HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Breaking In
Please Stand By
Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County, The
Deadpool 2
Smart Money
Lupin the Third vs. Detective Conan: The Movie
Gangsta
3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt
Magic Serpent, The
That's Not Me
There Goes the Bride
Billy the Kid versus Dracula
Liquid Sword
I, Tonya
Universal Soldier: Regeneration
Bad Match
Güeros
Anchor and Hope
One, The
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Lucky
Still of the Night
Home Sweet Homicide
Mannaja - A Man Called Blade
Spitfire
Killers from Space
Castle of the Creeping Flesh
Ghost Stories
Wild Boys, The
Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
Right Said Bernard: Cribbins on DVD
1969: The Year Westerns Couldn't Get Past
A Network Horror Double Bill: Assault and Death Line on Blu-ray
The Edie Levy: Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol and Ciao! Manhattan
The Ultimate Trip: The Original Psychedelic Movies
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
   
 
  Ghosts of Mars Blood Red PlanetBuy this film here.
Year: 2001
Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Jason Statham, Clea DuVall, Pam Grier, Joanna Cassidy, Richard Cetrone, Rosemary Forsyth, Liam Waite, Duane Davis, Lobo Sebastian, Rodney A. Grant, Peter Jason, Wanda De Jesus, Doug McGrath, Robert Carradine
Genre: Action, Science Fiction
Rating:  4 (from 3 votes)
Review: The year is 2176 and the planet Mars has been colonised after a breathable atmosphere was provided for the humans going to live there. It is a matriarchal society, and has been running fairly smoothly until now, when something has triggered a panic. Police Lieutenant Melanie Ballard (Natasha Henstridge) has been called up in front of a government committee to answer for her actions on a recent mission she had been sent on to retrieve a dangerous criminal, Desolation Williams (Ice Cube), from a jail in a mining town. Needless to say, it did not go to plan...

By the time Ghosts of Mars was released, its co-writer (with Larry Sulkis) and director John Carpenter had been looking derivative in his works for a little too long for his fans' comfort. It was bad enough that he was effectively remaking Assault on Precinct 13 on Mars, but this was one of a few Mars-based flops to come out around this time and it did not help that this one's central idea was lifted almost completely from Quatermass and the Pit. However, for some there was a swagger to the antics on show here, and a confidence in telling old stories.

There are interesting things in this film, for example the Martian society run by women, meaning team leader Pam Grier is less than impressed that her troops include men, but these are largely thrown away long before the end. What we're offered up instead is some pretty standard action moves in the form of a Night of the Living Dead-inspired seige when the police finally arrive by train in the apparently deserted town. Although at first sight it appears as if there isn't anybody about, it's not long before they're bumping into folks at every turn.

These people fall into two categories, either those in a trancelike state which turns violent if they notice you, or those locked up. Williams is one of those, but wishes to turn the situation to his advantage knowing the cops have to release him from his cell eventually, whereupon he will seize his chances. He also has ne'erdowell companions looking for trouble, but they have not counted on the presence of a Los Angeles street gang - no wait, wrong film, they haven't counted on the miners reappearing after busying themselves over the ridge with mounting severed heads on poles.

If you're a Quatermass fan you'll be well aware of the reason for this, yes, it's our old friend possession: the miners have been overtaken by the spirits of the long dead Martian warriors. Or the ghosts of Mars, if you prefer. The trouble is, what could have been a straightforward action flick is sent in curiously artless directions when the characters seem so intent on acting stupidly. For example, the three criminals get themselves locked in a cell with Willams after falling over each other to greet him, and one chap in early stages possession is shot by a cop (Clea DuVall), thereby freeing his ghost to invade someone else. Stuff like that does little to cheer you, and while Carpenter is as efficient as always, at this stage his storytelling powers seemed to be deserting him. Music by Carpenter.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2553 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

John Carpenter  (1948 - )

Skillful American writer-director of supense movies, often in the science fiction or horror genres. Comedy Dark Star and thriller Assault on Precinct 13 were low budget favourites, but mega-hit Halloween kick-started the slasher boom and Carpenter never looked back.

The Fog, Escape from New York, The Thing, the underrated Christine, Big Trouble in Little China, They Live and Prince of Darkness all gained cult standing, but his movies from the nineties onwards have been disappointing: Escape from L.A., Vampires and Ghosts of Mars all sound better than they really are, although The Ward was a fair attempt at a return, if not widely seen. Has a habit of putting his name in the title. He should direct a western sometime.

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
  Patrick Keenan
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
  Afra Khan
  Dan Malone
   

 

Last Updated: