Hide and Go Shriek (1988) A group of high school friends celebrating graduation sneak into a furniture store to party and have sex but are interrupted by a killer in this enjoyably cheesy slasher. The movie is filled with stock characters and familiar plot elements, but it’s better made than you’d think and the cast is energetic and likable. The make-up FX leave a lot to be desired – there is a good decapitation by elevator – but it never ceases to be entertaining and the twist at the conclusion is genuinely surprising. B

Last Night in Soho (2021) Shaun of the Dead‘s Edgar Wright delivers a wonderful homage to the psychological thrillers of the 1960s with this mystery-horror about a fashion student (Thomasin McKenzie) who moves to London and is transported back to the ’60s, where she’s convinced she’s witness to an unsolved murder. Both elegantly shot and energetically paced, Last Night is what most current throwbacks aspire to be, both respecting the subgenres and adding to it with flares of surprises and thrills that could be found in the best of the Italian giallos of the ’60s and ’70s. The cast is excellent, especially Anya Taylor-Joy and Dame Diana Rigg in her last film role, and the screenplay by Krysty Wilson-Cairns is first-rate. Don’t miss this! B+

The Masque of the Red Death (1964) An attractive, but empty, Roger Corman production, this somewhat overrated adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s story features a tyrannical, Satan-worshiping prince (Vincent Price) who uses his luxurious castle as a sanctuary for he and his wealthy, corrupted friends against a deadly plague. Where Poe’s story reads as a metaphor for trying, and failing, to escape death, Corman’s film is little more than a handsomely produced series of lavish, colorful set pieces and stunning cinematography by Nicholas Roeg. Price is his typically scene-chewing, enjoyable self. C+

Scalps (1983) Infamous ’80s splatter from zero-budget auteur Fred Olen Ray about a group of archeology students who’re targeted by a vengeful Native American spirit that possesses one of the group and turns him into a disfigured killer. Not a good film in the technical sense, Scalps is stiff, muddled, and unconvincing but is nonetheless mesmerizingly watchable hokum that has plenty of low grade charm and some surprisingly effective make-up FX. B

VERSUS – Wrong Turn (2021)

Welcome to a new feature on Matt’s Horror Addiction: VERSUS. Versus takes one film and presents two opposing opinions in head-to-head reviews with my friend and horror movie aficionado, Frank Pittarese. We’ll explain why we loved and hated the same movie, and you can decide who’s right!


Six friends drive to a small town in Virginia to hike the nearby Appalachian Trail, but when they detour off their path, they encounter a nightmare world of torture and death. Live or die, their fates lie in the secluded mountains — while the town below keeps its secrets.

Matt’s Opinion

Those expecting to see something similar to the 2003 cult fav Wrong Turn when they sit down to watch this reboot will be sorely disappointed. Despite having been written by the original Wrong Turn‘s Alan McElroy, the new movie offers up a completely different tale, one that feels inspired more by Midsommar than any of the previous six Wrong Turn films. I’m even going to guess this film was written as an “original” story and at the last minute was slapped with the Wrong Turn label at the hands of worried investors.

The only similarity between this new WT and the first movie is the trapped-in-the-woods plot, but unlike the original film none of the characters in this new one at any point take a wrong turn, making the title even more pointless. This new group of aggressively annoying Gen Z hipsters run afoul a violent backwoods community in the wilds of West Virginia, a community of dirty rednecks who dress in animal furs and speak in a Danish dialect. Deformed, ax-wielding hillbillies are out; suave, handsome woodsman are in.

The biggest sin the new WT makes is its overly complicated mythology surrounding the woodsy society known as The Foundation: these characters are not as interesting as the filmmakers think and their history and politics for why they do what they do are unconvincing and hollow. They live in the woods and preach to outsiders and burn their eyes out of their heads because on paper it probably sounded really cool. What us WT fans want is simple stalk-and-hack splatter fun and not a film, as well made as it is, that’s trying to be something it’s not. Grade: D

Frank’s Opinion

The original, 2003 mutant-cannibal horror film is a low-key classic that somehow brought fresh energy to a familiar story. That successful film spawned five sequels with ever-diminishing returns. Faced with lower budgets and weaker scripts, the series wasn’t just tired — it was exhausted. So this remake/reboot takes a smarter route: it does something completely different. There are no inbred freaks to be found here. The threat that lurks in the forest is entirely human — but the film takes awhile before revealing the exact nature of its antagonists. That reveal is, admittedly, out there. It’s WAY out there. But as outrageous as it is, it’s presented with a twisted confidence, leading to one bizarre turn after the next. Every twenty minutes or so, the movie levels up in engaging, not always predictable ways. The main characters aren’t necessarily presented in the best light (okay, they’re a bunch of privileged jerks), but I found myself riveted just to see what would happen next.

While there’s a bit of gore to be found as various folks are dispatched, I have a hard time qualifying this as a horror movie. In some ways, it’s more of a survival/cult thriller, which totally works for me. A framing sequence with Matthew Modine (as the father of the film’s protagonist) might feel pointless in the beginning, but everything ties up neatly in the film’s final act (or, rather, ACTS). If you’re looking for a new version of what you’ve seen before, you might be disappointed — but if you want something unique, this iteration of Wrong Turn is definitely worth checking out. If I have any gripes its that the movie could afford to have gone darker in tone. Had they given us more likable characters and cranked up the brutality — something tonally closer to The Hills Have Eyes, since they do borrow a particular theme from that film — this could have been outstanding. Still, it gets a thumbs up from me. Grade: B+


Alone in the Dark (1982) A terrific mash-up of the slasher subgenre about three psychopaths (Jack Palace, Martin Landau, and Erland van Lidth) who escape from a mental facility and terrorize the hospital’s new doctor (Dwight Schultz) and his family. Suspenseful and more complex than the typical slasher flick of the time, this is infused with dark, witty humor, good acting, and some impressive, and brutal, death sequences. Poking fun of and embracing its material, Alone in the Dark is an ’80s gem. B+

The Car (1977) A goofy crossbreed of The Exorcist and Jaws, this features a small desert town under siege by a seemingly driverless, possessed killer car. James Brolin gives the movie an air of respectability but the whole thing is so silly and unconvincing you won’t take any of it seriously; as with most movies of this caliber, you can’t help be entertained by its goofy charms. C+

Cold Prey (2006) Thrilling Norwegian slasher about a group of snowboarders who take shelter inside an abandoned ski resort after one of the party breaks their leg. The group slowly comes to realize they’re not alone when a mystery person starts picking them off one-by-one. A beautiful snowy landscape and genuinely enjoyable characters heighten the story above its genericness, as does director Roar Uthaug’s eye for detail, creating an atmosphere of suspense and scares. A must-see. B+

The Mothman Prophecies (2002) Based on real case files dating back to the 1960s about a series of unexplained events surrounding the small town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, in which a group of people claim to have seen or interacted with a large, winged humanoid that predicted several major catastrophes. When a Washington Post reporter (Richard Gere) investigates the mysterious death of his wife it leads him to Point Pleasant and the sinister workings of the mothman. More of a psychological mystery than an outright horror film, this has a surprisingly good cast and a serious take on the subject matter, making the story seem much more credible than it probably deserves. C+


Black Water (2007) Intense Australian low-budgeter about a small group of friends who find themselves trapped in a watery nightmare when their motorboat capsizes and they’re hunted by a large, bloodthirsty crocodile. The characters are all basically cardboard cutouts, but it’s the screenplay (by directors Andrew Traucki and David Nerlich) that makes the film work, utilizing the dire situation to its fullest effect by creating moments of true suspense and genuine surprises, right up until the end. B+

The Blair Witch Project (1999) The game changer that single-handedly created a new subgenre, this zero-budget scare show took horror to a new level at a time when the genre was becoming stale with countless Scream wannabes and soulless teen vehicles. Crafting its story around the structure of home videos, Blair Witch smartly uses bare-bones visual trickery by elevating the simple plot – three friends making a school video project about a mythical forest witch – into an atmospheric, dense, incredible suspenseful piece of filmmaking. Realistic characters and raw emotions help fuel the intensity, as do the moments of sheer horror, including the infamous, white-knuckle ending. A

The Brotherhood of Satan (1971) A well-made response to Rosemary’s Baby about a small town under the influence of a satanic cult that’s using the town’s children for sinister reasons. Moody and unpredictable, this mostly works because of its surreal, dream-like structure and surprising violence. The only thing keeping this from achieving cult classic status is its lackluster, disappointing ending. C+

Old (2021) A misguided adaptation of Frederik Peeters and Pierre Oscar Lévy’s acclaimed graphic novel, Sandcastle, about several groups of beachgoers who are effected by an unknown, supernatural event that rapidly speeds up their aging process. Director/writer M. Night Shyamalan’s screenplay is littered with plot holes and story inconsistencies, while the characters are vapid and unsympathetic. The biggest sin the film makes is explaining the mystery with a bumbling happy ending that essentially pulls the rug out from underneath itself. A genuine turkey. D

VERSUS – Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin

Welcome to a new feature on Matt’s Horror Addiction: Versus. Versus takes one film and presents two opposing opinions in head-to-head reviews with my friend and horror movie aficionado, Frank Pittarese. We’ll explain why we loved and hated the same movie, and you can decide who’s right!


Next of Kin focuses on a young woman (Emily Bader) whose quest to discover her roots brings her to a mysterious, isolated Amish-like farm community. With the help of her boyfriend and a cameraman, the team documents the strange new world, unwittingly exposing themselves to a series of supernatural events.

Frank’s Opinion

This seventh installment in the Paranormal Activity series is either a reboot or a spinoff. It’s unclear which, but there’s no connection to anything that’s come before — which makes this easily disposable because it stinks. I like found footage movies, and I’ve really enjoyed most of the PA films; even the “worst” of them is perfectly viewable. This one suffers from poor storytelling (things happen that just don’t make sense), and truly terrible cinematography, even for the sub-genre. For the bulk of the film, it seems there’s a filter over the lens, added to make things darker and more shadowed — but the vast majority of this movie takes place either by candlelight or at night. That, combined with some of the shakiest camera movements I’ve seen in one of these films creates no end of visual frustration.

Director William Eubank also can’t make up his mind about whether this even IS a found footage movie. Objective camera shots — as you would see in any normal film — are inserted from start to finish. It’s distracting and pulled me right out of the action. The script feels uninspired and lazy (and ripping off REC didn’t help). I was eager for this to end even as the finale unfolded.

On the plus side, the characters are decent. Dan Lippert as Dale, the sound guy, has a few funny moments. The setting is interesting and somewhat atmospheric. But everyone is written to be inherently stupid for the sake of advancing the plot (or serving the format). Even with low expectations, I was disappointed. It felt like a cheap, direct-to-video attempt at folk horror. The biggest letdown is that Christopher Landon wrote this. He scripted Paranormal Activity 2-4, directed both Happy Death Day movies (and wrote the second), and directed and co-wrote the delightful slasher-comedy Freaky. Everyone stumbles, sometimes, I guess. It’s time to bring back Toby. Grade: D

Matt’s Opinion

The Paranormal Activity series has seen its share of makeovers twice before. The fifth entry, The Marked Ones, brilliantly spun off from the franchise’s main plot by focusing the action on a group of inner-city Latinx teenagers as they discover their neighbor is part of a coven known as The Midwives. The Marked Ones both added to and respected the overall mythology of the series, creating a movie that felt fresh while giving fans what they expected from a PA film. The next entry, The Ghost Dimension, also tried to put a twist on a somewhat tiresome formula by showing audiences the demonic activity that has been plaguing the families in PA 1-4, the invisible Toby. Injecting energy into the action sequences surrounding Toby was the use of 3-D, and while that gimmick works it couldn’t hide the fact the PA films were starting to wear thin.

While Next of Kin isn’t exactly a return to form – I’m not sure I can use that phrase since it doesn’t have anything to do with the other films – it is, I think, I step in the right direction. The new characters are likable and there’s even a touch of Tucker from Insidious in Lippert’s smart alecky Dale. One of my biggest pet peeves in horror movies is unsympathetic characters, and luckily so far in the PA universe we haven’t seen any yet. While Next of Kin‘s characters aren’t as memorable as Katie (Katie Featherston), or the child versions of Katie and her sister, Kirsti, from PA 3, they carry the film smoothly.

The plot doesn’t always make perfect sense, but that doesn’t deter from the main objective of the story, which is to disorient the viewer. Just like the characters, the audience gets a sense of doom and nightmarish qualities in the creepy, atmosphere-heavy farm environment. And although the movie never achieves the intensity of the first movie in the series it does deliver some good scares, especially during the last 20 minutes. Plus, unlike the previous entries, Next of Kin does deliver a flesh and blood creature, and while it might not be what you expect it is far and away from anything the other PA have manifested. On that alone I commend Next of Kin for going a different route, even though the pathway leading to it feels somewhat similar, and welcoming. Grade: B

Stay tuned for another Versus comin’ at ya soon!

Frank Pittarese is a Brooklyn native. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.


The Legacy (1978) Shades of The Omen are seen in this handsome supernatural shocker about a couple (Sam Elliot and Katherine Ross) stranded in the English countryside after a motorcycle accident and invited to stay with a mysterious man at his posh country estate full of his wealthy business associates. It isn’t long until the “creative deaths” begin and escape becomes impossible. Elliot and Ross are both sympathetic and there’s some intense moments, but the final outcome isn’t quite worth the long build-up. C+

The Legend of Hell House (1973) A small team of scientists and psychics doing paranormal research inside a notorious haunted house are put through the wringer when they are bombarded by spiteful ghosts whom attack them both mentally and physically. Adapted by Richard Matheson from his own novel, Hell House is good stuff with a solid cast (Pamela Franklin and Roddy McDowell are excellent) and highly effective direction from John Hough, who wisely uses limited special effects – although there are several awe-inspiring ones – and more of an emphasis on complex characters to create tension. B

Something Evil (1972) Before Amityville and The Conjuring there was this made-for-TV movie about a young mother (Sandy Dennis) who comes to believe her family’s new farmhouse is haunted by a malignant entity. Directed by a young Steven Spielberg, this is a surprisingly intriguing film that works mostly because of the good cast and the subtle approach writer Robert Clouse tells the story. Much like The Changeling, this is a psychological slow burn more interested in characters than special FX. B