Blu-Ray Review: “Ghosts of Mars”

“So this is Shining Canyon? What a dump.”

Jason Stratham! With hair! Ice Cube! Natasha Henstridge! Greg Nicotero and KNB FX! This should have been an incredible genre film, so what happened? Well, it became a cult classic for many genre fans, and even though it’s messy and misses the mark at almost every turn, I can’t help but enjoy the hell out of the crazy fever-dream of a film.

With it’s blend of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Hills Have Eyes by way of Mad Max and David Cronenburg, and Carpenter’s own The Thing Carpenter completists need to check this one out. Mars is a cool little B-Movie with plenty of mayhem and action to enjoy even if the plot feels unformed and unfocused.

There’s lots of beheadings and blood to be had, with glorious FX thanks to Nicotero and his KNB FX. Though the story is prime WTF, the way the actors play it dead straight makes the whole thing a joyously cheesy cult classic. It’s worth picking this up if you simply want to get a really good look at the costuming for any cool cosplay you may want to try. Yep, the colors are that sharp, even with the “outside shots” bathed in red. (Mars, get it?) Maybe too sharp sometimes – the greenscreen is obvious at some points. But hey, it only serves to heighten the B flavor.

But enough about the movie itself. How’s it look on this Blu-ray? Very, very nice as a matter of fact. Things are crisp and clear, and dare I say better than its original run. Any digital retouching is seamless. I’m damn impressed.

Bonus features:

  • Audio commentary track: the only bonus that has narration. The rest of them play out as “raw” footage. Gives ’em a stripped down feel that had me focusing on what was being shown. I dig it. I also dig this commentary track, which has lots of behind-the-scenes stories. Exaustion, crazy extras, and all the back-and-forth between Hendstridge and Carpenter. Recommended.
  • Video Diary: bits of behind the scenes shot while filming. Part gag reel, part cool info, part film class.
  • FX “deconstruction”: from initial concept art in graphic design and final product/set. Models, backdrops, stunts, visual FX. Think of this as a music video about how the world of the film was created.
  • Scoring the film: Anthrax! Buckethead! Steve Vai! Cool behind the sound board look at the creative process, with Carpenter getting just the right sounds from all this talent.

Specs:
Company: Mill Creek Entertainment
Release Date: May 14th, 2019

NOTE: I did receive a promotional copy of this Blu-Ray.  I did not, however, get chocolate, kittens, beer or anything else for writing this review.

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