Written and directed by Peter Bogdanovich, Targets is a movie that must have been a real shocker at the time. The movie is a weird mix of the world to come but still has a foot in the older world of horror. The story itself knows this.
The movie’s main star is Boris Karloff who plays Byron Orlok, an old horror film actor who decides to retire from showbiz. He doesn’t feel like movies can compete with the current day horrors. If only he know how bad things really were…
A young director friend is trying to talk him into Oone last appearance at a drive-in theater before he rides off into the sunset of retirement.
Anyway, we cut to the other ongoing story of Bobby Thompson (no relation). Bob is a Vietnam War vet, who, like all film versions of Vietnam vets, is losing it. Bobby is having some strange ideas pop up in his head and is having a hard time getting his family to listen to him.
Eventually, he wakes up one morning and decides to act on his fantasy. He pops his wife, blows his Mom away and even plugs the poor delivery boy.
Eventually, he heads to a high position beside the California highway and starts to implement his own solution to congested traffic. He manages to get several before having to leave his location.
He eventually flees to the drive-in where Orlok is making his appearance and hides in the screen with a perfect field of fire at all the people sitting in their cars watching the horror movie. Sitting in their cars it takes a while before they realize what is going on.
Targets is a great movie. Sad to say not many people have even heard of it these days. I can imagine it was pretty shocking stuff at the time. Obviously inspired by Chuck Whitman just a few years earlier. It isn’t as shocking on a modern audience with all the horrors we’ve had to see but it’s still damned good.
Bobby is as nuts as it gets, and Tim O’Kelly really plays it expertly. Bobby seems like the all American Boy scout guy who you’d want dating your daughter if your name was Ward Cleaver. Right up until he blows your guts out because of a wild urge he had.