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Share or Scare; Can Your Kids Handle Horror?

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Share or Scare; Can Your Kids Handle Horror?

Does sitting down with your 8-year-old to watch “The Exorcist” make you a bad parent? Should you share or scare? The answer is up to you of course, but it might not be as bad as you initially thought. There are a number of things you can look for in order to enjoy a favorite horror flick with your children; iHorror and Common Sense Media tell you the best practices.

Common Sense Media, the quintessential organization for child safety and media forms, talks to iHorror about parents and horror movies. Although they don’t suggest letting your 8-year-old watch “The Exorcist”, they do think there is a healthy way to introduce him or her to the genre.

Caroline Knorr, parenting editor at Common Sense Media talks to us about the right age to let your kids enjoy the thrill every horror movie fan enjoys, and the results aren’t as limited as you might think.

7 is not the lucky number

7 is too young according to Common Sense Media

7 is too young according to Common Sense Media

Although a 7-year-old is too young to watch a horror movie, if you wait a year, chances are your child might be ready to face their fears and watch one with you, “Around 8 years old is when kids arrive at the “age of reason.” They can follow more complex storylines, and they begin to be able to understand that things aren’t always black and white, right or wrong.” Knorr said.

As a parent, it is difficult to let young children make their own choices and in most cases a good parent won’t. But when it comes to horror movies, it might surprise you to know that letting your child come to you about watching one is the best way to gauge if he or she is ready or not.

“Around age 8 is when kids might start seeking out scary content looking for thrills.” Knorr said, “They can deal with the beginnings of emotional conflict — such as the loss of a pet or parents and divorce — but scenes of anger, bullying, loyalty, and moral issues all require resolution in the script. Realistic scary situations may be the most frightening. Though they might try to seem like big kids, 8-year-olds still need to be reassured that they’re safe.”

Too scary? Just ask.

Too scary? Just ask.

Spoiling it for your kid’s sake

Although it is almost impossible nowadays to monitor every little bit of media your child enjoys, Knorr says that “managing” the media is a great way to limit their access to things that you would rather them not see. “If you’re watching something with your kid and you notice that they are totally freaked out, just stop the movie, have a conversation about what they’re feeling and thinking, and if it’s too much, back off for the time being. It helps to tell your kids about special effects, scripting, horror-movie music, and how the director creates a feeling using all these different methods.”

In the modern age, children are exposed to many real-life terrors, and these things may result in a child’s acting out to deal with them. According to Knorr, a child should be able to express how he or she is feeling especially during times when the emotion is so intense that even the parent is affected.

“Ask, how did that make you feel? Was that scary? You can even tell them that you *like* to be scared a little bit and that’s why you enjoy watching scary movies. You know that they’re not real but you enjoy the feeling of getting a little bit frightened.” Knorr said.

"The Exorcist" probably not the best first choice

“The Exorcist” probably not the best first choice

 

Horror in the Theater vs. Home Theater, is there a difference?

The movie theater experience is a lot different than sitting at home watching a movie. Distractions and outside influences can create a reality break, while a theater experience is meant to drench the viewers with stimuli. Knorr says that even though there aren’t a lot of studies to determine if watching a scary movie is more destructive at home or in public, a parent’s intuitive skills should be their guide.

“At home,” Knorr explains, “your phone might ring in the middle of the action, you can pause the movie to go the bathroom, etc. We do recommend watching “starter” scary movies at home precisely because they are less immersive and of course you can more easily judge your kid’s reaction and pause or stop the movie if it’s too much.”

Don’t let curiosity kill the chat

Just because your child wants to watch a horror movie doesn’t mean he or she is ready. Knorr recalls a personal experience with her 8-year-old and his reaction to a movie scene that was shocking:

“When my son was 8 or 9 he was completely determined to watch ‘Mission to Mars’ (which we actually have rated at 8 years old) and without giving away any spoilers, he became completely distraught over a scene when a character meets with a terrible fate. My son was really traumatized and that feeling overtook any feeling of trying to put a good face on because he had insisted on watching the movie in the first place. I think that parents should read Common Sense Media’s reviews thoroughly if they are in doubt and not go too far out of the age range. Pay attention to your kids’ individual sensibilities, too. If you know that they are totally freaked out by something – then don’t cave and allow them to watch something you KNOW is going to scare them. There are so many great movies for kids and so many options for streaming, DVRing, etc. that you can definitely find a decent alternative.”

Future Killers?

Problem children probably shouldn't watch horror movies right away

Horror movies don’t necessarily make your child violent

The thought that letting kids watch violent materials or exposing them to graphic images can cause permanent psychological damage is somewhat true, especially if that child is already psychologically compromised. But parents can certainly make decisions that will make horror movie watching a bonding experience rather than a detrimental one. Knorr suggests starting with some of the classic movies first:

“If you choose age-appropriately (on Common Sense Media, you can search all movies by age, interest, and subject matter), limit exposure, and talk about the movies with your kids, horror movies can be something you enjoy together. My recommendation would also be to watch some of the classic horror movies and discuss the advancements in technology, special effects, scoring, etc. This will help your kids develop even more appreciation of the genre, learn some of the technical aspects of horror movies, and help them think critically about what they’re watching. “

Horror for Beginners

As for a good rule-of-thumb, Knorr says to choose movies that are age appropriate. There are plenty of horror movies for kids that can gently introduce them to your genre.

“There are lots of beginner scary movies you can sort of ease your kid into the genre with. Beyond that, talking to them about what they’re watching, how they feel about it, what they think about it.”

Are Girls More Scared Than Boys?

Are girls more scared than boys?

Are girls more scared than boys?

Gender does not need to be a determining factor in whether or not your child will be more affected or less affected by a horror movie. Whether you are introducing a boy or a girl to the thrills of a good flick, the affect might be the same.

“It’s really more about the kid’s individual interests.” Knorr said. “If you want to introduce your kids to the genre, find topics that will matter to them. It’s also really important for kids to see movies with characters that aren’t stereotypical.  Look for strong female role models, men who show emotions who don’t resort to violence to solve problems, respectful conflict resolution, no skimpy clothes, and positive portrayals and fully developed characters of all ethnicities.”

Enjoy a Horror Movie at Your Kids Level

Perhaps it is not that you should engage your child first with the concept of horror movies, rather you should let them engage you. That might mean you sit through a film that is more on their level first to determine what they can handle. Caroline Knorr suggests a few movies that might be a good segue into the genre:

Maleficent

The Boy Who Cried Werewolf

Tales of the Night

Scooby Doo Curse of the Lake Monster

The Spiderwick Chronicles

The Boy Who Cried Werewolf

The Boy Who Cried Werewolf

 

The Exorcist” is for Advanced Younger Fans

Although your 8-year-old might not appreciate the post traumatic chills that come with watching a movie like “The Exorcist”, a good parent will determine if those consequences are worth bonding over. Perhaps horror fans can bond with their kids not only in sharing their favorite scary movie at the right time, but spending the time to explain the feelings and emotions that result from watching it.

Tell ihorror what age you were when you first watched a horror movie, and how it affected you.

Caroline Knorr is the parenting editor for Common Sense Media.

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61 Days of Halloween on Shudder Begins September 1st!

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Shudder September 2022

Shudder has declared itself The Home for Halloween as the all horror/thriller streaming platform gears up for spooky season. Their annual 61 Days of Halloween fest this year will feature 11 all-new features along with a host of new original content and series as every horror lover’s favorite holiday approaches!

The fan-favorite “Ghoul Log” will be returning along with the Halloween Hotline which will allow fans to call in and speak directly to Samuel Zimmerman, Shudder’s content curator, for personalized suggestion every Friday in October from 3-4 pm EST. The hotline number (914-481-2239) will only work during operating hours so be sure to get in line quickly!

I write up the new Shudder calendar every month, and I can honestly say this is one of the most exciting lineups I’ve seen in a while, and because there’s so much content, I’m going to break it up a little differently than I usually do. Below you’ll find dedicated sections for the original content, series, specials, as well as the normal spooky calendar. Take a look below, and get ready to scare with 61 Days of Halloween on Shudder!

Original Shudder Series

101 Scariest Horror Movie Moments of All Time: PREMIERES SEPTEMBER 7th! In this eight-episode new series from the producers of Eli Roth’s History of Horror, master filmmakers and genre experts celebrate and dissect the most terrifying moments of the greatest horror films ever made, exploring how these scenes were created and why they burned themselves into the brains of audiences around the world.

Queer for Fear: A History of Queer Horror: From executive producer Bryan Fuller (Hannibal), Queer for Fear is a four-part documentary series about the history of the LGBTQ+ community in the horror and thriller genres. From its literary origins with queer authors Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, and Oscar Wilde to the pansy craze of the 1920s that influenced Universal Monsters and Hitchcock; from the “lavender scare” alien invasion films of the mid-20th century to the AIDS obsessed bloodletting of 80s vampire films; through genre-bending horrors from a new generation of queer creatorsQueer for Fearre-examines genre stories through a  queer lens, seeing them not as violent, murderous narratives, but as tales of survival that resonate thematically with queer  audiences everywhere.

Shudder Queer for Fear

Queer For Fear – Key Art – Photo Credit: Shudder

Untitled Boulet Brothers Series: For the third straight Halloween season following The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula: Resurrection (2020) and The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula season 4 (2021), the groundbreaking duo return to Shudder to horrify and delight with their boldest and most ambitious show ever.

Shudder Originals and Exclusives

Who Invited Them: PREMIERES SEPTEMBER 1st! Adam and Margo’s housewarming party goes well enough except for this mysterious couple, Tom and Sasha, lingering after the other guests have left. The couple reveals themselves to be their wealthy and successful neighbors, but as one nightcap leads to another, Adam and Margo start to suspect their new friends are duplicitous strangers with a dark secret. Written and directed by Duncan Birmingham, and starring Ryan Hansen (Veroncia Mars), Melissa Tang (The Kominsky Method), Timothy Granaderos (13 Reasons Why), and Perry Mattfeld (In the Dark). (A Shudder Original)

Saloum: PREMIERES SEPTEMBER 8th! Shot down after fleeing a coup and extracting a drug lord from Guinea-Bissau, the legendary mercenaries known as the Bangui Hyenas – Chaka, Rafa and Midnight – must stash their stolen gold bounty, lay low long enough to repair and refuel their plane and escape back to Dakar, Senegal. When they take refuge at a holiday camp in the coastal region of Sine-Saloum, they do their best to blend in with their fellow guests; including a mute named Awa, with secrets of her own, and a policeman who may be on their tail, but it’s Chaka who happens to be hiding the darkest secret of them all. Unbeknownst to the other Hyenas, he’s brought them there for a reason and once his past catches up to him, his decisions have devastating consequences, threatening to unleash hell on them all.  (A Shudder Original)

Flux Gourmet: PREMIERES SEPTEMBER 15th! Set at an institute devoted to culinary and alimentary performance, a collective finds themselves embroiled in power struggles, artistic vendettas, and gastrointestinal disorders.  Starring Asa Butterfield (Sex Education, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones), and Richard Bremmer (Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.) Written and directed by Peter Strickland (In Fabric). (A Shudder Exclusive)

Speak No Evil: PREMIERES SEPTEMBER 15th! On a vacation in Tuscany, a Danish family instantly becomes friends with a Dutch family. Months later the Danish couple receive an unexpected invitation to visit the Dutch in their wooden house and decide to go for the weekend. However, it doesn’t take long before the joy of reunion is replaced with misunderstandings. Things gradually get out of hand, as the Dutch turn out to be something very else than what they have pretended to be. The small Danish family now find themselves trapped in a house, that they wish they had never entered. The film was a splash at Sundance, and is honestly one of the most uncomfortable movies we’ve ever seen!(A Shudder Original)

Raven’s Hollow: PREMIERES SEPTEMBER 22nd! West Point cadet Edgar Allan Poe and four other cadets on a training exercise in upstate New York are drawn by a gruesome discovery into a forgotten community. Starring William Moseley (The Chronicles of Narnia), Melanie Zanetti (Bluey), Callum Woodhouse (All Creatures Great and Small), Kate Dickie (The Green Knight), and David Hayman (Sid & Nancy). Written and directed by Christopher Hatton. Official Selection, FrightFest 2022. (A Shudder Original)

Sissy: PREMIERES SEPTEMBER 29th! SISSY stars Aisha Dee and Barlow as Cecilia and Emma, who had been tween-age BFFs who were never going to let anything come between them — until Alex (Emily De Margheriti) arrived on the scene. Twelve years later, Cecilia is a successful social media influencer living the dream of an independent, modern millennial woman, until she runs into Emma for the first time in over a decade. After reconnecting, Emmy invites Cecilia on her bachelorette weekend at a remote cabin in the mountains, where Alex proceeds to make Cecilia’s weekend a living hell. Sissy is written and directed by Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes. Official Selection, SXSW 2022 (A Shudder Original)

Deadstream: PREMIERES OCTOBER 6th! A disgraced and demonetized Internet personality (Joseph Winter) tries to win back his fans by live streaming himself, spending a night alone in an abandoned haunted house. However, when he accidentally unleashes a vengeful spirit, his big comeback event becomes a real-time fight for his life (and social relevance) as he faces off with the sinister spirit of the house and her powerful following. Deadstream stars Joseph Winter, who wrote and directed the film with Vanessa Winter. (A Shudder Original)

Dario Argento’s Dark Glasses: PREMIERES OCTOBER 13th! Rome. An eclipse blocks out the sun, blackening the skies on a hot summer day – harbinger of the darkness that will envelop Diana when a serial killer chooses her as prey. Fleeing her predator, the young escort crashes her car and loses her sight. She emerges from the initial shock determined to fight for her life, but she is no longer alone. Defending her and acting as her eyes is a little boy, Chin, who survived the car accident. But the killer won’t give up his victim. Who will be saved? A triumphant return from Italian master of horror, director Dario Argento. Starring Ilenia Pastorelli and Asia Argento. (A Shudder Original)

She Will: PREMIERES OCTOBER 13th! After a double mastectomy, Veronica Ghent (Alice Krige), goes to a healing retreat in rural Scotland with her young nurse Desi (Kota Eberhardt). She discovers that the process of such surgery opens questions about her very existence, leading her to start to question and confront past traumas. The two develop an unlikely bond as mysterious forces give Veronica the power to enact revenge within her dreams.  Also starring Malcolm McDowell, Jonathan Aris, Rupert Everett, and Olwen Fouéré. (A Shudder Exclusive)

V/H/S/99: PREMIERS OCTOBER 20th!V/H/S/99 marks the return of the acclaimed found footage anthology franchise and the sequel to Shudder’s most-watched premiere of 2021. A thirsty teenager’s home video leads to a series of horrifying revelations. Featuring five new stories from filmmakers Maggie Levin (Into The Dark: My Valentine), Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down, Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City), Flying Lotus (Kuso), Tyler MacIntyre (Tragedy Girls) and Joseph & Vanessa Winter (Deadstream), V/H/S/99 harkens back to the final punk rock analog days of VHS, while taking one giant leap forward into the hellish new millennium. (A Shudder Original)

Shudder V/H/S/99

Resurrection: PREMIERES OCTOBER 28th! Margaret’s life is in order. She is capable, disciplined, and successful. Everything is under control. That is, until David returns, carrying with him the horrors of Margaret’s past. Resurrection is directed by Andrew Semans, and stars Rebecca Hall and Tim Roth. (A Shudder Exclusive)

Joe Bob’s Halloween 2022 Special: PREMIERES OCTOBER 28th! In what has become an annual tradition, iconic horror host and foremost drive-in movie critic Joe Bob Briggs returns with a special The Last Drive-In double feature just in time for Halloween, premiering live on the Shudder TV feed. You’ll have to tune in to find out what movies Joe Bob has selected, but you can count on something scary and perfect for the season, with a special guest to be announced. (Also available on demand beginning October 23.)

September 2022 Release Calendar!

September 1st:

31: Driving through the Southwest on Halloween night, Charly (Sheri Moon Zombie) and her carny crew are attacked and brought to a factory where evil aristocrat Malcolm McDowell announces they’ll be hunted by a series of killer clowns, including the unstoppable Doom-Head (brilliant bad guy Richard Brake, aka the Night King on “Game of Thrones”). The deathmatch set-up has been a horror-fantasy staple from 1932’s The Most Dangerous Game to The Huner Games, but in Rob Zombie’s blood-soaked hands, the subgenre naturally receives its most unrelentingly gruesome interpretation. Contains strong language, sexual scenes, violence, and gore.

The Devil’s Rejects: After a raid on the rural home of the psychopathic Firefly family, two members of the clan, Otis (Bill Moseley) and Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie), manage to flee the scene. Heading to a remote desert motel, the killers reunite with Baby’s father, Capt. Spaulding (Sid Haig), who is equally demented and intent on maintaining their murder spree. While the trio continues to torment and kill various victims, the vengeful Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe) slowly closes in on them.

The Lords of Salem: Heidi, a radio DJ from Salem, is plagued by bizarre nightmares of vengeful witches after playing a mysterious record by a group known as The Lords. When the record becomes a huge hit, Heidi and her colleagues receive tickets for the band’s next gig, but upon arrival find that the show goes beyond anything they could have imagined. From modern horror maestro, Rob Zombie, THE LORDS OF SALEM is an enigmatic and visually stunning take on the mythology of witches that blends a 1970s aesthetic with modern day counterculture to create a vivid, macabre horror. Contains strong language, sexual scenes, violence, and gore.

Lady in White: Nine-year-old Frankie lives in a small town with a deadly secret. For a decade, a serial child killer has eluded police, and the death toll continues to rise. Then, one night, Frankie gets locked in at his school as a prank and witnesses the ghost of the first victim being murdered. Now, aided by the girl’s restless spirit, Frankie takes it upon himself to bring her assailant to justice. But in a town with no strangers, the killer may be closer than he knows! Alex Rocco also stars.

September 5th:

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue: A strange twist of fate brings two young travelers, George, and Edna, to a small town where an experimental agricultural machine may be bringing the dead back to life! As zombies infest the area and attack the living, a bullheaded detective thinks the couple are Satanists responsible for the local killings. George and Edna must fight for their lives as they try and stop the impending zombie apocalypse!

September 6th:

Perfect Blue: First time on streaming: Rising pop star Mima has quit singing to pursue a career as an actress and model, but her fans aren’t ready to see her go… Encouraged by her managers, Mima takes on a recurring role on a popular TV show, when suddenly her handlers and collaborators begin turning up murdered. Harboring feelings of guilt and haunted by visions of her former self, Mima’s reality and fantasy meld into a frenzied paranoia. As her stalker closes in, in person and online, the threat he poses is more real than even Mima knows, in this iconic psychological thriller that has frequently been hailed as one of the most important animated films of all time. PERFECT BLUE is the groundbreaking and rarely screened first film from the legendary animator Satoshi Kon (PaprikaParanoia Agent).

Mind Game: Loser Nishi, too wimpy to try to save his childhood sweetheart from gangsters, is shot in the butt by a soccer-playing psychopath, projecting Nishi into the afterlife. In this limbo, God – shown as a series of rapidly changing characters – tells him to walk toward the light.  But Nishi runs like hell in the other direction and returns to Earth a changed man, driven to live each moment to the fullest. First feature from award-winning animator Masaaki Yuasa.

Birdboy: The Forgotten Children: Stranded on an island in a post-apocalyptic world, teenager Dinky and her friends hatch a dangerous plan to escape in the hope of finding a better life. Meanwhile, her old friend Birdboy has shut himself off from the world, pursued by the police and haunted by demon tormentors. But unbeknownst to anyone, he contains a secret inside him that could change the world forever. Based on a graphic novel and short film by co-director Alberto Vázquez (with Pedro Rivero) and winner of the Goya Award for Best Animated Feature.

Nocturna Side A: The Great Old Man’s Night: Ulysses is a hundred-year-old man, battling for redemption on his last night on earth. Faced with imminent death, he is forced to rethink his past, his present and his take on reality.

Lifechanger: Drew has an identity problem. Every few days, he has to shape-shift, or face a painful death. He has to find someone and make a copy. He takes everything: their looks, memories, hopes and dreams. Their entire life. He becomes them, and they die horribly. Lately, the changes are becoming more frequent. Facing his imminent death, Drew sets out on one final blood-soaked mission.

September 12th:

Extraordinary Tales: Five of Edgar Allan Poe’s best-known stories are brought to vivid life in this visually stunning, heart-pounding animated anthology featuring some fot he most beloved figures in horror film history.

September 19th:

Cemetery of Terror: On Halloween, a group of medical students steal the corpse a serial killer from a morgue and raise him from the dead, inadvertently putting themselves and a group of young neighborhood children in danger.

Grave Robbers: Teenagers accidentally resurrect a satanic killer who targets the local police captain’s daughter to birth the antichrist.

September 26th:

Sole Survivor: A lone survivor of a plane crash is haunted by a feeling unworthy of survival. Dead people start coming after her to collect her.

Trick or Treats: A babysitter is stuck watching over a young brat on Halloween night who keeps playing vicious pranks on her. To add to her trouble the boy’s deranged father has escaped from an asylum and is planning on making a visit.

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Horror Entertainment News

‘Cult of the Lamb’ Trailer Takes Inspiration from The Omen, The Wicker Man and More

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Lamb

Devolover’s latest offering is Cult of the Lamb. This one may look cute and filled with fluffy sheep and friends, but don’t let that fool you. These little lambs are followers of “The One Who Waits” and they will do what is necessary in order to stay prosperous. Do you want lots of food and a flock of the faithful? You may have to sacrifice your Lamb brethren. Be a good leader or you could end up in a Wicker Lamb to be burnt to death.

You can tell that the folks over at Devolver are big fans of Folk horror. There is plenty of influence throughout this one. From The Wicker Man to MidSommar, to The Omen and Eyes of Fire.

Lamb

The synopsis for Cult of the Lamb goes like this:

If you are here, you must have heard the call: The One Who Waits requires you to start a cult in this world of monsters and horror. To do so, you will need to cultivate a following of woodland worshippers, crusade through randomly generated dungeons in each of the four Lands of the Old Faith, and battle through hordes of beastly non-believers who will attempt to end your righteous mission. We wish you luck!

If you know Devolver, then you know the sort of fun that this game is going to be. Cult of Lamb takes tons of folk horror influence and creates something really special from the whole sub-genre.

Cult of the Lamb is out now on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and Nintendo Switch.

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Vince Gilligan’s New Series Following ‘Better Call Saul’ is Being Compared to ‘Twilight Zone’

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Gilligan

Now that Vince Gilligan has wrapped up Better Call Saul the writer/director is excited to get his next series out. The new series is very anticipated among the networks looking forward to making the new series a home on their own respective channel. The new series is said to take Gilligan back to a more X-Files vibe.

While Deadline reports not to expect a full return to that kind of sci-fi/drama, they do report that it is said to be a series that focuses on the human condition in a new and interesting way.

Gilligan’s new series is being compared to The Twilight Zone according to Deadline.

“It is said to be set in our world while putting a tweak on it, focusing on people and exploring the human condition in an unexpected, surprising way.”

It is also said to be thought-provoking but not a morality tale. Gilligan’s new series is also said to have his classic sense of humor thrown into the mix.

If Gilligan is even slightly going back to his X-Files ways and if that is being compared to The Twilight Zone to boot? All we can say is hell yes!

Prior to Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, Gilligan was writing some great stuff for both The X-Files. In fact, some of the best episodes were written by either Gilligan or Darin/Glenn Morgan.

We can’t wait to see what is next for Gilligan following his world of Slipping Jimmy’s and Blue Meth. His writing has always been a high point whatever he does.

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