A Stranger Is Watching

Synopsis: The 11-year old daughter and girlfriend of a man whose wife had been raped and killed in front of his daughter three years earlier are kidnapped by the same killer. Held captive in a bunker below Grand Central Station, the two plot their escape while the police try to track the kidnaper.
Director(s): Sean S. Cunningham
92 min



Oh, no. No.




Help! No!


...go back!

Stop it!

Julie, run!








It's all right, baby.

It's all right. I'm here. I'm here.



He's not gonna come back,

is he, Daddy?

No, baby. No.

He's not gonna come back.

No, no, no.


I promise you.

Unless his lawyers can get a stay,

this man, Ronald Thompson...

...will be the first man to die under the

state's tough new capital-punishment law.

- That is such a f***ing clich.

- Yeah, but it works.

Leave it for now.

Go to the Steven Peterson bit.

Steven Peterson, editor

of News Today magazine...

...and his daughter...

What are we using on them here?

I told you, that shot of him

blubbering in the limo.

His wife was raped and murdered in front

of his kid. He has the right to blubber.

Question is, does America need

to watch him do it two years later?

Jack, come on. Isn't there

something else we can use?

It's good stuff, Sharon.

Friend or no friend.

Okay, we go with it.

Give me the stuff

on Thompson's lawyer.

- Aren't you finished yet?

- Art takes time, Marty.

I'd like a little less art and a little

more product. We air in 53 minutes.

And Ronald Thompson dies in 72 hours.

- Just get me the piece on time, will you?

- Yep.

I got local stations

screaming for a rundown.


Oh, Julie.


Come on, hon, time to go to school.


- Do I have to?

- Well, what do you think?

Come on. Out you go.


Mr. Peterson, Miss Sharon's on TV.

Thank you.

Daddy, help!

- What?

- It's freezing.

You scared me to death.

Mrs. Lufts, tell your husband

there's no hot water here.

Yes, Mr. Peterson.

Here's Sharon Martin

with an in-depth look...

...at the growing controversy surrounding

the pending execution of Ronald Thompson.

- Sharon.

- Thank you, Roger.

Since before the biblical injunction...

...to trade an eye for an eye

and a tooth for a tooth...

...societies have debated the morality of

and even wisdom of capital punishment.

Should a civilization protect itself

by taking the lives of those...

...who have themselves taken a life?

Unless his lawyers can get

a stay of execution in 72 hours...

...Ronald Thompson

will be he first person...

...to be put to death

in this state in 28 years.

The facts of the case

are relatively simple.

Two years ago in Carley, an exclusive

New York bedroom community...

...Nina Peterson, wife of News Today

magazine's editor, Steven Peterson...

...was savagely raped and killed

while her 8-year-old daughter...

...looked on helplessly.

Thompson, a 19-year-old delivery boy...

...has steadfastly maintained

that the real killer of Nina Peterson...

...escaped just before he arrived.

And that Peterson's daughter mistook him

for the man who had murdered her mother.

Psychiatric studies of criminals

indicate that in most cases...

...homicide is an act of passion...

...and that a murderer is not likely

to think about the death penalty...

...in the heat of the moment.

It would seem that the man

who killed Peterson's wife...

...and raped her before her daughter's eyes

was not deterred by the knowledge...

...that the state

would trade his life for hers.

Thompson's lawyer, long-time

civil-rights advocate William Kurner...

- Julie, let's move it!

- Coming!

- Has spent his career in the forefront

of the fight against capital punishment.

- Some more coffee?

- Thank you.

No, thank you.

Are you okay?


Say, Sharon's coming out

tonight for supper.

You don't like that.

It's all right.

On a scale of one to 10?


- She gave you an eight.

- Eight?

Yeah, you lost out on congeniality,

and you can't twirl a baton.

You got your arithmetic?

- How about your lunch money?

- That's tomorrow.

- Hi, Mr. Perry.

- Hi, Julie.

- How's Mrs. Perry?

- Pretty good today.

- She said thank you for the card.

- Say hi for me.

I'll come by after school.


Excuse me. I'm here

to see Mr. Peterson.

- Sharon Martin.

- Oh, yes. I know.

- I recognized you.

- Did you?

Miss Martin is here to see Steve.

- You saw the show this morning?

- I did.


I am.

Oh, Steven, we're both

in the news business.

If there's a story, we have to cover it.

Ronald Thompson being executed,

that's news, not me and Julie.

You pulled that tearjerk sh*t

out of the files just to sell dog food.

Oh, and News Today magazine

isn't gonna cover the execution.

Yeah, but not quite the same way.

There won't be a full color blow-up

of the condemned man's mother...

...grabbing the warden by the ankles,

begging him, "Please don't kill my son. "

- I think that's unfair.

- Yeah?

You're supposed to be a reporter,

not a goddamned advocate.

I'm a goddamned human being.

Jesus. You know, we just

keep going over the same old stuff.

I know.

Give me a hug.

I love you.

Well, I'm still planning on

coming out for dinner tonight...

...if my invitation hasn't been rescinded.

No, of course not.

- Julie will be happy to see you.

- How about you?

Well, I'll be happy when all this is over.

- How is Julie?

- Rough.

Look, I already told the Lufts

that you were coming out, so...

I guess you gotta.

- Wanna take the early train with me?

- No. I have to work.

- I'll drive up. It's all right.

- Okay.

I'll see you tonight.

- Cheerful?

- Well...

- Tired?

Rate this script:5.0 / 1 vote

Earl Mac Rauch

Earl Mac Rauch is an American novelist and screenwriter. Rauch is best known for writing the screenplays for A Stranger Is Watching, New York, New York and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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