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HAPPY OCTOBER! Ambush Bug counts down the best horror films covered on AICN HORROR since last Halloween – Number 31!!!

Logo by Kristian Horn
What the &#$% is ZOMBIES & SHARKS?

Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here. Happy Birthday to AICN HORROR which celebrates its second year in October! Always hoping to pass on new and exciting films for all of you ravenous readers in search of worthwhile horror, I decided to compile a list counting down to my favorite horror covered in AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS since October 1 of last year. Some of these films might be new to you since there isn’t a lot of horror in theaters these days that aren’t toothless remakes or watered down sequels. Theaters aren’t where the horror is at these days, I’m afraid. Some of these films have only seen the light of day on Video on Demand or simply go straight to DVD/BluRay. I’ve also compiled a few films I’ve seen advance screenings of at festivals and I’ll try to update you when you can see these films when I can.

As far as how I compiled this list? Well, I simply looked over my AICN HORROR columns over the last year and worked and reworked a list until I had 31. No real method to my madness. We’ll be counting down every day until Halloween toward my favorite horror film of the year. I’ll also provide a second film suggestion for those who can’t get enough horror that has something to do with the film I chose that day.

So let’s get to it! Chime in after the article and let me know how you liked the film I chose, how right or wrong I am, and come up with your own list…let’s go!


First off on the countdown is SICK BOY, a surprising “babysitter alone in the house” film that takes some unexpected turns throughout and is solidified as a true gem by a spirited performance by its lead actress Skye McCole Bartusiak. Below is the review of the film from a column I did back in August.

SICK BOY (2011)

Directed by Tim T. Cunningham
Written by Tim T. Cunningham
Starring Skye McCole Bartusiak, Marc Donato, Debbie Rochon
Find out more about this film here!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

SICK BOY is one of those films with a premise that definitely may seem familiar, but its power lies in the skill of the actors involved and the director/writer steering the wheel. Because of this, even though we may know the layout of this type of film, the road to the end remains interesting because of strong performances in front of and behind the camera.

The one thing that stood out immediately with this film was the acting. I’ve never seen Skye McCole Bartusiak before, but she’s definitely got the chops of a good actor and convincingly plays Lucy, an engaged girl who can’t seem to find a job she really wants to do. Her husband Kris, played by Marc Donato, delivers a nice performance as well as her loving but frustrated husband who is sick of hearing about how one job after another doesn’t work for his wife. Out of desperation, Lucy responds to an ad as a babysitter. Enter Scream Queen Debbie Rochon as Dr. Gordan, a busy woman with a sick child with an unusual disease. She immediately takes a liking to Lucy and hires her to watch over her son for the next few days. Her directions are just to sit in the house and never…ever…go downstairs into her child’s room, no matter what.

Now, as with HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, where a babysitter is set up to watch a house rather than the person upstairs, you know sooner or later, Lucy is going to ignore the warnings of her employer and for one reason or another she will be checking in on the sick boy in the basement at some time. It’s the tension between the hiring and the snooping that will either make or break this film and director Tim T. Cunningham creates this tension with expert precision as Lucy begins looking through drawers, solidifying what we already know—that she will be going into the basement at some time.

Now, the scary stuff doesn’t really happen until the 45 minute mark, which is usually an exercise in tedium for me with films that take this long to get running, but the time whizzes by mainly because Skye McCole Bartusiak completely owns every scene she is in. She’s energetic, likable, personable, and easy on the eyes. I could see her becoming a big star some day and given her performance here, she’s got what it takes.

SICK BOY does a fantastic job of amping up the tension. Telling you what subgenre this film belongs to or identifying what the sick boy is sick with would be giving away too much of this film. Let’s just lump it in with such fantastic “Babysitter in peril” films as HOUSE OF THE DEVIL and WHEN A STRANGER CALLS and leave it at that. Effective in a nail-biting build-up to a climax that definitely is worthy of the wait, filled with blood, gore, and mega-violence, SICK BOY is one of those infectious little horror films that needs to be spread to more viewers. Keep an eye out on the Raven Banner Entertainment website for when and where you can see it.

SICK BOY is going to be available on DVD on October 23rd, just in time for Halloween. Much like SICK BOY, Ti West’s HOUSE OF THE DEVIL is another film about a babysitter alone in a house. What both of these films do well is highlight the spookiness of being alone at night. To tide you over until SICK BOY is available later in the month; I recommend you seek out HOUSE OF THE DEVIL. It is a surefire spine-tingler and one of my favorite films of recent years.

See ya tomorrow, folks, with number 30 of the best of the best covered in AICN HORROR since last year!

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/reviewer/co-editor of AICN Comics for over ten years. He has written comics such as MUSCLES & FIGHTS, MUSCLES & FRIGHTS, VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE DEATHSPORT GAMES, WONDERLAND ANNUAL 2010 & NANNY & HANK (soon to be made into a feature film from Uptown 6 Films). He is also a regular writer for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND & has co-written their first ever comic book LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (to be released in late 2012 as an 100-pg original graphic novel). Mark has just announced his new comic book miniseries GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK from Zenescope Entertainment to be released March-August 2012. Also look for Mark's exciting arc on GRIMM FAIRY TALES #76-80 which begins in August 2012.

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Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 1, 2012, 10:05 a.m. CST

    I wouldn't say so...

    by Ambush Bug

    Is it a vampire? Zombie? Tea Party Member? Dancing with the Stars fan? Who knows?

  • Oct. 1, 2012, 10:08 a.m. CST

    I call Dancing with the Stars fan!

    by REMcycle

    ...okay, I'll forget I saw the pic (and what I think it is) and check this film out. Looking forward to the rest of your list!

  • Oct. 1, 2012, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Hey! Someone can be a zombie or a vampire AND a Dancing With The Stars fan!


  • Oct. 1, 2012, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Hell, they could even be a Tea Party member too.


    In fact, I hear that half of the Tea Party ARE zombies and vampires. Not sure about Dancing With The Stars though.

  • Oct. 1, 2012, 11:32 a.m. CST

    Bug, should say this more often - great, *useful* column

    by Collin Armstrong

    It's harder and harder to parse all the horror releases that come down the pike, so it's awesome to have someone covering smaller films like this in detail (and not just reviews - I appreciate the interviews you do with directors, stars, etc from smaller-scale horror fare). I look forward to checking out Sick Boy, and the rest of your countdown. Keep it up!!!

  • Oct. 1, 2012, 12:41 p.m. CST

    I concur with openthepodbaydoorshal's assessment.

    by notcher

    "House of the Devil" had a great opening act of build up, but the second half was kind of par for the course and overall rendered the movie simply good but not great.

  • Oct. 1, 2012, 4:28 p.m. CST

    I second that

    by Dawhiteguy

    The movie "House of the Devil" changes course after her friend visits her great grandma (like what I did there?) If you turn the movie off after this scene. You didnt miss anything special. Quite frankly the movie jumps a huge shark when the baby sitter's pizza arrives. Its like An American Werewolf in London. Nice effective plot with cool ideas but at a really slow slow slow pace. And very shady dialog.

  • Oct. 1, 2012, 4:31 p.m. CST

    OH and...

    by Dawhiteguy

    You can watch both of these movies on Netflix.

  • Oct. 1, 2012, 4:40 p.m. CST

    It is obviously

    by CimmerianWarrior

    a left wing liberal DEMONcrat.

  • Oct. 1, 2012, 8:02 p.m. CST

    Ambush...31 from this year...

    by Red Ned Lynch

    ...and it hasn't been a terrible year, but... ...31 really worth watching since last Halloween. Not watching because you need to see if they're any good... ...but 31 you can recommend after having seen them. I am really psyched to see how you're going to do it.

  • Oct. 1, 2012, 8:10 p.m. CST

    And although...

    by Red Ned Lynch

    ...I'm dying to try to guess the rest of your list I am going to restrain myself.

  • Oct. 1, 2012, 10:06 p.m. CST

    Sorry Mark, House of the Devil SUCKED!

    by slicer

    I don't mind a slow build in a move, as long as their is a pay off. House of the Devil was slow as fuck, and there is no payoff! If you find THAT movie as one of your favorite films, than this list is doomed! Ti West sucks! And I suggest to those reading this, avoid House of the Devil, unless you can't sleep, then, throw it on and you'll be having a snooze-fest in no time!

  • Oct. 1, 2012, 11:38 p.m. CST

    Speaking of horror movies

    by Dawhiteguy

    What happen to Knights of Badassdom?

  • Oct. 2, 2012, 2:27 a.m. CST

    @ red ned & slicer

    by Ambush Bug

    @red ned - Oh yeah, I actually had to whittle the list down a bit to make it 31. Some obscure, some indie, some high budget, some low, all released this year in theaters, DVD, or VOD, though I did pull a few from some fests that aren't released yet that I couldn't help but mention. Tally them all up and you got 31. Also, as I mentioned above, let me know what your favorite of the year is too. @slicer - Sorry HOUSE OF THE DEVIL didn't do it for you. Hopefully some of the other films in this list will.

  • Oct. 2, 2012, 7:15 a.m. CST


    by Buffalo500

    Well seeing as House of the Devil is getting a bit of a kicking in this talkback, i just want to praise it a bit. Loved the 70's feel and creepy build up, and i thought the ending delivered also. Can't wait to watch The Innkeepers which I have on blu ray at home...

  • Oct. 2, 2012, 9:11 a.m. CST

    Hope to see some Father's Day...

    by fat_elvis

    on this list. That movie was balls out insane, distributed by Troma and has been ignored here (save one little blurb).