Sixteen years after Ruby Claire's gangster boyfriend was shot and killed by four associates, a series of gruesome murders takes place at the drive-in movie theatre she now owns. Meanwhile, ...
See full summary »
Sixteen years after Ruby Claire's gangster boyfriend was shot and killed by four associates, a series of gruesome murders takes place at the drive-in movie theatre she now owns. Meanwhile, the behaviour of her mute daughter Leslie is becoming increasingly strange and a visiting psychic claims that forces from beyond are out for revenge.Written by
Ross Horsley <email@example.com>
"Ruby" follows an ex-gun moll in 1951 Florida who employs a bunch of her former mobster peers to run a drive-in theater adjacent to her house. Unfortunately for Ruby, the spirit of her deceased husband has come back to haunt her, the drive-in, and her mute daughter.
This is a film that has been on my radar for years, but I've never caught it until recently; and boy, what a strange cocktail it is. At times, "Ruby" is a quasi-mob flick; at others, it's a supernatural horror film riffing (rather sloppily) on "The Exorcist." In some moments, it's a chamber drama. The end result is truly baffling and the tone inconsistent. But is it all bad? Not really.
The glue that holds it together is star Piper Laurie, fresh off her critical acclaim from "Carrie" (it's a mystery why she agreed to do this low-rent grindhouse flick). Even though her role is much less exciting than that of Margaret White, she plays the oddly amoral Ruby in a way that evokes Norma Desmond from "Sunset Boulevard." Her gun moll past is at times overshadowed by her failed "career" as a singer and actress, and she spends a fair amount of the film lamenting her nascent glory days, strutting around her house in extravagant costumes and playing her sole record on a jukebox in a makeshift dance hall. It's all very bizarre, and director Curtis Harrington never even attempts to elucidate the context.
It's probably this utter weirdness and lack of clarity that left me mildly amused by "Ruby," because there is more that doesn't make sense about it than there is that does. As the film ramps up to its finale, featuring full-blown poltergeist madness and Linda Blair-esque contortions, it serves up a ridiculous conclusion that is oddly befitting. Given how silly and utterly strange it all is, the "Scooby Doo" ending makes sense.
Overall, I found myself consistently entertained by "Ruby," though it is not a good film, nor is it a film for everyone. As a horror film, it is rather dull and apes snippets of its contemporaries--but as an utter anomaly, "Ruby" deserves some street credit. There truly isn't much out there that is quite like it. A haunted gun moll running a haunted drive-in? The people who will enjoy this know who they are. 6/10.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this