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Lisa (1990)

 -  Drama | Horror | Romance  -  20 April 1990 (USA)
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Fourteen year-old Lisa is raised by her unmarried mother Katherine who overprotects her by forbidding her to date until she's sixteen. In despair, Lisa and schoolmate Wendy make up a game ... See full summary »


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Title: Lisa (1990)

Lisa (1990) on IMDb 5.9/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tanya Fenmore ...
Edan Gross ...
Mrs. Marks
Michael Ayr ...
Lisa Moncure ...
Mr. Adams
John Hawker ...
Mr. Howard
Dennis Bowen ...
Alison's Boyfriend


Fourteen year-old Lisa is raised by her unmarried mother Katherine who overprotects her by forbidding her to date until she's sixteen. In despair, Lisa and schoolmate Wendy make up a game that consists of inferring attractive men's phone numbers from their car ID and giving them anonymous calls. Last victim is the handsome Richard, with whom Lisa begins a passionate phone relationship, unaware that he's also a psycho-killer and sex maniac... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Someone Out There Is Lisa's Fantasy. Pray She Never Meets Him. See more »


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 April 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Candlelight Killer  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$4,347,648 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Referenced in Long Distance (2005) See more »


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Written by Matthew Shumway & Adam Gifford (as Adam Gifford)
Performed by Paradise
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User Reviews

Light my candle
1 September 2010 | by (Cleburne, TX) – See all my reviews

Lisa (the lovely Staci Keanan) is 14 and boy-crazy, but Katherine, her overprotective single mother, refuses to let her date until she turns 16. While Lisa is out getting groceries one night, she literally runs into Richard and instantly develops a crush on the much older man. Along with her best friend, she finds out where he works and uses sneaky tactics to get his phone number. She begins calling him repeatedly, engaging in seductive conversations without revealing her identity. When Lisa's stalking gets more and more risky, her friend convinces her that if she revealed herself to Richard, he'd be furious about the age difference. Lisa then devises a plan to push Richard and Katherine together in an attempt to get her mother's mind on something other than controlling her life. What Lisa doesn't know is that Richard is a serial killer who was leaving the scene of his latest crime when she bumped into him.

Director Gary Sherman's output has always been largely ignored. Even "Dead & Buried", which is one of my absolute favorite horror films, wasn't widely known for the longest time. "Lisa" is no different. Unlike the aforementioned gem, however, it doesn't have a DVD or Blu-ray release to help it gain more viewers. That said, it is certainly worth seeking out.

The film contains some strong performances. Staci Keanan, who was the sole reason to watch popular sitcom, "Step by Step", carries the picture. She is infinitely charming with a quick wit and my kind of quirkiness. She's also great at portraying this naive, vulnerable girl who thinks she's tougher than she is. Lisa and her mother share a good relationship, but we see the wedge that is driven between them as the former grows increasingly bitter due to the rules placed over her. It doesn't help that she witnesses Katherine spurn a friendly guy at the local bowling alley, an act which leads Lisa to believe that she's being punished for her mother's past mistakes. Cheryl Ladd is well-cast as Katherine, and her chemistry with Keanan is palpable. Short of casting Jordan Ladd herself in the titular role, I don't think we could have seen a more believable mother and daughter pairing. D.W. Moffet makes for an interesting maniac. Rich, good-looking and suave, he could easily get women, but he would rather slaughter them. Dubbed the "Candlelight Killer" by the press, he leaves messages on his victims' answering machines warning them of what he's about to do before he does it. Jeffrey Tambor is in the film too, but he's underused in a throwaway role.

We get some solid suspense here, particularly during a scene where Lisa finds herself stuck in Richard's vehicle. It's made worse by the fact that she doesn't know just how bad it would be if he found her. The film's climax is also tense and surprisingly violent. We also get an amusing bit, be it intentional or unintentional, where Richard uses Katherine to head-butt her own daughter. I will say that the film falters a bit towards the end, mainly due to a poor decision made by one of the characters. This in turn makes for a predictable finale. I also thought that the look of the film wasn't as impressive as it could have been, especially taking into account the eerie, fog-drenched photography of "Dead & Buried". The score sort of made up for the generic look, being moody whereas the atmosphere wasn't.

In the end, this is a worthwhile effort thanks in large part to the performances on display. It's a well-acted film, and the suspense benefits as a result.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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