Infobox Film | name = Targets
caption = Movie poster
Samuel Fuller(screenplay, uncredited)
Boris Karloff Tim O'Kelly Peter Bogdanovich
Ronald Stein(from "The Terror")
August 15, 1968(USA)
runtime = 90 minutes
language = English
budget = $130,000 (estimated)
amg_id = 1:48670
imdb_id = 0063671
The story concerns an insurance agent and Vietnam veteran, played by Tim O'Kelly, who goes on a shooting rampage from atop a Los Angeles oil refinery and then, when police start tracking him down, flees to and resumes his shootings at a drive-in theater where an aging horror film actor is making a final promotional appearance.
The character and actions of the killer are patterned after
Charles Whitman, the University of Texas sniper. The character of actor Byron Orlok, named after Max Schreck's vampire Count Orlok in 1922's " Nosferatu", is patterned after Boris Karloffhimself, who in fact plays the part in his last appearance in a major film (although Bogdanovich states that, unlike Orlok, Karloff was not embittered with the movie business and did not wish to retire).
In the film's finale, which takes place at a
San Fernando Valleydrive-in theater, Karloff -- the old-fashioned, traditional screen monster who always obeyed the rules -- confronts the new, nihilistic late-1960s monster in the shape of a clean-cut, unassuming multiple murderer.
Bogdanovich got the chance to make "Targets" because
Boris Karloffowed studio head Roger Cormanthree days' work. Corman told Bogdanovich he could make any film he liked provided he used Karloff and stayed under budget. In addition, Bogdanovich had to use clips from the Victorian-era thriller "The Terror" in the movie. The clips from "The Terror" feature Jack Nicholsonand Boris Karloff. Bogdanovich has said that Samuel Fullerprovided generous help on the screenplay and refused to accept either a fee or a screen credit, so Bogdanovich named his own character Sammy Michaels (Fuller's middle name was Michael) in tribute.
Although the film was written and production photography completed in 1967, it was released after the assassinations of
Martin Luther Kingand Robert F. Kennedyand thus had some topical relevance to then-current events. Nevertheless it was not very successful at the box office.
However, Bogdanovich, who appears in the film as a young writer-director (i.e. like Karloff, playing a character very similar to himself in real life), credits it with getting him noticed by the studios, which in turn led to his directing three very successful films in the early 1970s.
Elvis Costellosong "Big Tears," released on his 1978 album " This Year's Model", is said by Costello himself to refer to this film.
* [http://www.culturecourt.com/F/Hollywood/Targets.htm Review at culturecourt.com]
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