Every V/H/S Segment, Ranked

Like most film genres, when it comes to horror what’s big now won’t necessarily be what’s big in the future. One year it’ll be the latest splatter film from Eli Roth and the next it’ll be the ghostly frights of James Wan. One of the few things to stay consistent is the anthology film format. A concept used since the beginning of film (1916’s silent epic Intolerance) it is when a film is made up of several shorts instead of one big narrative. While this style of film is present in all genres it has come to be most associated with horror thanks to the success of UK movies like Tales from the Crypt and Asylum. Since then movies like Creepshow and Trick ‘R Treat have become fan favorites. More recently we have seen an influx of horror anthologies from around the world with one of the first movies to bring back this trend being V/H/S.

First released in 2012 the V/H/S series quickly gained fans by getting some of the hottest up-and-coming directors together at the time and mixing them having them make a found footage short. Going for three films it has provided some of the best and most memorable horror shorts of the past decade. Each entry giving popular directors the chance to make whatever they want as long as it is found footage. It’s an interesting concept that fans still watch today. So, before you go back to watch the V/H/S series for Halloween here is each movie’s segment ranked from worst to best.


16. Gorgeous Vortex

Director: Todd Lincoln
From the Movie: V/H/S: Viral
Easily the worst of the shorts due to one simple reason, it isn’t found footage. While the filming style is used every now and then Gorgeous Vortex is more of a typical short film than anything else. While it certainly has its merits this Victoria’s Secret meets American Psycho short is the worst of the three films.

15. Dante the Great
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Directed By: Gregg Bishop
From the Movie: V/H/S: Viral
It seems by V/H/S: Viral directors were getting a bit tired of the VHS tapes conceit. While some are still shot on handheld cameras Dante the Great is done in a faux-documentary style. Unfortunately it doesn’t work out. Using a mix of talking heads and security footage there’s a certain it doesn’t quite fit together. A shame because I love the idea. A magician using real magic and how it is corrupting him has the potential to be fun in a found footage setting. Too bad it didn’t work out.

14. Tape 56

Directed By: Adam Wingard
From the Movie: V/H/S
The framing device is always a tough thing to pull off. You should be able to tell a story while introducing each short logically. It is a struggle for most horror anthologies to pull off. In the first V/H/S they choose to use a group of criminals entering a mysterious house to retrieve VHS tapes while being dispatched one by one. It isn’t particularly inspired nor is it a great showcase for director Adam Wingard. Fortunately, it is surrounded by some killer shorts.

13. Tape 49

Directed By: Simon Barrett
From the Movie: V/H/S/2
Like the wrap around story from the first film Tape 49 follows a couple hired to search for a tape. The two soon learn that they’re in for their own V/H/S tape. While it doesn’t tread new ground, it works better than Tape 56 thanks to our two leads. Unlike the bro-criminals from the first film these two are a likable duo who are fun to follow. Aside from an anti-climactic end it a solid story to follow throughout the film.

12. Vicious Circles
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Directed By: Marcel Sarmiento
From the Movie: V/H/S: Viral
V/H/S: Viral is generally considered the worst of the series due to it straying too much from the first two. Oddly enough this works when it comes to Viral‘s framing device. Instead of focusing on people trying to steal a tape we follow Kevin, a videographer trying to have a video of his own go viral. When his girlfriend is kidnapped he goes searching for her and seeing the effects these V/H/S videos are having on the world. Even though it is a bit on the nose in its message the idea of the world being infected by these videos had a lot of potential. While far from perfect with ambitious intentions Vicious Circles is the franchise’s best framing device.

11. Second Honeymoon
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Directed By: Ti West
From the Movie: V/H/S
For the past decade one of the most promising young directors has been Ti West. He has delivered hit after hit with movie such as House of the Devil, The Innkeepers and The Sacrament. It looks like we may get the same with his entry for the first V/H/S. The buildup is great and, while questionable, the behavior of our leads makes for good horror fodder. Unfortunately, the climax is so quick that it leaves audiences a bit disappointed. It’s not necessarily a bad short it just didn’t leave up to its potential.

10. A Ride in the Park
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Directed By: Eduardo Sanchez and Gregg Hale
From the Movie: V/H/S/2
The idea of a found footage film from the point of view from the zombie sounds like a great idea. Not only does it have the surefire win of a zombie movie but does it in a way nobody had done before. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quit work out. What could have been chaotic fun goes through the motions before a creative, if disappointing, conclusion.

9. Slumber Party Alien Abduction
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Directed By: Jason Eisener
From the Movie: V/H/S/2
A popular anecdote in the film community is how originally Steven Spielberg intended for Close Encounters of the Third Kind to be a horror movie called Night Skies. While this never came to be fans of Spielberg get a glimpse of what it could have been with Slumber Party Alien Abduction. Director-writer Jason Eisner does a fantastic job nailing the “kids will be kids” style Spielberg was known for when portraying the sleepover, water fights and talking about girls. It nails how kids act perfectly. Then we get the alien abduction which isn’t as fun. Consisting mostly of jump scares none of it feels any different from any other alien movie. From the grey skin and black eyes to the placement of the scares it all feels done before. Perhaps if it were longer it’d work better but it’s fairly average as is.

8. The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger
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Directed By: Joe Swanberg
From the Movie: V/H/S
Before Unfriended and The Den one of the first horror movie to be filmed through video chat was this short by Joe Swanberg. More known for his mumblecore dramedies this dive into horror is a good little thriller. Relying more on shadows and mystery this short relies on misdirection more than anything else. Teasing a classic ghost story, it takes a shocking turn into science fiction at its conclusion. While a bit slow at points the mystery surrounding The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger makes this short worth a watch.

7. Bonestorm
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Directed By: Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead
From the Movie: V/H/S: Viral
In the horror genre there are audiences will always question certain tropes. Why did they run upstairs, why are they going out alone and perhaps most frustratingly, why does nobody fight back? Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead seem to have the same question because they answer that is exactly what happens. As it turns out, it’s an absolute blast. No matter what supernatural trickery the death cult tries they are taken down with either a punch to the face or a bullet, both of which are equally satisfying. While one of the least scary shorts of the series it remains one of the most enjoyable of the franchise.

6. Phase I Clinical Trials
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Directed By: Adam Wingard
From the Movie: V/H/S/2
After losing his eye in a car accident Herman (played by director Wingard) is lucky enough to have his eye replaced by a bionic implant. Attached with a recording chip it lets the corporation, and the audience, see what Herman sees. All things considered Phase I is a predictable story hitting all the beats horror fans expect. Surprisingly it is also one of the scarier entries. Thanks to Wingard’s expertise as a director Phase I delivers some of the best jumps of the series.

5. Parallel Monsters
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Directed By: Nacho Vigalondo
From the Movie: V/H/S: Viral
Director Nacho Vigalondo has always done an excellent job mixing genres. Whether it’s the dark comedy in his ABC’s of Death short to the mind-bending terror of Timecrimes this Spanish filmmaker has always had a unique take on horror and his V/H/S: Viral entry is no different. Mixing heavy science fiction with body horror Parallel Monsters is a unique take on the evil double tropes. Throw in some great looking practical effects and you have one of the best shorts of the series.

4. 10/31/98
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Directed By: Radio Silence
From the Movie: V/H/S
A good short doesn’t have to be original. Sometimes an old-fashioned campfire tale is as just as good as the most mind-bending, boundary pushing tale of terror. 10/31/98 is a perfect example of this. Taking place during Halloween 1998 10/31/98 is about a group of friends that get caught up in a satanic ritual. With decent effects and a likable cast 10/31/98 is an insanely fun haunted house story.

3. Tuesday the 17th
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Directed By: Glenn McQuaid
From the Movie: V/H/S
Throughout the series we see all kinds of twists on the VHS tape conceit. Some have the movie being filmed on GoPros while others are supposed to be wedding/honeymoon videos. While clever ideas none are quite like Tuesday the 17th. When a group of friends head into the woods their camera starts to act up. What we get is a killer who only appears in tracking errors only known as “The Glitch.” It’s an interesting concept that works perfectly in the film. With its interesting concept and unique take on found footage concept Tuesday the 17th is one of the best shorts in the franchise.

2. Safe Haven
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Directed By: Gareth Evans
From the Movie: V/H/S/2
Perhaps the coolest part of the V/H/S franchise has been seeing non-horror directors taking a step into the horror genre. The best example being Safe Haven directed by Gareth Evans. Best known for The Raid: Redemption and The Raid 2, Save Haven follows a documentary film crew filming the ‘People of Paradise Gate’ cult. As they interview the cult’s leader, simply known as father, they realize his ulterior motives. Like his Raid movies Gareth Evans pulls no punches and delivers intense, bloody carnage in the way only he can.

1. Amateur Night

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Directed By: David Bruckner
From the Movie: V/H/S
Sometimes you perfect things the first time. That’s certainly the case for V/H/S and their inaugural short Amateur Night. Trying to make get rich quick with amateur porn friends Shane, Patrick and Clint go out for a night on the town. What they meet is a shy, lovelorn woman with a secret. What follows is one of the best horror shorts of the past decade. From a novel use of found footage and practical effects to sharp dialogue from writer-director David Buckner it is a fun ride from start to finish. Popular enough to spawn the full-fledged movie SiREN it is easy to understand why Amateur Night is the best V/H/S segment.

Be Kind, Rewind
Since the 2014 release of V/H/S: Viral most of the directors have gone on to great acclaim. Then up-and-coming directors like Adam Wingard (Death Note), Nacho Vigalando (Colossal) and Ti West (Scream: The Series) have been able to use the V/H/S series to work on bigger projects. Meanwhile more indie directors like David Bruckner have developed their own independent projects such as 0.. With so many talented indie horror filmmakers out there, it might be time to rewind this V/H/S tape one more time.

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Why The Marvel Netflix Shows Shouldn’t Be A Part of the MCU

2017 has seen a major shift for Marvel Comics. When it comes to comics after the controversial Secret Empire the popular company looks to begin anew with Marvel Legacy. On the big screen James Gunn and crew are returning for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Considered the first big movie of the summer went on to gross $145 million domestically with an additional $124 overseas. In comparison Fate of the Furious brought in $98.8M, Logan clawed its way to $70M and the original Guardians opening to $94 million in the US. Perhaps the most exciting Marvel project is the upcoming Netflix series, The Punisher.

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Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus and Pop Music’s Exploitation of Hip Hop

With a new album on the way Taylor Swift made a splash when last week she dropped her new track “Look What You Made Me Do” as well as an accompanying #music video. It was treated like the kind of event you would expect from one of the biggest stars in pop music. And even though reception for the song itself has been mixed it has already broken Spotify records and the focus has mainly been on the song’s content. While no other artist is named it has been interpreted as a diss track towards Katy Perry and, more importantly, #KanyeWest. Now the history between the two pop stars hardly needs to be rehashed. With a feud dating back to the incident at 2009 MTV VMA’s the two have thrown subtle, and not so subtle, jabs at each other for years. Things between the two finally seemed to cool off after a phone call between Taylor and Kanye agreeing to the lyrics to the song “Famous” were made public. Yet here we are, once again, talking about the two. Ignoring that things seemed done going at Kanye after he had to cancel the Saint Pablo tour due to time in a mental health facility just feels gross. Then again I shouldn’t be surprised. As exploitative as it may feel it’s nothing new. As soon as she stopped doing country music and drifted towards pop she has used hip hop for per own gain.

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Washed: Or How I Learned To Accept Aging Thanks To Hip Hop

In the world of entertainment there is nothing more important than connecting with the youth. As corny as that sounds it’s the young and young-at-heart that push entertainment forward. It’s why Hollywood will take a chance on an unproven YA book franchise or a TV movie like Disney Channel’s Descendants 2 will get 8.6 million viewers on its first run. But as much as tweens and teenagers influence film and television it is most obvious when it comes to music. Since the beginning of modern pop music it has been the teenage fads that determine where music goes. Young women were able to turn appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show into full blown Beatlemania. Before he was big Michael Jackson performed the moonwalk on Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever and captured the imaginations of everyone from suburban youths to a teenage Corey Feldman. Kids have a massive impact on music and it is probably most obvious in hip hop. It can also make growing up as a fan of hip hop super weird.

While I can’t say I have been a fan since day but rap has been one of the biggest musical influences of my life. I have vivid memories of seeing Dr. Dre’s “Nuthin but a G Thang” video on MTV while at a childhood friend’s house pretending I cared about LEGOs. For a kid living in the suburbs seeing this party in the middle of Compton was game changing. As I got older and other music would become my focus (such as punk rock and those regrettable nu-metal years) hip hop would always be around. The biggest rappers in the game becoming more than men and becoming gods to me. By the time I discovered mixtapes on Datpiff the culture had become one of the most prominent things in my life. Artists like TI, Kanye West and Nas would provide my life a soundtrack filled with 808s and turntables. Then the inevitable happened, I grew up.

Slowly but surely I started to fall behind on who was coming up and who was falling off. The XXL Freshman cover went from something to examine to rappers I didn’t know. Then came the day I was dreading, discovering an artist when everyone else did. As silly as it sounds it sincerely bothered me. I’m not going to claim I was the biggest hip hop head but I was able to keep up on who was popping. I used to love cruising mixtape websites to find the next big thing. Suddenly names would crop up with tons of praise and I had never heard of them. I was officially washed. Given I knew I wouldn’t stay young forever. Still it bummed me out and looking to my musical heroes did not help.

Growing Up and the Old Guy in the Club

With hip hop as young as it is fans haven’t had much time to actually see rappers age. It hasn’t been like country where you can see Johnny Cash go from young rogue to religious singer and finally the haunting covers that define his twilight years. In fact pioneers like Grandmaster Flash, DJ Kool Herc and Fab Five Freddy are barely entering their 60’s. For the most part older rappers have quietly retired or fade into obscurity. Even rarer is for a major artist to age gracefully.

It’s easy to make jokes nowadays LL Cool J and Nelly the two were massive artists in their day. LL Cool J was a pioneer in hip hop and Nelly is one of the most successful rap acts of all time. Yet as the art form evolved and I grew up they didn’t. Classic LL had the ability to shorten careers with his rhymes but times have changed. He seems more comfortable hosting award shows and his flow feels downright archaic on recent releases. And while Nelly could be as charismatic as ever was ill-conceived collaborations with country artists and pop stars like Miley Cyrus would come off as desperate. Essentially the two would become the equivalent of being the old guy in the club and it put the fear of God in me. I had to wonder, is that who I am by still listening to hip hop? I mean I was out of school and officially began a career but I still loved listening to Three 6 Mafia and Young Jeezy, not exactly the most mature listening choices. It wasn’t until Eminem came out of seclusion in 2009 that I really stopped worrying.

Slim Shady, T.I.P. and Growing Up

Like a lot of people my age I was a huge fan of Eminem. Coming to prominence at the perfect time his pop-culture skewering, shock rock antics appealed to a generation of suburban teens looking for ways to rebel. But like the rest of us he got older and those very same antics would become cringeworthy the older he got. Despite being one of the best rappers of all time his childish horrorcore tendencies on Encore and Relapse began to appeal to me less and less. Then something surprising happened, Slim Shady grew up.

In 2010 Eminem released Recovery and his style was totally different. Given he wasn’t the first rapper to get introspective but it is rare to see it from such a huge artist. With his seventh album Em delves into his struggles with addiction, the death of hype man Proof and his struggles in hip hop. I know a lot of fans weren’t into it but I found it comforting. Even if I couldn’t relate it was nice to hear one of my favorite rappers move away from his silly Slim Shady persona and talk about real issues. He wasn’t the only rapper to mature either.

For the longest time TI was best known for early trap music and being the self-declared King of the South. Then, after one of the best run of albums in hip hop history, he was facing U.S. federal weapons charges. With incarceration in the horizon the southern rapper put out Paper Trail, an album more about redemption than slinging dope. Tracks like “Ready for Whatever” and “No Matter What” were perfect as I hit my mid-20’s and was trying to get my life straight. Again I hardly know what getting locked up on weapons charges could be like but it helped put my life in perspective. Now both Eminem and TI would eventually go back to what they were best known for which is fine. In all honesty, both artists are so good at rapping that even when Shady in “Rap God” mode or TI is talking about the trap I will still dig it. But as I started to leave my 20’s I saw the light. Not only is it possible to age within the hip hop culture but it could be done with dignity.

Hov, Nas and Legacy

While they may not have been the first two rappers I discovered there have been few rappers on my radar the way Jay Z and Nas have been. With his boundless charisma and mastery of flow Jay Z is everything I expect out of a “mainstream rapper.” Right next to him is Jay’s ex-rival Nas. One of the most talented rappers of all time he represented what “real hip hop” is meant to be. The kind of MC that favored bars and storytelling above all else. Whether it was Nas releasing “Hate Me Now” right before my angst-ridden high school years to Jay releasing The Black Album before I graduated from high school these two New York MC’s always seemed to put out something perfect for where my life as heading. And it was no different as I approached 30 and was finally starting to grow up.

In mid-2012 Nas dropped his most mature album to date, Life Is Good. Reminiscent of Marvin Gaye’s “Here, My Dear” it addresses aging, marriage and his divorce from singer Kelis. Given marriage and divorce were the farthest thing from my mind. Heck, I was barely had any lasting relationships at the time. Still, with songs like “Daughters” were encouraging. It went a long way in showing me that one of my favorite artists was not only human but struggled with mat1uring himself. I found it to be oddly inspiring. Here was a man who I considered a god in the booth, who put out some of my favorite tracks of all time and he wasn’t perfect. Just a man who struggled like the rest of us. The man who said on Illmatic that “Life’s A Bitch” was now happy and content with everything. I know how silly it sounds but if Nas had issues and he could come out on top, why couldn’t I?

More recently we saw Jay Z go a similar route in his music. Like Eminem, Hov has always felt untouchable. If not because of his lyrical superiority then because of his amazing business acumen and notorious privacy. He has had an air of royalty surrounding him since I was a teenager and it only grew with each passing year. Then, after years of rumors and controversy, he put out 4:44. Starting with the song “Kill Jay Z” we finally hear the man Shawn Carter discuss his life. Sure we got glimpses of him on tracks like “Song Cry” but this is the first real glimpse we get at the man not the persona. He not only wasn’t the invincible god he portrayed himself as but he was talking about things I think are important now that I’m an adult. The main event may have been his marriage to BeyoncĂ© but that’s not what resonated with me. Issues like intergenerational dynamics within hip hop, race in America and legacy are issues not only covered by on my mind with more frequency as I age. He looks back at mistakes he has made in his life and looks at it with a critical eye. More importantly it taught me that yes, it is okay to grow up. There is such thing as grown ass rap. You don’t have to try to keep up with the kids or follow the latest rap trends. It’s okay to age gracefully and still have a passion for the genre. Not only is it okay to enjoy the music but there is a place in the culture for me as I get older.

Fade To Black

When I started I wasn’t sure where I was going and I’m sure it shows in my rambling. More than anything else it started as a vessel to make Nelly jokes. But as I wrote this piece I came to realize how much hip hop meant to me. Yeah I’m passionate about it and it’s my favorite music genre but I saw how much of an impact it has made. How despite being an Asian-American stuck in suburbia rap was always there for me. Whether it was to analyze, to inspire, or just something to be entertained by. It has been here throughout my life and now I realize it will be here as I get older.

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‘Savage Dog’ and Five Direct-To-Video Action Movies You Need to See

We are just over half of the way through the year and it has already been a banner year for action movie fans. More than just Marvel movies audience have seen Xander Cage return to action, adventurers uncover the king-sized mysteries of Skull Island and an iconic comic book character finally get her own movie in Wonder Woman. Even more impressive is how good the direct to video market has been in 2017. DC Comics continued to expand their animated movie universe with its adaption of Justice League Dark while distribution companies like Well Go USA and Asian Crush continue to bring some of the best Asian action fare stateside. It doesn’t end there either. The criminally underrated direct-to-video mainstay Scott Adkins (Dr. Strange, Zero Dark Thirty) has continued his winning record with Boyka: Undisputed and his latest film, Savage Dog.

Set in 1959 the Southeast Asian territoriy known as Indochina contains one of the most dangerous prison in the world, Den-Dhin-Chan Labor Camp. Run by Vietnamese warlords and European war criminals perhaps the most dangerous person there is Martin Tilman (Scott Adkins). An Irish boxer he is kept behind bars to participate in fights to the death. When the leaders hurt the people he loves he is out for revenge and will achieve it by any means necessary.

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8 More Badass Women To Watch After ‘Atomic Blonde’

When it comes to #action movies 2017 has been the year of the woman in the best way possible. We have not only seen returning heroines like #Underworld’s Selene but all new characters such as Justine (Brie Larson) in Free Fire headline major motion pictures. We even saw veteran actor Hugh Jackman was upstaged in his final outing as Wolverine by relative unknown Dafne Keen in Logan. This is all without mentioning the DC Extended Universe having their first biggest commercial hit yet in the critically acclaimed #WonderWoman. If there has been anyone to benefit from the female hero renaissance it has been #CharlizeTheron.

For years the Oscar-winning actress has been playing action heroes and all the hard work seems to have finally paid off this year. First there as her turn as the villainous Cipher in The Fate of the Furious and now her starring role in the critically acclaimed Atomic Blonde. Set in 1989 Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is sent to take down an espionage ring in Berlin after her lover is killed. Directed by John Wick’s David Leitsch it looks to be one of the most exciting and original action movies of the summer. More importantly it’s the latest in the long lineage of women on the big screen kicking more ass than the men. So like Wonder Woman earlier this year after you see Charlize Theron become the coolest spy since 007 here are 8 MORE bad ass women to watch after Atomic Blonde.

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‘Killing Ground’ and 5 Of The Best Australian Horror Movies of the 21st Century

One of the most fascinating things horror is how various parts of the world interpret the genre. Whether it is the predominantly outdoorsy horror in America to the supernatural tales from Japan each nation seems to have their own take on terror. One of the most fascinating is countries when it comes to horror movies is Australia. The content is like American horror but their movies have a mean streak that runs through it. A perfect example of this is IFC Midnight’s Killing Ground.

Starring Harriet Dyers and Ian Meadows Killing Ground is about fiancĂ©s Sam and Ian going on a camping trip together. Worried by an abandoned tent nearby they are shocked to discover a toddler wandering the forest. Pursued by local hunters German and Chook Sam and Ian are pushed to the edge and expose horrifying sides of themselves they couldn’t have imagined before. The feature debut of writer-director Damien Power Killing Ground takes the evil redneck subgenre and gives it the rough edges that only way Australian filmmakers can pull off. In fact, since the year 2000 we have seen a significant uptick in tremendous uptick in quality Australian horror. If you still need more proof here are 5 of the best Australian horror movies of the 21st century.

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