Don’t go in the wood alone, kids! There are giant ticks out there that can attach themselves to you, lay their eggs under your skin, and then cause your face to explode when the eggs hatch! It’s all because of the steroids that local farmer Jarvis Tanner (Clint Howard) has been using to enhance his marijuana crop. The end result may be good weed but you will be dead from a tick bite before you get to enjoy it. That’s bad news for Jarvis, who keeps stepping in bear traps and who, at one point, has a dozen tick eggs drop on him. It’s even worse news for the group of juvenile delinquents who have been sentenced to spend a weekend camping in the woods.
Mostly because the film featured the beautiful Ami Dolenz as one of the delinquents, Ticks used to be a mainstay on late night HBO. It combines the basic features of a 50s monster movie with the gore-filled style of a 90s splatter film. What Ticks may have lacked in originality, it made up for in scenes of people’s faces exploding. Make no mistake about it. This one is for splatter fans.
Ticks has an interesting cast. If you have ever wanted to see Alfonso “Carlton” Ribiero play a gangbanger, this is the movie for you. The nerdiest juvenile delinquent is played by Seth Green while TV regular Peter Scolari plays an idealistic social worker and Rance Howard (father of Ron and Clint) plays the local sheriff who loses his legs. And finally, there’s Clint Howard, giving it his all in yet another straight-to-video horror film. Clint suffers even more indignities than usual in Ticks but he never gives up hope. Clint’s scenes were directed by the film’s executive producer, Brian Yuzna, and added after the first cut of the film was judged to be missing something. That was a good decision on Yuzna’s part because Clint Howard is easily the best part of the film.
Today, the appeal of Ticks is mostly one of nostalgia. This is the type of mind-warping stuff that we used to watch when we were growing up. This is what we used to rent at Blockbuster while our parents were looking for the latest Oscar nominees. This is what late night cable used to be all about.