On target. An unconventional horror picture that draws a comparison between the real-life horror of the 1966 Charles Whitman murder spree and the fictional horrors of movie legend Boris Karloff, TARGETS opens with a film clip (the flood scene) from Roger Corman's 1963 film, THE TERROR.
The clip then ends, revealing a screening room occupied by aging horror star Byron Orlok (Karloff, extremely moving here), filmmaker Sammy Michaels (played by director Bogdanovich), and some film executives. Orlok informs them that he's had enough of horror films and plans to return to his home in
England. He is aware that his films no longer frighten people and that the public is only affected by the horrors in the headlines, stating, "The world belongs to the young. Make way for them. Let them have it. I am an anachronism." Meanwhile, in a gun shop across the street, a clean-cut young
man, Bobby Thompson (Tim O'Kelly), adds a high-powered rifle to the already huge arsenal of weapons stashed in his car trunk. Thompson begins a bloody rampage, first murdering his wife, then sniping at innocent drivers from a tower near a highway. TARGETS' brilliant finale, set at a drive-in
premiere of the latest Orlok opus, puts both of these horrors--the movieland fiction of Orlok and the real-life danger of Thompson--up on the screen together. Down below, the audience screams in fright, not at Orlok but at Thompson, whose rifle shots are picking them off one by one. TARGETS is an
insightful comment on the changing state of the horror film: Whereas Karloff's films concerned gruesome monsters with frightening physical attributes, TARGETS is about--to use Bogdanovich's phrase--"the ghouls next door," the all-American killers who are all the more frightening because the
deformities exist inside their heads.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: On target. An unconventional horror picture that draws a comparison between the real-life horror of the 1966 Charles Whitman murder spree and the fictional horrors of movie legend Boris Karloff, TARGETS opens with a film clip (the flood scene) from Roger C… (more)