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Targets (1968)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 5,225 users  
Reviews: 94 user | 85 critic

Elderly horror-film star who, while making a personal appearance at a drive-in theater, confronts a psychotic Vietnam veteran who's turned into a mass-murdering sniper.

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Title: Targets (1968)

Targets (1968) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim O'Kelly ...
Bobby Thompson
...
Byron Orlok
...
Ed Loughlin
Monte Landis ...
Marshall Smith (as Monty Landis)
Nancy Hsueh ...
Jenny
...
Sammy Michaels
Daniel Ades ...
Chauffeur
Stafford Morgan ...
Salesman - 1st Gunshop
...
Robert Thompson Sr.
Mary Jackson ...
Charlotte Thompson
Tanya Morgan ...
Ilene Thompson
Timothy Burns ...
Waiter (as Tim Burns)
Warren White ...
Grocery Boy
Mark Dennis ...
Salesman - 2nd Gunshop
Sandy Baron ...
Kip Larkin
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Storyline

Byron Orlok is an old horror-movie star who feels that he is an anachronism. Compared to real-life violence, his films are tame. Meanwhile, Bobby Thompson goes on a killing spree... Written by Gary Couzens <gjcouzens@btinternet.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

drive in | gun | rifle | sniper | serial killer | See more »

Taglines:

TARGETS are people...and you could be one of them! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 August 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Before I Die  »

Box Office

Budget:

$130,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Pathécolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the beginning credits of the movie, it states, "Radio music supplied by Charles Greene and Brian Stone". The music that they used was "Green Rocky Road", performed by the band "The Daily Flash", which Greene and Stone managed. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 06 mins) When the operator starts the movie, he shuts off the 3 spots at the top of the screen. However, we see those spots being shut down three times in a row. See more »

Quotes

Byron Orlok: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I'd like to leave you with a little story to think about as you drive home... through the darkness... Once upon a time, many, many years ago, a rich merchant in Baghdad sent his servant to the marketplace to buy provisions... and after a while the servant came back, white-faced and trembling, and said, 'Master, when I was in the marketplace, I was jostled by a woman in the crowd, and I turned to look, and I saw that it was Death that jostled me. And she ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A true hidden gem, and a fitting exit for the legendary Boris Karloff
27 November 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Ageing horror actor Byron Orlock (Boris Karloff) has just finished what will be his final film. The campy nature of the horror films he stars in, and the decline in moral society leads him to believe that horror films are no longer scary, especially when compared with what is happening in the real world. Young director Sammy Michaels (Peter Bogdanovich) has just written a great script especially for Orlock, and tries to persuade him to re-think his retirement plans on the build-up to Orlock's final public appearance at a drive-in for his new movie The Terror. Meanwhile, suburban husband and gun-obsessive Bobby Thompson (Tim O'Kelly) is planning a massacre using his sniper rifle, starting with his wife and family.

As usual when it comes to Roger Corman productions, the story behind the film is just as interesting (often more so) as the film itself. Karloff apparently owed Corman a couple of days work, so he was handed to Corman protégé Peter Bogdanovich, and told him to make whatever film he liked - as long as it was cheap, quick, included footage of his film The Terror (1963), and drew on the recent Charles Whitman killings. So, with the help of screenwriter Samuel Fuller, Bogdanovich crafted an intelligent, shocking, and extremely interesting film that what way ahead of its time.

Targets is many things. On one hand it is a warm love-letter to the legendary actors of old. In one scene, Michaels enters Orlock's hotel room, them both being drunk, and watch the end of Howard Hawks' The Criminal Code (1931), which starred a younger Boris Karloff. They briefly discuss the genius of Hawks and Michaels comments on what a fine screen presence Orlock (really Karloff) was, and still is. It is also a first-rate thriller. Tim O'Kelly is very effective as the clean-cut, all-American boy, who is becoming increasingly shaken about the person he finds himself becoming. In real-life, Whitman was found to have an aggressive brain tumour that was believed to be the cause of the sudden killing spree. The violence, though not gratuitous or exploitative, is shocking and nasty. The murder scenes are shot with a slow and detailed precision that are scary given the real-life occurrences.

Most interestingly, the film is a commentary on the generation gap, in both society and in cinema. Michaels states that "all the great films have already been made." Of course, this is not true - America was about to enter its true golden age, when the likes of Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Dennis Hopper, Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Cimino, and Bogdanovich himself shook Hollywood to its core. But Michaels is reflecting Orlock's fear of the new. Orlock is retiring because "it's a young person's world," and he feels he no longer has his place. The film builds up to the inevitable meeting of Orlock and Thompson - the old vs. the new, if you will.

Targets is quite hard to sum up. It is genuinely a hidden gem, and a true original that should be seen by anyone interested in cinema. Karloff would sadly pass away a year after this film was released, and he gives what is possibly his finest career performance. He has no scary make-up or sets to drown him out. He is simply an old man, walking stick and all. Although he made a couple more films after this, Targets seems his true and fitting exit from cinema. This is close to an 'A'-movie that I've seen a B-movie get, and again proves that Roger Corman was a true cinema genius.

www.the-wrath-of-blog.blogspot.com


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