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Ghosts of Mars [Blu-ray] [2001] [US Import]

3.4 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Portuguese, French, English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Portuguese, French, Spanish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001P3SAAI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 146,779 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description


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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Reviewed Version: 2004 UK DVD by Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment

GHOSTS OF MARS lind of feels like an ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 on Mars, although it never reaches that level of suspense, it doesn't even come close. While it isn't a bad movie, it certainly is not one of Carpenter's best works, which means it still is better than most of what Hollywood produces nowadays and gets passed as a "Blockbuster".
The idea isn't bad, and Carpenter got the most out of a rather low budget and makes it work, but GHOSTS OF MARS does not deliver anything new. The story remains predictable - mostly because we see the ending right at the start of the movie, as it is told in a flashback.
The emphasis is clearly on horror and action, while suspense/thriller take a back seat. It's bloody with severed limbs, quite unusual for a 15 cert. at that time, but nothing really to write home about. (Note, it is rated 18 in Ireland).
The acting overall is good to passable, good performance by Natasha Henstridge, and Jason Statham in his 4th film, as well as Pam Grier and Clea Duvall. Former rapper Ice Cube also has a role - let's say he'd better stayed in the rap business and leave it at that...
Serious Carpenter fans (like me) will wanna give this a try or even own it (yes I'll buy it again if my disc ever is unplayable), but when compared to Carpenter's superior works (ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, HALLOWEEN, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, etc.), this one falls rather short.

Audio: English DD 5.1, German DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, English HOH, German, Hindi & Turkish
Runtime: 94:07 mins.
Aspect Ratio: 2.
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Verified Purchase
For those of you who have purchased or are considering purchasing this disc and are concerned about availability of English language audio tracks and subtitles I suggest you read the following information as it clears things up.

This is a French release blu-ray disc, yes. And it has a French jacket / cover, the disc menus are also in French, and it has French subtitles. However, there are both French AND English DTS 5.1 Master Audio tracks on the disc, BUT they have to be enabled via the Pop Up Menu on your Blu-Ray player; the Audio button on your remote control won't switch the audio tracks. The French subtitles CAN be turned off for the main film but again, you have to do this via the blu-ray Pop Up Menu as the remote control's subtitle button doesn't switch them off either.

The menu's are all pretty clear, but just in any case, some instructions:

First, activate the Pop Up Menu on your bluray player using your remote control. Then when the menu is displayed onscreen choose 'VERIONS' from the three available menu options:


Then choose


and then choose

► VO DTS 5.1 ← This one is English
VF DTS 5.1

Then to turn off French subitles choose


and then choose

► SANS ← This one turns off subtitles

The five onscreen informational outlines that appear briefly at the beginning of the film are in French and cannot be removed.
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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars was exactly as I expected – rough around the edges and a marvellously entertaining and totally unpretentious action SF horror movie. Set in the second half of the 22nd century when Mars has been mostly terraformed this tale is told mostly in retrospect by Natasha Henstridge’s police Lieutenant, the sole survivor of a disturbing incident at an isolated mining town. The chance discovery of evidence of an ancient Martian civilization leads to some horrific consequences as hitherto dormant beings are released and encounter human invaders on their planet. Accompanied by a pulsating heavy rock soundtrack there are some exhilarating action scenes reminiscent of two of the director’s previous films – ‘Escape from New York’ and ‘Assault on Precinct 13’. There are some well-known actors present here – Pam Grier, Joanna Cassidy, Jason Statham – all of whom buy into this frankly ludicrous screenplay but, as with all the actors involved, are fully committed to this superior B-movie, and despite some obviously clunky dialogue there is so much here to enjoy. Not a movie with artistic pretentions by any means, but with its wry humour definitely a potential future cult classic. I liked it.
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