Thursday, July 8, 2010

Targets (1968)

What do Roger Corman, Peter Bogdanovich, Boris Karloff and deranged Texas sniper Charles Whitman have in common? Targets, the 1968 Corman produced exploit flick that sought to mix silver screen behind the scenes drama with the violent current events of the mid 1960s.

Tim O'Kelly plays the young insurance salesman slowly unraveling ostensibly due to his experience in Viet Nam. On the other side of town a self-centered and eccentric director played by Peter Bogdanovich (of course) is trying to convince Karloff, the aging horror star, not to quit the business. He's got a new script cultivated straight from the current newspaper headlines, a mysterious story of real modern terror and he needs Karloff to make the picture.

After a few veiled warnings and a half-hearted attempt to explain his troubling thoughts to his wife our insurance salesman loses it. He guns down his family in their own home and heads for a nearby oil tank field where he can find his vantage point and start picking off drivers on the LA freeway. The whole thing ends with a showdown at the local drive-in. Karloff, Bogdanovich, et al. are there for the big bloody finish. An absurdist finale if there ever was one.

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