Targets ★★★★

Peter Bogdanovich's debut film is a chiller all right, a story of a normal middle-class man who decides to use car drivers for target practice, first on a busy road and then at a drive-in where the last film of Byron Orlok (Boris Karloff in his final major role, aged 80) is being shown.

Karloff's laconic and at times comic performance sits nicely alongside the more serious nature of Tim O'Kelly's twisted assassin who doesn't even take pleasure from his killing and never reveals a motive for becoming trigger-happy.

There are some fine shots and set pieces here - the roundabout where the children are playing, the darkness of the drive-in, the intense close-ups of the killer, the inclusion of a real vintage Karloff film (Hawks' The Criminal Code). Bogdanovich's love of cinema shines through in this part homage to classic horror and part modern thriller.

I thought the ending was a fitting one, and that Karloff's 'is that what I was afraid of?' line is one which made me smile. This was the monster of Frankenstein, after all.

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