John carpenter’s ghosts of mars, the art of part 2

Well it’s been 10 years since this art was done for the film and it only seems like yesterday,,, I love that the internet is what it is and we can all share things lost in drawers for over a decade. As I often mention John Carpenter and Sandy King are two of my favorite people in Hollywood and working for them is always a blast. John is currently wrapping up on his new film “The Ward” which from what I have seen looks Awesome, and Sandy most likely has a hundred and one projects in the works. Going back in time to early 2000 Bill elliot hired my friend Joe Musso and myself on to help design the look of “JC’sGOM” We worked together for about 8 weeks getting all the architecture, props, and storyboards done for the film. principle photography was to be done in a Gypsum mine in New mexico with a few scattered interiors in LA. Hunter/Gratzner would handle the VFX and miniature work while KNB would handle the make up end of things! This was one very fun show to draw for and the amount of work we all cranked could easily fill an 18 wheeler. Lots of fun and lots of memories. So with all that said enjoy part 2 of the art of “The Ghosts of Mars”

the train engine, Magnetic propulsion system, 60 feet in length

this was a sketch of the trains interior used as a breakdown of the compartments for the full sized set to be built from in NM

here's the finished set piece

the miniature built by Hunter/Gratzner

this was in the original script and later re-imagined but when it was in the story this piece is what houses the ghosts and the curse of Mars, once it is discovered by an alien invader,, in the movies case, Earth, the simple touch of the intruders hand would break the seal and release the curse which would one by one possess each and every inhabitant of the planet until every one is either killed or taken over.

this was the early concept for the Shining Canyon mine!!!! in the end it wound up being just to big of an idea. What you see of the in the final film version, the mine is basically an excavation site.

after a blasting run , two miners make an unnatural and unearthly discovery

Actress Joanna Cassidy leads the miners into the mysterious Square shaft

the Shining Canyon mine's shanty town

the full sized set in New Mexico

14 Responses to “John carpenter’s ghosts of mars, the art of part 2”

  1. October 1, 2010 at 1:45 am

    I have not seen the film.
    but I do love some of the concepts that you came up for it.
    I really do need to sit down and watch this one.

  2. 3 Richard Knapp
    October 1, 2010 at 5:21 am

    Hi John – happy Friday. You are the master at making the fantastical look practical and real. I am always amazed at your ability to make futuristic machines look like you could just climb in and start them up. Same with you location designs – you could just pack your bags and move right in.

    Beautiful work and thanks for posting.

    Have a great weekend,

  3. 5 the bluesman
    October 1, 2010 at 7:05 am

    I havent seen the film yet, but I think the locomotive is interesting. Very industrial and aggressive looking.

    • 6 johneaves
      October 1, 2010 at 7:32 am

      Thanks Justin, They move a lot of CARGO in and out of this place so I sure that alone has a special interest for ya!

  4. 7 Jay
    October 1, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I have a softspot for John Carpenter, and not solely because he’s a semi-Kentucky boy. I’m delighted that he’s got a theatrical film coming up and I hope its (a) good and, if so, (b) finds an enthusiastic audience.

    And I’m hoping to meet the ex-Mrs. John Carpenter, former Romulan senator and still comely lass Ms. Adrienne Barbeau, at the ScareFest horror and paranormal con in Lexington, Ky, the first weekend in November. She’s scheduled to be there along with Mr. Tony Todd and Mr. George Romero, among others, so I am hoping to corner her for 5 minutes or so and expound upon how awesome she is. 🙂

    • 8 Barrie Suddery
      October 3, 2010 at 3:50 am

      Easy tiger!

    • 9 Buckaroohawk
      October 4, 2010 at 11:09 pm


      Don’t forget that Adrienne Barbeau worked with George Romero on the film “Creepshow.” And Tony Todd worked with him on the 1990 remake of “Night of the Living Dead.” If you’re especially charming, you may be able to cajole them all into having a group picture taken with you!

  5. 10 evil_genius_180
    October 1, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    I saw this movie once. It wasn’t for me. However, your artwork, as always, is just awesome. Your train and set sketches are just awesome. Your attention to detail is amazing. I think you could draw the inside of your refrigerator and it would still be awesome because of the level of detail you put into everything. Great stuff, dude. 😀

  6. 11 Geckoman
    October 2, 2010 at 5:17 am

    Hey John,

    Sorry for posting this here, but I didn’t see a place for just regular postings. I stumbled across a website that reminded me of your Nostromo restoration talk you gave at Wonderfest this year.


    It’s a sad state of affairs when something this iconic is left to rot. Makes you want to cry sometimes.

    • 12 Buckaroohawk
      October 4, 2010 at 11:17 pm

      That’s the double-wheeled space station from “2001”?! At first I thought it was a ground-level hatchway to underground tunnels or something. The amazing model that defined the aesthetic of one of the best films ever made, has been left to rot in a field somewhere? Unbelievable! How the heck could something like that happen?

  7. 13 Matt Boardman
    October 4, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Still need to see this movie! I love the armored look of the train. It looks freakin’ tough!! I love how they were able to really nail your sketches in the actual design too!

  8. 14 Buckaroohawk
    October 4, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    I’ve seen “Ghosts of Mars.” I’m also a huge fan of John Carpenter, but I’ll tell you guys right now the only reason you should watch it is to see how well they were able to bring John’s designs to life. Let’s just say it isn’t one of Carpenter’s more accomplished works and leave it at that.

    John, your interior for the train has some striking (and completely coincidental) similarities to the intrior of a CGI ship I built. In fact, your drawing has given me a few ideas on how to update my ship’s interior to make it a little more versatile. Thank you!

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October 2010

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