Inner city youth, mutated bugs, and Clint Howard – what could go wrong?
Oh the 90s were a weird transitionary time in horror. Scream made a certain type of dialogue heavy slashers popular later in the decade, but before then just feels like a giant hangover from the 80s: the styles, soundtracks, and plots often feeling later leftovers that got reheated. Sure there were some great movies then like Cronos, but at the time, there seemed to be lacking a sense of direction as to where the genre was heading.
Ticks feels wonderfully of its time, the clothes, the actors and the plot:
Drug dealer Jarvis Tanner (Clint Howard) uses steroids to enhance marijuana plants. Runoff from his operation has mutated the local ticks. Tyler Burns (Seth Green) is sent to join an inner-city wilderness project in an attempt to conquer his fear of the woods, led by Holly Lambert (Rosalind Allen) and Charles Danson (Peter Scolari). Tyler meets his fellow campers Darrel “Panic” Lumley (Alphonso Ribeiro), Charles’ daughter Melissa (Virginya Keeyne), Dee Dee Davenport (Ami Dolenz)), Rome Hernandez (Ray Oriel), and Kelly Mishimoto (Sina Dayrit).
While this movie is not technically a horror comedy, it is probably best to approach it as one because this is one damn silly movie, however it does get pretty good into some body horror when the ticks get inside people and start reproducing. It should be noted here that one of the producers was Brian Yuzna a guy who produced some pretty solid (if not faithful) Lovecraft adaptions with Stuart Gordon: From Beyond and Re-Animator.
If looking for a fun, dumb good time with a movie that works better with a crowd- Ticks is a fun watch for what it is and while it may never quite reach cult level status, it’s never too late for it to dream.