6.6/10
7,292
116 user 66 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:
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Kirsten Larkin ...
William Boyett ...
Sgt. Sacker (as Bill Boyett)
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Heetu ...
Houseboy
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...
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:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The script to the film's original shooting draft specifies that the setting is supposed to take place in 1971. 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: [on the phone, after Curt calls her at the restaurant] Sharon? Please, do me a favor. Just tell me truthfully, when was the last time you CHECKED MY CHILDREN?
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Connections

Referenced in Nightmare (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Huelga En General
Performed by El Teatro Campesino
Courtesy of Menyah Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A sharp, unnerving chiller!
23 October 2008 | by (Brentwood, USA) – See all my reviews

Near-classic suspense film takes some inspiration from such classic horror movies as Black Christmas (1974) and Halloween (1978), and proves to be a worthy follower!

Lunatic terrorizes babysitter via telephone, now years later he is on the loose again. Will a private investigator be able to stop him before he reaches his earlier victim's family?

While the mid-portions of this film become a bit more of a crime-drama, the opening sequences and the grand finale are truly scary! Director Fred Walton builds atmosphere and extreme tension so well that even as we can guess the out come of a scene it's still terribly intense! Walton keeps the story intriguing through out, delivering some awesome moments of edge-of-your-seat suspense. Also adding nicely to the moodiness of this film is the eerie music of Dana Kapraff.

The cast is very good. The great Charles During does a solid job as the PI. Carol Kane is captivating as the babysitter turned victim. But perhaps best of all is the late Tony Beckley. Beckley makes for a completely scary madman, but oddly enough manages to create some sympathy for his character!

When a Stranger Calls is a too often over-looked thriller. For those seeking a film with some terrific suspense, it's an excellent choice!

Followed by a television sequel in 1993.

*** 1/2 out of ****


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