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Thread: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

  1. #101

    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Day #19
    Title: Midsommar
    Country: United States/Sweden/Hungary
    Year: 2019
    Director: Ari Aster




    After a loss in her family, Dani travels to Sweden with her boyfriend and his friends to experience an authentic old custom festival unaware of just how authentic it will be...


    It was just one year ago that Ari Aster made his name in horror with the release of his first feature length film, Hereditary. In the eyes of many, including my own, Hereditary was a modern classic, one in which I not only rated 10/10, but also ranked it as the film of the year. One year later and Aster is back with an even more ambitious project, but one that still follows some of the biggest strengths shown in his first film.

    If you were to give Aster a title, it would be that of ‘The King of Anguish Horror’. The depths of despair that Aster went to in Hereditary were greatly helped by the incredible acting performance of its star, Toni Collette. If you thought that you’d be given a reprieve from this sort of horror in his follow-up, you were badly mistaken. While the true anguish in Hereditary came around the midpoint of the film, Midsommar doesn’t waste any time reaching that point. The film’s star, Dani, receives truly the worst news that a person in her position could hear. Going into Midsommar, I knew very, very little about the film, but I was aware of something happening to her at the start of the film to kick off this emotional journey. The reveal of what truly happened felt like a punch in the gut as the camera slowly pans through a house, no longer hiding its secrets that was initially kept from Dani and the viewers in the opening ten minutes. Being that I just know of Florence Pugh (Dani) from playing Paige in 2019’s Fighting with my Family, I was blown away by how well she performed in these all crucial scenes of showing anguish in the aftermath of a horrific event. Again, she’s forced to try to compete with Collette’s performance in Hereditary, so to hold her own, in some scenes, was impressive.

    While it’s not an Aster film, while watching Midsommar, I viewed its main story as being similar to the one that Thomasin went through in another A24 released film - 2015’s The VVitch. As their most basic level, both Dani and Thomasin are lacking that critical family support. Their troubles lies in the fact that they need that support and due to not having it, they stray further and further from the characters that they begin the film as. By the end of the films, both characters have found new families to be among, whether it’s a good or bad thing. Rather than being the heroines of their own films, Dani and Thomasin are neutral victims, who do not commit any crimes, but ultimately have to choose a new path if they look to survive.

    In general, many of my thoughts on my first watch of The VVitch mirrors my thoughts on Midsommar. When I first got out of my theater showing of The VVitch, I didn’t know what I felt about the film. It was clearly a well made film, but did I actually like it? With Midsommar, it’s such a bizarre film that feels all over the place. Hereditary could get pretty crazy, especially in the final act, but it was still grounded in a reality that I was familiar with. An American family dealing with life after loss and all that comes from grief. Obviously, I can’t relate to the lengths that that film went, but at its basic level, I identify with what the family went through. Midsommar took me out of my comfort zone in a country I’ve never been to, introducing me to customs I was entirely unfamiliar with. I wonder if Europeans, especially Swedish, will have a different experience while watching Midsommar due to being able to recognize certain aspects, regardless of how small, better than I would.

    While this core story of Dani dealing with the anguish of grief and then the aftermath of a relationship that had already turned sour long before the opening event of the film took place, the rest of the film felt like a never ending series of vignettes. Many of these events weren’t so much horror, but rather exposing the viewer to a world in which it wasn’t familiar with. I’d also say that I had a little problem with the length. Clocking in at just under two hours and ten minutes, Hereditary was already a longer than average horror film. Midsommar was twenty minutes longer than Hereditary. Perhaps had the narrative been stronger for me, like in Hereditary, I would have been more invested. Instead, it was a long tease where you knew that things would progressively become more and more crazy, but the viewer had to sit through a lot to get there.

    As talented as Aster is, his cinematographer, Pawel Pogorzelski, deserves a massive amount of credit for bringing Aster’s vision to light. Pogorzelski also worked with Aster on Hereditary, so you know even before going into Midsommar, the camera shots are going to be fantastic. I really hope that this duo continues to create films together because it’s going to be difficult to imagine an Aster film without Pogorzelski’s eye. Much like in Hereditary, most of the horror of Midsommar comes in unexpected moments. Aster seems to relish in catching the viewer off guard or at least creating the tension that something bad is going to happen, but then having the horror being something different from the expectation. The sheer brutality of suicides during the ceremony on the cliffside was insane. Can we all agree that long shots on a mangled head is becoming Aster’s trademark shot?

    Overall, Midsommar will be a film in which I will have to watch multiple times before settling on an opinion on the film. Yet again, Aster had made a very well made technical film, but it went to such weird lengths that I’m not sure If I was enjoying it all. Elements like the anguish shown in the opening of the film, what an absolute lowlife Dani’s boyfriend Christian could be, and shocking displays of horror all are what worked for me. Even if I’m not touting Midsommar like I did with Hereditary, Aster (And A24 Films) is still creating truly unique horror for those who wishes to see something different. Aster will continue to be a fascinating figure to keep an eye on as he continues to grow as a filmmaker. If there’s one thing you can expect out of an Aster film, it’s the feeling of being emotionally broken. As long as that continues to be his intention, he’s succeeding as a filmmaker in my eyes.

    Grade: B

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, it's taken eleven editions of Fright Fest before a simple question could be asked - do you like scary movies?

  2. #102
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    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    I absolutely loved Midsommar and it’s craziness. I was actually wondering when you were gonna do the movie (or entire series at that) coming up


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  3. #103

    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Quote Originally Posted by Slick Mitch View Post
    I was actually wondering when you were gonna do the movie (or entire series at that) coming up
    If the activity is there in the replies to the review, I'd be willing to turn it into a full series review over the next four days. I do have a different horror series in plan to either cover in full on Halloween day or at least cover three films from the series on that day. Five movies in one day would be the most I'd ever cover review wise in Fright Fest history. I don't know if five reviews in one day is reasonable.

  4. #104
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    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    I really enjoyed Midsommar when I watched it a couple weekends ago. I quite like Florence Pugh so that helped. But the visual style of it just really worked for me. The long shots that just create that sense of dread and foreboding so effectively. One of my favorite shots was as they drive up the road toward the village and the view flips....
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  5. #105

    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Day #20
    Title: Scream
    Country: United States
    Year: 1996
    Director: Wes Craven




    A maniac tries to use his horror knowledge to terrorize and kill the teenagers of Woodsboro.


    Throughout the 1980s, slashers ruled the world of horror to the point that slashers were all that people thought about when it comes to horror back then. Yet, despite the popularity of such figures as Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger, the popularity began to die down in the late 80s with the slasher sub-genre seemingly being dead by the start of the 90s. When all three of the heavy hitters from the slashers attempted to find success again in the 90s with Jason Goes to Hell, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, and The Curse of Michael Myers, none could find the popularity that they once had. Instead, in 1996, the partnership of Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson finally found a way to make slashers popular again with their incredible release of Scream. To me, the key to Scream’s success wasn’t that they proved that slashers weren’t actually dead, but rather Williamson’s script offered a slasher, but with fresh twists that made the sub-genre feel original again.

    So what was it that made Scream feel so original? I feel as if Scream introduced two key elements that made it feel entirely different from every slasher that came before it. The most obvious being that it was a meta film. This isn't your typical slasher where characters made foolish decisions and the viewer were just expected to go along with it because that’s what happens. These characters were not only aware of horror movies, but some characters were even experts on the horror film formula. It’s one of the more classic scenes in Scream, but Randy going over the rules to survive a horror movie is a fantastic job of addressing the tropes in horror. Throughout the film, there’s all of these references to various horror movies with characters trying to connect the happenings of the movie to what has happened in other movies. At times, this can add to the fears as well. For Casey, she’s presented the task of answering a fairly simple horror question, but one with grave consequences. If she wishes to keep her boyfriend, Steve, alive, she has to correctly guess the killer in Friday the 13th. For any horror nerd watching the movie, it’s an easy question. You either answer the question directly or you give an expanded answer of initially saying Jason Voorhees, but make mention that the killer in the original movie is Mrs. Voorhees. However, when you’re put under as much stress as Casey was, can you really depend on your own horror knowledge and to think clearly enough to remember the conditions of stating the correct answer? Any time a character can be forced into such a tense fueled situation, where they just can’t relax because they’re so terrified, I find to be a scary thought. The other condition that made Scream feel so original is the big reveal that there wasn’t one killer, but rather two. I’m sure you can probably find other horror movies with two killers prior to Scream, but the 1996 slasher is what popularized it. Suddenly, by introducing the idea of multiple killers, it makes predicting the killer all the more difficult. How are you supposed to be able to correctly identify a killer when you don’t know how many there are? In the case of Scream directly, it makes it all the more difficult to eliminate possible candidates because even if a character wasn’t the killer in one scene, it doesn’t mean that they weren’t in the next one. This concept of the two killer formula even allowed the Scream franchise to add a new twist by only utilizing a single killer in the third installment. By the release of Scream 4, how is anyone supposed to be able to guess who is the killer when the series has made a name for itself by never letting you be confident at the number of killers? These two elements helped Scream feel so different from just all of the slashers of the 80s.

    As I’ve watched Scream many times over the last twenty plus years, it’s always fun trying to look at it in a different light. In the case of this latest watch, I tried to identify who I would consider to be the top suspects as to the identity of Ghostface. I ultimately came up with three top suspects and an honorable mention. The honorable mention is simple Tatum. She really struck a chord with me with her fight against Billy and Stu about whether or not the killer could be a woman. Add in the fact that it was revealed that Stu once dated Casey and Tatum took forever to finally arrive at Sidney’s house, after Ghostface had appeared, it seemed like enough evidence to at least draw some suspicion. My main three suspects though, were Stu, Dewey, and Principal Himbry. Starting with Himbry, not only was he overly aggressive when dealing with pranksters in school to the point that his discontent for the youth would explain why he’d possibly try killing them, but there’s a brief moment when Sidney is interviewed in the principal’s office by the police, Himbry made a deliberate action of touching Sidney’s chin, to which Sheriff Burke took notice. That little action would have been enough of a clue that Himbrey was the killer in an 80s slasher, but since Scream was self aware of these tropes, he can’t be the killer. Then there’s Dewey. Although a lovable guy that seems to only want to help Sidney, he keeps disappearing and reappearing at the right moments. Case in point, when Ghostface called Sidney up when she was staying at the Rileys, it happened after Dewey went to his bedroom and he only came out of his bedroom just after Ghostface hung up his phone. Boy, that sure was a coincidence. In general, any overly nice characters seem to be a decent possibility for being revealed to be a sick killer. It’s why Dewey was my #2 prediction. #1 was Stu. Stu was suspicious from the very start, but more importantly, he kept disappearing without being killed. In a typical slasher, a jerk character like Stu likely would have died during a sex scene or something similar for a character like that. The brilliance of Scream having two killers makes it so that even if Stu was an obvious killer, his obviousness change the fact that the two killer reveal will still take the viewer by surprise.

    In my list of possible suspects, there’s a few notable omissions. For starters, Sidney’s dad. Even way back when I first saw Scream when renting the VHS tape, her father being the possible killer never made much sense to me. Sure, the film tried to frame him in such a way that it made sense seeing as it was the one year anniversary of his wife dying, leading to him losing his mind. However, if Sidney’s dad was the killer, why would he be going after teenagers? Everyone who was killed was someone connected to the teenagers of Woodsboro. As much as I Ioved the character of Randy, as he was my favorite in the franchise, I wouldn’t say he ever stood out as a possible suspect. Sure, he had the the tie of being someone who had a crush on Sidney and a love of horror, but he was simply some horror geek. The film never expanded on the evidence against Randy. Then there’s Billy. Without question, Billy was the most interesting character in the film. Back in the 80s, this bad boy boyfriend would be either a top suspect or killed off in a predictable death. Instead, the film chooses to direct so much of its attention, with only Sidney’s dad getting as much suspicion thrown his way, towards Billy, to the point that all doubts on Billy are quickly squashed by the fact that the two killer twist made it impossible for Billy to be the killer until everyone learns that there wasn’t one killer. Randy might be the one known for being the horror fan, but Randy is just a guy who watches enough movies to pick up on a set of rules for a character to have to follow if they wish to survive. Now Billy, on the other hand, he might not wear his horror fandom on his sleeves quite like Randy, but this is a guy who isn’t just a movie fan, but rather someone who lives his life by films. He’s forced to think about his relationship and the lack of sex when watching The Exorcist on TV because it’s edited for cable. He bluntly tells Sidney that their lives is a movie. His entire logic for setting up the kills is all built around his movie obsession. Re-watching the film, there’s a clear difference in approaches to movies when it comes to Randy and Billy. Yet, Randy is the one who is credited as being the cliche movie geek. How strange.

    Of course, you can not talk about Scream without discussing its opening scene. Clocking in at twelve minutes long, this is one of the most iconic and greatest openings in a horror movie. Playing out as an entire short movie, itself, it’s a simple telephone call that gets progressively more disturbing the longer it goes on. The whole line of, “What’s your favorite scary movie?” is one of the more legendary lines in cinema. Of course, there’s the whole Psycho appeal of showcasing a major star, in this case Drew Barrymore, seemingly as the main star, only to kill her off early on. Once you’ve watched the film and are going back for a re-watch, the long shot of the tree with a swing slowly rocking back and forth becomes an eerie shot. Speaking of re-watches, an appeal of re-watching Scream 1-2, 4, is discussing with others the speculation of which killer was portraying Ghostface at any point. For example, in the original Scream, the most obvious identity of Ghostface came when Billy was apparently attacked by the mask wearing killer. Considering the fact that there’s two killers and if Billy wasn’t Ghostface in that scene, then clearly Stu was the killer in that moment. In the opening scene, I wonder what would have been worse for Casey? Removing Ghostface’s mask to reveal her ex boyfriend, someone who she used to care about and trusted or removing the mask to just find a classmate, perhaps someone she saw around campus, but never talked to before? If it’s Stu, it likely would have been heartbreaking, but had it been Billy, were Casey’s final moments of life pure confusion? The most tragic and horrifying moment of the film takes place in this opening scene as well as Casey’s parents come home to find their house in a mess with Casey’s poor mother hearing her daughter’s final breaths of life when trying to call for help. Between that and Casey’s mother walking out of the house to find her daughter hanging from a tree, guts pouring out, the opening really showcases some disturbing ideas.

    Despite my overly positive review of Scream, I haven’t always had such a favorable experience with the film or its franchise. When it comes to my horror history, it began in the early 90s as a child, discovering horror for the first time with my sister and cousins. These would be movies like Child’s Play 1-3, Friday the 13th Part 3, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2-4. For the next several years, I never truly got into horror, being far more likely to rent a wrestling tape than horror whenever I went to a video rental store. When Scream came out, I distinctly remember watching the rented VHS tape alone in my house. However, watching Halloween for the first time in the late 90s and being terrified of that closet scene, yet unable to stop watching, I dove into the world of horror, trying to watch as much as I could. I blame this on my age at the time, since I was a young, moody teenager, who felt the need to be judgmental. The more I watched of horror and expanded my knowledge, the more I started to steer away from Scream and other late 90s horrors that I considered to be teenybopper crap. In my view, in those days, that was not true horror, but rather Hollywood’s cheap attempt at cashing in on repetitive movies featuring all of the hot stars from the WB. I recall even giving away my VHS copies of Scream 1-3 to a friend, because why would I, a true horror fan, ever want to watch such dire movies ever again? I was a fool. Not only foolish for failing to recognize all that Scream brought to horror, even if I’m still to be critical of those slashers that came in the aftermath of Scream, but also being foolish for thinking one type of horror is better than another type. At some point, and I can’t even recall when, I ended up giving the Scream franchise another try, this time years after the fact where I was perhaps a tad bit more mature now as an adult. Now that I wasn’t trying so hard to know what real horror was and what was just teenybopper trash, I was able to once again appreciate Scream and its franchise. Well, perhaps not so much with Scream 3. In hindsight, besides just immaturity, I chalk up this troubled history with Scream as desiring for horror to regain its grittiness that it had lost in the mid 80s. Once that grittiness returned to horror in the mid 2000s, what exactly was I truly hating Scream for?

    Overall, Scream is one of the most important horror films of the modern age. A film in which kicked off a new boom period for slashers, even if those films failed to understand what truly made the self referential Scream work. It’s a movie filled with legendary moments from the opening scene, to many quotes, to just using a voice modifier to toy with your future victims. It may not have always been a movie that I love, but I’m now able to just sit back and enjoy it for all of its creativity. Wes Craven’s legacy may be closely tied to creating the iconic horror killer of Freddy Krueger, but Scream ensured that Craven would be known for a second legendary killer in Ghostface.

    Grade: A

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, one of the most unlikely killers in horror history.

  6. #106
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    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Perfect timing, I just picked this up and plan to watch it when I get back from Houston later today. I always thought Scream was pretty cool but I hated the impact it had on horror movies and how everything tried to be like it. I was glad when that Breakfast Club era was over.

  7. #107

    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Quote Originally Posted by ShinobiMusashi View Post
    Perfect timing, I just picked this up and plan to watch it when I get back from Houston later today. I always thought Scream was pretty cool but I hated the impact it had on horror movies and how everything tried to be like it. I was glad when that Breakfast Club era was over.
    Its impact is a double edged sword. On one hand, it inspired a lot of crap, but at the same time, it revitalized the horror genre. The first half of the 90s was not a popular time for horror. Whether the movies being released in the aftermath of Scream were good or not, at least horror was being made and raking in the money. In that time period and of that type of horror, I'd say the next best film was The Faculty, coincidentally another film written by Kevin Williamson and covered back in Fright Fest 7. Not everything Williamson wrote was a hit (I'm looking at you I Know What You Did Last Summer), but if he was writing it and he had a good director, whether Craven or in the case of Faculty, Robert Rodriguez, quality could be made. The real problem seemed to stem from people trying to imitate Williamson's style without fully grasping it. Sometimes it turned out to be fine, such as in Fright Fest 6's Halloween H20, but most of the time it just didn't work.

    I've seen others make the claim that what made Scream work, when it came to being self referential, is because it was built into the story. The film is filled with movie obsessed characters, including the killers. Other slashers of the time period tried to be self referential without having any reason to be.

  8. #108

    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Day #21
    Title: Rubber
    Country: United States
    Year: 2010
    Director: Quentin Dupieux




    Why has a tire come alive and began attacking people? No reason.


    Thinking back to 2010, I seem to recall a decent amount of attention for Rubber. For a film with such a small budget of $500,000, it’s understandable why it would generate some talk when it’s literally a movie featuring a killer tire. When learning of the concept, how could one not be curious about it, whether you’re actually going to go through with watching the film or just having a passing opinion on the concept. My vague memories of my initial watch of it was that while I was humored by the idea, the film was ultimately too dull to be talked about any more than the original discussion regarding the concept.

    No reason. At the start of the film, the host of the film, who later is introduced as Lieutenant Chad, exposed the history of movies with how often things happened without any reason. Why was the alien in ET brown? No reason. Why did the couple in Love Story fall in love? No reason. In a unique take, it’s the film’s message to its viewers that Rubber is ultimately a film that doesn’t have any meaning. Yet, that, in itself, becomes its meaning. The entire movie seems to be a message towards the film industry and how little things truly matter. The sub-plot of Rubber even features a group of onlookers, watching the events of the film and commenting, becoming the surrogate viewers of the film. At times, the onlookers can be snarky and says things that the viewer will likely be saying. To say the least, Rubber is a super meta film.

    Despite this, with this latest watch, I couldn’t work out whether I believed that this was a positive or negative film. I’d like to think that this is writer/director, Quentin Dupieux, super deep dive look at Hollywood, poking fun at itself in a loving manner. If that’s the case, Dupieux is trying so hard to come up with a fresh idea, while having that creative idea built around appearing as if he’s not putting in any effort. Rubber is less for horror fans as much as it’s geared towards surrealists. They know what Hollywood can offer, but would rather explore new concepts and creativity through film. Some might call these fans pretentious, but my thought process is that as long as you’re getting something positive out of Rubber, does it matter if you’re trying too hard to be clever?

    I’d like for that previous paragraph to be true. That would at least be a positive spin on this project, even if I found myself not entranced by such an unusual film. However, with this latest view, I couldn’t help but view the film in a negative light. Instead of a bizarre love letter to cinema, Dupiuex instead comes across as bitter towards not only Hollywood, but also to moviegoers. With his instance that there’s no reason for anything in Rubber, Dupiuex is taking shots at Hollywood, believing that all of these films are so uninspired. Worst yet, by having the onlookers constantly make comments regarding the events of the film, he’s taking shots at the viewer towards those who aren’t able to simply shut up and enjoy his works of art. Earlier in the month, I raved about One Cut of the Dead and how it not only inspired me, but reminded me my love for movies. Rubber fills me with such negative feelings inside as a filmmaker lashes out against everyone. Whether a movie is good or bad, in most cases, you want to feel uplifted at the conclusion of a movie. For example, I own Leprechaun: The Complete Movie Collection on Blu-Ray. The Leprechaun movies are generally pretty awful, but on the Blu-Ray is a series of documentaries entitled, Leprechaun Chronicles. Each volume of the Leprechaun Chronicles looks back at one of the Leprechaun films with interviews with the cast and crew. The people behind the films are very honest in admitting the faults of each movie, but they look back at the movies with such fondness that I couldn’t help but appreciate the Leprechaun movies more. The movies may be bad, but the people behind the franchise had fun and ultimately, fun is what every moviegoer should want out of their latest movie watch. Instead of adding fun, Rubber instead made me feel as if movies are pointless and everyone involved, both in the studios and viewers, contribute to why movies are awful. Is this take on Dupiuex’s intentions wrong? Perhaps, but maybe what matters more is not that I’m wrong, but that I was given the impression in the first place.

    The entire reason why Rubber generated any buzz that it did is because of the absurdity of the plot. A movie featuring a killer tire is simply put - stupid. However, there’s nothing wrong with having a stupid film. Especially in the last couple of decades, there has been a rise in appreciation of movies that are so bad that they’re entertaining. Sy-Fy Originals has completely leaned into this demographic. Do you think there’s been six Sharknado movies because they’re good? Absolutely not! There’s been so many Sharknado films because there’s movie fans out there that enjoy laughing at bad movies because it’s fun. Rubber had a chance to be a fun movie. The concept is fun. Rather than lean into that stupid, yet fun area by going all out with the tire and his series of massacres, the film instead goes a pretentious route. It’s slow going, dull, very little happens, and never bothers having a coherent plot. It’s a shame really because the film loved crazy head explosions, undoubtedly a message to how all moviegoers want is some gratuitous violence, so that potential for fun was there. As much as I enjoyed all of the head explosions, I was disappointed by the fact that the killer’s means of slaughtering his victims was by using telekinesis. I can’t recall a single wacky moment where the tire launches itself at a victim and bounces on the head of the victim until they die. Would it be a stupid death scene? Sure, but it’s a movie about a killer tire. There’s certain expectations for films with absurd premises. Rubber falls short of delivering on those expectations.

    Overall, Rubber wasn’t a pleasant watch this time around. I knew, from my previous watch, that I was likely going to be left bored, but I was taken by surprise by how disheartened I felt. Whether it was the intention of the filmmaker or not, Rubber feels as if it’s made simply as a “Fuck you” to both Hollywood and movie fans in general. Fantastic job at all of the exploding heads though.

    Grade: D

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, the longest film title in Fright Fest history. Seriously, why is this title so damn long?

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