• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


Farm-Fresh balance.pngYMMVTransmit blue.pngRadarWikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotes • (Emoticon happy.pngFunnyHeart.pngHeartwarmingSilk award star gold 3.pngAwesome) • Refridgerator.pngFridgeGroup.pngCharactersScript edit.pngFanfic RecsSkull0.pngNightmare FuelRsz 1rsz 2rsz 1shout-out icon.pngShout OutMagnifier.pngPlotGota icono.pngTear JerkerBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersHelp.pngTriviaWMGFilmRoll-small.pngRecapRainbow.pngHo YayPhoto link.pngImage LinksNyan-Cat-Original.pngMemesHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconicLibrary science symbol .svg SourceSetting

File:Targets01 7527.png

Targets is a 1968 horror thriller (produced by Roger Corman, directed by Peter Bogdanovich) that focuses on two men in Los Angeles. One is Byron Orlock (Boris Karloff), an aging and beloved horror film actor who has announced his decision to retire from film-making, feeling that Real Life is churning out more and far worse horrors than anything he can hope to put on screen. The other is young Vietnam vet Bobby Thompson (Tim O'Kelly) who unknowingly sets out to prove Orlock's point when he finally snaps under the soulless banality of his existence, gathers up an arsenal, and goes on a shooting spree. Inevitably, the paths of the two men cross...

A worthy coda for Karloff's career, and a symbolic passing of the torch from one generation of filmmakers to the next.

Targets contains examples of:

  • Affably Evil: After killing his wife and mother, Thompson, while buying numerous rounds (that wouldn't be a big deal back in the 1960s, or in Texas today), casually carries on a conversation with the gun store owner.
  • Bedmate Reveal: Orlock and Sammy get drunk and end up falling asleep in Sammy's bedroom. Sammy has a bad dream and startles himself awake:

 Orlock: (suffering from Hangover Sensitivity) Why did you yell?!

Sammy: I was having a nightmare and I woke up next to Byron Orlock!

Orlock: (sourly) Very funny.

  • Cool Old Guy: Both Boris Karloff and the character he's playing, Byron Orlock. Karloff was a nice guy in Real Life (and he even worked on this film for free when it ran over the two days he owed Corman), and Orlock is pretty much the same.
    • He also proves to be a Badass Grandpa at the end, when he finally comes face-to-face with the sniper: he walks straight into the line of fire, uses his cane to knock the gun away and brings the young whipper-snapper to his knees with a few well-placed slaps.
  • Crapsack World: One of Orlock's reasons for retiring is that the real world is becoming more horrifying than the scary movies he made. Considering how Thompson's shooting spree was based on the real-life Whitman shootings, he's depressingly correct.
  • Drive-In Theater: Where the climax of the film takes place.
  • End of an Age: Orlock's retirement signals an end to the Monster and Mad Scientist era of horror films... with Thompson's shooting spree signaling the beginning of the next wave of horror based on human evils like serial killers.
  • Executive Meddling: A positive example, in that the film wouldn't have been made in the first place, except Karloff owed the ever-frugal Corman two days of filming; as already noted, Karloff was so impressed with the resulting script, he volunteered the needed extra shooting time for free.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: All of Orlock's scenes are shot in mellow autumnal shades, while Thompson's are cold sterile blues.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: The screenwriter Sammy Michaels is played by Bogdanovich himself.
    • Mike Farrell, the guy caught in the Phone Booth, went on to play B.J. Hunnicutt in MASH.
  • I Am Not Spock: Orlock is Karloff with the serial numbers lightly sanded off. Almost counts as an As Himself trope.
    • Except that in Real Life Karloff wasn't about to retire, and seemed happy to make this film.
  • Let Me Tell You a Story: Orlock gives a lovely recitation of the story "An Appointment in Samarra".
  • Mad Hatter: Like his real-life inspiration Whitman, Thompson types up a note calmly detailing what he is about to do.
  • Malevolent Architecture: The decor of Thompson's suburban home could drive anyone crazy.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Orlok, obviously. He's built up a career playing monsters and maniacs, but off-camera he's clearly very kind and classy (again, just like Karloff himself). Thompson is the exact opposite; while he maintains the facade of a cheerful, normal, All-American youth, he really seems to be a Complete Monster on the inside.
  • Meaningful Name: Byron Orlock. The last name is borrowed from Count Orlock of Nosferatu, the first name from Lord Byron.
  • Mirror Scare: At one point Orlock is startled by his own reflection, a bit suggested by Karloff himself.
    • During the final shooting spree, Thompson is unable to determine which Orlock to shoot at - the one onscreen at the drive-in theater or the one coming right at him.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The film has no music soundtrack, except for a tune heard on a car radio.
  • Shout-Out: Karloff's earlier films are referenced in this film as being part of Orlock's career; using the footage was part of the deal with Corman.
    • The screenwriter's name Sammy Michaels was named for Samuel Fuller, who helped write the film's screenplay.
  • The Sixties
  • Stealth Insult:

 Kip Larkin: Mr. O, I must have dug your flicks like four zillion times! You blew my mind!

Orlock: Obviously.