MovieChat Forums > When a Stranger CallsĀ (1979) Discussion > One of the best because it 'went there.'

One of the best because it 'went there.'


Let me explain what I mean by saying that it "went there."
For the past eighteen years , or so , the horror/suspense/thriller genres have suffered because they've been too "politically correct." They always stop short of delivering the goods , so to speak.


*possible spoilers*



Rarely in recent films do you see children being murdered. They're usually saved at the last minute or totally off-limits of being killed at all because it seems too shocking for the audience.

This film "went there" because of the fact that the children were actually murdered and that made this movie very "real" and truly horrific.
It's things like this that makes a horror movie a horror movie , not a predictable , watered-down , formulaic movie that we see all of the time nowadays.

I also like how I couldn't really predict what was going to happen next. I can always figure out what's going to happen next in the horror films of today because the directors have studied and copied from the horror films of the past instead of being original.

I haven't seen the remake but , let's just say I'd rather see a "real" film with great acting as opposed to the latest teeny-bopper actress wearing a pound of lipgloss and talking like a valley girl.

Everything about this film is great. The music is on point and the acting is fantastic.




Man kann auch ohne Hund leben, aber es lohnt sich nicht.

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agreed

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Thanks welshy.

One just doesn't see this caliber of film anymore , certainly not in the horror genre which , I'm sad to say , in my opinion , has been suffering greatly for a while. I don't mean that it's been suffering economically but , in terms of quality and originality.

I haven't seen the re-make of this but , I think it's probably a safe assumption that it doesn't hold water to this version.

Man kann auch ohne Hund leben, aber es lohnt sich nicht.

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This film is not the Horror Genre, any Horror element disappear in 20 minutes.

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Huh?!?! What part of a sociopathic schizophrenic who no one realizes just killed two children with his bare hands -- who is wandering the streets ---- ISN'T horrifying????

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I'm not sure if I've ever seen this film but I'll have to check it out soon.:-)


"A real man would rather bow down to a strong woman than dominate a weak one"

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[deleted]

Haute Tension - 2003 feature a child getting killed via shotgun blast offscreen. Even tho it's off screen, we see the killer chasing after the kid, the camera only cutting towards the petrified mother's face as he shoots. The whole film disturbed me for days and that's not an easy feat. The 'head with the severed head scene' disturbed the *beep* out of me.

"You can't triple stamp a double stamp. You can't triple stamp a double stamp."

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Have you ever seen Fulci's "The Beyond"? That movie shows a young girl getting her head blown wide open with a revolver.

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C,

Yes. Many times. GREAT call!



"You can't triple stamp a double stamp. You can't triple stamp a double stamp."

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Agreed, in the remake it got a PG-13 rating partly because the kids survived...they weren't hurt at all. But in all honesty, I don't think this movie got an R rating because the kids were killed...maybe it was for the language, but maybe not, maybe it was for the 'nudity', maybe it was all things considered...but I don't see this movie as an R rated movie, Halloween yes, Nightmare on Elm Street, yes, Black Christmas, sure...but this movie? It doesn't seem to gel...however as movies like House on Haunted Hill and Cape Fear from the 50s and 60s have proved, you don't need an R rating to be scary, you just need to use your head. That's what the writers did, they gave us a realistic situation of a homicidal maniac who kills children and stalks women, far more realistic than a guy who kills babysitters but won't put a finger on the children.

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The killing of the Kids isn't shown at all, and kids Are killed off screen in the Remake, just not the one's Jill's watching, so there is no logical reasons for that to effect the ratings.

The only thing Halloween 1978 has that When a Stranger Calls 2006 doesn't is nudity.

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although hes not shown killing the kids and i found the film quite weak i was surprised to see him in their room covered in blood sat on their bed!

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That's right, that's the only gore that you ever saw in this movie.

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But gore doesn't necessarily always equal scary.

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I hate kids so it works for me!

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Bingo.

I was just flicking through the channels looking for a film to watch and 'lo and behold' I saw 'When A Stranger Calls'.

Not realizing that a remake had been done I was quite pleased as this film holds great, chilling memories for me (I haven't seen it for years).

I switched it on and quickly realized that it was a remake.

I was disappointed but thought that I'd give it a chance anyway.

Wrong.

Firstly, they prolonged the entire first twenty minutes of the original and stretched it out into a whole movie!

Secondly, everything was predictable. If you had even glimpsed a recent 'teen slasher' flick then you would have yawned your way through this one.

Thirdly, the kids survive. Somehow, they manage to hide from a psycho killer and evade him with little effort - wow! Scary that isn't it?

Your point is SO well made Engelhaft. Who would expect kids to be murdered in any box-office horror flick made by Hollywood today? As soon as you see kids in danger in movies these days you KNOW that they'll get away safe and sound. Where's the tension in that? If you want to sample a bit of real tension in horror/thriller movies these days you have to rely on independents or non-US movies instead (thank the heavens there are plenty of those!).

They also missed out the entire detective hunt and the parts revolving around the killer (which IMO were great - I remember feeling a little sorry for the killer - which HORRIFIED me considering that he was a child murderer!).

Finally, they did away with the tense ending from the first film (the years later bit when she gets the call at the restaurant). How could they do that? This film was classic because the bookcase suspense scenes were both chilling and unpredictable. Why choose only to concentrate on and expand the first scenes and completely ignore the closing scenes? As far as I was concerned they were just as awesome.

Anyway, rant over. Just wanted to vent because I'm disappointed.

I might as well avoid remakes full-stop. They all tend to disappoint me.

Cheers. :-)

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Amen to that, anymore horror remakes offer LITTLE bang for BIG money and we get even less than what's anticipated because they're all sellouts and let downs.

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Actually, I rather liked the remake. I'm glad they didn't make it a carbon copy of the original.
What's your name, son?
Zeke Robertson. And I ain't your son either.
Cath ya on the flip side.

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'Who Can Kill A Child?'(1976) "went there" far more effectively than When A Stranger Calls. Same for the original Assault on Precinct 13.

I collect dead pigeons then I press them between the pages of a book.

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Well, yeah, not just as a more risky move but also as a suspense provider. When they jump to Jill's life as an adult you think about her kids and just get frightened at Duncan's presence. Then the ending happens.

Other films that portray child killing in one way or another are Assault on Precinct 13, Dawn of the Dead (extended version),y Don't Torture a Duckling, and probably dozens more that I'm forgetting.

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You sort of wait for that moment when the police say: "Oh, but the children are okay ..." and it doesn't happen. In fact, we realize, if she had gone up stairs to check on those children she would have been killed too. It's that after the fact that really gives me the chills.

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There are some great moments in this film. For me, the single best unsung moment has to be the exchange:

Babysitter: What do you want?
Duncan: Your blood...all over me.

From that, he didn't just smother the kids or something, which is confirmed by the police later.

It really speaks to the mentally ill angle---this guy's in it for some sexual gratification, I'd say, which raises the creepiness exponentially. He probably did something perverted with the kids (torture, SM, etc.) and she's next.

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