Crystal Math's rating: **** 1/2
Johnny Sweatpants' rating: ****1/2
Released in 1968, Targets is the Roger Corman produced B-movie which boasts Boris Karloff's last onscreen performance. As the story goes, Karloff owed Roger Corman 2 day's work. Director Peter Bogdanovich took full advantage of this opportunity and also incorporated footage of Karloff from The Terror to create something that was wholly new and startling.
Targets' content signifies on many levels the changing face of horror. Karloff is coming from a generation that revered monsters and any plot set in a big castle with ridiculous costumes and British accents. What this movie shows in its story is the potential horror when the killer is as straight-laced as Bobby. The Horror-Slasher genre glorifies deranged outcasts of society, and today we've got found footage movies to evoke terror. This movie is a stepping stone from classic monster horror to the person-next-door killer movies.
Karloff, in a role that hit close to home, played Byron Orlok, an aging horror icon whose legacy is dwindling every day. Half the film is devoted to Orlok coming to terms with retirement and the other half follows Bobby Thompson, a young Vietnam vet who wakes up one morning and writes a chilling note: "To whom it may concern: It is now 11:40 AM. My wife is still asleep but when she wakes up I am going to kill her. Then I am going to kill my mother. I know they will get me, but there will be more killing before I die."
Bobby follows through with his promise and goes on a merciless killing spree. The fact that his motives are never revealed makes it all the more frightening. After picking people off on the highway, Bobby finds an even better perch for human target practice. The two narratives converge at a drive-in theater where Karloff is scheduled for a guest appearance.
Targets is a remarkably elaborate film that is still terrifying today, particularly in light of Columbine, Virginia Tech and the Dark Knight shootings.