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When a Stranger Calls (1979)

6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 5,477 users  
Reviews: 106 user | 52 critic

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 »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fred Walton originally shot this film as a short entitled 'The Sitter', which was essentially the opening 20 minutes of 'When A Stranger Calls'. However after the huge success of Halloween (1978) Walton saw the potential of expanding the short into a full-length feature. The script was then expanded into a feature length film about the pursuit of villain Curt Duncan. See more »

Goofs

When Jill has a drink at the wet bar, the grandfather clock is visible in the shot, about a foot to the right of the bar. In all other shots the clock is about four to five feet from the bar, much closer to the hallway. See more »

Quotes

Curt Duncan: [whispering, to Jill] You can't see me, but I had to come back. Don't you know why?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mom: Broken Dreams and Blocked Arteries (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Huelga En General
Performed by El Teatro Campesino
Courtesy of Menyah Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Great opening and ending--lousy middle
20 March 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A girl (Carol Kane) is babysitting one night. She keeps getting phone calls from a guy saying "Have you checked the children". (They're upstairs sleeping). The phone calls continue. She gets nervous (and never checks the children). She calls the police. They trace the calls--they're coming from INSIDE the house...

This was a big hit in 1979 with teenagers--despite the R rating kids were let into this one. It does have a great opening 20 minutes and a pretty scary ending--but the middle is dull dull dull. It involves the killer (well played by Tony Beckley) stalking an older woman (Colleen Dewhurst slumming) and a police detective (Charles Durning--also slumming) after him.

Good performances save the middle half from being totally unbearable, and there is good direction from Fred Walton. But all in all this is a mediocre thriller. Still, I'm giving it a 7 for the opening, the closing and the acting.


16 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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