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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Peter Bogdanovich is a man that, to me, is too intelligent to make a film without anything to say. With that in mind, however; if Targets does have a point to it, it is masked well. The only thing resembling any kind of comment is that the film professes the differences between screen horror and real life horror, but even this idea is put forward in a muddled way. That being said, however; Targets is a world away from being a bad film. The film marks one of the last performances for the great Boris Karloff, and serves as a nice swansong to his career, especially as he's almost sending himself up in this film. The great man plays Byran Orlock; an aging horror film actor who has decided that he wants to retire. However, things are not as simple as that as, on the same day that Orlock is due to make his final public appearance at the screening of last movie (Roger Corman's 'The Terror'), there's a serial killer on the loose who's taking pot shots at people with a sniper rifle. As real life horror and screen horror icon clash...who will be the resulting victor?
Despite the point being rather muddled, Targets makes up for that with the exciting way that the plot plays out and the stream of tributes and comments on Karloff's (sorry, Orlock's) career. It's nice to see Karloff enjoying himself, and the introspective nature of the movie ensures that he gets the chance to do this. Peter Bogdanovich is well known for being a director who is also a fan of cinema, and this movie also gives him a chance to tribute the medium that he evidently loves. As a fan of cinema myself, it always makes me happy to see this sort of thing, and that marks another reason for my enjoyment of this movie. The way that the plot plays out makes the movie predictable, but in a way that adds to the idea of 'real horror', as we can see what's going to come; it's like a car crash - it's obvious what's going to happen, yet all we can do is just sit back and watch. On the whole, this is a classy thriller and while it never hammers home it's point enough to ensure that you know it's actually got a point, it works because of it's tension and well paced plot. This will also be a must see movie for fans of the great Boris Karloff.
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