interrupted by a wounded man at the door who promptly vomits blood on a member of the group, warns them to never open the front door, and dies. Thus begins the strange, Twlilight Zone-esque feature from director (and co-writer) Vito Trabucco.

So, that vomitee mentioned above (Tess by name) has a major hallucinogenic breakdown in the bathroom as she washes off the blood the stranger kindly splattered all over her. In the meantime, another Tess arrives at the cabin which is of course bizarre as all shit. Soon all hell breaks loose as the gang of goofs try to figure out which Tess is real while contending with incriminating text messages, bizarre figures outside the cabin, escalating in-fighting, and a monster.

First things first; this is a unique and entertaining fright flick! I can safely say the story for NEVER OPEN THE DOOR is definitely something you haven’t seen before, regardless of the now too familiar cabin in the woods setting. Adding to the plus column for this one; the black and white photography is rich and atmospheric, the score by Carlos Vivas is an excellent throwback to sinister cinema of decades past, and the camera angles are inspired and add to the claustrophobic feel as the tension mounts.

Now all isn’t perfect with NEVER OPEN THE DOOR. For one thing, the run time on this barely qualifies it for a feature…I mean this flick runs an hour and four minutes, so don’t expect an epic watch. Also; the acting gets pretty dicey sometimes as the dialog is largely improvised (including a scene where an actress says “What are you doing” roughly 4,567 times in a row). Neither of those things hampered my over-all enjoyment of the film; but it may stick in some of your craws.

As for the extras on this release, they are light. You get the film’s trailer, interviews with actress Jessica Sonneborn, director Vito Trabucco, and producer Christopher Maltauro. Rounding out the bonus material are a photo gallery and a tribute to make-up artist Maggie Dillon.

If you are a fan of flicks like Issac Ezban’s LOS PARECIDOS or the aforementioned Twilight Zone then you really should give NEVER OPEN THE DOOR a go; it’s a rad, one of a kind flick that uses it’s inspirations to make some thing worth watching instead of being a pale imitation.   

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COUNTER CLOCKWISE – Movie Review

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COUNTER CLOCKWISE

  • RELEASE DATE: Now Available on DVD (Click Here to Purchase a Copy)
  • WRITTEN BY: Michael Kopelow, Walter Moise, George Moïse
  • DIRECTED BY: George Moïse
  • STARRING: Bruno Amato, Cleo Antonelli, Brad Bishop

Reviewed by Shane Migliavacca

Time travel films are a real pickle to pull off well; you have to set your premise up solid enough so your audience can follow and not pick apart the implausibility or inaccuracies of it all. Does COUNTER CLOCKWISE pull it off? Let’s time jump and find out.

Ethan, a budding Brian Posehn clone and scientist, is trying to prefect his very own  teleporter. His test run with a one eyed dog doesn’t go so well (the pooch doesn’t melt or explode as one might think given the circumstances), as the dog was sent slightly into the future. So instead of a teleport device, Ethan has created a time machine. Because “science”, he decides to test it on himself, with wacky results! Of course being a genius he fails to run this by his wife or his coworker on the project. So, Ethan finds he’s jumped six months ahead in time where the lab is shut down, he can’t find his wife, and the cops are looking for him. So, what the hell went wrong?

The trouble with this film is there’s a lot of cool little tricks and nice shots but I never felt invested. We meet Ethan (but only barely as his back story and character are bare bones), his coworker, and Ethan’s wife and then, “BAM”, we’re right into the time jump and things going off the rails…which when introduced so fast makes everything not very interesting. It’s like the old slasher movie thing, the “Oh shit there’s a killer!” moment the final girl has. If you spring that too soon then 90% of your film is just the final girl running around. Unless your film has a lot of other stuff going for it, the shit gets stale. I’m not saying I needed every detail of Ethan’s life, but maybe if we’d spent a little more time getting to know him and the other players in the story, and less of him getting chased, it might have made things more easy to get invested in.

On the plus side, you get a a bunch of extras here including: a thirty minute long “making of” featurette, deleted scenes (with commentary), and three separate commentary tracks.

COUNTER CLOCKWISE is billed as a sci-fi comedy, though it never came across as one. There are some really cool shots, the action is staged nicely, the story has potential, and the actors all do a good job (especially Michael Kopelow as Ethan), but all in all, the  film just feels like they wanted to get to the time travel and said “fuck it” to everything else. In the end, it’s a fun film for a weekend afternoon, but it won’t become your go to favorite time travel flick I’d wager.

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KILLER RACK – Movie Review

a1jq3yrju7l-_sl1500_KILLER RACK
• RELEASE DATE: Now Available on DVD (Click Here to Purchase)
• WRITTEN BY: Paul McGinnis
• DIRECTED BY: Greg Lamberson
• STARRING: Jessica Zwolak, Debbie Rochon, Paul McGinnis

-Reviewed by Daniel XIII

 
This is a movie about a woman that receives breast implants that murder people, by a doctor that worships ancient gods from Lovecraftian legend. You know me well enough by now to guess how I’m going to feel about this; but if it’s yer first time I’ll go gentle with you and tell you just why a movie called KILLER RACK is just what you need in yer life!

 
Unless you are the type o’ person that reads the second paragraph of a review first (and I know yer out there weirdo), ya already got the basics of this flick up yonder. Flat-chested girl next door type Betty (Zwolak) wishes she had some fresher produce with which to get a-breast of the competition in life so she seeks the counsel of Dr. Thulu (Rochon), a plastic surgeon and servant of ancient dark gods, who naturally gives her a pair of gigantic tits that eat people.

 
The easiest way I could describe KILLER RACK would be to imagine if somehow Frank Henenlotter and Russ Meyer were grafted together and they decided to make a movie for Troma. It’s tasteless, crude and packed ass to elbow with politically incorrect material…and a musical number, so you know it’s an absolute delight!

 

Now as great as the feature is, I’d be a boob if I didn’t mention the bouncin’ bonus features on this beauty! First up is a lively commentary featuring director Greg Lamberson, writer Paul McGinnis, star Jessica Zwolak, and producer Rob Durick that details the production of the film. Also included are a behind the scenes featurette, more than a handful of deleted scenes, two short films and an assortment of trailers for other films from Camp Motion Pictures (who just so happened to release this film as well ‘natch).

I loved the living hell out of every second of this off-kilter tit-a-whirl of a fright flick, and if you dig any or all of the folks mentioned a few seconds back; I’m willin’ to bet dollars to double D’s you will too…but you’d already decided that you had to see this from the get-go didn’t ya?

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HELLRAISER: THE SCARLET BOX – Movie Review

 

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HELLRAISER: THE SCARLET BOX

  • RELEASE DATE: Available December 20th on Blu-ray (Click Here to Purchase)
  • WRITTEN BY: Clive Barker and more!
  • DIRECTED BY:C. Bark n’ friends
  • STARRING: Doug Bradley, Ashley Laurence

-Reviewed by Daniel XIII

Ahh the HELLRAISER series; so iconic and flat out awesome (well at first anyway) it is that it needs no introduction, as I’m sure each and everyone of you creeps has parked your pasty asses in front of it at one time or another. But, just in case there is someone reading this that has no idea what I’m talking about; here’s the elevator pitch; there’s a puzzle box…kinda like a Rubik’s Cube…that when solved unleashes emissaries from hell (that are waaay into S&M) that arrive to collect the soul of anyone stupid enough to pay their game. So there’s that. Anyway; HELLRAISER; I love it, you love it, Arrow has gone mega-ape shit and unleashed an insane-o collection of the first three films in the series…and yeah; review time!

Let’s take ‘em one by one and kick it off with the original recipe HELLRAISER!

Poor Kirsty Cotton; all she wants to do is visit her Dad in his new digs, but her dead uncle Frank has to go and get all resurrected and start boinking her step-mom. Oh, and he has also pissed off the Cenobites, demons from hell (or angels…who the fuck knows really; I mean their leader has nails pounded into his melon…not exactly a comforting image) who come back around to collect their soul toll thanks to that puzzle box I mentioned above. Chains, leather, and a skeleton dragon ensue.

Now, HELLRAISER is about as fine a fright flick as you will ever come by; it’s unique, visually arresting, and equal parts nauseating and beautiful (kinda like my ol’ ghoul friend, har har). I love this film to itty bitty fucking pieces, and have since the late ‘80’s. But, you probably love it (and own it) too, so why would the version contained here be worth your while (Spoiler: this review is going to start to sound like a broken record real soon)? Those mother fucking extras!

Seriously, check this shit out; this disc contains a new 2K restoration of the film, a feature length documentary detailing the creation of the film, interviews with actors Doug Bradley and Sean Chapman, an archival making of featurette, a featurette on the abandoned score for the film from Coil, the original press kit from the film’s release, trailers, TV spots, an image gallery, and commentaries from writer/director Clive Barker and actress Ashley Laurence (B-dog shows up on that one too). Yeah, ridiculous right?

Moving on…Disc 2 brings us HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II, that rare animal; a sequel every bit as good as the original.

HELLBOUND picks up where ol’ HELLRAISER left off; Kirst’s family is decimated and she ends up in a sanitarium. Well, the head of the loony bin, Dr. Channard, is a pretty gone guy himself, and before you know it he resurrects Kirsty’s step mother and unleashes the Cenobites once more. All you really need to know is, Kirsty journeys straight into hell to battle our arcane antagonists.

Bigger in scope than part one, HELLBOUND expands the universe of the first film while staying true to what fans loved about HELLRAISER. It’s a difficult balancing act to go big yet remain grounded to what came before; but HELLBOUND pulls it off like a fuckin’ champ!

Now, guess what? Yeah; you need this edition, because you get a new 2K restoration of this film as well, a feature length documentary detailing the creation of HELLBOUND, more interviews with Bradley and Chapman, a vintage making of featurette, on-set interviews, behind the scenes footage, trailers, TV spots, image galleries, commentaries from Director Tony Randel and writer Peter Atkins, and one from actress Ashley Laurence (and you guessed it, Randel and Atkins show up again here as well). All well and good, but the best feature in my opinion is the inclusion of the legendary deleted surgeon scene…images of which were used on the VHS release roughly 45 million years ago which caused us to go wild because no such image appeared in the finished film.

One more…HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH…and…it’s certainly a movie.

HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH picks up where nothing left off, and features the tale of a sleazy club owner resurrecting the Cenobites (whose ranks include a dude that can shoot CDs at people and a guy with a camera in his head…for fuck’s sake…) while a spunky female journalist stands in their way. The 1990’s ensue.

Yeah, HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH is really cheesy, and while it doesn’t possess a popcorn fart of the coolness of the first two films in the series, it does have an irresistible charm…and it’s never boring.

Okay, while you may not need to own this one, it’s in here and there are extras including: a now predictable, yet stunning, 2K transfer of the film, an alternate unrated cut of the film, a making of doc, interviews with actors Paula Marshall and Bradley as well as director Anthony Hickox, special effects dailies, the film’s original press kit, a trailer, image galleries, and commentaries from writer Peter Atkins on the theatrical version and Anthony Hickox and Doug Bradley chattin’ up the unrated.

Phew, well that’s that…holy shit, there’s a fourth disc…

No HELLRAISER flick on this one fiends, but you do get an ass-load of awesome, including a short HELLRAISER film, a documentary on Clive Barkers literary works, a documentary on the entire HELLRAISER franchise, and two of Clive’s student films; SALOME and THE FORBIDDEN, which I shall review for you now, because I’m a super cool mother fucker (and not because I have reviewed them before and am going to copy and paste that review into this one…)

CLIVE BARKER’S ORIGINS: SALOME/THE FORBIDDEN

  • WRITTEN BY: Clive Barker
  • DIRECTED BY: Clive Barker
  • STARRING:  Doug Bradley, Clive Barker, Peter Atkins, Anne Taylor, Graham Bickley

 Here are a couple of flicks that I have a real history with! Way back in the distant past a gaggle of my ghoulish gang would huddle around the ol’ cathode ray tube and blast our eyeballs with all manner of vicious visuals that were contained in these magical black rectangles called VHS tapes. Now; a lot of what some of you fiends take for granted these days (Italian gore, splatter flicks etc.) could be damn hard to get unless you dipped yer toes in some pretty grey waters. To put it simply; we’d buy bootleg tapes at conventions and watch the shit out of them. One such tape contained two early films by the legendary legend Clive “C-dog” Barker. And what do ya know, these are the same flicks right here on a legit release!

Long story short, SALOME (an off kilter adaptation of a piece by Oscar Wilde) and THE FORBIDDEN (the springboard for a sh*t ton of what HELLRAISER was to become a few years later) are a demented duo of black and white horror flicks produced by Clive as a kind of home movie style trial run for what was to come; deft use of shadows and light, dreamlike nightmare imagery and of course folks carrying on without their damn skin. There’s also a lot of peen…some of it Clive’s…so I guess the peen is truly mightier than the sword. That made little to no sense, but it made me feel great writing it.

If you absolutely love what Clive got up to as a die-rector (especially with HELLRAISER) you absolutely need to own these. It’s pretty damn rare that someone has their visual sh*t together so soon out of the gate (David Lynch is one of the only others that spring to mind), and it’s a ton o’ fun to pick out what went on to inspire HELLRAISER.

I really don’t know how to wrap this up…I will tell you that you need this release like the desert needs the god damned rain…that much I know…it has absolutely everything a HELLRAISER fan could want (plus it ends before shit gets really shitty in the franchise so kudos there). Buy it!

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