Although Ticks was released in 1993 it still feels like an eighties movie. Oversized monsters terrorizing troubled teens in a remote camp is a plot as formulaic as it gets. But it works. And when you add lots of humor, nasty practical effects, and pretty decent acting to the mix, you’ve got yourself quite an effective little horror movie. As years went by, we slowly started to run out of killer animals so we moved on to arachnids like ticks. You would think they’re insects but they’re actually more closely related to spiders and scorpions. The more you know.
Right from the start, you can feel that Ticks is geared towards a specific audience. I mean, the damned creatures emerge from a slush that’s a byproduct of a potent marijuana strain. Just imagine sitting down to watch a campy creature feature from the nineties, lighting a joint and then you see that. Pure fucking perfection and too bad I watched this movie straight as an arrow. However, that just proves my point that it’s worth watching.
So, Ticks is a classic cheesy nineties horror comedy with an atmosphere that’s a bit off. Despite the obviously cheesy and formulaic setup, the movie takes itself too seriously at times. The creatures, however, look phenomenally nasty and gruesome. They are a testament to the quality of the old-school practical effects. Effects that you could accomplish with a lot of effort but little money, something that doesn’t work well with CGI. And you can bet your sweet ass there will be some yukky scenes with our ticks stuck on various body parts.
Holly and Charles are two social workers who are trying to help troubled youth by reconnecting them with nature. They’ve just met their latest batch and are on their way to a rundown camp deep in the woods. They have planned a lot of fun activities and are looking forward to spending some time with these teenagers. At the same time, drug dealer Jarvis is pumping his marijuana plants with steroids to make them more potent. A recipe for disaster.
For a random B horror movie from the nineties, Ticks has a pretty strong cast. We’ve got Seth Green, Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), Ami Dolenz, and motherfucking Clint Howard! Secondly, you should know that the executive producer is none other than Brian Yuzna of his Society fame. The body horror and the whole infestation thing reminded me of The Thing. Especially towards the end when the whole thing intensifies. So, if you’re looking for some old-school practical effects nasty fun, you’ve just found it.
Director: Tony Randel
Writer: Brent V. Friedman
Cast: Seth Green, Alfonso Ribeiro, Ami Dolenz, Rosalind Allen, Virginya Keehne, Clint Howard, Michael Medeiros
Fun Facts: Special FX creator Doug Beswick wrote the original screenplay two decades earlier under the title “Cycle of Blood.”