Writer and director John Carpenter returns to the mixture of science fiction and horror that made The Thing (1982) a success. Natasha Henstridge stars as Lt. Melanie Ballard of the Martian Police Force, a member of a law enforcement team two centuries in the future, dispatched to the remote colony of Shining Canyon. There, the most notorious criminal on Mars, James "Desolation" Williams (Ice Cube), awaits transport to a more secure jail. Besides Ballard, the other cops include the rookie Bashira (Clea Duvall), hotshot and fast talker Jericho (Jason Statham), tough veteran and squad leader Helena (Pam Grier), and reliable soldier Descanso (Liam Waite). Once Ballard and her companions arrive in Shining Canyon, however, they discover that it's a literal ghost town. It seems that an archaeologist team led by Professor Whitlock (Joanna Cassidy) has uncovered an ancient relic at a nearby dig site, unleashing the vengeful spirits of the planet's long-ago warrior inhabitants, which have now possessed the bodies of the human invaders and set about trying to destroy them. After her team is decimated by the Martian specters, Ballard is forced to turn for help to the one person she can't really trust: Williams. Ghosts of Mars screenwriter Larry Sulkis broke into the film business as producer of the satirical commercials in Carpenter's They Live (1988).