If you’re a child of the 1980’s, you’ll likely remember Ami Dolenz for her roles on films like Can’t Buy Me Love, She’s Out of Control, and Miracle Beach and guest spots on Silver Spoons, Webster, and Saved by the Bell: The College Years. She even played Sloan in the short-lived TV adaptation of Ferris Bueller. The actress, however, is no stranger to the horror genre as she’s had parts in films from Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings to the greatest (and quite possibly only) movie ever made about giant killer ticks, Ticks. Tony Randel’s 1993 flick is an absolute blast and an obvious time capsule of early 90’s movie clichés, in the very best way possible.
With Olive Films’ new Blu-ray of Ticks recently hitting stores, FEARnet sat down with Dolenz to discuss her memories of the film, Seth Green’s hair, and creepy crawlies.
My first question is multiple choice. What is the scariest thing about this film? 1) The ticks 2) Clint Howard’s earring 3) Seth Green’s hair
[Laughs] I would have to go with the ticks. Especially when I saw it. When I was filming it, they weren’t so scary looking, but then when I saw it they were pretty scary and I don’t like creepy crawly things with lots of legs.
It’s kind of amazing that a little movie about killer ticks has the staying power to warrant a Blu-ray release twenty years after its release. How surprised when you heard from me asking to talk about this film?
Um, yeah, a little surprised! And I had no idea that it was going to Blu-ray or anything. It was such a long time ago. It’s just so funny.
But it is a cute movie for a scary movie. I think that the cast worked really well together so we had a lot of fun.
How did you land your role on the film?
I had worked with Tony Randel before on Rescue Me so he hired me for this one.
The film reminds me a lot of some of the 80’s films like Critters, Ghoulies, and Munchies. How much do you think those films influenced what you did on this one?
You know, I have not even thought about that. I just looked at the script, but you’re right. It’s very similar to that kind of feel and genre. I never really thought about it that much, though.
In a few years, you put some really fun horror movies on your resume. Were you a horror fan growing up?
Yes, I was. Definitely.
What are some of your favorite horror movies?
This might be more sci-fi, but one of my favorites has to be Alien. I love Alien. I was watching all the old black-and-white horror movies like Dracula and Frankenstein when I was really young. A Nightmare on Elm Street was up there for me too.
Some were more fun than others. The Exorcist really freaked me out. [Laughs]
You get to work with a really good cast in the film. Tell me about working with Seth Green before he was in Austin Powers and became a big star.
Seth was so much fun. We had such a blast together. Great sense of humor and we hung out a lot. All of the cast did because we just really got along so well together. I drove back from Big Bear (where we filmed for a little while) with him so I really got to know him. Really fun and sweet guy.
You also got to work with both Clint and Rance Howard, which must have been a treat.
You got to work pretty close and personal with Clint in one of the film’s most memorable scenes. What do you remember about filming that gruesome scene?
Oh, God. That was just really disgusting actually. [Laughs] That whole scene when I’m looking at all the ticks growing and the pulsating eggs in the barn. It was lots of fun, but it was pretty gruesome because it was like dripping goo out of his mouth and stuff. Yuck.
But he was so fun to work with and it was just a gruesome scene, which is perfect because that’s what we wanted. [Laughs] So we both worked really hard on that.
I can only imagine how many takes you must have needed not to laugh during his “I’m infested!” line.
Yeah, I had to bite my tongue a little bit. I didn’t want to smile or anything.
You filmed in the woods up at Big Bear. For a movie called Ticks, I imagine you guys came away with some real ticks of your own. Have any good tick removal stories?
No, actually. I don’t think anybody got any ticks. We did spray ourselves with bug spray quite a bit to keep away the mosquitos and the ticks. I don’t recall anyone actually getting a tick, though. I know I didn’t because I definitely would have remembered that. [Laughs]
You get to wear some really fun outfits and make quite an entrance in the movie. How did you make the transition from fashionista in the beginning of the film to dealing with the elements toward the end?
I let the script take me through with the writing and also just my character. I went with it and put myself in that character’s position and what she would do. I didn’t try to overthink it too much because she does have such a big arc there are just trying to survive and not caring about her wardrobe anymore.
You were a bit of a teen heartthrob by the time you made Ticks and your character kind of plays into that. I think your boyfriend in the film is shirtless for almost the entire first half of the film.
I think you’re right. At least one of those tank tops. He was so much fun. We had an absolute blast together because we had to do a lot of running in the woods together. He was very good about taking care of me and making sure I wasn’t falling all over the place. He was very sweet about that.
The film is left open at the end for a possible sequel. Had you ever heard from Tony or anyone else about doing another Ticks movie?
Not that I’m aware of, no. I was never approached for some kind of sequel.
Well, I think it’s time we put Ticks 2 on the table. [Laughs] Are you in for a sequel?
[Laughs] I probably would, yeah, because it was one of my favorite movies to do. It was great. I just loved all the cast and working with Peter [Solara] was great.
Do you have a favorite memory of the film, either on screen or off?
I knew Alfonso Ribeiro before the movie. We had worked together on Silver Spoons and a few other things so it was really fun to see him again. When he started exploding and turning into a tick, that was really funny. That was a hard one not to laugh at because it was so bizarre.
What does your very-famous dad [Mickey Dolenz of The Monkees fame] think of all these horror films you’ve done and the fact that you became this teenage heartthrob?
My dad hates horror movies so he basically just closes his eyes and hides behind his hands most of the time. He did a bit part in one of the Halloween films and I went to the premiere with him. I was enjoying it because I love Halloween and I thought it was so cool, but he just sat next to me making grunting noises. [Laughs] He didn’t watch any of the movie practically. It was just hysterical. So he’s very different from me like that.
What’s next for you?
Nothing coming out soon, but I have some stuff up in the air that I can’t really mention just yet. I’m living up in Vancouver part time and I’m getting a children’s book self-published, so I’m excited about that. That should be ready in about a month or so.
Ticks is available on Blu-ray and DVD now.