Although When a Stranger Calls
was released just a year after John Carpenter's 1978 Halloween
, this thriller by longtime actor-turned-director Fred Walton has held a strong following of its own. In an exemplary piece of suspense, the film begins with a babysitter (Carol Kane) fielding threatening phone calls while on the job. She soon finds that a pair of children in her charge have been murdered in their beds; she is nearly killed herself by the homicidal maniac before police arrive. As with Halloween
, the action jumps some years ahead, when Kane's character is herself a wife and mother--and the monster escapes from a mental institution to recreate his original carnage in the heroine's own home. Between these exciting bookends, the film loses its way and becomes dissatisfying and obscure. But Walton compensates by engineering a couple of great horror moments worth savouring. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com
One night, while babysitting for a local couple, high school student Jill Johnson (Carol Kane) is troubled by a spook caller who keeps asking 'Have you checked the children lately?' When she eventually phones the police to report the problem, she is told that the calls are coming from inside the house.... Seven years later, when Jill has become a mother herself, the troubles start up again.