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Targets
Bewegliche Ziele

USA 1968
produced by
Peter Bogdanovich, Roger Corman for Saticoy Productions/Paramount
directed by Peter Bogdanovich
starring Tim O'Kelly, Boris Karloff, Peter Bogdanovich, Nancy Hsueh, Arthur Peterson, James Brown (II) Mary Jackson, Tanya Morgan, Monte Landis, Daniel Ades, Stafford Morgan, Timothy Burns, Warren White, Mark Dennis, Sandy Baron, Geraldine Baron, Gary Kent, Ellie Wood Walker, Frank Marshall, Byron Betz, Paul Condyllis, Mike Farrell, Carol Samuels, Jay Daniel, James Morris, Elaine Partnow, Pete Belcher, James Bowie, Anita Poree, Robert Cleaves, Kay Douglas, Raymond Roy, Diana Ashley, Kirk Scott, Susan Douglas
story by Peter Bogdanovic, Polly Platt, screenplay by Peter Bogdanovich, cinematography by László Kovács

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Famed horror actor Byron Orlock (Boris Karloff) decides to quit the movie business, having grown tired of repeating the same role over and over again, thinking the real terror belongs to the younger generation - much to the dismay of Sammy (Peter Bogdanovich), the director of his last three movies who thinks he has finally written a role worthy of Orlock's talents. But it seems Orlock can't be persuaded, even though Sammy is a personal friend of his, and is the lover of his assistant Jenny (Nancy Hsueh). Sammy and Jenny do everything to change Orlock's mind, but all they manage is to get him to do one last public appearance, at a drive-in where his last film is premiered.

In the meantime, Bobby (Tim O'Kelly), a seemingly healthy and nice all-American young man who's just a bit obsessed by firearms (but hey, this is America, so this is healthy in itself, right ?), one day picks up a gun, shoots down his wife (Tanya Morgan) and mother (Mary Jackson), then puts his arsenal into his car's trunk and goes to the next highway for some target practice - killing many a driver in the process. When the police arrives he makes an escape to the drive-in where Orlock's film is to be premiered, punches a hole into the screen and hides behind it to shoot some patrons once the film has started ... and eventually, a panic breaks out, not made any better when several patrons get their guns from the trunks of their cars to defend themselves - though it's not even sure against whom.

Orlock arrives at the drive-in with Jenny ... who gets injured by Bobby - which makes Orlock angry enough to head towards the screen and towards Bobby. Bobby gets totally confused when he sees the real Orlock approaching him from one side, while on the screen, the Orlock from the movie approaches him from behind, and in his confusion, he shoots the screen - giving the real Orlock enough time to disarm him using his walking stick and beating him up a bit. And while Bobby is taken away by the police, Orlock wonders if a guy like Bobby was what he was afraid of ...

 

The evolution of this film is almost legendary: Producer Roger Corman found out that Boris Karloff still owed him two days of film work, so he gave young and promising Peter Bogdanovich (whose debut feature this was) a rather meagre budget, told him to film two days worth of footage with Karloff, tie it in with some footage from The Terror (in which Karloff was one of the leads), and get some other actors to shoot scenes and bring the film to feature length. Now that would qualify as a recipe to make some utter trash - but in Bogdanovich's hands, it turned to gold ... though arguably it was not what Corman had envisioned (but much better).

Targets is at the same time a loving hommage to Boris Karloff and a meeting point of old school and new school horror, a behind-the-scenes look at the low-budget movieworld and a cruel modern thriller, character study and suspense piece - and surprisingly enough, the film works on every level, and manages to bring all its different aspects into a coherent whole. And Karloff, who was by then in his eighties, shows he still has the strength to carry a movie, and that he is able to adapt to new school horrors just like that.

Highest recommendation.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
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directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
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starring
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out now on DVD