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Karloff in effect plays himself as Byron Orlok, a horror star on the point of retiring, who suddenly confronts the reality of contemporary American horror in the form of a psychopathic sniper (O'Kelly) picking off anyone he can see with a vast artillery of weapons. Bogdanovich was given the money to make the film by Roger Corman, who also allowed him to use extensive footage from Corman's Poe movie The Terror in the sequences at the drive-in cinema where the confrontation takes place. The result is a fascinatingly complex commentary on American mythology, exploring the relationship between the inner world of the imagination and the outer world of violence and paranoia, both of which were relevant to contemporary American traumas. It was Bogdanovich's first film, and despite his subsequent success, he has yet to come up with anything half as remarkable.

Release details

Duration: 90 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Screenwriter: Peter Bogdanovich
Cast: Boris Karloff
Tim O'Kelly
Nancy Hsueh
James Brown
Sandy Baron
Arthur Peterson
Peter Bogdanovich
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