Watch Targets

""I just killed my wife and my mother. I know they'll get me. But before that, many more will die...""
  • R
  • 1968
  • 1 hr 30 min
  • 7.3  (11,257)

Targets is a 1968 drama-thriller directed by Peter Bogdanovich, starring Tim O'Kelly, Boris Karloff, and Arthur Peterson. The film takes place in Los Angeles, California, following a young man named Bobby Thompson, played by O'Kelly, as he embarks on a shooting spree inspired by real-life mass murderer Charles Whitman. The movie begins with veteran horror actor Byron Orlok, played by Karloff in one of his last film appearances, finishing his latest movie premiere. However, he decides to retire from the film industry, feeling that the horror genre no longer holds any real terror for modern audiences. Orlok's decision coincides with the sudden outbreak of violence in the city, as Thompson, a clean-cut, white-collar young man, kills his family and then moves on to opening fire at multiple locations across town, before ultimately heading to a drive-in theater to continue his rampage.

As the two storylines intertwine, Thompson's shooting spree leads him to the drive-in theater that Orlok is attending as a promotional appearance, setting the stage for a tense standoff between the would-be murderer and the aging actor. Orlok, however, sees an opportunity to come out of retirement and use his talents for a good cause, seizing the moment to confront Thompson outside the theater in a chilling final scene.

Through the deconstruction of Orlok's cinematic persona and Thompson's gradual descent into madness, Targets offers a thoughtful reflection on the nature of violence and the changing face of horror in the late 1960s. Alongside the central narrative tracks, the film makes several observations about the evolving social and cultural context of the time, with discussions on Vietnam, the counterculture movement, and the decline of traditional values.

The movie is notable for offering an early example of an American film dealing with both the public's newfound fascination with violence, and the widespread disillusionment with the existing social order. The film explores these issues without glorifying the violence or the killers, portraying Thompson as a troubled young man struggling to find meaning in his life, rather than a true villain deserving of punishment.

The film's director, Peter Bogdanovich, uses a subtle and contemplative approach to explore the issues at hand, making the movie a sobering work of social commentary, rather than a typical slasher or exploitation flick. The performances of Karloff and O'Kelly, both in their own ways, encapsulate the essence of the picture, with Karloff offering a nuanced, self-aware portrayal of a genre titan at the end of his career, while O'Kelly gives a haunting, understated performance as the disturbed and disillusioned Thompson.

In conclusion, Targets is a gripping, thought-provoking thriller that effectively explores how violence, despair, and a lack of direction can drive ordinary people to commit horrific acts. The film's deft examination of the horror genre, aging stars, and societal upheaval make it both a poignant reflection of its era and an enduring work of art for the ages. The movie remains a startling reminder of just how potent horror can be when it tackles real-world issues head-on.

Targets is a 1968 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3.

Where to Watch Targets
Targets is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Targets for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 30 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (11,257)