Friday, 24 October 2014

31 Days Of Horror: Day 24 - When A Stranger Calls (1979)


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


Some films are considered classics for a good reason.


The film is based on the infamous babysitter-and-the-man-upstairs urban legend, which has been an element in many horror films but I mostly associate it with this film.

Director Fred Walton originally shot this film as a short entitled 'The Sitter', which was essentially the opening 20 minutes. However after the huge success of "Halloween" he saw the potential of expanding the short into a full-length feature.



That first 20 minutes has become infamous and has become the cliché for many babysitter films, the rest of the film is a great insight into the insane mind of a deranged killer.

The killer is played fantastically by Tony Beckley, he plays it so good you feel he is truly mental. Oh and what an ending! 



"When A Stranger Calls" is a classic feature, it bores a-lot of fans but I never bore of it.

If you want to see the "When A Stranger Calls" trailer then just click on the video below:


Miscellaneous facts about the film:

The phone number of the house where the character Jill Johnson (played by Carol Kane) is babysitting, (555-2368) is the same house phone number used in Jamie Lee Curtis's house in the movie Forever Young (1992) starring Mel Gibson.

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.

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.

Star Tony Beckley was terminally ill throughout the production and passed away just after the principle photography was shot. Director Fred Walton dedicated the film's 1993 sequel 'When A Stranger Calls Back' to the memory of Beckley.

This film would land Fred Walton the directors chair for the similarly-themed TV thriller 'I Saw What You Did' (1988). Both films are about young women menaced by a killer on the phone.

During the first part of the movie in which Jill is at the Mandrakis' house babysitting, she can be briefly heard humming the chorus of Don McLean's song "American Pie".

The film's German title is 'Das Grauen kommt um Zehn', meaning 'The Horror Comes Around Ten'. The French title 'Terreur sur la ligne' translates to 'Terror on the Line'.

Number 28 on Bravo Channel's 100 Scariest Movie Moments.

The traced call lasts approximately 1 minute and 52 seconds.

The script to the film's original shooting draft specifies that the setting is supposed to take place in 1971.

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