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September 11, 2012

The Mike's Top 50 Horror Movies Countdown: #15 - Targets

Previously on the Countdown: Number 50 - Happy Birthday to Me  Number 49 - Prince of Darkness  Number 48 - House on Haunted Hill  Number 47 - The Monster Squad  Number 46 - Hellraiser  Number 45 - The Fog  Number 44 - Creature From the Black Lagoon  Number 43 - Zombie  Number 42 - Tales from the Crypt  Number 41 - Bubba Ho-Tep  Number 40 - Phantom of the Paradise  Number 39 - Dog Soldiers Number 38 - Pontypool  Number 37 - Dark Water  Number 36 - Army of Darkness Number 35 - The Legend of Hell House  Number 34 - Poltergeist  Number 33 - The Abominable Dr. Phibes  Number 32 - The Phantom of the Opera  Number 31 - The House of the Devil   Number 30 - Evil Dead II  Number 29 - Dead of Night  Number 28 - Carnival of Souls  Number 27 - Nosferatu  Number 26 - Candyman  Number 25 - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre  Number 24 - Horror of Dracula  Number 23 - The Wicker Man  Number 22 - Suspiria  Number 21 - The Omen  Number 20 - Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told  Number 19 - Rosemary's Baby  Number 18 - The Devil Rides Out  Number 17 - The Blob  Number 16 - Gremlins
(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.

1 comment:

deadlydolls said...

Nice pick. I need to rewatch this. Really enjoyed it the first time and I wonder why it's not discussed more amongst genre film criticism.