Blu-ray Review: When A Stranger Calls / When A Stranger Calls Back

As demonstrated so successfully in the Scream franchise, one of the most popular motifs in modern genre cinema is that of the mystery caller. Especially when your protagonist is a babysitter. Inspired by an urban legend which was doing the rounds during the ‘60s, Fred Walton made a short film, The Sitter, in 1977. A couple of years later, he extended it into a feature and When A Stranger Calls was born. It proved highly influential and went on to inspire countless film-makers.

With the Mandrakis children safely in bed, Jill (Carol Kane) settles in for a quiet evening. Her peace is shattered when the phone rings and her life is changed forever. The caller asks Jill whether she’s checked the children. At first, she writes it off as simply a crank call. However, as he becomes more insistent events take a turn for the sinister. Detective John Clifford (Charles Durning) is called in to help.

When A Stranger Calls has the feel of a classic horror built around tension and intrigue. The opening 20-minute sequence famously inspired Wes Craven and it’s still breathtaking and terrifying today. In many ways it’s such a simple device, but in the Walton’s hands it’s turned into a fear which we can all empathise with. When A Stranger Calls Back moves events on five years later. Its sequel, whilst containing many similarities, doesn’t quite have the same impact. The new package from Second Sight brings them both together.

Limited edition special features:

  • Brand new scan and restoration
  • The sequel When a Stranger Calls Back in HD
  • New scan and restoration of the original short film The Sitter
  • Reversible sleeve with new artwork by Obviously Creative and original poster artwork
  • English subtitles for the hearing impaired for both films
  • Directing A Stranger : An Interview with director Fred Walton
  • Carol Kane on When a Stranger Calls
  • Rutanya Alda on When a Stranger Calls
  • Scoring A Stranger : An interview with composer Dana Kaproff
  • Original soundtrack CD
  • 40-page perfect bound booklet with new essay by Kevin Lyons
  • Reversible poster with new and original artwork
  • Rigid slip case packaging

When A Stranger Calls/When A Stranger Calls Back is released on Blu-ray by Second Sight on 17 December.

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