In the movie Mars Attacks!, the Martian soldiers shoot either a red ray or a green ray from their guns.

A picture from the movie "Mars Attacks!", depicting three armed Martians shooting their rays at humans. One is shooting a green ray, while the other is shooting a red one.

These seem to leave skeletons of the same color as the ray that hit the humans.

A picture from the movie "Mars Attacks!" depicting a red skeleton still burning, from a human victim that got him with a Martian gun that shoots red rays.

Another picture from the movie "Mars Attacks!", depicting this time a green skeleton, from a human victim that got hit with a Martian gun that shoots green rays.

(All images taken from here)

But the rifles shooting either color ray both seem to have the same red/blue coloration.

Is there any explanation in or out of universe that explains the different ray colors?

  • 4
    Kill counting :D . Martians are doing this for fun, red team vs green team. Kidding, I have no idea why that is.
    – jo1storm
    Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 7:26
  • @jo1storm Given how the Martians act ("We are your friends!") it wouldn't surprise me that it is a kill count! But alas I see no red/green kill count comparison anywhere.
    – Peter M
    Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 14:42
  • @jo1storm It's so much in the vein of the movie that I would make that an answer.
    – AcePL
    Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 16:55

1 Answer 1


There is, actually, though only out of universe.

In the first drafts of the script and in the novelization, the Martians' ray-guns had a variety of lethal, graphic effects. Victims were bisected, body parts were cut off, huge holes were blown through them. Other victims were melted, shredded, or turned into flame. To avoid an "R" rating from the MPAA, the producers toned down the effects of the Martian rays, and victims were reduced to skeletons.

When people had their flesh vaporized from their bones, the remaining skeletons were either red or green. Tim Burton explained this had been done because the movie had been scheduled for a Christmas release. Also, the red and green skeletons were first seen in Beetlejuice (1988). When Barbara and Adam were in Juno's office, you can see them with other ghouls looking at the screen.

Source: IMDB Mars Attacks! Trivia

  • 1
    That's awesome! So festive...
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 23, 2021 at 8:35

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