6.6/10
6,899
115 user 64 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:

A Terrifying Classic! 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)
 »

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

The film is based on the infamous babysitter-and-the-man-upstairs urban legend, which has been an element in several horror films but is most closely associated with this film. 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

Stevie Lockart: Hi Mom!
Bianca Lockart: Hi Mommy!
Jill Johnson: Hi guys, look what the wind blew in. Play hard?
Stevie Lockart: Yeah.
Jill Johnson: Yeah? You hungry?
Stevie Lockart: Yeah.
Jill Johnson: What do you want for dinner?
Stevie Lockart: Hamburgers.
Jill Johnson: Hamburgers?
[to Bianca]
[...]
See more »

Connections

References Five Minutes to Live (1961) 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

 
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.


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