Greatest Scariest
Movie Moments and Scenes

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Greatest and Scariest Film Scenes
Movie Title/Year and Brief Scene Description
Screenshots

Fatal Attraction (1987)

#59

Director Adrian Lyne's blockbuster was a cautionary horror tale about sexual carelessness, perfect for the AIDS-epidemic era.

The most memorable scene in the psychological thriller was the 'bunny boiler' scene of scorned Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), a book editor who experienced a fling with errant philandering husband and successful New York lawyer Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas). Afterwards, she took predatory revenge on his daughter Ellen's (Ellen Hamilton Latzen) pet rabbit (named Whitly) by making 'hare stew' (filmed with suspenseful cut-aways of the child running to the empty rabbit hutch).

There was also the shock scene in which Alex suddenly and explosively emerged from the bathtub after having apparently been drowned - and was shot in the chest by Dan's wife Beth (Anne Archer).

"Return From the Dead" Shock Ending

This 'return from the dead' scene paid homage to a similar bathtub scene in the French film Les Diaboliques (1955, Fr.).

[Note: The reshot audience-pleasing ending was not the original one which had the victimized husband being led away after being arrested by police on suspicion of murder, and the scorned pregnant woman committing suicide with a knife (with Dan's fingerprints on it) while dressed in white, to the tune of "Madame Butterfly."]




Fear (1996)

Director James Foley's psycho-thriller was an effective film, with a plot similar to Fatal Attraction (1987) - featuring an obsessive stalker (and the death - beheading - of a family pet - a German Shepherd in this case named Kaiser) - but couched in the form of a major parent-teen rebellion.

Sweet-talking, charming, innocent, and soft-spoken David McCall (then unknown Mark Wahlberg in his first starring role) became the 'perfect boyfriend' of naive, baby-faced 16 year-old girlfriend Nicole Walker (Reese Witherspoon). She was living with her controlling father Steve (William Petersen) and young stepmother Laura (Amy Brenneman). Steve was critical of the way his daughter sluttily dressed in a short skirt - like when she was 12, although he had endearing names for his 'Daddy's girl,' such as "my little sugar plum."

David met Nicole in a rowdy downtown Seattle bar-club and dance hang-out. He seemed to respect her when she denied him touching her breast when they first kissed, and he impressed her with his response: "That's one more perfect thing for me to admire - and respect - and wait for." During a later rollercoaster ride (to the tune of a remake of the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses"), she let him touch her between her legs - she orgasmed and entirely fell for him, literally. She also let him deflower her virginity in her bedroom, when her father and stepmother were out of town in Vancouver.

She finally realized that he was actually dangerous, jealous, violent and psychopathic when he beat up her platonic friend Gary (Todd Caldecott) after she gave him a perfectly innocent hug. Nicole also was pushed and received a black left eye. [Later in the film, David killed Gary by snapping his neck in the woods near the school.]

The menacing and intimidating stalker David told Nicole's father that he had unfortunate "inadequacies" and wasn't keep up with his own "missus" - "'Cause if you were, she wouldn't be all over my stick." Nicole's beleaguered father told him to stop seeing his daughter - in no uncertain terms:

"I want you to understand somethin', pal. If you don't disappear from my family's life, I'm gonna rip your balls off and shove 'em so far up your ass they'll come out your f--kin' mouth! You got that, my friend?"

David methodically and repetitively punched himself to fake bruises (and gain Nicole's sympathy and confession of love). However, she had a change of heart when (from outside David's house) she witnessed her best friend Margo (Alyssa Milano), an adventuresome party girl, carried off in a thong bikini and raped by David. Nicole declared it over, and disowned Margo (she at first denied the incident, then said she was forced, and then cried out to Nicole: "You're my only friend!"), while the spurned and obsessed David etched the words "Nicole 4 Eva" on his chest with a dart. He also intimidated Nicole in a public bathroom, and then vandalized Steve's car with a note: "Now I've popped both your cherries."

Steve broke in to David's house, trashed, and ransacked it, causing David (and his friends) to retaliate by assaulting the Walker house in the film's major confrontational showdown for the last 15 minutes. He screamed to get her back at the Walker front door - viewed through the keyhole, where he was locked out:

"It all could've been different, Mr. Walker. You should've allowed nature to take its course. In the end, it will anyway. SO LET ME IN THE F--KING HOUSE!!"

Crazed Stalker David

A long, scary, bloody and deadly siege occurred at the highly-secured Walker house as David and his friends attempted to enter. At one point, Laura used a drill to puncture and wound the left hand of one of the intruders. When security guard Larry (David Fredericks) came to their rescue, one of the gang members shot him to death. They took Steve hostage at gunpoint, forced their way inside, and bound and gagged Steve and Laura. Nicole stabbed David in the back with a wooden spike when he was about to shoot her father in the head.

A fierce hand-to-hand struggle between Steve and David (with the film's last line from Steve as he gasped: "Now, you get out of here") ended when Steve crashed him through a window and down onto a rock outcropping below.










Final Destination (2000)

The premise of the entire Final Destination series was that Death couldn't be cheated. After a major catastrophe, allowing some to survive because of a premonition, eventually Death stalked each one of the living and killed them in freak accidents.

In the scary opening scene, psychic airline passenger/high school senior Alex Chance Browning (Devon Sawa) had a frightening premonition of a 747 airplane crash - and deplaned before it exploded on take-off in a horrifying scene. He found that fate followed him and the other survivors of the crash.

  • Valerie Lewton (Kristen Cloke), suffered an unlikely Rube Goldberg-like death - she was first sliced in the throat with a shard of glass when her computer monitor exploded, then stabbed in the chest when she accidentally pulled down a knife-rack in the kitchen, causing one of the knives to fall on her, after which another explosion felled a chair and drove the knife deeper. Even further, she was incinerated in the burning house.
  • although there was no time to be scared, to predict her death, or to watch her suffer, Theresa "Terry" Chaney (Amanda Detmer) stepped backwards and was hit by a bus.
  • in another contrived death, menacing and creeping toilet bowl water on the floor caused Tod Waggner (Chad Donella) to slip and fall, thereby becoming strangled in the bathtub by the retractable clothes-line hanger wire that coiled tightly around his neck, while he struggled and was unable to reach a pair of nose-hair scissors on the counter.



Final Destination 3 (2006)

Similar to the other films in this macabre black comedy series about fateful death, characters died a horrible death because they had cheated the Grim Reaper earlier. In this case, lucky survivors exited a dangerous rollercoaster ride that killed everyone during a derailment, because of one person's premonition of disaster.

There were a number of inventively grisly deaths in this film including one very scary death scene:

  • blonde Ashley Freund (Chelan Simmons) and Ashlyn Halperin (Crystal Lowe) were positioned in two tanning beds, where - due to Rube Goldberg circumstances (a loosened wall bracket and a falling CD shelf/board), they were electrocuted and literally barbecued (or incinerated) alive when trapped inside the tanning equipment.


The Fly (1958)

Kurt Neumann's sci-fi horror film was later made into a more famous remake by David Cronenberg in 1986 (see below). This mid-50s film was followed by two sequels: Return of the Fly (1959) and The Curse of the Fly (1965).

In short, the drawing room melodrama told about a scientist named Andre Delambre (David Hedison) whose bloody body (unidentifiable except for a scar on his left leg) was found in the Delambre Electronics factory's hydraulic press (with a completely crushed head and arm). His wife Helene (Patricia Owens) openly admitted to Inspector Charas (Herbert Marshall) that she killed him by pushing the red button on the press (but it was no accident and Andre had suicidally assisted in his death). Early on, Andre's brother Francois (Vincent Price) admitted about the couple: "Helene and Andre believed in the sacredness of life. They wouldn't harm anything - not even a fly."

Helene was put under observation in her own home. She became unusually distraught and was thought "mad" when the attending nurse (Betty Lou Gerson) attempted to swat a fly to death. When charged with Andre's murder (although declared insane), Helene explained, in flashback, the circumstances surrounding his death to Inspector Charas and Francois, and said she aided Andre "to carry out his last wish" - to die.

Andre had been secretly working on a matter-teleportation device (the "disintegrator-integrator") late at night in his basement lab ("the work of a madman") with a number of objects and test subjects, including a now-missing domesticated cat named Dandelo ("she disintegrated perfectly, but never reappeared...a stream of cat atoms"). It was horrifying to listen to the disembodied meows of the teleported cat when it didn't reemerge. After more redesigning and adjustments, a guinea pig transported successfully and survived, although Helene was worried about his tinkering: "It's like playing God."

Helene became suspicious when Andre didn't surface for awhile, claiming that he had some "trouble" after a "serious accident." (At the same time, Philippe claimed he had caught a white-headed fly - but then let it go.) Andre couldn't speak, and could only communicate with handwritten or type-written notes. One that she received said: "Fetch me a bowl of milk laced with rum." He also insisted that it was vital for Helene to find a white-headed fly, and added: "My life is in your hands."

When Helene first saw him (the moment of full revelation was delayed to create more suspense!), his head was draped with a black cloth, although he seemed to have a human body. After he accidentally revealed his hideous left claw deformity, she screamed. The next morning, she read another note offering an explanation. When he had graduated to teleporting himself in a human-sized test chamber, a common housefly had accidentally entered the chamber and mixed their atoms. He needed to find the other fly to "untangle" their atoms in a repeat of the experiment.

The First Sight of the Fly's Head

The scariest scene was when she saw his fly's head for the first time. When she pulled off his black cloth, he revealed a twitching fly's head with enlarged eyes. She screamed at the view (the kaleidoscopic POV of her transformed husband's hundreds of prismatic eyes watched her scream). She backed away as he approached, and then fainted.

He picked her up and then resisted the temptation to caress her face (with his claw) and kiss her. In a fury, he destroyed his teleportation equipment with an axe, and burned his research papers. Obviously, his inner nature (insect vs. human) was strained and struggling with itself. He wrote on a blackboard an ominous warning: "No use. Now Help me - but don't come near me. Kill fly - plez. Love You." Unable to reverse the process, Andre ordered Helene to kill him in the hydraulic press.

After the flashback as the film ended, the Inspector thought she was insanely dangerous and was ready to arrest her for murder. To prove her innocence, he asserted: "Show me the fly." Shortly later, Andre's young son Philippe (Charles Herbert) led Francois and the Inspector to the white-headed fly he had often observed. It was now caught in a web next to a bench in the garden.

In the spine-chilling ending, when they came upon the web, they saw the entrapped fly in a large brown spider's web with Andre's miniature human head and arms and his human ability to speak. He screamed piteously: "Help me! Please Help meeeeeee! Go! Go away! No! Please Help Me! Please ! Go away! Go away! No! No! No! No!" Just as the fly was about to be devoured, the Inspector smashed them both with a rock. Francois noted about the merciful killing:

"You've committed murder just as much as Helene did. You killed a fly with a human head. She killed a human with a fly head. If she murdered, so did you."

To clear Helene, Andre's death was reconsidered as a suicide, due to his derangement.

In the happy ending, Francois explained to Philippe the reason for Andre's death: "He died because of his work. He was like, like an explorer in a wild country where no one had ever been before. He was searching for the truth. He almost found a great truth, but for one instant, he was careless...The search for the truth is the most important work in the whole world - and the most dangerous."







The Fly (1986)

#33

Director David Cronenberg's science-fiction horror film was a remake of the equally-exciting 1958 film of the same name. In both cases, they told how an eccentric, hapless scientist, Dr. Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) in this film, had accidentally merged himself at a molecular-genetic level with an ordinary housefly during a teleportation incident using an experimental telepod device.

There were a number of horrifying sequences:

  • the unsuccessful transport of a baboon turned it inside out - the squirming remains were viewed
  • girlfriend/lover/science reporter Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) felt hairs growing on the back of a slowly-degenerating Seth
  • during an arm wrestling match in a bar, Seth broke his competitor's arm (with the bone protruding)
  • Seth's first realization that he had become fused with a fly - the computer typed out: "FUSION OF BRUNDLE AND FLY AT MOLECULAR-GENETIC LEVEL" - his new name was Brundlefly
  • a degenerating Seth's ear fell off in front of his girlfriend, and he clutched her in fear and whispered: "I'm scared. Help me. Please."
  • Veronica experienced a nightmare of aborting a squirming maggot
  • slowly-degenerating and mutating Seth stored "relics" of his human body in a bathroom cabinet ("the Brundle Museum of Natural History")
  • his warning to Veronica in his 'insect politics' speech to leave and never come back because he might hurt her: "Have you ever heard of insect politics? Neither have I. Insects don't have politics. They're very brutal..."
The Rapid Disintegration of Seth Into a Fly Creature

In the concluding scene of Seth's painful attack on Stathis Borans (John Getz) by using acidic vomit, Seth first covered his left fist with the white substance, causing it to disintegrate into a bloody stump. He then regurgitated the whitish acid onto his right ankle and peeled off his foot. At Veronica's urging and begging, he paused.

Also in the final sequence, he had a horrifying discussion with Veronica, pleading with her: "Help me. Help me to be human." He asked her to engage in a fusion sequence (with a two minute countdown) to come together with him:

"I go there. You go there. We come apart. And then we come together there. You, me, and the baby, together...it will be the ultimate family, a family of three joined together in one body, more human than I am alone."

As she resisted his attempt to drag and throw her into the transporter, his fleshy skin from his jaw fell off in her hand and he was transformed, in the most grotesque scene of all, into an actual human fly. His plan failed when he was inadvertently fused with metallic components of his telepod device. The seriously-wounded Borans had disconnected the power lines to Veronica's telepod with a shotgun blast, causing a shower of sparks and aborting her connection to the fusion process.

In the poignant final scene after the failed transport, anguished and completely disfigured 'Seth' flopped out of the telepod and wordlessly begged Veronica to kill his monstrous self by guiding the shotgun's muzzle to his body with a deformed claw. He wished for her to end his monstrous life with a mercy killing, although she at first begged: "No I can't." She dropped to her knees after the deed was accomplished.









Frankenstein (1931)

#27

Director James Whale's classic horror film remains as one of the world's most famous monster movies.

The first appearance and unveiling of Frankenstein's Monster (Boris Karloff in his signature role) was truly memorable and shocking. The door to Frankenstein's lab slowly swung open, revealing a dark, lumpish silhouette in the doorway in a full figure shot. The bulky figure lurched clumsily into the room with halting steps, gradually revealing a bulky head and broad back.

The Monster awkwardly moved into the room by backing in! The hulking Monster then slowly turned around, and then provided a shadowy profile in our first chilling close-up look of his blankly expressionless, tabula rasa face - a jagged surgical scar around the jaw appeared. There was also a prominent spike that gleamed into view on the side of the figure's neck. A series of camera jump cuts provided increasingly tighter close-ups of the hideous visage of the cadaverous creature.

The Monster was a startling, grotesque, and gruesome figure, about seven feet tall with broad shoulders. The creation was more Monster than man. The monstrous face was placid, gaunt and elongated. The creature had a square-shaped head with boxy forehead, hooded eyelids over deep-set sunken eyes, neck-spikes or bolts to serve as electrical connectors on his neck, jagged surgical scars, and a matted wig. The Monster wore a dark suit and thick, heavy boots, causing him to walk with an awkward, stiff-legged, crude gait. His long arms seemed enormous because the coat sleeves were shortened.

The film's other, most powerful, poignant, and horrifying scene was when the Monster parted bushes and entered a clearing by the bank of a lake. He attempted to make friends with an innocent little girl named Maria (Marilyn Harris) who was playing there by herself. As she was gathering daisies at the edge of the water, she was not repelled by his hideous appearance or fearful of him and invited him to play and be her friend:

"Who are you? I'm Maria. Will you play with me?"

She took his hand and led him to the side of the lake. She asked: "Would you like one of my flowers?" and offered him one. A close-up of their two hands touching emphasized the enormity of his hands. With child-like innocence, he smelled the flower and a beatific smile lit up his face. After they knelt next to the water, Maria handed him some flowers to join in her game of flinging them into the pond, and he compared his hand to hers: "You have those, and I'll have these. I can make a boat." One by one, they tossed flowers onto the surface of the lake, watching the petals float. "See how mine float?" The Monster delighted in the game with his new-found friend (his first) and was pleased when he threw a daisy and it also floated.

The Monster Drowned Maria

When the Monster's few flower blossoms were gone, he puzzled for a moment at his empty hands, and then innocently and ignorantly picked up Maria. The little girl screamed: "No, you're hurting me. No!" He enthusiastically threw her in the water - expecting that she, too, would float like the flower petals. She floundered and splashed in the water and quickly sank and drowned. As he staggered away from the lake, the Monster seemed to express some confusion, despair and remorse - shaking and wringing his hands and possibly perceiving the horrible thing he had just done.

A further scary scene was the Monster's attack upon Frankenstein's bride Elizabeth (Mae Clarke) who was wearing her beautiful wedding gown with a long train for their wedding day. The Monster had entered a window of the Frankenstein mansion into the room where Elizabeth was seated - alone and helpless. She was horrified by his appearance and screamed loudly. The Monster was driven off by the screams and by Frankenstein and his servants who rushed to her aid. She swooned and was quite shaken and dazed by the incident, but unhurt.








Freaks (1932)

#15

The prestigious MGM Studios was shocked by director Tod Browning's creepy and bizarre, circus-related horror film and it was severely censored. His lurid and off-beat creation starred various human aberrations in its cast, including Prince Randian (a living torso who smoked cigarettes), and an assortment of 'little people' freaks (pinheads, Siamese twins, androgynes, the trunk man, the women without arms, the bearded woman, etc.).

The story was set in a traveling sideshow, where sexy, gold-digging trapeze artist Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova) married love-smitten circus midget Hans (Harry Earles) - solely for his money. In retaliation for the marriage and for being rejected at the wedding celebration, and knowing that Cleopatra was both unfaithful and teaming up with strongman-lover Hercules (Henry Victor) to murder him with poison, the group of 'freaks' came to Hans' rescue.

During a violent thunderstorm, they banded together, slowly chased after them (after crawling through the mud - some with knives in their mouths), and surrounded the scheming couple.

Later, it was revealed what Cleopatra's disfigured fate was - she was shown off to a crowd of sideshow gawkers by the loud admonishments of the hawker:

She was once a beautiful woman...She was known as the peacock of the air. How she got that way will never be known. Some say a jealous lover. Others that it was the code of the freaks. Others, the storm. Believe it or not, there she is.

Her tongue was cut out, one eye gouged, and both legs were hacked off. She had been surgically transformed into a squawking half-woman, half-chicken-hen for the sideshow by the vengeful freaks.

They had also emasculated Hercules (off-screen and censored).




Frenzy (1972)

Alfred Hitchcock's first R-rated film was about a serial killer who specialized in using neckties to strangle his female victims.

The film essentially opened during the vicious and agonizing necktie strangulation-rape scene of ex-Mrs. Brenda Blaney (Barbara Leigh-Hunt). At first, the charming ladies man, serial killer Bob Rusk (Barry Foster) confronted her: "You're the one I wanted to see....I like you. You're my type of woman." When she begged for her life, he tore off her dress and bra, screamed at her: "Love me!...Women - they're all the same," and then revealed that he was the notorious Necktie Killer. After a lengthy struggle, she was left dead with her twisted tongue hanging out.

Later in a very tense scene, the killer desperately realized that he needed to locate his missing, incriminating initialed/monogrammed stickpin (from his jacket's lapel) after he had committed his second murder. With a quick succession of shots, Rusk remembered that his victim, barmaid Barbara Jane "Babs" Milligan (Anna Massey), had struggled with him during strangulation, and had torn the pin from his lapel.

The Potato Truck Sequence

He had placed her nude corpse within a sack in the back of the truck, amidst many other stacks of unsold potatoes. He frantically searched through the stacks of burlap potato sacks in the rear of the jostling and swerving truck as it journeyed along. Rusk finally found the pin, clenched in a death grip by the corpse in a state of rigor mortis. He first tried to cut it away from her clutching fingers with a pocketknife, but then was forced to break the corpse's clutching fingers to retrieve it. He was relieved, but then faced the daunting task of escaping from the back of the moving truck.




Friday the 13th (1980)

#31

There were a number of famous death scenes in this classic slasher horror film:

Jack Burrell
Marcie Cunningham
Annie
Steve Christy
  • Jack Burrell (Kevin Bacon) was grabbed and stabbed by a sharp pointed arrow in the throat from UNDER the bed, after making love to fellow camp counselor Marcie Cunningham (Jeannine Taylor).
  • Marcie was then stalked and given a false scare in the shower room ("Must be my imagination") but then the shadow of an axe rose behind her, and she was sliced in her face with an axe by an unknown killer.

There were many other grisly and bloody scenes of teenaged death:

  • sole-surviving camp counselor Alice Hardy (Adrienne King) found backpacker Annie's (Robbi Morgan) corpse in vindictive Mrs. Voorhees' (Betsy Palmer) vehicle.
  • camp manager Steve Christy's (Peter Brouwer) body (with a knife in his mid-section) was found hanging upside down from a tree.

Throughout the film, Jason's death was being avenged by his crazed, homicidal and schizophrenic mother -- camp kitchen-worker mother who was retaliating for her young son's accidental and tragic death from drowning in the lake over two decades earlier in 1957. The finale pursuit was the scariest:

  • schizophrenic Mrs. Voorhees spoke in a high-pitched voice: "Kill her, Mommy. Kill her! Don't let her get away, Mommy. Don't let her live," as she chased after Alice. Mrs. Voorhees responded (in a deep voice): "I won't, Jason. I won't." She was eventually decapitated by Alice wielding a machete.

There was a concluding shocking, surprise (dream?), boo-moment:

  • the long-lost, re-animated, half-decomposed, rotten corpse of Jason Voorhees (Ari Lehman) suddenly burst out of the water at the re-opened Camp Crystal Lake and attacked Alice in a canoe, and dragged her underwater.




From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

Robert Rodriguez' sexy and ultra-violent crime thriller was memorable for its sleazy Titty Twister roadhouse (open 'from dusk till dawn') in Mexico. Exotic, maroon bikini-clad, caped dancer Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek) on a fiery stage performed for the leering, cheering audience. She had a white snake phallically wrapped around her.

One of the patrons, deranged and psychopatic rapist-criminal Richard "Richie" Gecko (actor/scripter Quentin Tarantino), soon became an undead victim of Santanico's sudden destructive vampirish attack when she lustfully saw blood dripping from his wounded hand.

Santanico's Vampirish Transformation

She morphed into a vampirish creature, jumped on Richie's back and used her fangs to bite into his neck.

He fell to the ground dead, but was then resurrected as a zombie that had to be killed permanently by his brother Seth (George Clooney) with a wooden table-leg stake thrust into his heart.


Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Stanley Kubrick's intense Vietnam-related war film began with US Marine boot camp training at Parris Island, and the tremendous strain placed upon tormented, overweight, misfit and psychopathic Marine Private "Pyle" Leonard Lawrence (Vincent D'Onofrio) - this led to his inevitable bloody and suicidal death.

In the middle of the night, he was ranting about his rifle in the bathroom, while rehearsing one of his training routines:

This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend.

Gunnery Sargent Hartman (R. Lee Ermey) heard the commotion and rushed in, asking Private "Joker" J.T. Davis (Matthew Modine) on duty: "What is this Mickey Mouse s--t? What in the name of Jesus H. Christ are you animals doing in my head? Why is Private Pyle out of his bunk after lights out? Why is Private Pyle holding that weapon? Why aren't you stomping Private Pyle's guts out?" "Joker" replied that the gun's magazine was fully "locked and loaded."

Hartman demanded that Pyle surrender his rifle and then insulted him when he didn't comply:

I want that weapon and I want it now. You will place that rifle on the deck at your feet and step back away from it.
(yelling)
What is your major malfunction, numb-nuts? Didn't Mommy and Daddy show you enough attention when you were a child?

Holding his rifle at waist level, Pyle murdered Harman (filmed in slow-motion) by blasting him in the chest at close range. He then backed up, dropped down on one of the bathroom toilets, put the gun to his mouth, and suicidally pulled the trigger. He blew his head off, splattering the wall behind him with his brains and blood. The bloody death scene slowly faded to black.

Pyle's Shocking Suicide




Greatest Scariest Movie Moments and Scenes
(alphabetical by film title, illustrated)
Intro | #s-A | B | C-1 | C-2 | D-1 | D-2 | E | F | G | H
I-J | K-L | M | N-O | P | Q-R | S-1 | S-2 | S-3 | T | U-Z

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