Targets/Fun Facts

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

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  • Roger Corman told Peter Bogdanovich he could make any film he wanted to, with two conditions: he had to use stock footage from The Terror (1963), and he had to hire Boris Karloff for two days (Karloff was under contract and owed Corman those two days). Karloff was so impressed with the script that he refused pay for any shooting time over his contracted two days. He worked for a total of five days on the movie.
  • By the time this film was made (November-December 1967), 80-year-old Boris Karloff was in very poor health with emphysema along with rheumatoid arthritis, and had only one-half of one lung left and spent the time between takes in a wheelchair with an oxygen mask on. He also had braces on both legs, and had difficulty standing or walking without his cane; the weakness of his legs is visible in some scenes. Fortunately, Karloff lived long enough to view the completed film as well as enjoy the accolades he deserved for his performance.
  • The sequence with Bobby Thompson shooting people in cars driving on a freeway from the top of an oil storage tank was loosely inspired by the Highway 101 sniper attack where on April 25, 1965, a 16-year-old alienated youth, named Michael Andrew Clark, shot at motorists from a hilltop along Highway 101 just south of Orcutt, California, killing three and injuring 10 others before committing suicide. Prior to the shooting spree, Clark left behind a note vowing to make his parents "die a thousand times in court" for his actions, and he was right; a lawsuit was brought against Clark's parents by two of the victim's families for mistreating and not raising their son well, and negligence for allowing Clark access to the hunting rifle used for the shooting spree.
  • Peter Bogdanovich planned to have Boris Karloff actually appear in the film for about 20 minutes with two days of filming, and have the stock footage from The Terror (1963) add another 20 minutes of screen time for Karloff. In the final movie, Karloff is actually on screen (not counting the scenes from "The Terror") for about 30 minutes and shot all his scenes in five days.
  • Aside from background music played on a car radio, there is no musical soundtrack for the movie.
  • Voices of Joey Bishop and announcer Regis Philbin can be heard in background, excerpted from Bishop's late night ABC TV talk show of late Sixties.
  • Frank Marshall's parents and then-girlfriend appear as film-goers at the drive-in scenes. The film's dolly grip also appears, as the father shot, to the horror of his son who is sitting next to him in one of the cars.
  • Drive-in scenes were shot at the since-closed Reseda Drive-In Theatre in Reseda, CA, as clearly shown on the marquee and screen tower. Early in the movie, the Sepulveda Drive-In in Van Nuys is briefly shown in the background as Bobby drives down the highway. On the DVD commentary, Peter Bogdanovich incorrectly credits this as being the Reseda Drive-In.
  • Peter Bogdanovich named his own character "Sammy Michaels" after Samuel Fuller (whose middle name is "Michael") in gratitude for the work Fuller did on the script.
  • The story Orlok tells of the servant fleeing death is W. Somerset Maugham's short story "The Appointment in Samarra."
  • Shot in 22 days and completed in December 1967 (copyright 1967). Due to its controversial nature, Paramount only released it after inserting a written prologue denouncing gun violence.
  • According to Peter Bogdanovich's introduction to the film on the DVD, the scene in which Sammy wakes up with a hangover and is jolted when the first thing he sees is Byron Orlok originally called for him to laugh at himself, but he couldn't manage it. Boris Karloff suggested the bit that is actually used in the film - and ad-libbed Orlok's start when he unexpectedly confronts himself in a mirror, as well.
  • The sets for Bobby Thompson's home and for Orlok's hotel room are the same set pieces, with some redressing and a new paint job.
  • The sniping scene at the oil tank was shot without a sound technician. All the noises were added in post.
  • The shooter can be heard taking a breath and holding it before each shot when he fires. This is the correct way for a sniper to steady his weapon before pulling the trigger. But when he fires shots at the moving vehicles on the freeway, the crosshairs are centered on the driver or the passenger - which would cause the shooter to miss, because he's not "leading" his rapidly moving targets. However, director Peter Bogdanovich did this because audiences would not understand why the shooter was aiming well ahead of each vehicle before he fired. They would expect all his shots to miss if the shooter had done this.
  • The house in which Tim O'Kelly's clean-cut character lives with his happy family is given a fantasy look by the cartoonish colors of the walls in each room, and the strange lack of doorknobs on many interior doors. The sparse wall decorations and the smallness of the rooms gives the house a claustrophobic look. Director Peter Bogdanovich did all this to reflect the warped fairy-tale nature of the deranged young shooter's life.
  • When Bobby writes out the check to buy the sniper rifle, he writes the check out to Boris Karloff.
  • In the beginning credits of the movie, it states, "Radio music supplied by Charles Greene and Brian Stone". The music that they used was "Green Rocky Road", performed by the band "The Daily Flash", which Greene and Stone managed.
  • When film cameras, which run at 24 frames per second, film directly off the screen of US televisions, which run at 30 fps, the result is a dark or light bar across the image, rolling from top to bottom. To avoid this effect in the scene when Sammy and Orlok are watching The Criminal Code (1931), in most shots a film picture was matted in over the TV screen, giving a steady picture with no bar. However, according to Peter Bogdanovich's DVD commentary, they couldn't afford to use a matte for the establishing shot for the scene, which pans across the TV's screen, so the bar appears in that shot and only that shot (in Europe, where the TV frame rate is 25 fps, often they simply run the film camera at 25 fps also, for shots with a TV picture in them).
  • Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
  • When Roger Corman hired Bogdanovich to direct, Corman asked if Bogdanovich was familiar with the directorial styles of Alfred Hitchcock and Howard Hawks with Hitchcock's work being very concise, efficient and organized while Hawks opted for a more kinetic shooting style that was partly improvised without much organization. Corman advised Bogdanovich to shoot like Hitchcock.
  • (at around 50 mins) The horror story which Orlok (Boris Karloff) tells directly to the audience in his distinctive voice - about a man in ancient times who flees to another city because he believes Death is planning to take him at a certain time and place - is similar to the wonderful stories by mystery writer Michael Avallone for a 1950s radio program called "The Frightened". Karloff's powerful delivery of the stories were accompanied by chilling background music and sound effects (including screams, gasps, and terrified pleas for help). In the early 1960s, Mercury Records released thirteen of the stories on two albums entitled "Tales of the Frightened" (volume 1 and 2). They can be heard at Archive.org. Karloff also recorded an album called "Tales of Mystery and Imagination", which includes The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
  • Samuel Fuller advised Peter Bogdanovich to save as much money as possible, in order to have the film's climax be as epic as it could be.
  • Was edited into a GP rated version and re-released in 1971 in order to capitalize on the popularity of The Last Picture Show (1971)
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