John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars

John Carpenter likes to put his name in front of movies. Perhaps he does this to seem like an auteur, a director of vision, an innovator. He has directed some of my favorite low-brow films (Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York). These films have a vision, a style, a sort of mindless glee. Ghosts of Mars has nothing. It leaves no mark. It has no effect. It isn’t even really bad; it’s just there. John Carpenter’s name may be in front of the title but it could have been directed by any sub-par creator of sci-fi/horror. The movie has a relatively interesting setting: a human colony on Mars ruled by martial law and a matriarchal society. This should provide Carpenter with fodder for some dynamic power struggles and interactions between the characters, but he does nothing with his matriarchal setting. It’s just an excuse to make Natasha Henstridge the lead character instead of Jason Stratham.