4K UHD Review: Ticks



What’s scary about ticks? They’re just little bugs. If you have a friend who suffers from Lyme Disease, you’ll be a bit cautious when walking through a field. They can also infect you with the deadly Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. These tiny bugs latch onto your skin and suck your blood like vampire insects. Once they lay on the bite, you have to go to extreme measures to get them off. Be prepared for people to break out matches and knives. You can’t slap them away like a mosquito. A horror film about ticks is a great premise. Ticks aren’t a of joke like people being attacked by ladybugs or fireflies. Ticks is a film that takes something to worry about and amps it up to a glorious extreme level with a recognizable cast.

Deep in the woods of California, Jarvis Tanner (Gentle Ben‘s Clint Howard) has come up with a secret growing sauce to pump up his secret marijuana crop. While it makes the weed grow bigger and better, he doesn’t notice that the solution has been getting absorbed by the local tick population. While you wouldn’t care too much about Jarvis getting attacked by this mega-ticks turns out that next to his growing operation is a camp that helps city youth learn to survive in the wild. It’s run by Charles Danson (Newhart‘s Peter Scolari) and Holly Lambert (seaQuest DSV‘s Rosalind Allen) who mostly ignore their colorful neighbors. But there’s no ignoring the mega-ticks when the new campers arrive including Ami Dolenz (Witchboard 2: The Devil’s Doorway), Seth Green (Robot Chicken) and Alfonso Ribeiro (Fresh Prince of Bel Air). First one of the campers gets attacked and then a dog gets sucked dry. This outward bound might end up with everyone six feet under.

When Ticks came out in 1994, it appears to have gone straight to VHS where it gained a cult audience amongst the renters. Who didn’t want to see Carlton fight huge ticks and creepy weed growers? Even if you did see the film on VHS or cable over the years, this new 4K UHD will let you fully enjoy the special effects of the nasty ticks attacking and exploding. Over the course of 88 minutes, you’ll be fearful of walking through the woods and letting nature commune on you.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 4K UHD transfer was struck from the 35mm Interpositive. You’ll really get the gruesome effect when one of the kids has a mega tick come out of their body. The audio is DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo. You’ll hear all the gross sounds of the tick attacks. The movie is subtitled in English.

Commentary track with director Tony Randel and actor Clint Howard, moderated by Nathaniel Thompson. It’s a thrill to hear Clint recount his times in Big Bear making this masterpiece.

Commentary track with special effects supervisor Doug Beswick and stop-motion animator Yancy Calzada, moderated by filmmaker Joe Begos. The guys recount how they nasty stars. There’s also bits of other tales from the set. Beswick came up with the idea for the film.

Under the Skin: The Making of Ticks (49 minutes) is a three part making-of documentary with: director Tony Randel, actress Rosalind Allen, special effects supervisor Doug Beswick, actress Ami Dolenz, writer Brent Friedman, editor Leslie Rosenthal, composer Christopher Stone and executive producer Brian Yuzna. “Origins” has Beswick talk about coming up with the concept of the film back in the early ’70s when he got a tick on a camping trip. “Metamorphosis” charts the original production when Tony Randel came on board as director. “New Blood” involves a shocking secret that they did a bunch of reshoots that involved adding Clint Howard to the film.

Blu-ray with the film and bonus features at 1080p.

Rigid Slipcase & Slipcover Set is available if you order directly from Vinegar Syndrome. This really classes up the film. There’s a fine portrait of Clint Howard from his “I’m Infesteddddd….” moment.

Vinegar Syndrome presents Ticks. Directed by Tony Randel. Screenplay by Brent V. Friedman. Starring Peter Scolari, Seth Green, Ami Dolenz, Rosalind Allen, Clint Howard, Alfonso Ribeiro, Virginya Keehne. Running Time: 88 minutes. Rated: Unrated. Release Date: November 30, 2021.

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