(1968, Dir. by Peter Bogdanovich.)
Why It's Here:
A lot of horror fans talk about how horror movies were now and also talk about how horror movies were "back then". Back then, to me, signifies a time when the supernatural reigned supreme and when "scary" stories were more about the unknown and less about the uninhibited. And no film illustrated the state of horror like Targets, a wonderfully plotted human horror film that allowed Boris Karloff to show off his understanding of the genre one last time.
The Moment That Changes Everything:
Though Karloff is pulling back the curtain on his well-known persona throughout the film, but in the film's final scenes we get one last glimpse of the Karloff we know and love. And his reaction to the human killer that he faces off with is one of my favorite moments in horror history.
It Makes a Great Double Feature With:
For more late Karloff greatness - at a much sillier pace - I can never get enough of The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini. I know, the combination of hard nosed serial killer film and goofy party ghost story seems a little sweet and salty for some tastes, but the pair of films should give a good indication of just how much fun the late Karloff was having with his infamous name at his age.
What It Means To Me:
Targets is truly one of my favorite films in any genre, because it's such a fascinating time capsule for cinema history. Openly spoofing a real film - The Terror, which Karloff starred in for Roger Corman five years earlier - and asking plenty of questions about society's response to the genre, Bogdanovich and Karloff manage to come together with a special story that works on many levels. You might doubt its horror status at times, but when young Tim O'Kelly starts to take aim at the unsuspecting the film becomes very tense and very wonderful. Most of the films left on this list deserve the "one-of-a-kind" label, but I truly don't think I've ever seen a film that accomplishes the same things Targets does.