Review: John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars

I’d give a spoiler warning, but that would require a plot to spoil.

I had in reality already seen this movie. I seem to recall my ex hiring out “John Carpenter’s Vampires” a couple of years ago. This film was almost identical and still just as bad the second time around. However, not only did Mr Carpenter take on directing and executive producing roles, he also composed the music (which I will not even begin to attempt to describe).

As I attended a preview of this godawful shite someone had the gall to call a film, it is my civic duty to make sure that no-one else suffers the same agony. This is a community service announcement


You know, I really should have been tipped off by the fact that I had heard practically nothing about this film. But some friends asked me if I wanted to go, and I had nothing else planned other than a night in front of the telly. I would have been better off watching a couple of hours of Tonia Todman.

Pity that before I agreed to attend, I did not know (1) that John Carpenter was responsible for it, or (2) that Ice Cube and Natasha Henstridge were the headline actors (I’m taking great liberty in the use of this term).

The scene is human-colonized Mars. Naturally, as in all SF movies set on Mars in the future, terraforming is 85% complete and there is significant mining activity. There’s about as much talent in the holes in the ground as there is in the entire cast and production staff of this crap. Worse still, they thought it was cute to make Mars a matriarchal society. *snort*

The basic premise is that a group of cops (including Ms Henstridge, and Pam Grier as their commander) have gone out to collect a prisoner (Mr Cube) from the holding cells of a mining settlement where he was arrested on charges of murder. Ms Henstridge enjoys the train ride out there by being as high as a kite.

On arrival, they discover a large number of the miners all looking rather dead, hung from the ceiling by their feet and missing their heads. The rest of the miners have been ‘possessed’ by some sort of ancient ghost or demon, and are responsible for the demise of their former collegues. They have been turned into a bunch of Z-grade zombie types with a leader who only succeeds in looking like a bad attempt at a Marilyn Manson clone. Naturally, when a human host is killed the ‘ghost’ goes looking for a new one, and this is admirably portrayed by putting some red cellophane over the camera lens.

Our Pammy takes off after something and gets her head separated from her body, which results in a marked improvement to her performance. Ms Henstridge gets chosen to be a host, but someone has the sense to feed her one of her pills before chucking her out the door and the illegal substances help her to expel the evil demon. Yay!

Prisoner becomes a goody and helps to fight off the zombies so they can get to the train to get home. The hero music starts, and they go back to nuke the place. Only Mr Cube and Ms Henstridge are left standing, prisoner handcuffs cop and escapes into the sunset, only to return to help her take on the world again as the un-nuked red ghosts head towards the major city. Yadda yadda yadda.

At least they threw in the obligatory “Natasha in no more than her underwear” shot, and right at the end so that sex-starved morons might be blinded into telling their friends it was worth seeing. They would be better off hiring out Species and jerking off at home.

One of my companions decided to engage in some dodgy conspiracy theorising, coming up with the idea that George Lucas is subsidising crap SF films so that Episode 2 will looks fantastic when it arrives. I disagree, John Carpenter can make crap all by himself.

Minus 1 SF geeks out of 10.

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