May 032019

With an incredibly stupid story, bad visual effects, and some terrible acting ever imagined possible, Ghost of Mars will go down in history as one of the worst Sci-Fi/Horror around. Kind of surprising this is came from the legendary John Carpenter.



Ghosts of Mars

Genre(s): Science Fiction, Horror, Action
Mill Creek Entertainment | R – 98 min. – $14.98 | March 14, 2019

Date Published: 05/03/2019 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: John Carpenter

Writer(s): Larry Sulkis & John Carpenter (written by)
Cast: Ice Cube, Natasha Henstridge, Jason Statham, Pam Grier, Clea Duvall, Joanna Cassidy
Features: Commentary, Featurettes

Slip Cover: No
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 24.38 GB
Total Bitrate: 31.72 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Mill Creek Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 1.0/5

Note: This is a re-print of Tyler Thomas’s 2009 review.

Melanie (NATASHA HENSTRIDGE) wakes up on a train, handcuffed to a rail above her head. The train has been put on auto-pilot to the station and soldiers approach it with caution to find Melanie in a dazed state. She appears a few days later before the council for questioning about what happened to her crew and on the planet Mars. We go into the flashback mode as she tells the story of the fateful adventure known as Ghost of Mars.

Melanie, along with Jericho (JASON STATHAM), Bashira (CLEA DUVALL), and Commander Helena (PAM GRIER) are sent to a mining camp on Mars to rescue a prisoner and bring him back to their hometown to serve trial for crimes he committed. He’s a dangerous person, as though they learn he has killed people as well as stolen items, so they are to use extreme caution. James Williams (ICE CUBE) is holed up in the town, but communication hasn’t been had recently at the area so they are sent to investigate what happened and bring him back safely.

The group head off to the mining facility but struggle to find anyone. While searching the town for someone to help them out they find an arm that belonged to a female which has been severed. They decide to hasten their expedition on finding James, but find a prison full of other people who are holed up from something dangerous in the area. They don’t really say much, but the group consists of people whose names don’t matter since they’ll be dead at some point in the film and commit nothing to the movie. Everyone except Dr. Whitlock (JOANNA CASSIDY) who crash landed in a blimp (yes, you read that right, a blimp) recently and came here to seek refuge. Refuge from what though exactly?

Jericho and Helena head outside to investigate the area, when they see get scared by a guy in one of the buildings who warns them not to open up a door nearby. He pleads with them not to, but Helena attempts to anyways and the guy slits his throat and dies in front of Jericho. Jericho tries to help the guy, and Helena vanishes into the background. He tries to find her but can’t, so he returns to the group still in the prison. Meanwhile, they manage to find James locked up in a cell and let him out only for him to kick the crap out of both Bashira and Melanie. He also steals their guns and flees to another building to try and gain his freedom.

Melanie chases after James and catches him but not before getting attacked by former humans who are now infected with the ghosts from past deaths of other people. It doesn’t make any sense what so ever, so just try and act entertained. James saves her by shooting the one attacking her, and then she returns the favor, and says that he’s not the one you have to worry about on this planet, that these people are. Jericho stumbles around the area outside until he finds a strange woman carrying a cleaver and a head, which turns out to be, get ready for it, Helena! Spooky right? Not really, there’s another forty or so minutes that involve stupid plot twists that don’t add anything at all to the already mundane script and a bunch of people die off.

This is just an awful film and I don’t know how it was even made. Did anyone read the script and think “Wow, who in the world is going to want to see this?” In a horror film it’s never a good idea to give the ending away to the film in the first two minutes and then tell the story of how everyone died. What fun is that? Another complaint is that this film looks like it was shot in 1980, as the special effects are lame as can be and the background/set used looks like crap. I could go on and on about how horrible this film is, but you should have already gotten the idea by now.



A nice change, Mill Creek has ported over the features from Sony’s original Blu-ray release including an Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Producer/Director John Carpenter and Actress Natasha Henstridge, Video Diary: Red Desert Nights (16:59; SD) with some on-set footage, Scoring Ghosts of Mars (6:23; SD) on the eclectic score and soundtrack, and lastly Special Effects Deconstructions (6:33; SD).


VIDEO – 4.0/5

Since its doubtful Mill Creek paid for any restoration, it’s likely this 1080p high-definition transfer was given to them by Sony. As such, the encoding doesn’t look too bad, black levels appear stark while colors, including skin tones, look natural. This isn’t an amazing looking movie or anything and there might’ve been some minor aliasing and the picture isn’t always the sharpest, it’s still a respectable enough transfer.

AUDIO – 4.5/5

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track (the original Sony Blu-ray came with a TrueHD track) is surprisingly robust with some excellent depth coming through the rear channels while the center speakers are mostly relegated for crisp and clear dialogue. Unfortunately being a solid track also means enduring the obnoxious and annoying score and “metal” soundtrack…


OVERALL – 1.75/5

With an incredibly stupid story, bad visual effects, and some terrible acting ever imagined possible, Ghost of Mars will go down in history as one of the worst Sci-Fi/Horror around. Kind of surprising this is came from the legendary John Carpenter and it’s no wonder he left Hollywood for the better of a decade.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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