6.6/10
7,046
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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At the snobby Crawford Academy, Virginia's group of friends start to go missing years after horrible events that happened to her as a child around her birthday.

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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)
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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

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

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

[Curt calls Jill on the phone]
Jill Johnson: You really scared me, if that's what you wanted. Is that what you wanted?
Curt Duncan: No.
Jill Johnson: What do you want?
Curt Duncan: Your blood all over me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Shivers (1995) 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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