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Impressed with Bogdanovich's creative and aesthetic contributions to the projects of others on his staff, Corman offered him the opportunity to write and direct a horror cheapie of his own, and of course, Bogdanovich jumped at the chance. But this would be a true test of Bogdanovich's mettle, Corman warned, because there would be three restrictions placed upon the project: Bogdanovich must keep the cost of making the film within its meager budget; the film must make prudent use of footage edited out of Corman's earlier cheapie, THE TERROR; and the film must feature actor Boris Karloff (yes, THE Boris Karloff, who was contractually indebted to Corman's production studio for one last film). The result? TARGETS, Bogdanovich's suspensful and intriguing two-pronged study of the effects of unrelenting ennui.
In the film, Karloff portrays Byron Orlok, an aged horror star of yesteryear who, despite opposition from his assistant and a director friend, wants to retire from filmmaking. The world has become so apathetic towards violence, he believes, that everyday events can sometimes be scarier than any of his fright flicks, and thereby his work has become passé.
Tim O'Kelly plays a dissatisfied young husband whose lack of genuine success is making it difficult for him to live in the shadow of his overbearing father.Read more ›
Karloff is in very good form here, delivering a subtle, humorous, self-deprecating portrayal that will not soon be forgotten by anyone who sees it. It is a worthy swan song for the great horror icon.
TARGETS looks downright incredible on DVD. Presented in widescreen, the nearly flawless image quality betrays almost nothing of the film's age. There is a short documentary on the making of the film, which includes portions of the trailer (which is itself not included as a supplement on the disc). The director makes many points that are repeated in the feature-length commentary. Bogdanovich's commentaries are among the better examples of their kind: he explains a lot about how shots were achieved, but he also gives plenty of credit for inspiration from older film makers--like Sam Fuller, Orson Welles, Hitchcock, John Ford, and Roger Corman--and he seems to have an endless collection of interesting anecdotes about the movie business.
Don't pass up this fantastic DVD.
With this, director Peter Bogdanovich makes a bold statement about the changing social climate of the late 60's that would reshape the cinematic landscape forever. The words are spoken by a withered old Byron Orlok, played by the great Boris Karloff. Orlok is an old-fashioned and out-of-date actor who is scheduled to make a final appearance at the Reseda drive-ins during the showing of his latest film. Unbeknownst to Orlok and the rest of the moviegoers, an uninvited guest is also in attendance... A man perched high above the screen with a sniper rifle pointed at the crowd. As the movie plays, shots ring out and audience members are mercilessly killed at random, unaware that this film would be their last.
Fashioned after the Charles Whitman shootings in 1966, TARGETS hit frighteningly close to home in a time when the real horrors were the ones unfolding in the streets and newspapers of America. No one was safe when your friend or neighbor could be a murderer in disguise. There are no monsters here, no creepy castles or graveyards. What is also missing, and what makes TARGETS such a terrifying experience, is a motive. Bogdanovich broke new ground in 1968 by featuring a motiveless killer with no remorse and no explanation behind his actions. This would become characteristic in the Slasher genre in the years to follow, beginning with BLACK CHRISTMAS and HALLOWEEN, but at the time, it was quite revolutionary. The inclusion of Boris Karloff, a name synonymous with Horror, is also quite important. An era had ended, and with it went its many monsters. New Horror, including pictures like ROSEMARY'S BABY and later THE EXORCIST, took place right here at home, and could happen to anyone.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I saw it on cable a few years back and had to order it a real good movie.Published 5 months ago by Laurence F. Leon
great film loosely based on Charles watts . the bell tower killer . good acting and good story .Published 9 months ago by horror movie man
I can't believe I never heard about this movie till last month. Very well done and an excellent watch.Published 9 months ago by Patrick
The movie is excellent. The DVD however appeared to freeze in a few places. This only happened for a fraction of a second, but it makes me worry about this disc's longevity.Published 11 months ago by Professor Fether
A great picture for Karloff fans and films about realism and violence. The writing and directing is perfect and the scenes of the family and house
and cars and traffic etc... Read more
The reason I got this movie - the ONLY reason I got this movie - was to hear Boris tell the story of, "The Appointment in Samarra" (too big to copy/paste - search for it... Read morePublished 19 months ago by anonymous
Peter Bogdanovich himself admits (on this rather interesting but not always insightful DVD commentary track) that he is no fan of the horror genre, and this can clearly be seen in... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Leslie Karen Rigsbey