HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
Shinsengumi
IT Chapter Two
Rich Kids
Arena
Glory Guys, The
Serial Killer's Guide to Life, A
Lovers and Other Strangers
Shiny Shrimps, The
Good Woman is Hard to Find, A
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Doctor at Sea
Spear
Death Cheaters
Wild Rose
Streetwalkin'
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Devil's Playground, The
Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters
Hustlers
Mega Time Squad
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Souvenir, The
Birds of Passage
Ma
Woman at War
Happy as Lazzaro
Mickey's Christmas Carol
Marriage Story
Santa Claus is a Bastard
Star, The
Tom & Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale
Shadow
Christmas Carol, A
Legend of the Demon Cat
Adventures of Sinbad, The
Wounds
Love & Peace
   
 
Newest Articles
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
   
 
  Targets Under The GunBuy this film here.
Year: 1968
Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Stars: Boris Karloff, Tim O'Kelly, Nancy Hsueh, Peter Bogdanovich, Arthur Peterson, James Brown, Mary Jackson, Tanya Morgan, Monte Landis, Sandy Baron, Stafford Morgan, Gary Kent, Paul Condylis, Frank Marshall
Genre: Horror, Drama, Thriller
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: Horror movie icon Byron Orlok (Boris Karloff) is sitting in a studio screening room watching the final cut of his next movie due for release, but something's bothering him, and it's not the quality. As the film finishes, the director Sammy Michaels (Peter Bogdanovich) wonders what he has made of his latest script, but then Byron shocks everyone in the room by announcing he wishes to retire; the reactions are various, but most of them are denial, why would he want to give up this life? The answer to that is Byron thinks at his advancing years his roles are passé, and real life is scarier than any movie...

While he goes to his car, what Byron doesn't know is that someone is aiming a rifle at him from across the street, in this, the first significant work from one of the brightest directorial talents of the seventies whose career would take a spectacular nosedive in the second half of the decade, never to truly recover. Bogdanovich was that man, here credited with producing, acting, writing and directing, given his big break by Roger Corman, though Targets was a film Bogdanovich subsequently disowned for what he regarded as contributing to the brutalising qualities of the future of screen violence: he couldn't endorse this when he felt it and works like it might be planting ideas in disturbed minds.

Which was a real shame, because it was one of his finest achievements, and its message was the opposite of what he latterly believed it was, that screen violence was never going to match the real thing for harrowing impact, simply because the movies, no matter how engrossing or powerful they may or may not be, will always offer a distance between the medium and the viewer: if that means you can be shocked by the violence or enjoy it and get a kick out of it, that is possible because you do not have a personal investment in it. The character in Targets who does have that yet acts as if he does not is Bobby Thompson, played by Tim O'Kelly in hs sole movie role of much note.

Indeed, O'Kelly dropped out of sight very decisively shortly after his chilling depiction of a spree killer who we are not supposed to understand, since getting inside the mind of someone who will shoot strangers is beyond the majority of us. It is he who was aiming the rifle at Byron, and it is he who is blandly filmed going about the business of mass murder in scenes all the more effective for their understatement. Bogdanovich had assistance from his then-wife, production designer Polly Platt, a too often forgotten but very influential figure in American pop culture (it was she who introduced cartoon hit The Simpsons to the world), and also the veteran director Sam Fuller; they both worked on the script which is notable for its economy and clarity.

But for horror fans of the old school, Targets was most welcome for allowing Boris Karloff to finally play the hero, just as his life was drawing to a close. He was in pretty bad shape when he made this, but managed a new lease of life for the few days he performed here, witty, charming and somehow melancholy, acknowledging his form of entertainment belongs to the past when real life horrors are overtaking anything that he could ever have acted in. He did make a few negligible films afterwards, but Targets was his swan song, and cheeringly he did live long enough to receive some of the best reactions of his career, but the film was not a big success and a lot of that would ironically be down to the reasons being observed in the story: 1968 was the year of major assassinations, and the trend for lone gunmen attacking was establishing itself in the era that we have to deal with to this day. That makes Targets, though visually planted in the late sixties, still relevant, and it's difficult not to be affected by its icy depiction of such atrocities even now.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1794 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: