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May 252011

Ghosts of Mars (Special Edition) is along the same lines of Doom in the horror genre. In the year 2176, a group of police officers lead by Commander Helena Braddock (Pam Grier) head to the colony on Mars to pick up prisoner Desolation Williams (Ice Cube) to stand trial. Unfortunately, the simple prisoner transfer turns out to be something even more dangerous as the squad explores the city on Mars.

Pam Grier is well known for playing tough characters you wouldn’t want to mess with in films like Jackie Brown and Coffy. When I met her at Cult Fiction Drive-in 2011, she was very sweet. I told her that Ghosts of Mars was one of my favorites. She said that it was her favorite also, along with Mars Attacks because she enjoyed working with director Tim Burton.

Since there were no photos of Pam Grier from Ghosts of Mars, I picked out this one because it was the prettiest one of her. How was I to know that this photo was from The L Word?

Other members of the police squad include Lt. Melanie Ballard (Natasha Henstridge), Sargent Jericho Butler (Jason Statham), and rookie officers Bashira Kincaid (Clea Duvall) and Michael Descanso (Liam Waite). As they all search for Williams, they find the town mostly deserted, which leaves them suspicious. There are also dead bodies hanging up in certain areas and Williams is blamed for it. When they find Williams, he claims that didn’t kill anybody, but it’s a little hard to believe him when he continues to make threats like a criminal.

As it turns out, deadly ghosts have possessed various people and whenever they get killed, the ghost leaves the body and possesses another. There is no end. The possessions cause the victims to turn into killer savages. They butcher people and even wear some of their body parts. Ugh!

The crew along with Williams now have to work together in order to survive. Slowly, the savages kill the crew starting with Commander Braddock when Jericho finds her head on a pike.

Shortly after that, Jericho finds some of Williams’s friends, Uno (Duane Davis) Dos (Lobo Sebastian) and Tres (Rodney A. Grant). They are as funny as they are tough. It takes a little extra effort, but the three of them agree to help the crew escape.

The battle scenes are both amazing and exciting. Those possessed savages even throw saw blades that can instantly decapitate anyone in its path.

An unlikely situation occurs when one of the ghosts possesses Melanie. She keeps a secret stash of pills in her necklace and that actually caused the ghost to leave her body. That must be a pretty strong drug if even ghosts reject it. It also makes you wonder why Melanie takes them at all. Is it a stress reliever, or what?

This is a great kick butt film. Yet, it’s one of several movies I have seen where people go to Mars and end up infected by something dangerous. I hope it doesn’t turn into a cliché.

Apr 082011

The subject of aliens from outer space usually raises the question, “Is there intelligent life on other planets?” In reality that’s still unknown, but when it comes to the sci-fi genre, there are many types of alien species and planets outside the solar system. Basically, they are just like anyone else. Some are good and some aren’t. Here are a few examples of cosplay alien characters from MegaCon 2011. They include Jedi knights from Star Wars, a killer martian from Mars Attacks, and Supergirl.

That’s just the beginning. These are my top ten favorite aliens in pop culture.

#10) Alf from Alf: His real name is Gordon Shumway from the planet Melmac. After Melmac exploded, lone survivor Gordon goes to Earth and was adopted by the Tanner family. There he was renamed Alf, which stands for “Alien Life Form”. His presence is kept a secret from most people, but Alf’s comedic antics always get him into trouble. Just make sure he doesn’t eat the cat.

#9) Frank the pug from Men in Black 2: He’s a talking dog, who is actually an alien in disguise. Frank is knowledgeable and witty, but annoying toward Agent Jay. Isn’t he just cute in that suit, especially when he wears sunglasses?

#8) Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama: This lobsterman is part of the Planet Express crew as a doctor, but isn’t very bright. Zoidberg is comedic and will eat anything no matter how disgusting it is.

#7) Kang and Kodos from The Simpsons: These brother/sister aliens are space travelers, who visit Earth on every Tree House of Horror episode. Whether it’s for a cameo or as part of one of the three tales, these two comedic creatures always look for a way to conquer the Earth. They like to laugh, but do they have to constantly drool? It’s disgusting.

#6) Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (80s version): He’s the top warlord of Dimension X, but was zapped from his body when he was given the boot. Now Krang is an alien brain with an android body. He’s also a brilliant mad scientist, who works with the Shredder to try and conquer Earth and get revenge on the turtles. Krang hardly leaves the technodrome, but he’s a much tougher opponent than he appears to be.

#5) Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) from The Fifth Element: She’s a modelesque alien, who struggles to adjust with the customs and language of Earthlings. However, Leeloo is intelligent and strong, which is important for she is the Supreme Being.

#4) Sil (Natasha Henstridge) from Species: Earth scientists engineered this modelesque alien with DNA from another planet. Sil is intelligent and strong, but also a predator who only wants to procreate. As a human she may be beautiful, but as an alien she’s as creepy as she is dangerous.

#3) Shep Ramsey (Hulk Hogan) from Suburban Commando: He’s an intergalactic warrior, who ends up stranded on Earth. As much as he hates Earthlings, Shep tries to adjust. When faced with a problem, how he solves it always ends up with hilarious results, even when he does something heroic.

#2) Goldar from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Now here’s an evil alien, who is hard to beat, but exciting in battle. Goldar is the strongest warrior to serve Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd. He’s fierce with a sword and likes to talk, but once Goldar feels that he’s losing the fight, big or small, he always retreats before the rangers get the chance to finish him off.

#1) Gonzo from The Muppet Show: For years he was only labeled as a “Whatever” or a “Weirdo”. Then in Muppets from Space, Gonzo was finally revealed as an alien. That might explain his unusual tolerance for pain and strange taste in women, but there’s more to Gonzo than what species he is. Gonzo is also a daredevil artist. As creative as his acts are, most of them backfire. However, it doesn’t stop him from coming up with something dangerously new.

Apr 302010

Species was one of the first alien movies I’ve seen and enjoyed right off. Natasha Henstridge stars in her first movie role as Sil, a female alien who is on the loose and looking for a mate.

I’ll tell ya, Sil is more dangerous than she looks. At a club she rips out the spine of a young woman just out of sexual competition. Then she kills a guy named Robbie (Anthony Guidera) with the kiss of death, literally speaking. I can remember when that won an MTV movie award for Best Kiss back in 1996. Sil even meets some nice people and ends up killing them also because all she cares about is her goal to procreate. What a heartless succubus.

A team of scientists, along with Preston (Michael Madsen) the man hunter and Dan (Forest Whitaker) the empath, try to track Sil down so they can destroy her before she gets the chance to mate, but it’s difficult with her constant changing of clothes that she steals from each of her victims. I’ve got to admit, that Sil is one smart cookie.

I still find this movie a sci-fi classic. The sequels, not so much.