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Byron Orlok (Boris Karloff) is an old-time horror movie star on the vergre of retirement. His path wouldn't ordinarly cross with somebody like Bobby Thompson (Tim O'Kelly), but on one fateful day at a drive-in movie theater where Orlok is making a final public appearance, somehow it does. The thing is Thompson has an obsession with guns, and on this very day, he's snapped, shooting drivers on the L.A. freeway. The tension and terror build, surely and slowly in this original, chilling and uncanny thriller from Peter Bagdonovich.
Fun Fact: This is Peter Bogdanovich's directorial debut and co-crafted the story with his then-wife, Polly Platt (who would later make her name as a producer in her own right at Gracie Films).
Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the picture hasn't been cleaned up at all and looks average at best. There are good sides to it and bad sides to it, but it can be forgiven a little given the movie is over 35 years old. The bad is how dirty it looks... scratches, lines, blemishes, nicks and dirt pieces are all over the place and is distracting right from the start. The image is a bit soft and faded, but retains some sharpness. On the good, fleshtones look very nice, color saturation is strong and detail is pretty impeccable. It's not perfect, but it will do.
You only get English mono here (Dolby Digital style), and it sounds pretty good and fits the movie well. I'm sure a 5.1 mix would have been decent if it was possible to create one, but I still say not every "old" movie needs to be remixed. The dialogue is clear and easy to hear, the music sounds particuarly good and the sound effects have their own charm to them (mainly the ones in the horror film at the start and the gun firing). However, the track has its limits and there is a good amount of background hiss in the background. It doesn't overtake the main sound elements, but it's a bit annoying. Also included are English subtitles and English closed captions.
It's not packed, but there is some substantial stuff here that will please anyone who has liked the film. Peter Bogdanovich has recorded a audio commentary for the movie, and like usual, he's provided a great track that is filled with tons of information on the making of the movie. It's astounding how detailed he is and how much he remembers about the shoot. He talks about shooting locations, technical tricks, how much he enjoyed working with Boris Karloff, how Karloff was one-fifth of the film's budget and a whole lot more as far as production anecdotes go. It's a very interesting and very entertaining track that is well worth your time if you enjoyed the movie or if you're a fan of Bogdanovich, so don't miss it.
There's also an introduction by the director. This isn't some dinky little thing that's under a minute... it's probably one of the longest introductions I've seen on DVD, at nearly 14 minutes long. Like usual, Bogdanovich is frank and candid and offers quite a few production details (just in case you skip the commentary). He offers many tidbits against footage of the film and a variety of stills, in how he was offered the project, how he had to use existing footage and how it all came together. It's pretty fascinating to learn how "Targets" was formed, so if you liked the movie, this is a strong watch.
Retail Price: $9.99
Features: Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Peter Bogdanovich, Introduction by Peter Bogdanovich
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital Mono, English Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (21 Scenes)
Released: August 12th, 2003
MPAA Rating: R (For Violent Content)
Running Time: 90 minutes
Starring: Boris Karloff, Tim O'Kelly, Nancy Hsueh, James Brown and Sandy Baron as Kip Larkin
Written by: Peter
Directed by: Peter Bogdanovich