When a Stranger Calls script
Synopsis: When a Stranger Calls is a 1979 American psychological horror film. It was directed by Fred Walton and stars Carol Kane and Charles Durning. The film derives its story from the classic folk legend of "The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs" and the 1974 horror classic Black Christmas. The film was commercially successful, grossing $21,411,158 at the box office, though it received a mixed critical reception. It was followed by the 1993 made-for-television sequel When a Stranger Calls Back and a remake in 2006.

FADE IN:

EXT. SUBURBAN STREET - NIGHT

A quiet upper-middle class neighborhood. The CAMERA is at

the curb, looking down the street. There are no sidewalks.

Trees arch overhead. CICADAS drone on the soundtrack.

The OPENING TITLES briefly FADE IN and OUT, framed by the

trees on either side of the street. Footsteps are heard

approaching.

As the picture TITLE FADES, out of the dark emerges a GIRL

17 years old, carrying schoolbooks. This is JILL. CAMERA

PANS with her ninety degrees as she comes to the front of a

house and stops.

Lights are on in the bottom half of the house, and the

curtains across the windows are open. A single light burns

in the upper right side of the house, presumable in a bedroom,

but the curtains in the room are drawn.

A scene TITLE appears on the lower half of the screen:

8 pm Tuesday, March 23, 1971

The TITLE FADES, and Jill heads up the walk to the front

door of the house.

The light in the upper floor of the house is turned off.

INT. HOUSE - FRONT HALL

A middle-aged DOCTOR is standing at the foot of the stairs.

His WIFE is descending the stairs, putting on her earrings.

She is in an obvious hurry.

WIFE:

Where's the girl?

DOCTOR:

I only called her ten minutes ago --

WIFE:

(passing into living

room)

I made our reservation for 8:15.

We're going to be late.

The doorbell rings.

DOCTOR:

Here she is now.

He crosses to the front door and opens it. The girl smiles

at him uncomfortably from outside.

JILL:

Dr. Minakis?

DOCTOR:

Mandrakis. It's okay. Everyone gets

it wrong the first time. You're Jill?

Come on in.

JILL:

(entering)

Thank you.

The wife comes back into the front hall.

WIFE:

I've written the number of the

restaurant on the notepad by the

phone.

(to Doctor)

Zip me up, will you please?

(to Jill)

If we aren't home in two hours, it

means we've decided to go on to a

movie and won't be back until after

midnight. Is that all right?

JILL:

Sure.

DOCTOR:

(helping wife on with

her coat)

I've told my service to pick up any

calls coming in to my office phone.

WIFE:

The children are asleep upstairs --

first door on your left at the top

of the landing. They're both just

getting over a cold -- so try not to

wake them.

JILL:

Okay.

WIFE:

Do you have any questions?

Jill shakes her head.

WIFE:

We have to go now. We're late.

They cross to the front door and begin to exit.

DOCTOR:

Make yourself at home. The

refrigerator's loaded.

WIFE:

(pulling doctor through

the door)

Goodbye.

The doctor pokes his head back through the door.

DOCTOR:

We even have some low-fat yogurt.

WIFE (O.S.)

Will you please come on!

DOCTOR:

Bye.

The doctor pulls the door shut behind him. Jill turns toward

the living room. Pause. She walks into the living room and

sets her books down on a table with the telephone on it.

O.S. we hear the car doors close, the engine start up, then

the car backing out the driveway and heading down the street.

CUT TO:

INT. DINING ROOM - LATER

It is dark. O.S. we hear the phone in the living room being

lifted off its receiver, a dial tone, then a number is dialed.

Pause, then ringing. CAMERA SLOWLY DOLLIES from the dining

room, across the front hall and into the living room where

we see Jill talking over the phone to a girlfriend, NANCY.

NANCY (O.S.)

Hello?

JILL:

Nancy?

NANCY (O.S.)

Hello, Jill? How's it going?

(out of phone)

I got it, Dad!

(beat)

Father!

(into phone again)

Jesus Christ! My father's in one of

his moods again. Male menopause, you

know. So how are you?

JILL:

All right.

NANCY (O.S.)

Are you over at Dr. Mandrakis'?

JILL:

Yeah, I've been here for about an

hour already.

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Fred Walton

Fred Walton is a director and writer, known for When a Stranger Calls (1979), When a Stranger Calls Back (1993) and April Fool's Day (1986). He has been married to Barbara Boles since 1979. They have two children. more…

All Fred Walton scripts | Fred Walton Books

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"When a Stranger Calls" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 22 Nov. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/when_a_stranger_calls_1008>.

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