The excitement I feel at the potential of humans going to Mars in the near future is only tinged with other emotions when I think of the multiple times that our beloved world of cinema has taken us to Mars and started killing us all off. Here are five of the films that we would not like to see being replayed by our first astronauts after arriving there.
1. Ghosts of Mars (2001)
One of John Carpenter's less renowned films, Ghosts of Mars was based around a colony on Mars, which disturbed a long dead race of Martian spirits, as you do, which then took over the bodies of many humans, and killed a bunch more. A police unit is sent in to transfer a dangerous prisoner (believe it or not, it's Ice Cube) and have to fight the spirits. I enjoyed this film when I first watched it, but I was 8, and soon I realized what it really was: Bad. Easy to say, we don't want to find a pack of Martian spirits that take over our bodies when we get there.
2. Mission to Mars (2000)
This all-star cast including Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins and Don Cheadle saw the first manned mission to Mars meet a mysterious disaster, and a rescue crew being sent to try and recover them, or just to discover their fate. The fact that this film occurred in 2020 shows that there are some terribly close accuracies to our own mission, set for just a few years after. Hopefully an artificial storm won't kill 75% of our first crew to go out there.
3. The Last Days on Mars (2013)
This one occurs on the final day of the first manned mission to Mars. The film stars Liev Schreiber, and involves a member of the team discovering fossilized remains of life on Mars and trying to do final research before leaving the planet, but finding that once infected by the bacteria, they basically turn into zombies. Why? Because why not. It was all right, a bit of fun, but honestly not anything special. Obviously I don't want this to happen because I want to fight the zombies myself, here on earth.
4. Red Planet (2000)
No zombies or ancient evil spirits here, but this film also didn't perform so well at the box office. Red Planet was about a team sent to Mars to try and find out if the inhabitants of the dying Earth would be able to escape to a different planet. It focused more on the people in the crew, their relationships and beliefs, and it didn't really focus much on Mars itself. Why do we not want this to happen? Because the Earth was dying by 2050.
5. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
Yes. This was a thing. Often placed on the worst films ever list, I have to admit that it would be kind of cool if this happened when we get to Mars. Why is it on this list? Because I couldn't think of a fifth, so I started looking up Mars based films on the internet and found this piece of cinematic gold. Basically, the Martian parents see their children watching Earth TV, and see an interview with Santa Claus at the North Pole. They quickly decide that it would be a good idea to kidnap him because no-one on Mars gives their children presents. Of course, to do this they kidnap two children to distinguish between the fake Santas and the real one. Fortunately, they eventually realize that one of the Martians makes a good Santa, and send the real one back to Earth. What a glorious film. I'm going to start working on a reboot script right now.
Something I notice about all these films is that none of them performed well at the box office, or were received well critically. Why? Were they bad? Or is it possible that humankind is afraid of these films coming true when we get there, and puts them down because of their fear? Maybe, maybe not. We may know more when Matt Damon's The Martian comes out later this year. Check out the trailer below. If you enjoyed reading this, and want to see other articles about random films, click on the big blue follow button below!