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Ticks (1993) - Blu-ray review

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Ticks - Blu-ray Review

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4 stars

“Gross,” my wife said to me while studying the artwork on Olive Films Blu-ray release of Paramount’s Ticks, a low-budget creature feature from 1993.  It was followed by, “what the hell is wrong with you?”  Ticks, to be sure, is my cup of malt-o-meal comfort.  Creature features, when done well, are often the most enjoyable films of a matinee-spent life.  And Ticks, being a prime example of cheesy horror fun, is a gem from my senior year of high school.

Directed by Tony Randell (Hellbound: Hellraiser II), this homage to the creature feature flicks of the 1950s is a blast of atomic age goofball mentalities as ticks, exposed to some sort of homegrown toxic brew, grow to the size of softballs (and bigger) and devour their hosts mind, body, and soul.  The cast includes Ami Dolenz. Seth Green, Alfonso Ribeiro, Clint Howard and Rance Howard.  It’s more than obvious that this film was a riot to make and, if you’ve got a strong stomach that can withstand the sight of bloodsuckers growing to the size of a bowling ball, Ticks offers you a grossly good time.

A group of problem teens from Los Angeles join an inner-city wilderness project in and attempt to get back in touch with life's priorities; led by do-gooders Holly and Charles (Rosalind Allen and Peter Scolari). When they get to the campsite, they begin having problems adjusting to the wild life, particularly with the local marijuana growers using herbal steroids to accelerate plant growth, and the mutated ticks that the leaky steroid system has created.  These oversized mutant ticks with an insatiable lust for human flesh starts terrorizing the campground, eating the campers and everything else in sight.

Written by Brent L. Whiteman, Ticks is a treat for anyone burnt out by computer-generated horror.  The film makes up for any of that sleek vapidness in modern releases with low-budget practical effects that simply go “squish!” when stepped on.  You see and feel the effect with surprising depth.  Now, Ticks never takes itself seriously and - with lines like, “when it doubt, squish!” and “dude, you all messed up!” – it spreads its fun and cheese with glorious amounts of both.

Let’s extend the fun to the talent on display.  No one is knocking anything out of the park here.  Clint Howard’s death scene; however, is one for the record books, though.  It’s always a guilty pleasure of mine to see him turn up in films and Ticks features one of his best performances.  Ticks also features a gangster performance from Ribeiro (Carlton Banks in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air) and, go ahead and laugh, you won’t buy it.  The thug life he is not a part of.  You can’t help but see his Fresh Prince highlights.

For fans of the creature feature genre, Ticks won’t leave you drained.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Ticks - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: this title has not been rated by the MPAA.
Runtime: 85 mins.
Director
: Tony Randel
Writer
: Brent V. Friedman
Cast: Rosalind Allen; Ami Dolenz; Seth Green; Peter Scolari
Genre: Horror
Tagline:
It's not nice to mess with mother nature.
Memorable Movie Quote: "They call me "Panic" 'cause I never do."
Theatrical Distributor:
No theatrical release
Home Video Distributor: Olive Films
Release Date:
No theatrical release
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 22, 2013

Synopsis: A group of troubled teenagers are led by social workers on a California wilderness retreat, not knowing that the woods they are camping in have become infested by mutated, blood-sucking ticks.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Ticks - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

3 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3.5 Stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - January 22, 2013
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Sporting a modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films, Ticks is presented in a robust 1080p Blu-ray transfer. As usual the Blu-ray looks a bit better than SD but not a lot beyond that. There are some limitations to this transfer. But – surprisingly – the special effects look better than the rest of the film. There are some mild background artifacts but colors are strong and details are good. The Blu-ray isn't going to win appearance-of-the-year but holds up as good as this film deserves. The audio is in a decent but unremarkable DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel. You’ll need to turn your system up to hear this one’s depth.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is a fun commentary featuring director Tony Randel, Nathaniel Thompson and Clint Howard.  It’s full of anecdotes and a little bit of the technical aspects of making the film and features some talk about the special effects of the film.

Special Features:

Outside of the commentary, there are no other supplemental items.

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