17 user 18 critic

Murder by Phone (1982)

A disgruntled phone company employee develops a device whereby those answering a phone can be murdered, and it's up to Nat Bridger to stop the killer.


Michael Anderson


Michael Butler (screenplay), Dennis Shryack (screenplay) | 5 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Chamberlain ... Nat Bridger
John Houseman ... Stanley Markowitz
Sara Botsford ... Ridley Taylor
Robin Gammell ... Noah Clayton
Gary Reineke Gary Reineke ... Lt. Meara
Barry Morse ... Fred Waites
Alan Scarfe ... John Websole
James B. Douglas James B. Douglas ... Jack Gilsdorf
Ken Pogue ... Fil Thorner
Neil Munro Neil Munro ... Winters
Jefferson Mappin ... Photographer
Tom Butler ... Detective Tamblyn
Colin Fox Colin Fox ... Dr. Alderman
Luba Goy ... Beth Freemantle
Lenore Zann ... Connie Lawson


A disgruntled phone company employee develops a device whereby those answering a phone can be murdered, and it's up to Nat Bridger to stop the killer.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


First the line goes dead, then... See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Began filming in August 1980 as "Bells". See more »


[last lines]
Nat Bridger: I'll call ya!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Pictures of telephones are displayed throughout the concluding credits, which finish with a telephone ringing. See more »

Alternate Versions

Murder by Phone is the title of the truncated US release. The original version was entitled Bells, and runs an additional 20 minutes. See more »


Featured in The Horror of It All (1983) See more »

User Reviews

Hell's bells
29 January 2013 | by PeterMitchell-506-564364See all my reviews

Alternatively known as Bells, here's an entertaining chiller with two gooder actors for a film that's still a good solid drama/thriller. Certainly something different here, we have a disgruntled nut who used to work for the phone company, taking people out at random, some he personally knows, by upping the voltage so high, their body melts, their ears explode, and are sent flying backwards whether on subways, or from high rise buildings. Richard Chamberlain, of all people, is a professor, who investigates the killings, when one of his best students, is a victim (the first one on the subway). While bedding architect (Sara Botsford- Rats) he teams up with a cop who he first bangs heads with, on the account of his no caring attitude, they try to flush out the killer, who's doing his business from a small electricity house, which is also his abode. John Houseman, an old lecturer and close friend of Chamberlain, has something to hide here, too, which I thought was a good shock point (pardon the expression). I did like the cop in this film, a Frederick Forest type guy, I found a hoot, if the whole film. The death scenes are classics, and we do question if we could really kill someone by upping the amps so high. How they set the killer up, is classic, as is the last call Richard Chamberlain takes, that he shouldn't of. On the whole, Bells is fun viewing for the horror/thriller viewer, though I don't think it will turn you off answering your next call.

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Release Date:

8 October 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Murder by Phone See more »

Filming Locations:

Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada See more »


Box Office


CAD5,600,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(re-edited American) | (video)

Sound Mix:



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