6.6/10
6,671
113 user 63 critic

When a Stranger Calls (1979)

A psychopathic killer terrorizes a babysitter, then returns seven years later to menace her again.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Kirsten Larkin ...
William Boyett ...
Sgt. Sacker (as Bill Boyett)
...
...
Heetu ...
Houseboy
...
Tony Beckley ...
...
...
Joseph Reale ...
Bartender (as Joe Reale)
Ed Wright ...
Retired Man
Louise Wright ...
Retired Woman
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Storyline

High school student Jill Johnson is traumatized over an evening of babysitting by a caller who repeatedly asks, "Have you checked the children lately?" After notifying the police, Jill is told that the calls are coming from inside the house... Written by Betsy Bloomley <betsybloom@juno.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

...Fear is the Message! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 October 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

'n maniak belt op...  »

Box Office

Budget:

$740,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the first part of the movie in which Jill is at the Mandrakis' house babysitting, she can be briefly heard humming the chorus of Don McLean's song "American Pie". See more »

Goofs

Although it is most certainly not the actor's (Tony Beckley's) fault because he was terminally ill during production, the killer Curt Duncan looks far too physically frail to have realistically torn two children apart with his bare hands. See more »

Quotes

Jill Johnson: [thinking it's Curt again] Leave me alone!
Sgt. Sacker: Jill, this is sergeant Sacker. Listen to me. We've traced the call... it's coming from inside the house. Now a squad car's coming over there right now, just get out of that house!
See more »


Soundtracks

Space Race
Performed by Billy Preston
Courtesy of A&M Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Solid Horror Creep Fest
12 May 2010 | by (your daughters bedroom) – See all my reviews

If you like to watch horror films to challenge your comfort zone and get some real chills running down your spine. When A Stranger Calls(1979) is a pretty good bet to do the job. This film builds its tension quite well, partly by using well chosen and well placed music to increase the creepiness. Rather than resorting to needlessly overdone gore; This film relies mostly on the old tried and tested power of suggestion to mount most of its suspense and scare factor. A much more effective method in my view, and there is strong evidence of this here.

Make no mistake, this film is no masterpiece. It has its flaws. I found a couple of parts pretty unconvincing. Such as how easily John Clifford is able to convince Mrs.Mandrakis to let him in, and then help him. The execution of this part is a little weak. However that really doesn't take away from the films eerie feel and overall horror enjoyment. The film is pretty well paced, and kept leaving me wanting to see what was going to happen next; Where as many other horror films leave me not even caring what happens next. The acting here is pretty solid all the way around, and the direction is decent.

Usually I would rate a decent film like this, with a couple of somewhat unconvincing parts a 6 out of 10. However this film is definitely very effective in what it sets out to do. Which is of course to give the viewer some real creepy thrills. So I find it hard to give this any less than a 7. I got from it exactly what I had hoped. It could have been a little better in some areas, but all in all it's a pretty solid film. So as far as horror films go, this is in the upper echelon in my view.

Note: I only decided to watch this film based on an interview I saw with actress Jennifer Connelly on The Late Show with David Letterman. She basically said that this film scared the crap out of her. So being the film nut I am, I figured it was worth a look. And it was, so I owe thanks to her.

7/10


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Cellphone in 1979? Detectiveblue
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This film's scary as hell alexis-jonke
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