Monday, March 22, 2010

Targets (USA. 1967)

The film geek director isn't a new phenomenon. It's existed since the beginning of time, and there's no better figure to stands as an example than director Peter Bogdanovich. His first film TARGETS is a fantastic example of weaving gold out of extremely limited means. Bogdanovich, a fanatic cinema fan, was given by Roger Corman the job to craft a picture with twenty minutes of an incomplete Gothic horror film that starred Boris Karloff and the opportunity to shoot two days of new footage with Karloff. Instead of trying to re-create it within the footage itself, Peter crafted a nearly anti-genre film about a fading film star trying to get out of the biz that runs concurrently with the story of a crazed serial killer with a trunk full of guns. Both plot lines run parallel to each other, only coming to a head in the bullet riddled climax. Not a pure tale of horror, but one of uncomfortable unease, Karloff gives an amazing performance as the tired film and Tim O'Kelly is scary boy-next-door as the sniper who just wants to kill. Stripped down to its barest elements, TARGETS works incredibly well, and is filled with a creative mind showing off his skills without seeming self conscious. Okay, maybe it is a bit much when Peter (Playing the director) shushes Boris to watch a Howard Hawks film with the words "He sure knows how to craft a story."

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