Ticks (1994) (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review + Screenshots

After getting an ok blu-ray in 2013, Vinegar Syndrome has come to save the day with a brand new 4K blu-ray of the Extended Version of the film, along with some really great extras.

Vinegar Syndrome
Release Date:
May 25th, 1994 (video premiere) / October 26th, 2021 (4K blu-ray)
Run Time: 1 hour 27 minutes 43 seconds
Region Code: FREE
Picture: 2160p (1.85:1 aspect ratio) (4K blu-ray) / 1080p (1.85:1 aspect ratio) (blu-ray)
Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (both discs)
Subtitles: English SDH
Slipcover: Yes (hard outer slip box with a thick slipcover on the inside)
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Rosalind AllenAmi DolenzSeth GreenVirginya KeehneRay Oriel, and 
Alfonso Ribeiro
Written by Brent V. Friedman
Directed by Tony Randel
Rating: Not Rated (
sci-fi gore and violence, and for language




What's It About?

An assortment of unruly and misfit teens have all been forced to attend camp at a wildlife preserve, to commune with nature. What they don't realize is that nearby in the woods, an illicit marijuana growing operation is underway and the weed farmers have been using a pesticide which has had one very unintended side effect: turning ordinary ticks into giant, ravenous bloodsuckers... (from the 4K blu-ray)

Film Review

TICKS was the perfect film at the perfect time in my life. I had just turned 14 when the film hit VHS and laserdisc in May of 1994. The film has it's foot firmly set in the 90's horror realm while also bringing us some 80's horror vibes. 

The film has an all star cast (at least for the 90's.). Rosalind Allen was a mainstay in the direct to video area of the 90's with appearances in CHILDREN OF THE CORN II: THE FINAL SACRIFICE, SON OF DARKNESS: TO DIE FOR II, and PINNOCHIO'S REVENGE. Seth Green was just starting out and would make his mark in TICKS along with Albert Pyun's ARCADE and the criminally overlooked AIRBOURNE. Alfonso Riberio shows up too, on break from FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR, clearly making a better film than what Will Smith would make the same year (MADE IN AMERICA). We also have Ami Dolenz, who made a pretty big splash with SHE'S OUT OF CONTROL, but then landed in the  direct to video scene with MIRACLE BEACH, PUMPKINHEAD II, and WITCHBOARD II.  We also have Tony Randel of HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II fame directing and Brian Yuzna (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD III and BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR) producing. 

The film has some great effects with the titular ticks growing in size over the course of the film. They start out kind of small, but by the end, they are human size. The effects were done by Doug Beswick, who came up with the idea for the film. His company headed the effects and they are all great. There is a scene at the end with a bigger tick that is really impressive.  The film becomes a siege film for it's climax which adds another layer to the film with some of the characters fighting each in true siege-like events. 

TICKS is an underrated classic. It was a mainstay of the video store in the 90's and should be seen by more people. I know that there are a lot of people who will write this film off as something The Asylum or the Syfy Channel would make, but it is so much better than that. This is what direct to video horror used to look before those two companies started ruining it for everyone.



Presented in the film's original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and sporting a brand new 4K transfer with HDR10, TICKS looks amazing. The first thing that I noticed was the film grain. It is present and accounted for and gives the transfer a film-like feel. Colors are bright and well-balanced with the earth tones really standing out. I have seen this film countless times over the years (I used to own it on VHS but it got lost over the years) and the film has never looked this good. 

The lossless 2.0 track is almost just as good as the picture if it weren't for the sibilance issues that pop up every once in a while. Outside of that one problem, this is a worthwhile track.


Disc 1: UHD
  • Commentary track with director Tony Randel and actor Clint Howard, moderated by Nathaniel Thompson
  • Commentary track with special effects supervisor Doug Beswick and stop-motion animator Yancy Calzada, moderated by filmmaker Joe Begos

Disc 2: Blu-ray
  • Commentary track with director Tony Randel and actor Clint Howard, moderated by Nathaniel Thompson
  • Commentary track with special effects supervisor Doug Beswick and stop-motion animator Yancy Calzada, moderated by filmmaker Joe Begos
  • “UNDER THE SKIN: THE MAKING OF TICKS” - an extended 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 
    • Part 1: Origins (10m 12s, HD, 1.85:1) We get the story of where the idea for the film came from as well as how writer Brent Friedman came up with a story that was relatable and not a copy of things that came before it. 
    • Part 2: Metamorphosis (14m 8s, HD, 1.85:1) Talk of the effects starts out this section of the doc. They used a lot of new talent because the budget was smaller than they had thought it was going to be. The film was shot at Big Bear Lake in California. It's nice to see these actors being interviewed. I always thought that Ami Dolenz was not a fan of her 90's horror work, so it is nice to see her talking about the film and her love of horror films. The film ran into problems when the first edit came in and it was underwhelming.
    • Part 3: New Blood (14m 47s, HD, 1.85:1) Most of the crew was fired and director Tony Randel was given money for four days of reshoots. Clint Howard was brought in to play the farmer who gets infected. Randel was happy to get the four days as he was able to add a lot to the film. KNB was brought in to do the end sequence with the big tick. 
No trailer is included despite being shown in the making of. I really wish that more companies would include a film's trailer. It seems like Vinegar Syndrome has been dropping the ball by not including the trailer. They used to all the time, but lately they haven't. The one special feature that should ALWAYS be included is the film's trailer. 

The commentary tracks are both really well done with the Tony Randel one being more laid back and conversational while the effects team track is a lot more technical. Both are great, but for very different reasons.

The packaging is really nice. We get an outer box that is thick and sturdy. The artwork on the outer box (designed by Tom Hodge & Earl Kess) is gorgeous and really captures the mood of the film. On the back of the box is some artwork of Clint Howard and his most famous saying from the film. The blu-ray case slides out of the side of the box and that has it's own slipcover (the kind that Vinegar Syndrome is known for) that features the artwork used for the VHS and laserdisc (the artwork that everyone knows). The two disc black 4K blu-ray case features reverseable artwork with the new artwork on one side and the VHS artwork on the other side. Both discs feature the new artwork with the 4K blu-ray featuring the main artwork while the blu-ray features the Clint Howard artwork.



TICKS is one of my favorite 90's horror films. It has likeable characters and great effects. It is a fun monster movie that never takes itself too seriously while not winking at the camera like so many horror films do today. I don't know why horror films are cynical nowadays when they could just be fun. The 4K blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome gives the film the respect it deserves and more. This is a must buy for horror fans.






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