Exclusive: Tom Holland Talks Twisted Tales, The Ten O'Clock People, and Fright Night 2 - Dread Central
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Exclusive: Tom Holland Talks Twisted Tales, The Ten O’Clock People, and Fright Night 2

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Exclusive: Tom Holland Talks Twisted Tales, The Ten O'Clock People, and Fright Night 2With Tom Holland’s latest series now available on FEARnet and VOD entitled “Twisted Tales” and his group of short stories exclusively for the Kindle, “Untold Tales”, Holland is entering into a new creative stage in his long and varied career as an actor, writer, director, and producer.

The legendary creator of Fright Night, Child’s Play, Cloak & Dagger, and Psycho II (just to name a few), Holland recently reached out to Dread Central to discuss his thoughts on the new incarnation of Fright Night 2: New Blood (review) from director Eduardo Rodriguez, the new FEARnet series, and his upcoming projects including his desire to remake his 1982 screenplay The Beast Within. There’s also a great update about adapting Stephen King’s “The Ten O’Clock People” showing how both writers are working together to make the story fit more into the modern world.

Dread Central: So, you saw the newest reboot of Fright Night 2 and liked what Eduardo did with the film, correct?

Tom Holland: How do you put it? Surprisingly, I liked it very much. Yes, I did.

DC: When I spoke with [Rodriguez], he said he was limited in what actors were available, but I thought the new Charley – an actor named Will Payne – did a nice job even if there will never be anyone close to Roddy McDowall as Peter Vincent.

TH: You know I’m prejudiced; we’re all prejudiced that way. I thought it was very solidly cast. They’re mainly Brit actors doing American accents, right?

DC: There’s only one actor, I believe, that was American; the rest are European.

TH: It’s all terribly competent as far as the acting’s concerned. It was very well-made. This guy [Yaron] Levy did a good job with the cinematography. The shots are pretty much all steadicam but they’re really nice. It’s well cut and, surprisingly, it has good production values. It looked like Romania has a lot of production values in its locations that I hadn’t expected. For a limited budget, they did a terrific job as far as the production design was concerned.

DC: It was nice how, with Gerri Dandridge, there was a tie-in with Countess Bathory which I thought was interesting.

TH: Yes, all that’s good. Girl on girl is very good.

DC: Girl on girl is very good. It’s timeless.

TH: Always good! (laughs) They tried it with the sequel way back when, I guess it was ‘87 or ‘86, Herb Jaffe did a sequel. They did the same thing and made Jerry Dandridge into a girl with that.

DC: I enjoy Jon Gries in that film as well. I liked Fright Night 2 – the original. With the new series “Twisted Tales”, you’ve allowed all nine episodes to be available immediately. It’s the new way everyone’s watching shows by binge-viewing …

TH: Isn’t that interesting? Yes, when I started out, Peter Block wanted to put one out a week but, now, because of Netflix, I guess, binging is the new norm.

DC: Do you think this kind of format is changing the way we remember television? I think that part of the reason why a classic series like “The Twilight Zone” is still relevant is because it was a part of our lives for years. You were even a soap star once and those shows are still popular because people live with those characters for a long period of time. Do you think binge-viewing is too disposable or do you enjoy the freedom of doing the episode run without fear of cancellation?

TH: I think it’s great. To go back to Fright Night 2, it was a nice nod to the original. It was a nice updating, you know? It was made by people who obviously loved the genre; it had a nice spirit to it. Now, moving to “Twisted Tales”, everything you said is true. Yes, television, certainly viewing, is changing. Everybody wants to either binge or watch it when they want to watch it or on what device they want to watch it. I do think that’s terrific for the filmmaker or the content creator, I guess, as they’re calling us now. They do have to order more. They’re more disposed to order an entire season’s worth because that’s the way they get traction. So, yes, that does make the filmmaker slightly more secure. What “Twisted Tales” is, is a sort of mix of “Tales From the Crypt” and “Twilight Zone”. I did three of the “Tales From the Crypt”, so I was intimately involved. I’m also the host of the show so I’m the new Crypt Keeper and hopefully I’m better looking. I may not be as much fun but I’ll look more human, anyway.

Fright Night 2: New Blood

DC: I’m glad that you’ll be appearing on screen. Is their any desire to act a bit more after things like Hatchet II? It must have been something to go from acting with Anthony Quinn and Ingrid Bergman to Victor Crowley.

TH: (laughs) Yeah, but it took me thirty years to do it! It’s a lot of fun to act. What’s really nice about it is you can sit and enjoy it; directing, it’s every moment. There’s no chance to relax. If you’re an actor, there’s a chance to hang out with the other actors. There’s a sense of community that happens among a group of players whereas, if you’re a director, all you’re doing is just trying to get through the day and get the work done.

DC: And is that where you got connected with Danielle Harris? She’s appearing in “Twisted Tales”, correct?

TH: Yes, Danielle Harris and William Forsythe. Danielle and I met doing Hatchet II but William Forsythe starred for me in the “Masters of Horror” that I did.

DC: Of course, “We All Scream For Ice Cream”, sure.

TH: Right. And the two of them turned out to be friends and had always wanted to work together. They had met each other at various conventions. It was a perfect situation because I was able to get two players of that caliber in a very bare-bones production situation. Danielle also came in and helped me produce one of the “Twisted Tales”. It’s called “The Vampire’s Dance”. We started that as a music video. I wanted to do a dance club that was really a lair of vampires because I thought it was hysterically funny – the concept of dancing vampires. The value of “Twisted Tales” is that I have so many terrific actors and a lot of them are genre favorites. I can’t name all of them because I forget: I’ve got Noah Hathaway, A.J. Bowen, Sarah Butler, Ray Wise, Angela Bettis. It goes on and on and on. It’s worth looking at for the acting. They represent a cross-section of the horror genre today.

DC: The community really sticks together and it’s great when they can all appear in something, so I’m glad you’ve provided that outlet.

TH: That’s right, and that made it a lot of fun. It was like a party every time.

DC: I was hoping to talk about you career for a second. It seems like there’s a very clear through-line from one film into the next with your writing. The Beast Within had some common themes with Psycho II – the character, Michael, is kind of sympathetic like Norman – Cloak & Dagger and Fright Night both have kids that no one believes …

TH: Yes, that’s one of my favorite situations. They used it again, of course, in Fright Night 2. I love that situation.

DC: Did you feel like one script led into the next during that time? And, I guess, Child’s Play evolved from those films. Did the scripts for “Twisted Tales” evolve in a similar way?

TH: You’re right about the continuum of the movies and that period. It started with “The Initiation of Sarah”, which I think is, like, ‘78, all the way through Child’s Play. That was like a ten-year period where I was very productive, well, ten to twelve years. Then I went and did the Stephen King pieces. I think that “Twisted Tales” took me off in a new direction. It’s very difficult to get an anthology series done in Hollywood and the reason for that is that you don’t have any continuing characters that the audience can identify with. I was very lucky with Peter Block and FEARnet who gave me the go ahead to do an anthology because I really wanted to do something like “Tales From the Crypt” and “The Twilight Zone”, which of course, I saw when I was a kid and were tremendously influential on me. Every story is different. It’s a wide selection that will appeal to the kid in you to those that really have something on their mind. I think that it gives a chance for so many of the actors in the horror community to really stretch. I’m thrilled with the level of work that you’ll see in “Twisted Tales”. Does that answer your question?

DC: Absolutely, absolutely.

TH: I did three of the “Tales From the Crypt”. I did the third one ever done with Amanda Plummer. I did one that I thought was excellent, too, with Patricia Arquette, the one with the scarecrow [“Four-Sided Triangle”] that I thought was just terrific. The “Tales From the Crypt” shows, quite often, gave a chance to see some really good performances from the actors. That’s what I’d like to think that I carved at from the writing in “Twisted Tales”, the same kind of opportunity for the players to really show off and sparkle. I’m loathe to name one for fear of leaving everybody out, but A.J. Bowen’s terrific and William Forsythe is fucking great, man! He is terrific. I’ve got Mark Scenter playing a pizza delivery guy who claims that he’s really the devil and he wants a bigger tip. (laughs)

DC: I’m glad to see that you’re so excited about it. And you even did an “Amazing Stories” episode I remember. I loved that series.

TH: I did the one with [Jon] Cryer! Yeah, so did I. That’s where I met Richard Matheson and I was like a star-struck fan. Richard Matheson, Sr. was one of the story editors and he was like a giant to me. I’ve met a lot of interesting people along the way and I’ve really been lucky to work with really terrific actors.

DC: Do you approach writing and directing any differently than you did earlier in your career with Child’s Play and Fright Night? We don’t have enough elder statesman like you in the genre and your voice is an important one and I’m so glad that you’re as busy as you are.

TH: Thank you. I don’t want to sound like I’m getting pretentious or pontificating but I think I’m beginning to suspect that what’s happened is the years or the age has given me a perspective where I really have more to say. I feel more interested or engaged now than I have for years. Hollywood treats horror like the ugly stepchild but what makes it so mythic is that it’s a metaphor for whatever you want. You can use it subtly, I hope, to comment on what’s going on around you and the popular culture and the gestalt that’s in society at that moment in time, as long as you’re not too heavy-handed. I think that horror is the most vital of all the Hollywood genres because it’s low budget so there’s more creative freedom because there’s less at risk. It can change with whatever’s going on in the popular culture – and the popular culture probably cycles in and out every two to three years. I think the horror genre is the most creative genre that’s possible in film right now and I think has been for a long time.

DC: You can get your message across without being pretentious.

TH: Horror reflects whatever the turmoil or whatever the concerns are of popular culture at that moment better than any other genre, I think. I think it’s a very creative time in horror.

DC: Did you ever think that there would be a Tom Holland Day? You were touching on that you felt like you were in a new productive period in your career and it’s great that they’re celebrating you.

TH: I’m thrilled. At first, I was sort of horrified. This started happening maybe six, seven years ago … all of a sudden they started calling me ‘iconic’ and it scared the living hell out of me. I thought, ‘My god, well, bronze me or put me up on the mantle.’ It’s not what someone wants to hear.

DC: People start asking you about your legacy.

TH: (laughs) You feel like you’re shoveling dirt into your grave. I don’t know quite how it happened but I got emotionally engaged again and I think it’s because I got to know so many of the younger people. I got back in with the whole crowd of younger horror filmmakers and I think that I started to feed off of their vitality. Somehow, it’s mixed up with the transition to digital because it crushed the cost of production so it allowed you to be more daring without having the same financial risk. It got to be easier to do interesting work.

DC: These smaller films have to make a bigger splash so they have to me more extreme, more outlandish, and more creative in order to get out of that white noise and get some attention.

TH: Well, I like more creative; I don’t particularly like more extreme. You’ve got to do more than gross out people. You have to make the audience care about the characters involved. So, Drew, this is what makes Fright Night live – the original. There’s heart to it, there’s heart and there’s charm and it’s funny. But you really like the people. You like Charley, you really like Evil Ed, you worry about Amy – and that’s heart. I’m writing about myself as a fan when I was a kid and everyone of us has been a fan. We’re all fans at heart or where at some point in our lives and that makes that film keep on and keep speaking to every generation.

DC: They have to be characters, not just victims. I was hoping with all your upcoming projects, if we could just go down the line. I’m just curious to know what your schedule’s going to look like coming up.

TH: I’ve been writing short stories for the Kindle – they’re called Kindle singles – and you can find them under “Tom Holland’s Untold Tales”. They’re the episodes I wrote that I didn’t have a chance to shoot. I hope at some point, I’ll be able to make those, too. So, that’s one. Two … I guess I can’t announce anything … I guess I can say I’m working on things, can’t I?

DC: Yes, you can say you’re working on things, of course. You can say whatever you want, you’re Tom Holland.

TH: I’m trying very hard to mount a remake of The Beast Within. And that’s not an announcement that I’m doing it, I’m just trying. I’ve re-written the script. Two, I’m involved in a Stephen King piece which is a short story of his called “Ten O’Clock People”.

DC: Sure.

TH: And I’m very excited about that and I’ve been working with Stephen on that, actually. But that doesn’t say they get done; that’s the caveat on it.

DC: Can I ask one thing about “The Ten O’Clock People”? Can you say if you guys are connecting it to the larger King universe?

TH: I think that you might have a good chance. I also think that it might also be a comment on the growing surveillance state. I don’t belong to any political party; I belong to the paranoid party.

DC: Well, you’ve got another member in that party too, now.

Tom Holland’s “Twisted Tales,” is exclusively available on FEARnet.com and VOD right now. The new series is available for “binge viewing” and boasts guest appearances from genre favorites such as William Forsythe, Danielle Harris, Angela Bettis, and many, many more. Holland writes and directs the series – a variety of stories that take viewers into the dark world of vampires, witchcraft, demon possession and scorned lovers, to name a few.

Exclusive: Tom Holland Talks Twisted Tales, The Ten O'Clock People, and Fright Night 2

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Check Out the Opening 2 Minutes of Another WolfCop

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It was just earlier today that we brought you guys The Dude Design’s the newest poster for writer-director Lowell Dean’s horror-comedy sequel Another WolfCop.

And now we have the movie’s opening 2 minutes!

The clip showcases the new flick’s villain trying to sell us on his “Chicken Milk Beer” before losing his cool and taking it out the commercial’s crew. We then cut to a ragtag group of criminals, dressed as homeless Santas trying to outrun the cops.

A fun two-minutes if you ask me!

You can check out Another WolfCop‘s opening scene below and then make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on social media!

The film is written and directed by Lowell Dean, produced by Bernie Hernando, Deborah Marks, and Hugh Patterson, and distributed worldwide by Cineplex.

Another WolfCop co-stars Amy Matysio, Jonathan Cherry, and Serena Miller. The film also features special appearances from Canadian music icon Gowan and legendary filmmaker Kevin Smith. It was executive produced by Sean Buckley, J. Joly, Bill Marks, Brian Wideen, Michael Kennedy, and Michael Hirsch.

The film is slated for a wide Cineplex theatrical release on Friday, December 8, 2017, with the film seeing a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital home entertainment release through A71 and Black Fawn in 2018.

Synopsis:

A month has passed since the eclipse transformed hard-drinking Officer Lou Garou into the crime-fighting hellion WolfCop. Although the Shape Shifters controlling the town have been extinguished, Woodhaven is far from returning to normal. Lou’s liquor-fueled antics and full moon outbursts are seriously testing his relationship with Officer Tina Walsh – the new Chief of Police. An old friend has mysteriously reappeared with a truly bizarre secret to share, and a homicidal new villain has emerged from the shadows looking to finish what the Shape Shifters started. To defeat this lethal adversary, it will take more than a lone wolf packing a pistol.

Prepare for the next chapter of WolfCop that will be more dirty and hairy than the original! Consider yourself warned.

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Reviews

AHS: Cult Review – Clowns, Cults, Politics, and Peters

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Starring Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Billie Lourd, Cheyenne Jackson, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, and Allison Pill

Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk


** NO SPOILERS **

It’s here. We’ve reached the end. The newest season of “American Horror Story” has ended and now we are here to provide you guys with our season review of AHS: Cult.

Spoiler free.

To start things off let me say I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “American Horror Story”. It breaks down like this: I enjoyed the absolute hell out of the first season of the series (“Murder House”), couldn’t get through “Asylum” (I know, I know, I’ve tried), dug “Coven” for what it was, really enjoyed “Freak Show”, and again I couldn’t get into “Hotel” or “Roanoke”.

That’s the story of me and “American Horror Story”. Plain And simple. But what did I think of the new seventh season of the notorious horror anthology series? Let’s find out.

Back when the seventh season of AHS was first announced (then going by the title “AHS: Election”) I was immediately intrigued by the new season because I heard it would not include any supernatural elements. Like the fourth season, “Freak Show”.

Now I’m a fan of ghosts and weird creature-men with drills for d*cks, don’t get me wrong. But the series has thus far relied almost exclusively on horrors of the supernatural variety (other than “Freak Show”) so this major change of pace was again welcomed by this guy.

Instead of vampires, aliens, and witches this season relied on terrors of the mind. Psychological fears and anxieties. The horrors man does to man. Deep issues.

Oh, and clowns. Like a lot of clowns.

But just because this new season didn’t include anything supernatural, that doesn’t mean the 11-episode season wasn’t filled with twisted visuals and horrifically disturbing acts. No, sir. This season boasted some showstoppers including S&M, gimps, and a house of horrors that wouldn’t be out of place in a Rob Zombie flick. It was all good.

But let’s backtrack a bit here.

Allow me to rundown the season’s plot for those who may be unaware. “AHS: Cult” tells the tale of a world post-election night. The literal dawn of Trump’s America. In one corner we have Sarah Paulson’s soccer mom, trying to fight through life with a series of crippling phobias (including clowns, holes, blood, and being a good person).

And in the other corner, we have Evan Peter’s angry, white (blue-haired) male, looking to seize Trump’s new position of power to bring about the end of… Actually, I want this to be a spoiler-free season review, so I’m just going to say the dude’s got big plans.

Like Manson-size plans. Let’s leave it at that.

With these two characters established, the new season then proceeds to send them spiraling into a collision course of political sabotage, intrigue, and clown-based nope, nope, nope-ing that can only end with one – or both – of them dead as Dillinger.

Overall “AHS: Cult” belonged end-to-end to Mr. Evan Peters. The young actor has continued to show his striking range from season to season of Ryan Murphy’s horror show and this season was no different. Peters’ turn as not only Kai, the blue-haired leader of the titular cult, but as infamous leaders such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson – to name a few – owed this season.

I can only hope he doesn’t pull a Jessica Lange and opt-out of more AHS next year.

Speaking of top performances, “AHS: Cult ” showcases some other chilling and memorable turns with Alison Pill’s strangely vulnerable, put-upon wife character being the best next to Peters in my eyes. This actress needs to be in more films/TV!

Along with Pill, actress Billie Lourd killed it time and time again. The “Scream Queens” breakout star and Carrie Fisher spawn was yet again a highlight in her second Ryan Murphy series. Bet she has the starring role in next season. Mark my words.

Add to that, the season also boasts a handful of fun cameos, including John Carroll Lynch’s return as Twisty the Clown, Emma Roberts as a bitchy reporter that will do anything to end up on top, and Lena Dunham as SCUM Manifesto writer Valerie Solanas. The cameo cast killed it and I wish they would have been present for more episodes. What are you gonna do?

On the sour side of the season, I didn’t dig Sarah Paulson’s character. At all. But I’m sure that was the point. Right? I’m still not sure. But, boy, I wouldn’t even want to be stuck in line behind her at a Starbucks for three minutes, let alone spend the better part of this season’s 11-hours with her and her whiny bullshite. Urgh.

That said, she pulled it out by the finale. That’s all I’ll say.

In the end, I enjoyed this season as much as – if not more – than any other of the series. “Murder House” will still no doubt go on as my favorite season of the series, but “AHS: Cult” will rank third after season one and “Freak Show”.

While I was on the fence about the season after three episodes, the show ended up ditching Paulson’s character (and/or shifting her arch) after a lull so the episodes picked up quickly. Whenever the season turned its focus back towards Peters (in whichever incarnation he was playing at the time) the show got better and better. Every time.

Not a bad way to spend my Tuesday night for the past 11 weeks.

Bring on season 12.

  • American Horror Story: Cult (2018)
3.5

Summary

The seventh season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story was Evan Peters’ show all the way through. The young actor pulled out all the stops time and time again to make what may have been a lackluster supernatural-free season a winner.

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User Rating 4.33 (6 votes)
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The Axiom Review – A Stylish and Clever Slice of Independent Horror

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Starring Hattie Smith, Zac Titus, Nicole Dambro

Directed by Nicholas Woods


The Axiom is an ambitious, well directed, impressively acted and stunningly shot independent horror film that has just a few, teensy little flaws holding it back from greatness (and therefore will have to settle for just being really, really good, instead).

The first thing you realize when watching The Axiom is that this is a beautiful film. Everything is framed and shot in a lush and stylish manner, but one which is always tonally appropriate for the scene.

The second thing you’ll notice, and keep noticing as the film plays out, is that the movie really struck gold with this cast. Not only is there a total lack of the sort of stilted and unnatural acting seen in countless other microbudget horror affairs, but the performances are genuinely fantastic across the board. The main characters are believably chill and relatably normal in the early scenes, and the acting remains just as impressive once things start getting a bit more… intense. It’s not often that an independent horror film has so many good performances that it makes it hard to pick the movie’s acting VIP, but that is undeniably the case here. Taylor Flowers delivers what is probably the showiest performance (and does it very well, indeed), but the entire cast really is quite good.

The central premise of the film is both interesting and original, and touches upon the real life fact (given some recent attention in the ‘Missing 411’ books and documentary) that a lot more people sure seem to go missing out in the woods than seems reasonable, while simultaneously weaving all sorts of folklore, fairy tales and urban legends into the mix. It’s also clever in the way that it very naturally reveals aspects to the relationships between characters that serve to later – or sometimes retroactively – explain some of the more questionable decisions they make or attitudes they display. While that may sound like screenwriting 101, it’s surprising how many films fail to do this. The Axiom rewards the viewer’s attention in other ways as well, with many aspects of the movie that initially feel odd or unnatural receiving reasonable explanations (within the context of the movie) by the end. It’s not quite as challenging (or as rewarding) in this regard as, say, something like Session 9, but it does add a nice layer of complexity to the storytelling.

The film’s score, by Leo Kaliski, is also quite good. There may be a moment here or there where the music hits an overly familiar beat, but overall it not only fits the movie’s tone, but does quite a bit to help set that tone as well.

The only thing that I don’t feel the movie quite pulls off – and I’m trying to be vague here, because I feel like the less you know going into this film, the better – is some of the makeup effects work. The gore stuff is very well executed, but some of the other stuff feels like it was crafted with the intention of shooting it in a more… stylized manner. Instead, filmed as it is here, the result is sometimes less than impressive and can fail to make the impact that the movie seems to be implying that it should. And while some of what the makeup effects lack in execution is made up for with the ingenuity and creativity of their design, it’s still a bit of a shame when they don’t quite pull them off because, aside from a few niggles that I have with the writing, the effects are the only aspect of the film that occasionally fails to live up to the high level of technical proficiency that The Axiom otherwise demonstrates.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

  • Man, the acting in this movie is really good. The dialogue may stumble once or twice, but these actors always sell it anyway.
  • Give back Mia Sara’s DNA, Hattie Smith!
  • If you’re going to put your female lead in shorts this small, I hope you’re not sensitive to viewers unleashing a nonstop parade of “Has anyone seen my pants / OH GOD WHERE ARE MY PANTS!” jokes.
  • “You just pop this here ‘Blair Witch Stick Person / Anarchy sign’ sticker up on that there windshield of yours, and them park rangers? Well – heh heh – they won’t bother you none, no sir.” Hmmmmm…
  • The film really is shot amazingly well – better than a lot of mainstream releases. Cinematographer Sten Olson has a real future ahead of him.
  • As does writer / director Nicholas Woods, for that matter. Any director who can get this level of quality out of their cast and crew on their first ever film is someone to keep an eye on.
  • “I’ll make a run for it and get help,” says the female lead, and I’m like “Yeah, let her go – she has no pants to weigh her down.”
  • The gore effects in the movie are both realized and utilized very well.
  • Welcome back to horror movies, “I’ll be right back” dialogue spoken unironically by and/or to ill-fated characters.
  • The Axiom
4.0

Summary

In the end, The Axiom is a solid and entertaining flick that manages to wring a level of quality and originality out of the somewhat tired “Don’t Go in the Woods” horror subgenre not seen since 2012’s Cabin in the Woods. The cinematography and acting are hugely impressive, it features a nice, unnerving score, the premise is original and captivating, and the whole thing moves at a nice pace that helps keep the film’s flaws from dragging it down.

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User Rating 3.9 (10 votes)
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