I watched “Ticks” (1993) for the first time on the SyFy channel (back in the good old days when it was still called Sci-Fi channel). Back then, it was a perfect fit for the channel, which was dominated by direct-to-video horror and sci-fi flicks.
Re-watching Ticks now is a walk down memory lane to the glorious ’90s, when the clothes were baggy and the hair was long. The movie stars Seth Green (same time frame as “Arcade” and before “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), playing a ne’er do well teen who is sent away to a behavioral intervention program in a cabin in the woods with some other problem children.
The kids are on track for a weekend of personal growth when the ticks strike. A byproduct of marijuana genetic engineering gone awry, they have grown to epic proportions and they are hungry for blood.
Their first victim is Clint Howard (awesome!). And, as you can guess, it really escalates quickly from there as the teens try to fend off the onslaught of mutant ticks.
“Ticks” also stars ’90s teen queen Ami Dolenze (of “Pumpkinhead 2”) and the guy who played Carlton Banks, and in many ways it is representative of the greatness of the VHS era, when low-budget, high-schlock direct-to-video releases ruled the day (the early ’90s was also the golden age of Full Moon).
Ticks has a run time of only 1 hour, 25 minutes. The effects are all practical, and while they aren’t always perfect (the ticks sometimes look rather rubbery, and Clint Howard’s makeup application is not the best), they are quite gross and effective. The last 20 minutes of the movie is non-stop action — ticks vs. campers in a final showdown. There’s even a super-super-sized tick that crawls from the corpse of one of the unlucky campers — and those effects are great.
A lot of people probably hate “Ticks” because it’s so ’90s. But I love the ’90s, and I love Roger-Corman-esque movies like this. If that sounds like your cup of tea, then you can drink up a big, green gob of goo on Showtime Anytime right now.