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John Carpenter's Ghosts Of Mars [DVD] [2001]

Natasha Henstridge , Ice Cube , John Carpenter    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
Price: 2.35 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Pam Grier, Jason Statham, Clea DuVall
  • Directors: John Carpenter
  • Writers: John Carpenter, Larry Sulkis
  • Producers: Sandy King
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, German, Hindi, Turkish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: UCA
  • DVD Release Date: 10 May 2004
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005UWUS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,081 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars attempts a productive combination of SF elements (a largely terraformed Mars with its long-lost civilisation) and horror (mass possession that turns the victims into rampaging, self-mutilating monsters that kill and burn). A police-force detachment turn up in a mining community to collect a bandit, whose last heist was uncharacteristically violent, and soon find themselves under siege from rampaging hordes who used to be solid citizens. This is a fairly simple set of variations on stock Carpenter elements--a hybrid between Assault on Precinct 13 and In the Mouth of Madness. However, there is some powerful chemistry between Nastasha Henstridge's icy, drug-abusing police lieutenant and Ice Cube's bandit, Desolation Williams, made stronger by the lack of sexual tension. Other characters, such as Pam Grier's tough commander and Clea Duvall's nervous rookie, are more or less defined by plot functions; the mobs never become more than faceless, or facially distorted, anonymous menaces. This is one for die-hard Carpenter fans only.

On the DVD: Ghosts of Mars on disc comes with Dolby Digital sound and its original widescreen ratio of 2.35:1. A sparky commentary by Carpenter and Henstridge is included, which is informative, but otherwise there are uninspiring documentaries on the musical score, the special effects and the difficulties of shooting at night in the Mexican desert, as well as filmographies and the theatrical trailer. --Roz Kaveney

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ghosts of Mars - does what it says on the tin 23 Jun 2011
I unashamedly like 'Ghosts of Mars'. I'm a Carpenter fan anyway, and 'Ghosts' is prime if not vintage Carpenter. It has that distinctive made-on-a-shoestring-so-we-used-imagination-instead-of-cash look, and has scads of atmosphere and weirdness, as well as grim wit. Pam Grier, Jason Statham, and Ice Cube are likeable, while Natasha Henstridge's lieutenant pulls disaster from the jaws of partial victory in a sadly plausible fashion.

The framing structure of the enquiry held into why the train came back from Mars mining-town Shining Canyon with one injured survivor (Henstridge)cuffed to her bunk works well for me, with most of the action in flashback. The surrounding society is sketched in: the lieutenant's safety is guaranteed by the matriarchy, hetrosexual 'breeders' are disadvantaged in an implicitly largely homosexual society. Carpenter lays in background and context with a light touch: not enough to lecture, but enough to say you're not in Kansas anymore.

I understand that a lot of people don't like 'Ghosts', but I don't understand why. My hope is that it will be gradually re-evaluated and emerge as a minor gem. All I can say is, if you like Carpenter, sci-fi, or b-movies, give it a go. You might just be pleasantly surprised.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ghosts of Mars. 9 May 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a great film, with great actors. And John Carpenters background music is really great Natasha Henstridge is very good in the role.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Despite the basically unexplained absurdity of the whole storyline, Ghosts of Mars is a pretty entertaining film to watch, what with all of the explosions, gun battles, decapitations, and bare-fisted brawls riding the crests of John Carpenter's hard-driving musical score. Sure, it takes a little while to put the characters in place and set the Martian scene for us, but once the gauntlet drops, it's pretty much on. You don't need a lot of character development in an action thriller like this one because you know most of the characters you meet aren't going to survive in the end, anyway. I do have to deduct some points for the whole flashback business, though. It's bad enough that the bulk of the film is presented as a flashback, but when you start putting flashbacks inside your flashbacks, I've got to stop you right there and call Shenanigans. Flashbacks within flashbacks should be the sole province of fifth-year, we've-run-out-of-ideas sit-coms.

It's the year 2176 and man has established a strong presence on Mars, setting up mining colonies all over the increasingly terra-formed planet. Society is set up along matriarchal lines, which should be interesting but isn't because the story just throws that out there and does nothing with it. It certainly does nothing to stop the practice of male sexism because Sgt. Jericho Butler (Jason Statham, who always brings plenty of action to the party) spends most of his time (when he's not fighting for his life, of course), trying to get into the 22nd century knickers of his superior officer Lt. Melanie Ballard (Natasha Henstridge). Ballard and Jericho are part of a quintet of cops dispatched to a remote post to pick up a prisoner and bring him back for trial.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars There's no mistaking a Carpenter film 1 April 2005
I enjoyed this film. It's refreshing and funny. There's no mistaking that it's a John Carpenter film. It has a good pace, witty one-liners and strong characters. It's also cheesy. But that's Carpenter for you.......
I mean, there's 200 psychos on the rampage and you're not supposed to kill them! So what do our heroes do? They blow the consequences! That's John Carpenter!
It's not the best film he has ever made but to his credit he's constantly renewing the framework he builds his films around.
This film has been denegrated by many reviewers but have these people forgotten how cliched his films can be? Surely this is one of their main attractions: they don't pretend to be anything else!
It has many similarities to a legion of other films (eg. Assault on Precinct 13, Mad Max and Rio Bravo). Carpenter has never worried about these things- take 'The Thing' for example which is a remake of Howard Hawk's 'Thing from another World'.
Ultimately though it's not scary - it's 'safe' really despite the threat of extinction and there's not enough time in the film to build tension and suspense.
Natasha Henstridge is a revelation in the lead role - she's a good actress! Jason Statham is brilliant too as the Cockney Sergeant (although I've yet to see him as anything else but 'streetwise)
The fighting (and there's a lot of it) is stylised and well choreographed (especially Henstridge).
Once again Carpenter writes the music and this time it's courtesy of Anthrax- I now see them in a new light.......
And finally, the DVD extras good- giving you a real insight into how the film was made.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Utterly brilliant. One of my favourite John Carpenter movies of all time.

If you don't like it, you can go inhale peanuts.

The plot rips along nicely. You get to see lots of goth-punk self-mutilation types (social commentary), fights, blood, action, psychic possession, humour, horror, solid acting, severed heads on poles. Let me repeat that of the hard of thinking. SEVERED HEADS ON POLES! And for your bonus point, SOMEBODY CUTS THEIR OWN THUMB OFF..... oh right, in Nightwatch, that was considered Art...

"The dialogue is cheesy" oh noes! Sorry to tread on your grapes, Shakespeare.

"It doesn't make any/enough sense" Sorry to break it to you honey, but they're fighting GHOSTS ON MARS. The clue's in the title.

"The acting stinks!" Uh...okay, maybe you missed the Queen of Blaxploitation Films was in the cast, then.

I can understand people hating on Village Of The Damned, or some of his other stuff, but let's face it - this is a John Carpenter movie.

Anyone giving this 2 stars or less, go stand in the other corner of the room and moo.
Leave space for those of us who can revel in original genius, and fully enjoy something warts and all without the need to wear hipster glasses and cycling our fixie to work, on the pavement, through pedestrians, and without using the brakes once.

Have fun with that.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The best thing about this film is Ice Cube - other ...
brief synopsis:Years in the future, a Martian police unit is sent to pick up a highly dangerous criminal at a remote mining post. Read more
Published 4 days ago by knightofprayer7
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a watch
One of Carpenter's lesser known films and not one of his best. However this is simply a fun cult kind of film that you have to kind of give-yourself-up to in order to enjoy. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Lee Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
first class
Published 27 days ago by richard blackley
5.0 out of 5 stars mars anyone
as with all john carpenter films hers another full of murder as a small police squad try to escape with a handful of prisoners
Published 2 months ago by davidhattermann
3.0 out of 5 stars Tides up....
Ballard and her team have an assignment of transferring a dangerous criminal named Desolation Williams to a prison in an outpost city on the planet Mars. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mr. Corey S. Newcombe
3.0 out of 5 stars cry-fi
this is a bit of a tongue in cheek movie with some very cheesy lines it's an early outing for Jason Statham but I'm not a fan of his work the story is a good one as you expect from... Read more
Published 6 months ago by andylarner
3.0 out of 5 stars OK
Has a 1980s feel to it but it is a decent movie a bit of wooden acting at times by Natasha and Jason but enough action to keep your interest don't pay too much
Published 7 months ago by Happy chap
2.0 out of 5 stars Great idea, good actors, Natasha Henstridge, nice effects - all...
I really wanted to like this very promising SF/action film - but I simply couldn't. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Maciej
3.0 out of 5 stars Average Carpenter film - which means it's still great.
Aside from questionable but not particularly distracting design choices (the breathing apparatus springs to mind) and weird, suspense sabotaging moments ("It was a simple plan, it... Read more
Published 9 months ago by A. Moncrieff
3.0 out of 5 stars ty
I like it but not something I wld be in a hurry to watch again my sort of film just this ones not got what it takes
Published 11 months ago by lindarendell
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