HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon
Benediction
Nezha Reborn
Evil Toons
Worst Person in the World, The
Whirlpool
Hunter Will Get You
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Revolver
Men, The
Parallel Mothers
Sadness, The
Bloody New Year
Faye
Body Count
Spider-Man: No Way Home
'Round Midnight
Wild Men
Barry & Joan
Wake Up Punk
Twin, The
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
One of These Days
Lift to the Scaffold
Savage Dawn
Rest in Pieces
Innocents in Paris
We're All Going to the World's Fair
Beyond the Door 3
Jules et Jim
Love Jones
Saint-Narcisse
Souvenir Part II, The
   
 
Newest Articles
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
   
 
  Ghosts of Mars Blood Red Planet
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 FictionBuy from Amazon
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 4664 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. In 2018, after branching off into music, he returned to produce another Halloween sequel. 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
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Enoch Sneed
   

 

Last Updated: