Ghosts of Mars is one of John Carpenter’s latter-day movies that I watched the absolute shit out of. I have always enjoyed this movie and didn’t really know that it was critically panned when it came out. I wasn’t as aware of directors and just filmmakers in general when it came out so I was drawn in to Ghosts of Mars on concept alone. This was the only Mars film that I watched around this time, of the several that were coming out at the time. This is still an incredibly fun movie.
Ghosts of Mars was directed by John Carpenter. It was written by Carpenter and Larry Sulkis. This is Carpenter’s movie through and through. I learned that this was changed from another Escape from… movie after Escape from L.A. underperformed which makes sense with how Ice Cube’s character is written. If you like John Carpenter you’ll find at least one thing to enjoy in the movie.
The cast is an interesting snapshot of the time it was made. Ghosts of Mars stars Ice Cube, Natasha Henstridge, Jason Statham, Pam Grier, Clea Devall, Joanna Cassidy, and Liam Waite. Ice Cube gets to basically play a renamed Snake Plissken, because that’s the kind of attitude that “Desolation” Williams has. He’s also spoken about in a similar way as Plissken is his movies. This was my introduction to Jason Statham, which is pretty funny with hose big he has gotten since this movie.
Ghosts of Mars’ plot is told in an interesting way. The majority of the plot is told in a debriefing by Melanie Ballard to a council. She’s a member of the Mars Police Force and her squad had been sent to serve as protection for a prisoner transport. The prisoner that they’re transporting is “Desolation” Williams, who is a renown criminal. When the squad arrives at the mining town, they find it abandoned. They quickly realize that there are several things very wrong there.
The production design used throughout the movie is insane. The amount of detail that is in the background throughout the mining town is something else. The same goes for the costume design. There’s even a fun easter egg for what the movie started out as with the costume for “Desolation” Williams. His costume is exactly what Snake would have worn. The practical effects on the Martians are gruesome. You see flesh getting pierced and torn on screen. The music that Carpenter did for the movie is awesome. He always makes amazing scores for his movie.
Ghosts of Mars is balls to the wall sci-fi action horror movie. It’s come to be appreciated more since its release. I think that it’s an incredibly entertaining movie that has influences from a bunch of different genres. I watched it on the Starz app but its leaving at some point this month. I give Ghosts of Mars 7 shiny chrome machine pistols out of 10.