Targets (1967)

USA, 1967
35mm film, Pathecolor, 1.85:1
mono, English

An American borderline horror film directed by Peter Bogdanovich.

Plot Summary

Ageing horror film star Byron Orlok is feeling out of date and unwanted, an anachronism in an age where his films can no longer compete with real-life violence. While a hopeful young director tries to lure him out of semi-retirement to make one last film, Bobby Thompson is arming himself with a high-power rifle, taking position at the top of a water tower and is preparing to start shooting…


* = uncredited

Directed by: Peter Bogdanovich
© MCMLXVII [1967] by Saticoy Productions
A Paramount picture. A Saticoy production
Executive Producer: Roger Corman *
Produced by: Peter Bogdanovich
Associate Producer: Daniel Selznick
Screenplay by: Peter Bogdanovich
Story by: Polly Platt and Peter Bogdanovich; Samuel Fuller *
Director of Photography: Laszlo Kovacs
Editor: Peter Bogdanovich *
Radio Music Produced by: Charles Greene and Brian Stone
Sound: Sam Kopetzky
Costume Designer: Polly Platt *
Makeup: Scott Hamilton
Special Effects: Gary Kent *
Production Designer: Polly Platt
Locations: Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles, California, USA; Sepulveda Drive-In Theater, Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California, USA [all uncredited]

Boris Karloff (Byron Orlok)
Tim O’Kelly (Bobby Thompson)
Nancy Hsueh (Jenny)
James Brown (Robert Thompson Sr)
Arthur Peterson (Ed Loughlin)
Mary Jackson (Charlotte Thompson)
Tanya Morgan (Ilene Thompson)
Sandy Baron as Kip Larkin
Monty Landis (Marshall Smith)
Paul Condylis (drive-in manager)
Mark Dennis (salesman (2nd gunshop))
Stafford Morgan (salesman (1st gunshop))
Peter Bogdanovich (Sammy Michaels)
Daniel Ades (chauffeur)
Tim Burns (waiter)
Warren White (grocery boy)
Geraldine Baron (Larkin’s girl)
Gary Kent (gas tank worker)
Ellie Wood Walker (woman on freeway)
Frank Marshall (ticket boy)

Alternative Titles

Before I Die
Bersagli – Italian title
Bewegliche Ziele – German title
El héroe anda suelto – Spanish title
Levande mål – Swedish title

Includes extracts from
The Terror (1963)

See also
Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)
Scream Queen Hot Tub Party (1991)


Variety 15 May 1968 p.26 (USA)
“Peter Bogdanovich, former writer about films turned screenwriter – producer – director, has made a film of much suspense and implicit violence. […] Although some blood and gore are shown, it is minute in comparison with most film product today. Aware of the virtue of implied violence, rather than explicit brutality, director Bogdanovich conveys moments of shock, terror, suspense and fear. Feats are all the more remarkable in the face of typical low-budget shortcomings: underexposition here, overexposition there, sometimes distended visual bridges, and all other compromises with story development necessitated by fiscal limitations.” – from a review by Murf

Monthly Film Bulletin vol.36 no.421 (February 1969) p.29 (UK)
“Considering its very dubious premise, aggravated by a silly prefatory title for which Peter Bogdanovich was evidently not responsible and which hints at sociological implications to come (“Why gun control?” it asks, citing such examples as the Texan sniper of June, 1966, and concluding “This motion picture tells a story that sheds some light on a dark and deep topic”), Targets is a remarkably sympathetic first film. […] Targets is mostly enjoyable and certainly likeable; especially since, for all its Hitchcock nods and quotes, Bogdanovich’s direction subscribes to his own remark in the film, as he watches The Criminal Code on TV, that Hawks really could tell a story. Targets tells its story beautifully, above all in the way in which the killer’s distress signals can be seen but not heard before his breakdown, and in the calm, dispassionate way in which the modern horror is shown as stalking, not dark nights and cobwebby castles, but neat suburban homes and open spaces, barely ruffling their complacent surface as it passes. […] Targets certainly hits a raw, genuinely modern nerve, whatever its overall message.” – from a review by Tom Milne


Chaplin no.4 (October 1959) p.81 126-127 – review
Cinema vol.4 no.1 (Spring 1968) p.30 – review
Empire no.179 (May 2004) p.150 – illustrated DVD review (Rwd by AS)
Fangoria no.227 (October 2003) p.73 – illustrated DVD review (DVD Dungeon by Matthew Kiernan)
Film Score Monthly vol.8 no.7 (August 2003) p.44 – DVD review (The laserphile: scary tricks and treats by Andy Dursin)
Films and Filming vol.16 no.2 (November 1969) p.50 – review
The Hollywood Reporter vol.200 no.42 (6 May 1968) p.3 – credits, review
Kine Weekly no.3196 (11 Jan 1969) p.8 – review
Monthly Film Bulletin vol.36 no.421 (February 1969) pp.28-29 – credits, synopsis, review (by Tom Milne)
Motion Picture Herald vol.238 no.33 (14 August 1968) p.841 – review
Movie no.15 (1968) p.32 – note
Sight & Sound vol.37 no.4 (Autumn 1968) pp.188-189 – article
Today’s Cinema no.9621 (10 Jan 1969) p.8 – review
Variety 15 May 1968 p.26 – credits, review (by Murf)

The 100 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen by Richard Crouse p.209-211 – review
The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.200 – illustrated credits, review
Boris Karloff: A Critical Account of His Screen, Stage, Radio, Television, and Recording Work by Scott Allen Nollen pp.318-332; 398 – illustrated review; credits
Cult Movies: A Hundred Ways to Find the Reel Thing (London: Vermilion (1982)) – article (by Danny Peary)
Cult Movies: the Classics, the Sleepers, the Weird and the Wonderful (New York: Dell Publishing Company (1981) – article (by Danny Peary)
Feature Films, 1960-1969: A Filmography of English-language and Major Foreign-language United States Releases by Harris M. Lentz III p.453 – credits
Kine & TV Year Book 1970 p.115 – credits
Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.475 – credits
Sixties Shockers by Mark Clark and Bryan Senn pp.378-380 – illustrated credits, review