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Targets (1968)

An elderly horror film star, while making a personal appearance at a drive-in theatre, confronts a psychotic Vietnam War veteran who has turned into a mass-murdering sniper.


Peter Bogdanovich


Peter Bogdanovich (screenplay), Polly Platt (story) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Boris Karloff ... Byron Orlok
Tim O'Kelly ... Bobby Thompson
Nancy Hsueh ... Jenny
James Brown ... Robert Thompson Sr.
Sandy Baron ... Kip Larkin
Arthur Peterson ... Ed Loughlin
Mary Jackson ... Charlotte Thompson
Tanya Morgan Tanya Morgan ... Ilene Thompson
Monte Landis Monte Landis ... Marshall Smith (as Monty Landis)
Paul Condylis Paul Condylis ... Drive-In Manager
Mark Dennis Mark Dennis ... Salesman - 2nd Gunshop
Stafford Morgan ... Salesman - 1st Gunshop
Peter Bogdanovich ... Sammy Michaels
Daniel Ades Daniel Ades ... Chauffeur
Timothy Burns Timothy Burns ... Waiter (as Tim Burns)


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


Why Gun Control? See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

15 August 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Before I Die See more »


Box Office


$130,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Saticoy Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Pathécolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Voices of Joey Bishop and announcer Regis Philbin can be heard in background, excerpted from Bishop's late night ABC TV talk show of late Sixties. See more »


The position of the soda bottle changes multiple times as Bobby lays on the top of the oil tank to aim his rifle, plus the level of the liquid in the soda bottle changes between shots from full to nearly empty. See more »


Jenny: You really are in a foul mood.
Byron Orlok: Not at all. I'm just tired of your baleful looks.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Some prints begin with a caption about gun-control, added after Robert Kennedy's assassination. See more »


Features The Joey Bishop Show (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

What are you hunting this time?
24 July 2011 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Targets is directed by Peter Bogdanovich who also co-writes the screenplay and story with Polly Platt and Samuel Fuller. It stars Boris Karloff, Tim O'Kelly and Bogdanovich himself. Story is patterned around real life mass murderer Charles Whitman, who in 1966 murdered 16 people during a shooting rampage at the University of Texas in Austin.

Cineaste Peter Bogdanovich's debut directing effort, sadly, to this day remains a topical hot spot. Released as it was just after the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, Targets carried much relevance even though it was hardly a success at the box office. Over the years it has come to gain a cult following that is much deserved, the low budget production value actually helping to keep it uneasily potent.

Story is structured by way of two separate narrative threads, one sees Karloff as veteran horror film actor Byron Orlock, who sees himself as an anachronism and announces his retirement from movie making. His reasoning, warranted, is that his type of horror is way behind the times, the real horror is out there on the streets, bleakly headlined in the local newspaper. The other thread concerns Bobby Thompson (O'Kelly), a handsome boy next door type who has a pretty wife but finds himself unemployed and still living with his parents. He is a ticking time bomb, his mind soon to fracture and devastation will follow. The two stories converging for a bloody finale at a drive in movie theatre, where Orlock is making a special guest appearance, the old time horror of the movies coming face to face with the real terror of the modern world.

Though uncredited by choice, the screenplay belongs to Fuller, something that Bogdanovitch has always been keen to point out, and it's with the writing where the film gets its quality factor. The messages within are serious and handled evenly by Bogdanovitch, his pacing precise and in Karloff he has the perfect icon from which to underpin the story. True enough the acting around Karloff is sub-standard, notably from the director himself, but with Bogdanovich deliberately keeping the psychological explanation for Bobby's actions vague, film manages to rise above its flaws to leave an indelible mark. 8/10

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