6.5/10
8,173
119 user 62 critic

When a Stranger Calls (1979)

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

Director:

Fred Walton

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Carol Kane ... Jill Johnson
Rutanya Alda ... Mrs. Mandrakis
Carmen Argenziano ... Dr. Mandrakis
Kirsten Larkin Kirsten Larkin ... Nancy
William Boyett ... Sgt. Sacker (as Bill Boyett)
Charles Durning ... John Clifford
Ron O'Neal ... Lt. Charlie Garber
Heetu Heetu ... Houseboy
Rachel Roberts ... Dr. Monk
Tony Beckley ... Curt Duncan
Colleen Dewhurst ... Tracy
Michael Champion ... Bill
Joseph Reale Joseph Reale ... Bartender (as Joe Reale)
Ed Wright ... Retired Man
Louise Wright 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 October 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cuando llama un extraño See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$21,411,158
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of the disturbed killer Curt Duncan was based on a college acquaintance of director Fred Walton who somehow could just enter a room and automatically make others in the room uncomfortable. Yet Walton felt enough sympathy for this person that the character of Duncan is treated with a fair amount of sensitivity. 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

[repeated line]
Curt Duncan: Have you checked the children?
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Soundtracks

Huelga En General
Performed by El Teatro Campesino
Courtesy of Menyah Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Disappointing........
8 July 2006 | by LoneWolfAndCubSee all my reviews

When A Stranger Calls has received a lot of hype for having the scariest opening in horror movie history. I will admit it was tense and chilling and it set up the movie perfectly. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie is not scary. The 50 or so minutes turns into a crime/drama about the cop (Charles Durning) chasing the psychopath (Tony Beckley) who has escaped after being locked up for seven years. The last 15 or so minutes focuses on Jill (Carol Kane) who was the babysitter that was terrified seven years earlier and her reunion with the psychopath. Unfortunately, the climax is somewhat disappointing.

The acting is fairly average and the music is the typical "dread" music. The movie had so much potential to be one of the scariest horror movies made, sadly, it descends into a crime/drama that never really gets any better.

2½/5.


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