6.5/10
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129 user 71 critic

When a Stranger Calls (1979)

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

Director:

Fred Walton
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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Every babysitter's nightmare becomes real... 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:

When a Stranger Calls See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$21,411,158

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$21,411,158
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview for the film, Carol Kane stated that while watching the film in the theater that people were screaming and talking to the screen during the iconic opening 20 minutes. See more »

Goofs

Based on the year the film took place, 1 minute would not be nearly long enough to trace Curt's call. Back when the movie was set, it would've taken 10-20 minutes for several switchboards and circuits to locate the origin of the call. See more »

Quotes

Jill Johnson: [thinking it's Curt again] Leave me alone!
Sgt. Sacker: Jill, this is sergeant Sacker. Listen to me. We've traced the call... it's coming from inside the house. Now a squad car's coming over there right now, just get out of that house!
See more »


Soundtracks

Space Race
Performed by Billy Preston
Courtesy of A&M Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Solid Horror Creep Fest
12 May 2010 | by TheAnimalMotherSee all my reviews

If you like to watch horror films to challenge your comfort zone and get some real chills running down your spine. When A Stranger Calls(1979) is a pretty good bet to do the job. This film builds its tension quite well, partly by using well chosen and well placed music to increase the creepiness. Rather than resorting to needlessly overdone gore; This film relies mostly on the old tried and tested power of suggestion to mount most of its suspense and scare factor. A much more effective method in my view, and there is strong evidence of this here.

Make no mistake, this film is no masterpiece. It has its flaws. I found a couple of parts pretty unconvincing. Such as how easily John Clifford is able to convince Mrs.Mandrakis to let him in, and then help him. The execution of this part is a little weak. However that really doesn't take away from the films eerie feel and overall horror enjoyment. The film is pretty well paced, and kept leaving me wanting to see what was going to happen next; Where as many other horror films leave me not even caring what happens next. The acting here is pretty solid all the way around, and the direction is decent.

Usually I would rate a decent film like this, with a couple of somewhat unconvincing parts a 6 out of 10. However this film is definitely very effective in what it sets out to do. Which is of course to give the viewer some real creepy thrills. So I find it hard to give this any less than a 7. I got from it exactly what I had hoped. It could have been a little better in some areas, but all in all it's a pretty solid film. So as far as horror films go, this is in the upper echelon in my view.

Note: I only decided to watch this film based on an interview I saw with actress Jennifer Connelly on The Late Show with David Letterman. She basically said that this film scared the crap out of her. So being the film nut I am, I figured it was worth a look. And it was, so I owe thanks to her.

7/10


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