Sunday Matinee: Who Killed Teddy Bear

Who Killed Teddy Bear is a 1965 thriller from director Joseph Cates (father of actress Phoebe Cates) and written by Arnold Drake who wrote the screenplay to the 1964 low budget horror movie The Flesh Eaters but is better known for his work in comic books such as creating the super hero team The Doom Patrol for DC Comics along with Deadman and Stanley and his Monster. At Marvel Comics Drake would co-create the original Guardians of the Galaxy – the original team was from the future not the team that everyone knows from the movies.

Who Killed Teddy Bear is weird, dark and entertaining thriller. Set in the dark underbelly of New York City, the story begins with Norah Dain (Juliet Prowse), a dj at a local nightclub getting obscene phone calls. Someone seems to be watching Norah and she soon finds a decapitated teddy bear in her room. Lt. Dave Madden (Jan Murray) investigates and starts to look into the case a little too personally. Lt. Madden’s wife was raped and murdered a few years earlier and he has become obsessed with sex crimes.

Meanwhile at the nightclub waiter Lawrence Sherman (Sal Mineo) is eventually shown to the audience to be the individual making the calls and stalking Norah. Lawrence had a traumatic sexual experience when he was younger which his younger sister Edie witnessed and ran from falling down some stairs. Edie (Margot Bennett) is now 19 but has brain damage from her accident and Lawrence has to take care of her now. Norah’s boss Marian Freeman (Elaine Stritch) offers to stay with her to help Norah feel safe but tries to put the moves on Norah.

The movie has a cult following but it is hard to find. It has never been released on DVD or Blu-ray in North America but a company called Network in the U.K. has released a region free copy of the film on Blu-ray but in an edited version short of about 5 minutes of footage. Still a good messed up movie to try and see.