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Overall Rating
2.11

Awesome: 4.39%
Worth A Look: 21.05%
Just Average: 8.77%
Pretty Crappy: 12.28%
Sucks53.51%

6 reviews, 78 user ratings


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Ghosts of Mars
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by EricDSnider

"Zombies + ghosts + Marilyn Manson = what the hell is THIS?!"
2 stars

In the future, zombie movies will take place on Mars. They will still be trashy, predictable affairs with more blood than brains, but the change of venue will be nice.

The future is here with "Ghosts of Mars," properly titled "John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars," to distinguish it from "Martha Stewart's Ghosts of Mars" and "William Shakespeare's Ghosts of Mars." John Carpenter -- deservedly a legend for "Halloween" and a handful of other thrillers -- apparently hopes his name alone will bring people to his latest offering, an unpleasant sci-fi horror film that has little more than John Carpenter's name to make it noteworthy.

It is A.D. 2176, and Mars has been colonized. There is a matriarchal society, though this comes into play exactly zero times in the story; it's simply an interesting idea that writer/director Carpenter brings up and then throws away. A prison-transfer train comes into Mars' main city, Chryse, empty except for one Mars police officer, Melanie Ballard (Natasha Henstridge). Called before a tribunal, she tells what happened. The rest of the film is a flashback, and flashbacks within flashbacks.

(One thing Carpenter does well is different points of view. When a character arrives on the scene and relates what has just happened to him, we don't just hear a monologue; we see the event, as if we'd been there. As a result, we usually know what's happeneing to everyone at all times.)

Melanie was one of a handful of cops going to a prison in Shining Canyon to pick up notorious criminal Jimmy "Desolation" Williams (Ice Cube) and take him back to Chryse. Upon arrival, they find everyone brutally murdered, the town empty, and only a few of the prisoners remaining.
<P>
Officer Jericho Butler (Jason Statham) stops hitting on Melanie long enough to go snooping around. He discovers a horrific cult out in the desert, where the participants pierce themselves, carve their own flesh, and wear pasty white makeup. A cult of Goth teens is awful indeed, but these people are also fond of decapitating everyone they encounter, which makes them slightly worse. They even get commanding officer Helena (Pam Grier), a no-nonsense lesbian who is soon a headless lesbian.

One of the prisoners who is still alive, Whitlock (Joanna Cassidy), explains what's going on: Somehow, a huge collection of vaporous creatures were awakened, and they're taking over the bodies of anyone who disturbs them. Those cultists are possessed, and if you kill them, the ghosts will merely move to the next warm body.

The rest of the film alternates between: Jericho and Melanie's sexual banter, reminiscent of Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, if Tracy and Hepburn had been penis-obsessed degenerates; the question of whether notorious criminal Jimmy "Desolation" Williams is a worse threat than the ghost Martians, or whether he can be trusted not to kill the cops if they all work together; and the question of how to kill the ghosts, who apparently are not that good at being ghosts, considering they can't even move through walls or doors. People say, "What's happening out there?!" a lot, and people get really worked up about everything, no matter what it is.

It's hard to call this a thriller, since there is nothing thrilling about it. There is little suspense over who will survive, because we already know Melanie is the only one left to tell the story. It appears we were meant to be horrified by the actions of the people who are possessed, and I'll confess a certain amount of horror, but not the kind intended. All their flesh-piercing and head-removing is gross and distasteful, but I was never frightened by it, much less entertained. It strikes me more as something you include in your zombie movie just because you like to be disgusting, and not because it gives audiences chills.

Ice Cube gives further proof of my theory than no movie is ever improved by putting a rapper in it. He's all attitude and no personality, and certainly no charisma. Natasha Henstridge is fine to look at, and she'd probably make a good action hero, given a good script. This is a sub-par sci-fi thriller, with a plot borrowed from last year's "Pitch Black" and dialogue taken from every action movie of the past 10 years. Give up the "Ghosts."

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=5345&reviewer=247
originally posted: 08/26/01 22:16:53
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User Comments

2/20/17 morris campbell more carpenter crap 1 stars
8/31/12 Sean Harrison It's hard to believe this drivel came from one of the all-time masters of horror. 2 stars
7/20/12 Sean Harrison Disappointing from John Carpenter, one of the horror greats. 2 stars
1/25/12 Devin Sabas fun, but pretty terrible. 2 stars
12/15/11 Johnny Come-Lately nice B-movie and underrated 4 stars
9/23/10 PAUL SHORTT FEEBLE AND PREDICTABLE 1 stars
12/04/09 Chris F not a bad film at all worth watching 4 stars
9/13/09 Jeff Wilder Great special effects undercut by bad writing and weak acting. 1 stars
2/16/09 belike I thought the movie looked cool, the story just kinda kinda sucked. 3 stars
1/15/09 FrankNFurter Like a high school performance of "Alien."And by a really bad drama club. 2 stars
10/21/08 Shaun Wallner The only thing i remember bout this one is Ice Cube biting his lower lip. 1 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega Nothin' really new. 2 stars
2/02/07 AJ Muller It ain't meant to be Asimov, folks. A fun 'n bloody time, don't take it too seriously. 4 stars
6/22/06 TempLoop Underated. If you expected 2001, or Starship Troopers look elsewhere 4 stars
4/02/06 Rocky This movie was totally entertaining and a lot of fun. 4 stars
3/14/06 Tom bla? 3 stars
8/11/05 ES After 'The Thing' and 'Big Trouble ILC' Why? Why? Why?!? 1 stars
6/07/05 JD No oscar winner but, entertaining and worth a look. 4 stars
6/06/05 ultrazone I enjoyed it, the score and the editing in particular 4 stars
5/14/05 Indrid Cold One of many barely watchable Carpenter movies, this one looks like it was made for TV. 2 stars
10/15/04 Don Eckert I can't believe this is the same director of "The Thing". I hope he can get his magic back 1 stars
10/07/04 X Thats it! Im through with Carpenter! 1 stars
9/16/04 Jillian Wood interesting, futuristic, inventive 4 stars
9/03/04 Vince WTF happened to the Carpenter who made THE THING ???? 1 stars
7/14/04 Daveman Has the general aesthetics of a b-movie but without the fun. 1 stars
6/11/04 Raymond Lee average movie, nothing special 3 stars
6/03/04 Shaun Worth a look, I actually enjoyed it somewhat. 4 stars
5/16/04 John should be playing in a drive in theatre - 3 stars
4/10/04 American Slasher Goddess Awful,Carpenter has lost it,indefinitely. 1 stars
2/09/04 Whatevr A 2-hour version of a sleeping pill 1 stars
1/26/04 Eric Great Cast!!!Horrible movie.....Really Horrible 1 stars
12/03/03 Charles Tatum I officially give up on John Carpenter 1 stars
11/24/03 josex sucks as hell, don't watch it 1 stars
11/21/03 jack Ice cube doenst make anything worth watching. if anything he makes me want to screw a sheep 3 stars
11/17/03 he a good film 4 stars
10/23/03 Josh Standlee Ice Cube made the movie worth watching. 4 stars
9/24/03 jimmy d this movie was so scary, i went home and when the pizza guy came i shot at him by accident. 4 stars
8/22/03 nr great 5 stars
8/07/03 P.Rodriguez This is the WORST movie ever 1 stars
6/29/03 Dave Hopman John Carpenter has lost his touch a long time ago....... 1 stars
5/13/03 Kyle A fun movie, I guess... 3 stars
4/27/03 Jack Bourbon I'm very pleased to give this movie a "SUCKS." My good deed for the day. 1 stars
3/12/03 me A AWESOME FILM 5 stars
2/15/03 Vince Stay far away from this POS. You've been warned! 1 stars
1/15/03 othree a worth while attempt, solid casting, a sci fi chan movie filler ..no need for editing 3 stars
12/30/02 Jack Sommersby A very entertaining b-movie parody. So much fun! 4 stars
10/26/02 Mr. Hat Jason Stathom tried his best to save it, but bad music & hilariously bad aliens overcome... 2 stars
10/21/02 Jim Watchable only for Statham, who hits on Henstridge at a crucial moment and she GOES FOR IT? 2 stars
10/14/02 JesseL Not bad for its type. Cinematography is good. 4 stars
10/06/02 P.Rodriguez Worst Movie Ever, and I've seen ALOT of movies 1 stars
9/24/02 jessica A GREAT FILM 5 stars
9/09/02 Ben Wasden Natasha Henstrige and Ice Cube are great. Unfortunately, the movie isn't that great. 3 stars
8/23/02 Fish Eye I seriously enjoy movies with Ice Cube...but the script for this one is dog shit 1 stars
6/25/02 Film Guy OK. not John Carpenters best effort 3 stars
6/24/02 Rog Stay the hell away from this movie, I cant believe i spent 10 bucks in my hotel for this 1 stars
5/31/02 monica Sweet 5 stars
5/17/02 Phoenix An absolutely terrible movie. This what John Carpenter has been reduced to. 1 stars
5/14/02 Blake This movie was great but had to much profanity 4 stars
4/12/02 Spencer Lent Sucked. 1 stars
2/27/02 Alan Smithee My lord was this movie terrible. What in the hell has happened to John Carpenter?!!!!! 1 stars
1/21/02 Soap Lando I viewed it drunk in a theater full of bad guys applauding each time a cop was killed 3 stars
1/21/02 Spencer Lent Natasha can't act. Best line: "I'm going to rip your titties off" and "Who are you calling 1 stars
1/18/02 Rego Allegro To be seen as a parody of B-movies - call it C or D-movie (to be seen by Kiss' ex-fans 4 stars
1/08/02 Spyguy2 Satisfying as Cheetos if you don't mind the orange crap staining your hands and mouth 4 stars
12/31/01 Jake This movie is better than it's reviews. It was worth viewing. Solid all around. 4 stars
12/30/01 Sthenno Not a bad film at all.Carpenter mixed many old themes from his past films. Well directed. 4 stars
12/23/01 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is worth a look & i couldnt either rate it a good or bad movie! so its both!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
12/05/01 DubStar I feel stupider for renting this movie. Worst directing, acting, story, special fx EVER. 1 stars
11/06/01 P.Rodriguez Seriously the shittiest acting I ever encountered in any movie, and I've seen LOTS ofmovies 1 stars
10/09/01 Andrew Carden I Love Joanna Cassidy. Anything With Her Must Be Worth A Look. 4 stars
10/08/01 marzio arigoni it's not that bad! venice loved it (1200 people à la première, with great partecipation) 4 stars
9/06/01 outnow.ch even Red Planet was better. 1 stars
9/05/01 E-Funk It's Carpenter folks...cheesier than most, but still a hell of a ride. 4 stars
9/04/01 ron20003 What the hell was that?? 1 stars
9/01/01 Rampage almost as bad as Escape From L.A. 1 stars
9/01/01 Bill Clinton I liked the scene with the nude intern, I would like to get up on her and ride her! Whohah 5 stars
8/28/01 Daphne Aguilera when there's only you and 3 other people in the theather something's wrong 1 stars
8/27/01 wintermute 2 words: Chrome MAC-10's 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  24-Aug-2001 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  25-Oct-2001 (M)




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