Targets ★★★½

Samuel Fuller, Roger Corman, László Kovács, Peter Bogdanovich, and Boris Karloff round out an all-star team in this low-budget, hard-hitting thriller.

In Targets, Karloff plays a shadow of himself, aging horror star Byron Orlok. Orlok is tired of playing ghastly, and despite a promising new script compliments of a young filmmaker (Bogdanovich), Orlok announces his immediate retirement. Meanwhile, square-jawed, clean-cut, Mr. American Dream, Bobby Thompson (Tim O'Kelly) is driving around town in a white Mustang with a trunk loaded with guns. Despite his seemingly idyllic life, Bobby's brain is squirmin' like a toad. He's got an itch, and he's going to scratch it. It's just a matter of time.

There is plenty Targets does right. Not to discredit Karloff's performance, but violence is the star here. With no score, other than a couple of songs on the radio, and a low budget aesthetic, Targets feels more like a documentary. The violence hits you right in the gut, and the climax at the drive-in is nauseating. Despite Corman's infamous low budget, Bogdanovich and cinematographer Kovács still manage to give Targets some flair. Bobby's family home has such a strange and idyllic quality to it - a '50s nuclear dream... and nightmare.

The weakest part about Targets is its plot. Orlock and Bobby's stories just don't mesh, and it feels like there's two different movies playing at the same time. Well, three movies, actually, since Corman required Bogdanovich to use stock footage from The Terror, and boy does he use it. Overall, more efforts should have been made to get these stories to intertwine, instead of having them collide at the end.

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