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When a Stranger Calls (1979)

R  |   |  Horror, Thriller  |  26 October 1979 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 5,984 users  
Reviews: 109 user | 57 critic

A psychopathic killer terrorizes a babysitter, then returns seven years later to menace her again.

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Title: When a Stranger Calls (1979)

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A babysitter is menaced by mysterious and frightening phone calls.

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Edit

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
Edit

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:

Every babysitter's nightmare becomes real... See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

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

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

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Monster A-Go Go (1993) 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

 
Have you checked the children?
23 October 2000 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

"When a Stranger Calls" is a somewhat entertaining horror-suspense-thriller that starts off great, loses steam in the middle, then comes back for a good finish. The beginning of this movie is outstanding, with babysitter Carol Kane receiving obscene phone calls from an unknown maniac. This is far and away the best part of the film. It's scary, creepy, and downright eerie. But it doesn't sustain that level through the entire film. The mid-portion of the movie is rather dull, featuring a few lazy supporting performances. But "When a Stranger Calls" redeems itself with a nail-biting climax, even though the conclusion doesn't top the film's opening in terms of scariness. Carol Kane and Charles Durning are good in the roles of the terrified babysitter and the private detective searching for the killer when he's on the loose. "When a Stranger Calls" is not a great horror movie but a good one. And its better than the cable-made sequel that came out fourteen years later, "When a Stranger Calls Back".

*** (out of four)


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