Watching Clint Howard have the skin of his cheeks burst by mutated arachnids reminds me of lazy Sunday afternoons. It was a time before I’d decided that I was cooler than my parents and had to watch and enjoy movies that were cooler than the lame movies that they watched and enjoyed. It was also a time when you could find something like Ticks playing on TV. Probably followed by Alligator 2: The Mutation. The Sci-Fi channel, before it became home to every hashtag that you could form a TV show around, loved Alligator 2: The Mutation with a passion that’s usually reserved for wives embracing their soldier husbands when they return home from World War II. And so did I.
Ticks was special though, because Ticks had a line that my mother and I could quote back and forth, to each other endlessly, whether it be during car rides to the beach, or over the dinner table. At one point in Ticks, Clint Howard pins a girl to the ground and screams “I’M INFESTED!” as his face pulsates, full of burgeoning giant ticks. And, for a while, this replaced any “I love you” or “How was school today?” that could’ve ever been uttered. Because, when a mother and son can screech “I’M INFESTED!” at each other, never growing bored with it, that’s all the “I love you” that they need. And it’s due to that kind of repetition that “I’M INFESTED!” has become embedded in my psyche. Not many people in my life, to the detriment of my personality, ever get infested with anything. But when they do, like the most unlikable of gunslingers, I’ll be ready with a quick “I’M INFESTED!”
Alligator 2 just has a redneck saying “My brother Billy is TWICE as fast!”, and when I make that reference, only my brother gets it, and he is usually indifferent.