Hey! It has come to my attention that TICKS (1993) is available to stream for FREE on TubiTV and Vudu and even Amazon Prime. I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve ever properly reviewed this gooey gem but I know for sure it was mentioned in my salute to AMI DOLENZ way back HERE. In retrospect, several fine horror flicks were released in the early nineties but I remember being in the middle of a dry spell of dud rentals when I was so pleasantly surprised by this throwback creature feature back in the day. TICKS has everything: a summer campground setting, young folks looking for trouble, lunatic locals, grotesque creatures and fountains of spewing slime. Let me tell you, Iâ€™m not an easy person to gross out but something about the awesomely disgusting special effects in this flick gets me flinching. I would hug a spider, kiss a snake and marry a bat but Iâ€™m not down with ticks. They gross.
And how can anyone resist the greatest (and possibly shortest) cast ever assembled? Besides the aforementioned adorable DOLENZ, you get SETH GREEN, PETER SCOLARI, ALFONSO RIBEIRO and the legendary CLINT HOWARD (pop RANCE HOWARD is even the sheriff)! Frequent horror helmsman TONY RANDAL (HELLRAISER 2:HELLBOUND, CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT, AMITYVILLE 1992: ITâ€™S ABOUT TIME) keeps things moving at a skittering pace and over the top climax is like a low budget salute to THE BLOB or THE THING. I suppose the title alone is enough to keep some folks from singing this movieâ€™s praises as loud as it deserves but it’s so much more than your standard one-note killer insect flick. I think itâ€™s surprisingly thoughtful (most of the young characters are battling personal demons), well-acted (considering the outlandish situation), keenly directed (it never fails to make me squirm) and overall great fun (did you know mutant tick bites cause hallucinations?) If you havenâ€™t seen it before, do yourself a favor and give it a chance. Trust me, once it gets under your skin, it doesnâ€™t let go.
The only thing more grotesque than the mutated ticks is Alfonso Ribeiro’s completely over-the-top acting. Great, fun flick!
BTW, if Alfonso Ribeiro and Nicolas Cage were ever in the same movie together, the dose of overacting could prove fatal. LOL
Lol Alfonso is really working way too hard to play against type in this! But when he’s mourning his poor dog. I’m feeling it!
I forgot to mention this movie also has greedy crooks who get a comeuppance AND a wonderfully fake looking forest fire and miniature cabin. I gotta say the special effects are still really good. The way the ticks run about looks pretty convincing to me (no wheels are visible). Sad there was never a sequel!
Yeah, the dog thing was a little heavy for such a fun flick as was Dina’s reason for being so introverted (I actually had to rewind to see if she said what I thought she said).
I do love how totally nonchalant everyone is about these giant, pulsating bags of goo that have just popped up everywhere. They ignore them like they’re some giant mushroom that popped up on their lawn overnight. Curious, somewhat startling, slightly disturbing but, meh. And when the kids report it to Henry / Hilde, he’s just like, “Observe it from a distance.” Seth Green breaks the fourth wall a bit, lamenting that it’s the stereotypical “adults not believing the kids” scenario.
But, all in all, this one is a blast.
Also, I’m seriously disappointed no one has made a horror movie about tent caterpillars; those nests seriously freak me out. As do the pulsating sacks of Tubifex worms that live in sewers in writhing worm sacks.
Come on Hollywood, there’s plenty of new material out there if you just look. Heck, I peeled corn and found a disturbingly giant worm that had taken up residence in one of the cobs. Imagine if that sucker decided to inhabit human hosts instead… And let’s not mention the human bot fly.
Yeah, that’s what those balls of goo reminded me of! But we called them “gypsy moths” they attacked Valley Forge when I was young and there would be those hives in the trees- like plastic bags full of worms and people would set them on fire. we also had a Japanese beetle infestation in our hood and every yard had these yellow and green traps to collect them and they smelled like hell. The original title of TICKS was actually INFESTATIOn and I think it does a great job of getting that feeling across- and I’m sure my aversion to those things is because of those memories from my youth. Valley Forge was also a mecca for ticks- you’d have to check yourself all the time for those things.
As for Dina- unlike many a standard horror victim roster, I appreciated how most of TICKS crew had a back story and past trauma to deal with. Virginia Kehne was also really relatable as Melissa. I tend to like these outsider characters better than party people (although AMI DOLENZ is pretty much playing a ditz here and I don’t mind the contrast so much because she’s always awesome).