6.6/10
6,978
115 user 65 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:

$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 marked Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Donald Peterman's feature film debut as director of photography. See more »

Goofs

Based on the year the film took place, 1 minute would not be nearly long enough to trace Curt's call. Back when the movie was set, it would've taken 10-20 minutes for several switchboards and circuits to locate the origin of the call. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in DVD-R Hell: Too Smart for Strangers (2011) 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

 
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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