6.5/10
8,238
120 user 63 critic

When a Stranger Calls (1979)

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

Director:

Fred Walton

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at Amazon

1 win. See more awards »

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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:

...Fear is the Message! 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 script to the film's original shooting draft specifies that the setting is supposed to take place in 1971. See more »

Goofs

Although it is most certainly not the actor's (Tony Beckley's) fault because he was terminally ill during production, the killer Curt Duncan looks far too physically frail to have realistically torn two children apart with his bare hands. 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.
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Soundtracks

Space Race
Performed by Billy Preston
Courtesy of A&M Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Not problem-free, but effective at times
11 May 2013 | by Wizard-8See all my reviews

"When A Stranger Calls" is a thriller that, while not perfect, does overall deliver a lot of chills. The opening sequence is the most memorable part - while you will guess the surprise twist in this segment long before it happens, the sequence is masterfully directed so it comes across as creepy all the same. The climatic scene, while a little short, also delivers a jolt.

While the opening and closing are well done, the middle portion of the movie has a problem. It's not only very slow, not much happens to advance the plot. Still, this middle segment often has a moody feeling that fits well with the rest of the movie, and Tony Beckley's performance as the psycho is a good one.

By the way, while the movie was rated "R" when it was first released, most viewers in this day and age will find that rating a little harsh. By today's standards, the movie deserves a PG-13 rating. Maybe even a PG rating.


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