6.5/10
8,554
125 user 69 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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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:

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

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

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

John Clifford: Lets get something straight here, Doctor. I've been 33 years in the business of tracking people down and putting them away... spent almost a year alone on the case of Curt Duncan with the trial and the testimonies and the background investigations. Now, I didn't come here today to look in your God damn folders, in fact I probably wouldn't be here at all if you had done your job right.
Dr. Monk: This is a hospital, Mr. Clifford, not a penitentiary. Everything appertaining to one of our patients is ...
See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Horror Movie Phone Calls (2019) 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

 
Great opening and ending--lousy middle
20 March 2004 | by preppy-3See all my reviews

A girl (Carol Kane) is babysitting one night. She keeps getting phone calls from a guy saying "Have you checked the children". (They're upstairs sleeping). The phone calls continue. She gets nervous (and never checks the children). She calls the police. They trace the calls--they're coming from INSIDE the house...

This was a big hit in 1979 with teenagers--despite the R rating kids were let into this one. It does have a great opening 20 minutes and a pretty scary ending--but the middle is dull dull dull. It involves the killer (well played by Tony Beckley) stalking an older woman (Colleen Dewhurst slumming) and a police detective (Charles Durning--also slumming) after him.

Good performances save the middle half from being totally unbearable, and there is good direction from Fred Walton. But all in all this is a mediocre thriller. Still, I'm giving it a 7 for the opening, the closing and the acting.


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