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WELCOME TO HALLOWEEN HAVOC 2019 - The Reviews

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On 10/11/2019 at 12:40 PM, Curt McGirt said:

One has to wonder how many movies would be knocked off and replaced by newer stuff in the meantime if that list was remade today. 

On 10/11/2019 at 12:48 PM, RIPPA said:

I am planning on doing the two addendums too so that will be interesting whats on them (since I haven't looked at what they actually included)

What Rippa said.  Bravo just makes addendums whenever they're is enough content for a new program aka Bravo's 100 More Scariest Moments.

They don't reshuffle the original list.

 

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NIGHTBREED (1990, Barker)

IMDB : ROTTEN TOMATOES (40/60)

SELECTED BY @Curt McGirt

The last gasp of practical '80s special effects before CGI came into the picture. David Cronenberg running around with a creepy mask and a library of cutlery. Clive Barker, completely unchecked. I still don't know how to categorize this one... your turn. 

REVIEWED BY @twiztor

Nightbreed (1990). i'm watching the "Cabal" director's cut, FWIW.

written/directed by Clive Barker
music by Danny Elfman
starring.....nobody i've ever heard of

This is a film about the town of Mideon (this one is in Canada, not Bitters, Arkansas) and the inhabitants, known as the titular Nightbreed. Aaron Boone, our main character, dreams of this place "where monsters live". His psychiatrist, Dr. Decker, takes an unhealthy interest in Boone's dreams, ultimately donning a mask and becoming a mass murderer and drugging and framing Boone.  This leads to Boone being shot and killed by the police.

Boone wakes up in Mideon - he has become a Nightbreed himself. Decker summons up a posse and they destroy Mideon and try to kill all the Nightbreed.

The Nightbreed creatures, as you'd expect from a Barker film, have some very interesting designs and concepts, even the ones you only see for a few seconds. Also a Barker staple, we get a plot that works on a basic level, but there's plenty of gaps so you have to connect the dots yourself. Elfman's music sets the mood overall but occasionally drifts into Edward Scissorhands territory- a little to cutesy.

Overall i liked this movie, mainly for the costumes the Nightbreed wore. The main actress, Boone's girlfriend, was pretty cute and good enough to make up for Boone's woodenness. Let's rate this a B-.

Thanks for sharing, whoever picked this. I feel like i must have watched this in the mid/late '90s but i have no recollection of it, so it was new (again) to me!

(Editor's Note: Can be found on Tubi)

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Cabal is one of my favorite Clive Barker novellas.   It is the point where he started transitioning from the shlock of his grimy short prose and started to tell long form stories with a focus on substance over gore for the sake of gore. 

Barker is far better at world building than he gives himself credit for and Cabal, Imajica, and Weaveworld are examples of that.

Night Breed as a movie is a guilty favorite of mine.   It's less like the novella and more like X-Men, but with monsters instead of mutants and it is campy enough for me to love for reasons much different than the reasons I love the novella. 

The twisted shapes of the monsters made is a perfect project for Cronenberg to work on and the button face mask his character, Dr. Decker, wore while taking care of his wetwork still creeps me out a little. 

It was a nice touch to have Dr. Decker be so batshit insane in his belief that he the living embodiment of Death itself, that he goes all in on a personal war to destroy Midian because he is insulted by the concept of immortal creatures.  Everything should die, right? 

But it's that hitch that makes the sequel tease / twist ending for the theatrical edit ring a bit hollow.

Spoiler

At the end of the theatrical cut, crazy disfigured priest, Ashberry, uses the Blood of Baphomet to bring Deckard back to life in an obvious segue to a sequel that never happens.   Which is okay since Barker has never written a follow-up to Cabal.

My thing is, "Wouldn't Decker (a dude who genuinely believes he is an agent of natural death) find his own undead existence to be an abomination?"  Wouldn't Decker's first order of business in a sequel be to end his own supernatural existence?

The ending is a slight divergence from the novella, BTW.

The priest, Ashberry, is not disfigured in the novella and the racist sheriff, Eigerman, is not killed on the assault on Midian.  The two men form a militia whose mission it is to hunt the Night Breed down before the monsters find a new home.

In the novella, Deckard's motivation for going after Boone is merely to tie up a loose end (aka to kill the only surviving witness to his double life as a psychiatrist / serial killer).  A tad too practical for my tastes but still in line with character for someone who is supposed to be a methodical family destroyer and is careful not to leave evidence of his crimes behind.

One day, I will watch the full Director's Cut on Tubi since I have heard it has the extended version of the ridiculous love scene between Peloquin and Shuna Sassi (the porcupine woman) that ended up on the editing room floor and as a horror maven, I think I need to see that before I die.

If you're a fan of the movie or of all things Clive Barker in general, I recommend looking up the Hellraiser / Night Breed: Jihad two volume graphic novel series from Epic Comics.

Edited by J.T.
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I remember reviewing Nightbreed for the newspaper. That's all I remember. Think I gave it an okay but not great review. 

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You REALLY need to see that Director's Cut, J.T. It made me enjoy the movie ten times more than I initially did. In comparison the original cut seems rushed. The end is even different IIRC which means you shouldn't put it off any longer. 

I'm glad to see it's on Tubi; initially I only saw it on sale on Youtube and thought "well, four bucks would be worth it to watch this". Boone is indeed pretty wooden, which is the main fault of the movie to me. If they'd have had a real nutter to inhabit the role like a Gary Oldman or Joaquin Phoenix type -- or even a Nic Cage -- it would have elevated the film greatly. Cronenberg, meanwhile, is perfect and how many directors turned actors just outright kill it (pardon the pun) in their first role? That has to be a first. I like the X-Men comparison too, you feel for the monsters as they're more shunned outcasts than murderers (though there are those among them). This is kind of an end of an era movie, the '80s OTT horror presentation would die out with the quickness as The Silence of the Lambs altered the history of the genre forever the next year and we entered an era of psychological horror, albeit one that was still changed by the '80s effects craze. This is a perfect example of that craze in full flower, right before the first frost cuts it down. 

Edited by Curt McGirt
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Sold, Curt.   Looks like the Nightbreed DC will be one of my 31 Days movies.

I also like how the Nightbreed pretty much say Fuck You to how humans do things.

I particularly like the scene where Lylesburg, the Nightbreed leader, rebuffs Lori's demand for aid after rescuing Rachel's daughter, Babette, from being destroyed by sunlight.

Lori's "I SAVED HER LIFE, SO YOU OWE ME~!" bullshit logic is countered by Lylesburg who calmly replies that Babette is undead and has therefore no life to save.  Your request is therefore denied.  Have a nice day.

He does do Lori the courtesy of rewarding Lori for her compassion by entertaining her request for information about Boone.

Peloquin gets the best lines, though.  "It's all true.  God is an astronaut.   Oz is over the rainbow.  And Midian is where the monsters live."

I'm still surprised that I have never heard Peloquin's FUCK THE LAW~! dialogue sampled in a hip hop track.

Edited by J.T.
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Well, Peloquin may not have gotten all of the best lines.  

I'm surprised that Sheriff Eigerman's quote isn't on a MAGA shirt or something.

"Whether it's Commies, freaks or Third-World Y-chromosome mutants, we are there. Sons of the Free."

I can only hope that one day, I will have the opportunity to say something that badass right off of the top of my head.

Edited by J.T.
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Storywise, this film was based in the Pacific Northwest, right? I know it was shot in England and Canada, but...

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12 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

Storywise, this film was based in the Pacific Northwest, right? I know it was shot in England and Canada, but...

Locations in the movie are left deliberately vague just as they are in the novella but as you mentioned, the indoor shoots were done at Pinewood Studios while the on location shooting took place in Calgary, Alberta Canada.

Not surprising given that Barker and Cronenberg were involved in the movie.

Now that my movie stamina has increased tenfold thanks to Marvel epics and IT! Chapter 2, I think I could actually sit through Barker's original two and a half hour cut.

Edited by J.T.

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Just wondering. If so, Sheriff Eigermann and his posse would be another cinematic example of white supremacists in the Pacific Northwest, along with Green Room.

*runs away from topic laughing*

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You can also see that Barker pays his due respect to HG Wells like any proper British author would.   

The parallels between the inhabitants of Midian and the creatures of Dr. Moreau's island are very obvious from Lylesburg sitting in for the Sayer of the Law to Peloquin's eagerness to break said law by adding humans to his diet.

Quote

“Not to eat Fish or Flesh; that is the Law. Are we not Men?"

There are still people out there that have never picked up on the numerous Island of Dr. Moreau references in the catalogue of Devo.

Edited by J.T.

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I've got Island from '32 sitting on the DVR still, thanks for the reminder.

Shudder really needs the documentary on the failed Richard Stanley version in its lineup...

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6 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

I've got Island from '32 sitting on the DVR still, thanks for the reminder.

Shudder really needs the documentary on the failed Richard Stanley version in its lineup...

I need to check Shudder to see if it has the documentary on the making of Night Breed; Tribes Of The Moon.

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They don't, though I'd like to see it. The Leviathan Hellraiser docs are on there though. 

Best Worst Movie is also on there and I should probably watch it since my friend that owned the horror store is apparently a talking head in it. 

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Speaking of Shudder docs, Sam Wineman, who directed that The Quiet Room short I posted a bit ago, is making a follow up to the Horror Noir black horror doc on the history of queer horror.

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TRICK 'R" TREAT (Dougherty, 2007)

IMDB : ROTTEN TOMATOES (84/71)

SELECTED BY: @Brian Fowler

Quite possibly the finest of all horror anthologies, a gleeful but slightly sadistic love letter to Halloween and everything spooky. Criminally under promoted.

REVIEWED BY: @Execproducer

I have to say, as a fan of Amicus's portmanteau films, I wanted to love this anthology film but I just didn't get there. But maybe I'm just an old curmudgeon like Brian Cox's Mr. Kreeg. It certainly has an interesting premise with trouble befalling those that break the rules of Halloween, even if some of those rules are a little bit shaky. It also has a nonlinear narrative that is successfully executed, with already dead characters showing up in the background or replaying bits from a different character's perspective. And it has a great concept for a Halloween mascot and potential series monster in Sam (short for Samhain) the ragged little trick 'r treater with the scarecrow mask, who sniffs out Halloween rule-breakers like a blood-hound. Sam was played by Quinn Lord, who was about eight years old at the time and is easily the best thing about the film.

Unfortunately, it just isn't very effective as a horror film.  It is set in small-town America where there are apparently a lot of monsters of both the human and supernatural variety but these rubes don't have a clue. Dylan Baker, who is usually reliably creepy and scary just feels like he is phoning it in. The 'twists' that come up are telegraphed way ahead of time or are  so unoriginal that it feels that way. Too much gore to be a kid's Halloween party staple and too little thrills to satisfy an aficionado.  It's an EC comic minus the balls. The best segment is the last one with Brian Cox as a stereotypical mean old man whose past is coming for him. The Little Red Riding Hood inspired segment was ok I guess, though I have to wonder when....
Spoiler

...Little Red pulls the plastic teeth from Baker's faux vampire, just exactly how was he biting through his victim's necks? 

If this comes off as too harsh, I would say sure, go ahead and watch it, you might be entertained, but it isn't essential viewing. Now apparently the director and writer, Michael Dougherty, has said he'd like to revisit it and there is definitely a good film to be pulled from the concept, but after 13 years I wouldn't hold my breath. 

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I am gonna now sit back and watch Fowler and Exec fight 😉

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2 hours ago, RIPPA said:

Quite possibly the finest of all horror anthologies

 

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BONUS REVIEW

Bravos 100 Scariest Movie Moments Part 3 (50-31)

By RIPPA

Movies in this part (50-31)

Spoiler

50. The Last House on the Left
49. Diabolique
48. The Thing (1982)
47. Nosferatu (1929)
46. The Sentinel
45. The Wicker Man (1975)
44. The Game
43. It’s Alive!
42. An American Werewolf in London
41. The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
40. Black Sunday
39. Dawn of the Dead
38. Peeping Tom
37. House on Haunted Hill (1999)
36. Cape Fear (1962)
35. Aliens
34. The Hitcher (1986)
33. The Fly (1986)
32. Pet Sematary
31. Friday the 13th

So to stretch this series out for 5 episodes you can see that they fucked around with the numbers now. This is 50-31. Part IV is 30-11 and Part V is the Top 10.

  • Oh Fuck Off episodes that immediately start with Eli Roth.
  • It is a little disappointing that despite clearly needing to fill time the deeper into the list we go, really old movies like Diabolique and Nosferatu are talked about for 30 seconds. But let’s talk about Michael Douglas’ shitty not horror movie for way too long.
  • If this was a list of Top 100 Most Fucked Up Movies – Last House on the Left has to be #1 right? I mean when Rob Zombie is saying that David Hess scared him more than any monsters and Wes Craven talks about how he basically had to go off and think about what he had done, your movie is fucked up.
  • Oh wait – The Hills Have Eyes is also on this list. Jesus, someone needed to hug Wes Craven more as a child.
  • I really have tried to refrain from bitching about list placements but now as we are starting to get into the heavy hitters – how the fuck is The Thing not WAY higher?
  • Through no fault of its own, has any movie become less “scary” than The Wicker Man due to memes. And that wasn’t even from this version! Stupid Nicolas Cage.
  • Okay – I am getting strangely attracted to Maitland McDonagh now. Okay strange is not the right word. Unexpectedly. Yeah, that's the ticket. 
  • So I see Black Sunday is on the list. Black Fucking Sunday? Really??? Is The Dark Knight Rises Next? How many other movies that destroy football games are there? Oh… wait… this is the Mario Bava one. Nevermind. Carry on.
  • The American Werewolf in London piece is just everyone talking about how funny the movie is and how much it made them laugh. 1) How is it on this fucking list? 2) How is it so fucking high?
  • And speaking of not scary things – of all the scenes from Dawn of the Dead you pick a zombie shambling into helicopter blades? This list is weird.
  • I was gonna say Peeping Tom doesn’t age well (because it is really awkward to be celebrating a woman getting raped by a tripod as some of the folks interviewed do.) But it pretty much was savaged at the time too so yeah.
  • YES! Rutger Hauer! I forgot he showed up in this. I miss him.
  • Man – I still haven’t decided what’s worse. The tendon cutting in Pet Sematary or that it is Herman Munster that it is happening too. BTW – spelling it Sematary is infuriating and is really pissing Grammerly off.
  • I kinda feel like I ruined the original Cape Fear for myself by seeing the remake first. I mean I really enjoyed the Robert De Niro one but when you watch that one first it does take some of the impact of way from realizing how fucking good the original is.
  • Someone with a memory far better than me would have to figure out if Friday the 13th was the first movie to do the “killer isn’t really dead, jump up behind you moment” or not. Either way – it was definitely was the first time I soiled myself. Good Lord.
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Yeah unless you are the Italian version of Black Sabbath you aren't touching this anthology wise

As far as Trick'r'Treat goes I've only seen it partway through, but it's DVR'd on AMC so I should get around to rewatching it by next year sometime. 

Last House is ginger beer compared to some stuff made in the meantime, but for that list, it's probably tops in sickness level. Unless they squeezed in Audition somewhere. 

I'm probably one of three or so people on this board who got a chuckle out of you thinking of the wrong Black Sunday. Considering all the terrorism going on back then I'm surprised we didn't get more movies of its ilk. 

I looked up Eli Roth's Wiki, and boy he has never directed a good film... ever. He's produced some good stuff (The Sacrament), acted in some good stuff (Inglorious Basterds), but that Directing credit looks to be elusive.

Edited by Curt McGirt
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Quote

Quite possibly the finest of all horror anthologies, a gleeful but slightly sadistic love letter to Halloween and everything spooky. Criminally under promoted.

Wait, what the fuck?  I was expecting a review of Black Sabbath, Three... Extremes, or Trapped Ashes after seeing that intro.

Trick R Treat is a damn fine anthology but it ain't no Kwaidan, yo.

I will give you that TrT is woefully underloved.  

Edited by J.T.

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21 hours ago, RIPPA said:

Bravos 100 Scariest Movie Moments Part 3 (50-31)

Oh Fuck Off episodes that immediately start with Eli Roth.

The human version of the Worm Ouroborous but instead of the dragon eating it's own tail, it's a man with his head shoved up his own ass.

I don't think there is a horror filmmaker alive that loves himself more than Eli Roth and I say that in the most uncomplimentary manner possible.

Edited by J.T.
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CURSE OF THE DEMON (Tourneur, 1957)

 

IMDB : ROTTEN TOMATOES (100/85)

SELECTED BY: @nate

"Dana Andrews said prunes gave him the runes."

I dig everything about this film. 

The demon's face was a fixture of my childhood, as it took up a full page spread of a long-forgotten article the Famous Monsters of Filmland Fearbook 1983 (I think it was a story about some film festival).  This was several years away from the first VCR to grace the Nate household, so there was little chance I had of seeing this by some work of serendipity, but I was always intrigued by that grim visage - the piggish nose, the horns, the dead stare, and that ghoulish, gaping maw.  There was no sense of perspective, so I was never certain if this was a humanoid boogeyman a la Boris' Frankenstein Monster, or if this was some proto-kaiju towering over the mere populace.

Years later, on a double feature release (with the Americanized cut, Curse of the Demon), I would have a chance to see this film, to find out if it lived up to this image that had haunted me for so many years.

The film - a tale about a psychologist's quest to debunk the mad claims of a cult leader about the paranormal - is almost a police procedural, where Dr. Holden (Andrews) investigates both the murder of a colleague and the involvement of the aforementioned cult leader, the genteel Julian Karswell. 

There's not much more I want to say about the film, except for the acting of Niall MacGinnis in the role of Karswell, as urbane and contrite a villain as you'll find this side of Lecter, but with that same sense of vanity and grandiosity.

A great film.

REVIEWED BY: @J.T.

Curse of the Demon / Night of the Demon (1957)

  Quote

"Well, what do you expect me to do? Nobody's free from fear. I have an imagination like anyone else. It's easy to see a demon in every dark corner. But I refuse to let this thing take possession of my good senses.

If this world is ruled by demons and monsters we may as well give up right now."

I have to say that I was pretty excited when I found out that my pick was the 1957 supernatural thriller, Night of the Demon. 

It is one of those movies that you rarely hear mentioned in the same breath as the Universal classics of the early 30's or other influential films like Eyes Without A Face / Les Yeux Sans Visage (1960) and Curse of the Demon is without a doubt one of the most important films of the genre ever conceived.

The move tells the story of American professor John Holden (Dana Andrews).

Our intrepid man of science arrives in London for a conference on parapsychology and the occult only to discover that the colleague he was supposed to meet was killed in a freak accident the day before he arrived in England

IHolden eventually discovers that out that his late friend had been investigating a cult lead by Dr. Julian Karswell (Niall MacGinnis). Though a skeptic, Holden is suspicious of the devil-worshiping Karswell. Following a trail of mysterious manuscripts, Holden enters a world that makes him question his up until now unwavering belief in natural order and rational thought.

The most striking feature about this particular film is how different it is in tone from it's counterparts.  When you think of classic 50's horror films or classic horror in general, it's usually the case that the "monster" is a real and credible threat.  The audience has no choice but to believe in the unnatural existence of Dracula, the Wolf Man, or the Creature from the Black Lagoon because the entities are there on screen and the protagonist have to deal with them or die in the attempt.

And the key word is "unnatural."  The shark from Jaws or the killer gators from Crawlaer definitely treated as if they were "monsters" and it shows signs of very unnatural behavior, but they are still creatures found in the wild in real life.  Conversely, there is no evidence to support the existence of  vampires or werewolves, but there is no denying the effect they have on the plot in the respective films where they are the antagonists.

Despite the now iconic marketing for this movie which puts the titular Demon right in your face,

night-of-the-demon-1957-1108x0-c-default

the question of whether or not the supernatural beast actually exits is debatable and that is what separates this movie from the rest of the pack.  This movie is intelligent and give the audience the benefit of the doubt of being intelligent as well.

The fact that this movie even exists at all is even more remarkable.  Columbia Pictures had a really horrible track record when it came to scary movies, but they wanted to cash in on the late 50's horror boom.  Producer Hal E. Chester was definitely an odd choice since his specialty was crime films, but he and Columbia made some inspired decisions that yielded gold.

For starters, they hired writer Charles Bennett to pen the script and this is the man who was the true soul behind several of Alfred Hitchcock's most iconic movies.

Secondly, they hired Jacques Tourneur to direct.  Tourneur's sense of style breathed life into a slew of great Westerns, but don't forget that he also helmed Cat People and I Walked With A Zombie so the guy had some serious fright movie pedigree.

Put this all together with a great script and a talented cameraman and you've just set yourself up for success, right?

Most horror films tend to work on one level or another, but Curse works on several fronts and manages to balance them all very well. Holden's steadfast belief in science is blinding but not to annoying degree, and it takes the timely intervention of Kindergarten teacher Joanna Harrington (Peggy Cummins late of Gun Crazy) to show him that being a skeptic doesn't mean ignoring facts... even if the facts involve the preternatural.

Overall the cast is great, but I have to give extra shout outs to Niall MacGinnis as Julian Karswell.  Karswell's character is obviously based on the real life demonologist, Alastair Crowley, and MacGinnis plays the role with a cultured and sophisticated sliumyness that is a wonder to behold.  Karswell doesn't really have a sinister master plan or anything.   He's merely using his diabolical talent to knock off the people whom he finds threatening and the casual manner in which he sends demons to do his dirty work is so wonderfully repugnant.

If there is a wellspring from which you could point out as the place where Satanic themed horror movies originally carved their niche, this is the movie that probably did it.  From here came The Exorcist, The Omen saga, Rosemary's Baby The Sentinel, and other films both classic and guilty favorite.

If you're making a horror film and it needs a convincing villain, who is more convincing than Satan?

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The amount of times I am almost killed Nate because I thought he had picked Night of the Demon again

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21 minutes ago, RIPPA said:

The amount of times I am almost killed Nate because I thought he had picked Night of the Demon again

I am just happy I got the nod to review the movie.   I still had it on my DVR from last Halloween from when it was broadcast uncut on TCM and I cannot remember what came up that caused me to forget to watch it.

It is a terrific and underloved classic that was way ahead of its time.

I see that I submitted yet another review without benefit of one final run of spell check again.  I am old and dumb.

Edited by J.T.
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