When a Stranger Calls Back

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When a Stranger Calls Back
When A Stranger Calls Back.jpg
Based onCharacters created by Steve Feke
Fred Walton
Written byFred Walton
Directed byFred Walton
StarringCarol Kane
Charles Durning
Jill Schoelen
Music byDana Kaproff
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)Doug Chapin
Barry Krost
Producer(s)Tom Rowe
CinematographyDavid Geddes
Editor(s)David Byron Lloyd
Running time94 minutes
Production company(s)Krost/Chapin Productions
The Producers Entertainment Group
Pacific Motion Pictures
DistributorUniversal Television
Original networkShowtime
Original release
  • April 4, 1993 (1993-04-04)
Preceded byWhen a Stranger Calls
Followed byWhen a Stranger Calls (remake)

When a Stranger Calls Back is a 1993 American made-for-television psychological horror film and a sequel to the 1979 classic When a Stranger Calls which reunites stars Carol Kane and Charles Durning (reprising their roles as Jill Johnson and John Clifford, respectively) with director Fred Walton from the original film. It was originally broadcast on Showtime on April 4, 1993.


Julia Jenz (Jill Schoelen) arrives at Dr. Schifrin's house for a routine baby-sitting gig. Soon after Dr. Schifrin and his wife leave, a mysterious man knocks on the door. The man tells Julia that his car is broken down and asks to come inside to use the phone. Julia refuses but agrees to call the auto club. The phone is dead. Afraid to divulge, Julia lies and says that she called the auto club. The auto club never arrives, so the man returns continuously to ask for help. Hoping he goes away, Julia continues to lie, but the conversations become increasingly sinister. Meanwhile, Julia vaguely notices things turning up out of place around the house. Soon, it becomes obvious that someone is moving in and out of the house. At this time Julia discovers the children have been abducted. The intruder eventually attacks her and she narrowly escapes. It is later revealed that the children Julia babysat were never found or heard from again.

Five years later, Julia is an introverted college student still traumatized by the incident. To make matters worse, strange things happen from time to time in her apartment, and Julia believes that the intruder is once again stalking her. Jill Johnson (Carol Kane), now a counselor at the college Julia attends, offers to help with the trauma of the experience in the past and the current events taking place. Jill contacts John Clifford (Charles Durning) to come to Julia's aid and help figure out who is stalking her. For protection Jill helps Julia purchase a gun and teaches her how to use it. Julia begins noticing the stalker is entering her apartment while she's sleeping and decides to stay with Jill until she feels safe to return to her own home. Having been through a similar situation years before, Jill and a reluctant John investigate the incident from Julia's past and come to the conclusion the stalker may be a ventriloquist throwing his voice to make it seem like he was outside when speaking to Julia. While investigating, Jill and John receive news that Julia has shot herself in the head while at her apartment. Jill promises to find the stalker. John eventually tracks down the stalker at a club where the latter performs as a ventriloquist, just as John hypothesized, but the stalker escapes. John tracks down the stalker's home and there finds pictures of Julia in the hospital and Jill's apartment. Having returned to her apartment, Jill notices a carton of juice bearing the faces of the missing children Julia babysat. Frightened, Jill arms herself and the stalker begins to taunt her; he is seen in makeup that allows him to 'disappear' from sight against Jill's apartment walls. He attacks and in the struggle, Jill is shot. John shows up just in time to shoot and kill the stalker.

Some time later, Jill is recuperating in the hospital where Julia is located and is wheeled to Julia's room to discover her out of her coma, having survived the head wound.



Home media[edit]

When a Stranger Calls Back was released on DVD by Good Times Video on May 15, 2001.[citation needed]


Tony Scott of Variety gave the film a positive review, commending the film's acting, production design, direction, editing, and script.[1] Brett Gallman from Oh the Horror stated that, while it was as good as its predecessor, it shared too many of the same flaws to be entirely successful.[2] Dennis Schwartz of Ozus’ World Movie Reviews rated the film a grade B-, calling it "a decent nail-biter that plays on the tension it builds up, despite its gaps in logic".[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Scott, Tony. "Showtime Original Movie When a Stranger Calls Back – Variety". Variety.com. Variety Magazine. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  2. ^ Gallman, Brett. "Horror Reviews - When a Stranger Calls Back (1993)". OhtheHorror.com. Oh the Horror. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  3. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. "WHEN A STRANGER CALLS BACK". DennisSchwartzReviews.com. Ozus’ World Movie Reviews. Retrieved 29 January 2020.

External links[edit]