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Ghosts of Mars (Special Edition)

3.2 out of 5 stars 256 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From John Carpenter, the master of horror behind 1998's hit John Carpenter's Vampires and classics like The Thing and Halloween, comes a sci-fi thriller full of explosive action and bone-chilling suspense. Natasha Henstridge (Species) is Melanie Ballard, a headstrong police lieutenant on Mars in the year 2025. Humans have been colonizing and mining on the red planet for some time, but when Ballard and her squad are sent to a remote region to apprehend the dangerous criminal James "Desolation" Williams, played by Ice Cube (Three Kings), they discover that he's the least of their worries. The mining operations have unleashed a deadly army of Martian spirits who take over the bodies of humans and won't stop until they destroy all invaders of their planet. With a stellar cast including Pam Grier (Jackie Brown), Jason Statham (Snatch) and Clea Duvall (The Faculty), as well as explosive special effects, John Carpenter's GHOSTS OF MARS is an intergalactic terror fest like you've never seen.

Special Features

  • Video diary: Red Desert Nights
  • Featurette: "Scoring Ghost of Mars"
  • Special effects (SFX) deconstructions

Product Details

  • Actors: Joanna Cassidy, Ice Cube, Natasha Henstridge, Pam Grier, Jason Statham
  • Directors: John Carpenter
  • Producers: Sandy King
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 4, 2001
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (256 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CY6P
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,722 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ghosts of Mars (Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Harris on June 27, 2004
Format: DVD
It's John Carpenter, so what does everyone expect? I know what I expected, and "Ghosts of Mars" pretty much delivered. Thudding sound track, B-movie dialogue, heads on stakes, "Road Warrior" like zanies with metal sticking out of their faces stalking the "good" guys. Bring on the popcorn. Then there's a humorous twist. The "guys" in this future world live in a Matriarchy. Guys make the coffee, defer to the women, but also are told to deal with mechanical problems when they arise. (Well, at least the "breeder" - Jason Statham as Jericho - does.) Carpenter works all kinds of little jokes into the script on this wrinkle alone. Natasha Henstridge as the tough cop hero, and Ice Cube, as the con hero, are serviceable - and they know when to shoot, kick, and punch. And that's all that's needed here. I don't know who the main Martian is (he looks like Marilyn Manson in Kabuki), but he's perfect! Four stars for operating well within genre.
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Ghosts of Mars is an entertaining and original sci-fi flick. I cannot say I have seen something quite like it. John Carpenter has delivered another great and very underrated movie. It has great special effects, a competent cast, great action, and much entertainment value.

The story is as follows. It is the year 2176. Humanity has colonized Mars. However, some minors in the remote colony of Shining Canyon have dug up the remnants of an ancient civilization that used to inhabit Mars. There ghost are still inhabiting the place and possess the minors and turn them into zombies of some sort. LT. Melanie (Natasha Henstridge) of the Martian Police Force and her unit are sent to the c\Canyon to investigate and to pick up a dangerous criminal named James ‘Desolation” Williams (Ice Cube). So they must work together to escape alive.

The cast does very well surprisingly. Natasha Henstridge does a great job in the role and her character is badass and does not take crap from anyone. She is actually more of the protagonist than Ice Cube which is weird because he has top-billing in this film. In fact this is a good movie for women. This movie has quite a few badass women in it. Ice Cube actually does pretty well, which is surprising. The only films Ice Cube was in that I like are Are We There Yet? And Are We Done Yet? which are guilty pleasures of mine. Jason Statham is also in the film and he does a good job as well. Statham is always badass. The rest of the cast is fine as well.

The film looks great. The look of Mars is done very well given the budget they had. The zombies look great and intimidating. The sounds they make them ever more intimidating. The score is very well none and catchy. John Carpenter always composes great score for his films.
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An underrated Carpenter flick. I can see why mainstream viewers might not like this movie - I myself think poor decisions were made with makeup and alien design. However, it is still a fun action movie, with some clever dialogue, and fun character interactions (the latter being one of the hallmarks of Carpenter's work).

The film also features excellent editing through which Carpenter and his editor create a compelling sense of time passing in the story. For example, clever dissolves create interesting time compressions - e.g., characters begin walking down a passage and a quick dissolve later they are seen reaching the end of the passage; whereas in most movies a standard cut would have been used to compress time. The movie also makes interesting use of flash backs to show what characters A and B were doing in one location after we've been showed what characters C and D were doing at that moment in another location. The flash backs are fairly brief, and this technique combined with other clever editing helps create suspense as well as a certain pace and a compelling sense of events unfolding in a very specific manner which is reminiscent of other Carpenter films, in particular Assault On Precinct 13, The Fog, and Prince Of Darkness.

I did not particularly like Mars the first time I watched it, but upon my second viewing a few years later I now realize I had been too dismissive. I'd been hoping for another The Fog, The Thing, or In The Mouth Of Madness instead of viewing Mars on its own merits. Is it as effective as these other movies? No, but that's beside the point. No filmmaker has a portfolio consisting of only masterpieces (not even Hitchcock or either Kurosawa, Akira or Kyoshi). Especially for Carpenter fans, or those who appreciate what a talented independent filmmaker can do with a small budget, Ghosts of Mars is well worth viewing, and certainly in my own case worth viewing again.
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Format: DVD
John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars has pretty much everything I'm looking for in a Horror film. A barely plausible storyline, Wisconsin-French dialogue (Cheez-ay!), non-stop action, gore, eye candy (Natasha "Shoulda Got Naked Like She Did in Species" Henstridge), and a killer soundtrack.
"Whatever used to live here we woke it up."
The cast is great, Ice Cube as Desolation Williams and Mrs. Henstridge as Melanie Ballard are awesome in their roles. Pam Grier has a head supporting role, and her best line is "Who goes there?" which is a sly nod from Carpenter to his insane masterpiece The Thing (based on the story Who Goes There?).
Decapitations, body mutilations, an angry army of Martian Ghost Zombies and plenty of jolts make this a worthy 98 minute diversion. Watching this you can just tell that everyone was enjoying the hell out of making the film. Which is the best part about seeing a Carpenter movie, you know that big studio tampering was either kept to a minimum or eliminated altogether. A masterful mix of sci-fi and horror that seems destined to become a cult favorite, just like John Carpenter.
Any fan of no brainer popcorn flicks should check this movie out.
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