Targets began as a Roger Corman project that was later picked up by Warner Brothers for distribution. It was directed by Peter Bogdanovich, and stars Bogdanovich, Boris Karloff, Tim O’Kelly and Nancy Hsueh. The script was co-written by Bogdanovich and Polly Platt with an uncredited rewrite from Samuel Fuller. My own project Eggs owes more to Targets than perhaps any single other film.
A clean-cut, all-American boy next door (O’Kelly) is harboring dark fantasies of death and murder. An aging horror icon (Karloff) is quitting show business in the face of so much real world violence, which he finds more terrifying than his quaint style of campy horror. The two seemingly disparate storylines collide in the shocking climax of the final reel.
Targets is strongly based upon two true incidents: The 1965 101 freeway sniper attack by Michael Andrew Clark, and the ghastly 1966 University of Texas shooting by Charles Whitman, who shot 50 people before being taken out by police. It’s a sad commentary that Targets feels as topical today as it did in 1967 when it was filmed.
Criminally neglected, I consider the movie a classic, both intellectual and visceral, and a must-see for fans of suspense. It gets high praise from me and a rating of 9/10.
We’re running a few days behind but Episode 8 will hopefully upload on time tomorrow. Then look for the final episodes of Pop Culture Beast’s Halloween Horror Picks next Monday and Thursday before Halloween. And be sure to check out the other episodes in the series:
Episode #1 – Shivers (1975)
Episode #2 – Strange Behavior (1981)
Episode #3 – The Killer Shrews (1959)
Episode #4 – The Antichrist (1974)
Episode #5 – Don’t Panic (1988)
Episode #6 – Spider Baby (1968)
Episode #8 – Feast (2005)
Episode #9 – The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
Episode #10 – Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Please also take a minute to support my own horror movie: Eggs – A Horror Movie starring Lynn Lowry (Shivers, The Crazies, Cat People, etc.) and Duane Whitaker (Pulp Fiction, Feast, The Devil’s Rejects, Halloween 2, etc.), now funding on Kickstarter! As always, there’s a contest at the end of the video: Be the first person to make a pledge and leave a comment on Kickstarter with the correct answer to get a bonus prize added to your reward.
Ryan Stockstad is a Los Angeles filmmaker with a passion for horror, documentary and experimental cinema. He has written articles for HC Magazine, Mostly Harmless Magazine and various blogs and websites. He has lectured on topics as diverse as low budget filmmaking, short story structure, and the influence of the Spanish Civil War on surrealist cinema. He hosts new episodes of Pop Culture Beast's Halloween Horror Picks every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in October.