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Peter Bogdanovich

130,000 USD


United States


Horror, Thriller

Music director
Ronald Stein


Targets movie poster

Polly Platt
Peter Bogdanovich
Peter Bogdanovich
Samuel Fuller

Release date
August 15, 1968 (1968-08-15) (U.S.)

Tim O'Kelly
(Bobby Thompson),
Boris Karloff
(Byron Orlok),
Arthur Peterson, Jr.
(Ed Loughlin),
Monte Landis
(Marshall Smith),
Nancy Hsueh
(Jenny, Orlock's Secretary),
Peter Bogdanovich
(Sammy Michaels)

Similar movies
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John Wick
Furious 7

TARGETS are people… and you could be one of them!

Targets 1968 trailer

Targets is a 1968 American thriller, written and directed by Peter Bogdanovich and filmed in color by László Kovács.


Targets movie scenes

In one of two parallel story lines that eventually converge during the film's climax, a seemingly wholesome and normal young man suddenly goes on a killing spree. In the other, Boris Karloff, in his last straight dramatic role, plays a semi-autobiographical character.

Targets wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters8157p8157p

The film earned mostly positive reviews. It is currently included as one of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

Targets Targets 1968 Filmsquishcom

Targets 1968 sniper


Targets Targets Movie Review Film Summary 1968 Roger Ebert

Byron Orlok (Boris Karloff) is an aging, embittered horror film actor who announces his decision to retire and travel back to his home country, England, to live out his final days. Orlok considers himself outdated because he believes that people are no longer frightened by old-fashioned horror, citing real-life news stories as more horrifying than anything in his films. But after much persuasion, particularly from young film director Sammy Michaels (Peter Bogdanovich), Orlok agrees to make a final in-person promotional appearance at a Reseda drive-in theater before leaving Hollywood for good.

Targets Targets 1968 Sniper YouTube

Bobby Thompson (Tim O'Kelly) is a young, quiet, clean-cut young insurance agent and Vietnam War veteran who lives in the suburban San Fernando Valley area with his wife and his parents. Thompson is also deeply disturbed and a gun collector, but neither his wife nor his parents take much notice. One morning, after his father leaves for work, Thompson murders his wife, his mother, and a delivery boy at his home. That afternoon, Thompson continues his killing spree, shooting people in passing cars from atop an oil storage tank that sits alongside a heavily traveled freeway. When the police respond and start to close in on Thompson, he flees, taking refuge in the very same drive-in theater where Orlok is to make his appearance that evening.

Targets Throwback Thursday Peter Bogdanovichs Targets 1968 Loud

After sunset, Thompson kills the theater's projectionist and perches himself on the framing inside the screen tower. While the Orlok film is shown, he begins shooting at the patrons around the lot. After Thompson wounds Orlok's secretary, Jenny, Orlok confronts Thompson, who is distracted by Orlok's simultaneous appearance before him and on the large movie screen behind him, which allows the actor to disarm Thompson using his walking cane. As the defeated Thompson shrinks into a corner, Orlok says, "Is that what I was afraid of?" Thompson is then arrested by the police; as he's taken away, he remarks with apparent satisfaction that he "hardly ever missed."


Targets The Films of Boris Karloff Targets 1968 Monster Movie Kid

The character and actions of the killer are patterned after Charles Whitman, the University of Texas sniper. The character of Byron Orlok, named after Max Schreck's vampire Count Orlok in 1922's Nosferatu, was based on Karloff himself, with a fictional component of being embittered with the movie business and wanting to retire. The role was Karloff's last appearance in a major American film.

In the film's finale at a drive-in theater, Orlok – the old-fashioned, traditional screen monster who always obeyed the rules – confronts the new, realistic, nihilistic late-1960s "monster" in the shape of a clean-cut, unassuming multiple murderer.

Bogdanovich got the chance to make Targets because Boris Karloff owed studio head Roger Corman two days' work. Corman told Bogdanovich he could make any film he liked provided he used Karloff and stayed under budget. In addition, Bogdanovich had to use clips from Corman's Napoleonic-era thriller The Terror in the movie. The clips from The Terror feature Jack Nicholson and Boris Karloff. Bogdanovich has said that Samuel Fuller provided generous help on the screenplay and refused to accept either a fee or a screen credit, so Bogdanovich named his own character Sammy Michaels (Fuller's middle name was Michael) in tribute. Fuller advised Bogdanovich to save as much money in the film's budget as possible for the film to have an action-packed conclusion.


  • Tim O'Kelly as Bobby Thompson
  • Boris Karloff as Byron Orlok
  • Arthur Peterson as Ed Loughlin
  • Monte Landis as Marshall Smith
  • Nancy Hsueh as Jenny
  • Peter Bogdanovich as Sammy Michaels
  • Reception

    American International Pictures offered to release but Bogdanovich wanted to try to see if the film could get a deal with a major studio. It was seen by Robert Evans of Paramount who bought it for $150,000, giving Corman an instant profit on the movie before it was even released.

    Although the film was written and production photography completed in late 1967, it was released after the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy in early 1968 and thus had some topical relevance to then-current events. Nevertheless, it was not very successful at the box office.

    However, Bogdanovich, who appears in the film as a young writer-director, credits it with getting him noticed by the studios, which in turn led to his directing three very successful studio films (The Last Picture Show, What's Up, Doc, and Paper Moon) in the early 1970s.

    Writing in The Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert gave the film 2.5 stars out of a possible 4. He declared, "'Targets' isn't a very good film, but it is an interesting one." Karloff's performance was "fascinating" but somehow out of place, thought Ebert, and the film would likely have been more effective as a suspense-thriller without him.

    Targets holds an 88% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 25 reviews.

  • The Elvis Costello song "Big Tears", released on his 1978 album This Year's Model, is said by Costello himself to refer to this film.
  • References

    Targets Wikipedia
    Targets IMDbTargets Rotten TomatoesTargets Roger EbertTargets

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