Welcome to 90 from the ‘90s; the movie-related post in which I watch, discuss and debate a film from the 1990s – a film that I’ve NEVER SEEN. This morning’s entry is…

When a Stranger Calls Back (1993)

Happy Easter Bank Holiday weekend! Over the past few days I’ve continued to work my way through yet more ’90s movies and today it is the turn of When a Stranger Calls Back – the sequel to the 1979 movie, When a Stranger Calls. I believe this was a made for TV movie which aired in the US back in ’93.

So, what do I know about When a Stranger Calls Back? I know that this movie features Carol Kane and Charles Durning – two actors who appeared in the original movie.

And that’s pretty much all I know.

This is where I admit, I’ve never watched When a Stranger Calls. As a horror fan I feel ashamed of myself for admitting this because When a Stranger Calls is regarded as a classic and a highly influential horror movie.

Regardless of what I ultimately think of this sequel, I WILL watch the original at some point in the not-too distant future. But for now, it’s time for When a Stranger Calls Back.

*Clicks the play button*

3mins – OK, so a couple have gone out for the evening… they’ve left a babysitter in their home to watch their children… yadda yadda yadda.

4mins – I have a bad feeling about this…

5mins – The phone just rang…

5mins 30secs – It was a wrong number.

5mins 45secs – I’m to presume it was some crazed killer on the phone, trying to scare the shit out of the babysitter, but for all I know it could just have been a Deliveroo driver trying to tell the babysitter her order had arrived.

5mins 50secs – Oh wait, Deliveroo didn’t exist in 1993. Yep, it must have been a crazed killer.

6mins – So, now there’s a knock at the door. Understandably the babysitter does not want to open it, despite the insistence of the man on the other side. He claims his car has broken down. Yeah right – that old chestnut. Don’t open the door!

6mins 15secs – The babysitter is refusing to open the door.

6mins 30secs – Yeah, I wouldn’t open it either. But then, I wouldn’t have acknowledged the man behind the door in the first place. If it’s after 9pm no one has any business knocking on my door… unless it’s Channing Tatum or a pizza delivery guy. Or Channing Tatum delivering a pizza.

7mins – Why is she not putting the chain across the door? There is a chain on that door – USE IT!

8mins – Come on, slam that chain on! I know it won’t make much of a difference, but it’ll sure make me feel better.

9mins – This is getting rather stressful.

14mins – The man on the other side of the door has just asked the babysitter to make a phone call for him (to the auto repair club) but… the phone is dead.

14mins 30secs – An hour passes and the man is back at the door.

15mins 30secs – She’s had an hour to search the house for a baseball bat, a golf club, a really big knife, anything to use as a weapon, and has she done this? No! What gives?! As soon as I discovered the phone line was down I would have been Home Alone-ing the shit out of the house!

16mins 30secs – What are you playing at woman?! Pour some oil on the stairs, line the floor with Micro Machines, rub dog turds all over the dishes (just in case any potential intruder tries to make a snack) – do something!!! If that man gets into the house you are going to be screwed quicker than a two dollar hooker! DO SOMETHING!!!

17mins – This situation is stressing me out.

18mins – Oh FFS – the man is back at the door again!

19mins – GET A WEAPON! Put down your damn cup of tea and get a weapon. Or use the cup as a weapon.

*Wipes sweat from brow*

24mins – There’s another knock at the door.

24mins 30secs – The babysitter has gone upstairs to check on the kids. Good idea – you can use the kids as a human shield!

25mins – AH SHIT, THE KIDS HAVE DISAPPEARED! Well that’s my plan out of the window.

25mins 30secs – She’s gone back downstairs and is now tempted to open the door.

26mins – Don’t open the door. NEVER open the door!

26mins 30secs – Shit! He’s in the house. Open the door! Open the door!

26mins 40secs – Hang on – how is he pretending to be in the house and outside of the house at the same time? Who is this guy, David Copperfield?!

26mins 45secs – Hmm…. maybe there are two men. That would make more sense if there were two men.

27mins – She’s just run out of the house… only to be greeted by the couple who have returned home from their night out. It’s about bloody time. Do they have any idea the stress I’ve been under the babysitter has been under this whole time?

27mins 30secs – With the couple back home, some shit is going to kick off now!

27mins 45secs – Wait for it…

28mins – ‘Five years later’

28mins 10secs – Five years later? Five years later? What?!?! Don’t jump forward five years – I want to know what happened! The suspense is killing me.

*Shakes head and wipes more sweat from brow*

29mins – Something good had best happen now.

30mins – Carol Kane! Yay, Carol Kane has arrived. I bloody love Carol Kane! If Suicide Squad had been made during the 1990s, Kane would have made an excellent Harley Quinn.

34mins – Carol Kane is now a counsellor. According to Kane, the babysitter is suffering from PTSD. Over the past five years the babysitter has been living with the after effects of that night… including the disappearance of the children she was babysitting. They have never been found.

37mins 50secs – Charles Durning has just turned up.

42mins – Durning and Kane are looking over the case. Durning doesn’t believe there were two intruders. Well… I guess my David Copperfield theory doesn’t seem so far fetched after all.

56mins – “This may sound crazy, but we’re looking for a ventriloquist.”

56mins 25secs – Damn you Durning, Copperfield is an illusionist, not a ventriloquist. You’re blowing my theory out of the water!

57mins – I swear down, the killer of this movie had best not turn out to be Jeff Dunham.

58mins – In an unexpected turn of events, due to the stress of the situation, the babysitter has apparently shot herself.

1hr 11mins – A ventriloquist has just been introduced! So… it’ll turn out to be him then.

1hr 25mins – The ventriloquist is now in Carol Kane’s apartment! He gets about a bit doesn’t he?

1hr 29mins – There’s some creepy shit going in with this ventriloquist. Really creepy. THIS IS GOOD!

1hr 30mins – Carol Kane has been shot!

1hr 31mins – It’s OK… she’s in hospital recuperating.

1hr 31mins 30scs – The ventriloquist is dead. Oh and the babysitter is also recuperating.

1hr 32mins – Hurrah! All is well with the world again. Oh wait… whatever happened to the kids?!


*Clicks stop button*

Being a sequel to a well known horror film, as well as being a TV movie, I had very low expectations for When a Stranger Calls Back, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The opening 30 minutes were truly gripping and the remainder of the film held my interest.

The ending was rather abrupt and left some loose ends, but I guess this was to keep the door open for future instalments. Either way, there was some was some pretty cool scares and a lot to like in this movie.

Overall, this was a sequel that a.) made me want to watch When a Stranger Calls and b.) didn’t rely on any previous knowledge of the original. As stated at the beginning of this post, I will certainly seek out When a Stranger Calls.

*Gives the ‘thumbs up’ sign*

OK, so I’ve worked my way through 84 movies, which just leaves me with six to go.

For past entries in the 90 from the ’90s series, check out the likes of: The Secret Agent Club (1996), What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993)Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999), You’ve Got Mail (1998)Sleepless in Seattle (1993)Graveyard Shift (1990), and Passenger 57 (1992).