Monday, June 8, 2009

Carradine family no stranger to dangers and horrors of Hollywood’s science fictional Mars

Amidst the tragic news about the death of television and film actor David Carradine (1936-2009), it’s worth remembering that several members of the extended Carradine family are no strangers to the dangers and horrors of Hollywood’s science fictional Mars:

John Carradine, David's father, played the title character in The Wizard of Mars (1965), a low-budget science fiction film based on L. Frank Baum's classic book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Set in 1975, the film centers on four astronauts (one of whom is named Dorothy and wears silver shoes) who dream they are struck by a storm that blows them to the horrors of the Red Planet. Eventually, they follow a golden road to an ancient Martian city where they encounter the Wizard of Mars. The late Forrest J Ackerman served as a technical advisor on the film. When the film was released on VHS and DVD, it carried the title Horrors of the Red Planet. Apparently, the film has also been seen in the retail market under the titles Alien Massacre and Journey Into the Unknown.

Robert Carradine, David's half-brother, had a minor role in Ghosts of Mars (2001), a “sci-fi thriller full of explosive action and bone-chilling suspense” starring Natasha Henstridge and Ice Cube, and directed by the master of Hollywood horror, John Carpenter. Set in the year 2025 on a colonized Mars, the storyline involves a deadly army of Martian spirits unleashed by a human mining operation. Apparently, Rodale, the character played by Robert Carradine, has his throat slashed when a possessed colonist throws a weapon at him.

Keith Carradine, David's half-brother, played the role of Eugene Slader, captain of the spaceship Destiny, in the NBC made-for-TV movie Special Report: Journey to Mars (1996). Set in the year 2014 and staged in the form of an ongoing news report, the plot revolves around the sabotage of the first human attempt to land on Mars. Unfortunately, Special Report: Journey to Mars premiered on March 25, 1996, directly opposite ABC's telecast of the Academy Awards.

Pictured above: John Carradine as the Wizard of Mars.

No comments: