Sunday, August 10, 2014

1968 - TARGETS, still holds up very well


Targets is sort of a transitional film between old and modern horror films as well as old and modern Hollywood films in general.  Boris Karloff plays an old horror film actor (although he is really playing himself) who confronts a new kind of terror, everyday life.  Karloff is very good in this film considering he only worked for about two days, what a pro.   The disturbed Vietnam vet was played by a young actor named Tim O'Kelly who kind of disappeared after this film.  O'Kelly was in the original pilot for Hawaii Five, O but was recast at Jack Lord's insistence.

This was Peter Bogdanovich's first film and he never really directed another type of film like this.  Bogdanovich was a critic turned would be director and given the chance to make a film he used a lot of imagination and cleverness to stretch a small budget about as far as it could go.  Bogdanovich used a lot of montage techniques in this film something the European directors had embraced.  He was also a fan of old Hollywood directors and you can see the influence of Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train towards the end of the film.  It all came together very well.



Bogdanovich cast himself as a low budget horror film director sort of like his mentor Roger Corman and he's the worst part of the picture.  Up against a veteran actor like Karloff he looks like a real amateur.  Unfortunately Bogdanovich is in a lot of the movie so you have to endure his ramblings about old Hollywood.

Targets was Boris Karloff's last decent picture.  He did a few more crappy Mexican films but this was in many ways a summation of his interesting career.  Targets also has some pointed commentary on the gun happy culture that still engulfs this country.  An impressive achievement on a very low budget.

90 minutes

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