Sunday Feature-Week 31:Targets (1968)
Tone: A dark and highly suspenseful re-evaluation of the face of horror
Cast- Boris Karloff, Tim O’Kelly, Peter Bogdanovich
What: An aging horror-film legend Byron Orlok (Karloff) has grown tired of the film industry as his films no longer scare his audience. Meanwhile, a clean cut Vietnam veteran (O’Kelly) prepares to go on a shooting spree.
- On August 1st 1966, Charles Whitman packed up a few rifles, a sawed off shotgun, and a magnum, made his way to the top of a clock tower at the University of Texas and proceeded to indiscriminately shoot the pedestrians below. Out of this horrific act came a new face of horror, that of the clean-cut, all-american, everyman. Peter Bogdanovich brilliantly examined this newfound fear in his very first film, Targets.
- B-Movie legend Roger Corman gave Peter Bogdanovich the opportunity to direct any picture he wanted but under three conditions: He had to use stock footage from Corman’s 1963 film The Terror, he had to hire Boris Karloff for two days of shooting (as he was under contract) and he had to stay under budget. The script/film that Bogdanvich produced is one not only one of the most creative but one of the most substantial of his career.
- Although filmed beforehand, Targets was met with quite some controversy as it was released after the assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy. Paramount only agreed to release the film with a prologue denouncing gun violence. The film was not met with the warmest reception due to audiences still feeling uneasy about these assassinations.
- Targets is one of the most well crafted suspense films I’ve ever seen and proof that you don’t need a huge budget to create an effective film. Below is a short clip of one of the many well executed suspense sequences in the film. Enjoy!