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Monday, January 24, 2011

My review of When A Stranger Calls (1979)

This one wasn't really a slasher it was more of a... I don't really know what it is. It isn't a horror film and it isn't a slasher film it isn't anything that it says it is really. Anyway the story behind this is I went to go see a play called Scary Musical and the whole thing was just one inside joke and reference for horror fans so I had to watch a horror movie. This was one of the big ones that was referenced and the only one I hadn't seen so yeah, I watched this.

On another note, This one will not be as creative as my review of T3. If I get another good idea for an original review I will utilize it. Sorry.


Well, I must give the film props for keeping an urban legend alive far longer than it probably would have otherwise. And if the whole movie had been just like the first 23 minutes, this one would have gotten 98% on RT (there's always one...) and would be lauded as one of the greatest horror films of all time. As it is, the first 23 minutes is only 1/5th of the film so it goes downhill very fast from there.

I'm not gonna do my regular structure for this because the movie is styled in a way that I can't. At the very least, I would be repeating myself.

as I mentioned before, if the whole movie was just the first 23 minutes, it would be lauded as one of the greatest horror films of all time. It is an absolutely fantastic scene. One of the best opening scenes I have seen for a horror film. It is deservedly iconic. But...That's the last shred of quality that this film has. The film then drastically changes genres. it goes from an excellent horror film to a chase movie. Kinda like The French Connection or Soylent Green or something. It isn't horror. Then in the last 15 minutes it changes back to horror but by then, no one cares anymore. It isn't scary. Overall, this film is kinda like a reverse Sleepaway Camp: It has a great Beginning that everyone loves and then it dies...that's it (as opposed to Sleepaway Camp which starts dead then has an iconic ending everyone loves).

So, my overall advice is this: watch the first 23 minutes and shut this off and pretend that there isn't anything else to the movie. If you do that it will become a favorite horror film of yours. If you don't like to leave things unfinished, well, you're in for a pretty crappy film.

Final Score: 8/40 20% (S)


TRIVIA TIME: 1. 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.

2. Fred Walton originally shot this film as a short entitled 'The Sitter', which was essentially the opening 20 minutes of 'When A Stranger Calls'. However after the huge success of Halloween Walton saw the potential of expanding the short into a full-length feature. The script was then expanded into a feature length film about the pursuit of the villain.

3. The character of the disturbed killer 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.




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