John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars is a 2001 American science fiction action horror film composed, written, and directed by John Carpenter.
Set in the second half of the 22nd century, Mars has been 84% terraformed, allowing humans to walk on the surface without pressure suits. Martian society has become matriarchal, with women in most positions of authority. The story concerns police officer Melanie Ballard, second in command of a team alongside Sergeant Jericho sent to a remote mining outpost to transport prisoner Desolation Williams.
Arriving at the remote mining town, Ballard finds all of the people missing. She learns that they had discovered an underground doorway created by an ancient Martian civilization. When the door was opened it released disembodied spirits or "ghosts", which took possession of the miners.
The possessed miners commit horrific acts of death and destruction, along with self-mutilation. When team leader Helena Bradock is murdered, Ballard must assume command, fight off the possessed miners, escape the town and hopefully destroy the ghosts. Unfortunately, killing a possessed human merely releases the Martian spirit to possess another human. The team eventually decides to blow up a nuclear reactor to vaporize all of the ghosts.
Ballard's crew, along with survivors who gathered in the jail, are eventually wiped out by the miners. At one point, Ballard is nearly possessed, but resists when she is given a drug and discovers that the spirits are attacking them as they believe that the humans are invaders and plan to exterminate the humans on Mars (as it is presumed that the spirits are unaware of the fact that the humans believed that life on Mars died out). Only Ballard and Williams are left after Sergeant Jericho and the other officers, along with the two train operators, are killed when they try to finish the fight. Not wanting to be blamed for the massacre, Williams handcuffs Ballard to her cot and escapes from the train. Returning home, Ballard delivers her report, which her superiors refuse to believe.
While Ballard recuperates in the hospital, the released spirits, unharmed from the nuclear explosion, attack the city. Ballard and Williams are going to fight to stay alive.
- Ice Cube as James 'Desolation' Williams
- Natasha Henstridge as Lieutenant Melanie Ballard
- Jason Statham as Jericho Butler
- Clea DuVall as Bashira Kincaid
- Pam Grier as Commander Helena Braddock
- Joanna Cassidy as Dr. Arlene Whitlock
- Richard Cetrone as Big Daddy Mars
- Liam Waite as Michael Descanso
- Duane Davis as Uno
- Lobo Sebastian as Dos
- Rodney A. Grant as Tres
- Peter Jason as McSimms
- Wanda De Jesus as Akooshay
- Robert Carradine as Rodal
- The script originally started off as a potential Snake Plissken sequel. Entitled Escape from Mars, the story would have been largely much the same, but it changed after the failure of Escape from LA and the protagonist Plissken was changed into Desolation Williams.