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RUBY (Curtis Harrington, 1977) **1/2
Bunuel197612 June 2007
The title of this film and Piper Laurie's presence clearly derive from CARRIE (1976) – though I was misled into thinking that Ruby was the possessed child rather than the mother. While I'm not sure the EXORCIST trappings were really necessary, these actually extend to only a couple of scenes…and one has to understand that the notorious 'spider walk' from the 1973 classic – depicted here (but more on this later) – wasn't officially a part of the film until its 2000 re-edit! Incidentally, the irate-father-speaking/murdering-through-his-child angle was also seen in Mario Bava's contemporaneous SHOCK (1977).

RUBY, therefore, is silly but quite effective scene-by-scene and, anyway, it certainly provides a unique mixture of supernatural horror with the typical gangland milieu. The drive-in theater element (showing ATTACK OF THE 50-FOOT WOMAN [1958] years before it was actually made; the story is ostensibly set in 1951!), then, renders the proceedings even trashier (especially with the participation of a sluttish habitué) – while, at the same time, serving as a comment on the genre itself.

The swamp (and period) setting supply the requisite atmosphere: Laurie's bitter but still-attractive torch singer/aspiring film-star/gangster's moll dominates her associates (the very same gang that killed her lover at the start of the picture!) but obviously clings to the past – linking the film to Harrington's earlier horror outing WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH HELEN? (1971). The odd-looking Janit Baldwin is perfectly cast as the mediumistic girl, especially creepy when the dead gangster – through her – confronts Laurie with his suspicions that the latter set him up. Stuart Whitman is a likable ageing hero, and Roger Davis rises to the occasion as a paranormal expert.

Unfortunately, the special effects and gore are cheaply done and the ending (different from Harrington's original conception) somewhat abrupt; though the version on the VCI DVD I purchased is credited as being the "Director's Cut", it's still missing some footage…but, at least, is free of other additions requested by the producers (reportedly the work of Stephanie Rothman) for the film's Network TV showings.

The disc includes an hour-long career overview with director Harrington and film critic David Del Valle, which is extremely interesting: it touches upon some of the films I watched in tribute to his recent passing, but also a number of others (including the TV stuff) which are still very rare to come by. Besides, he fondly reminisces about his encounters with several film legends such as Alfred Hitchcock, Josef von Sternberg, Orson Welles and James Whale (let's not forget that Harrington is the man responsible for saving the latter's delightful THE OLD DARK HOUSE [1932] from oblivion) – all of whom, incidentally, are among my own personal favorites!

The Audio Commentary is similar to the one for Harrington's NIGHT TIDE in that, apart from denoting locations where specific scenes were shot (which would mean very little to a foreigner like myself!), the director seems to be fuzzy on many production details. However, what he didn't forget – or forgive, for that matter – is his strained relationship with the film's executive producer, Steve Krantz (whom Harrington even describes as "evil"): he never misses an opportunity to put him down – berating Krantz for his stinginess, for imposing a mediocre cameraman on him and, needless to say, for ruining his 'poetic' ending! The director also remarks about the remarkable longevity of horror classics vis-a'-vis mainstream productions from Hollywood's Golden Age, and recalls the Karloff/Lugosi vehicle THE RAVEN (1935) as having been his introduction to the genre. Incidentally, the RUBY Commentary is a lot more animated than that of NIGHT TIDE – thanks to the enthusiastic contribution of star Piper Laurie, even if she's critical of her own performance at this juncture (and blames the tight schedule for it). As for the 'spider walk', it emerges that this eerie contortionist effect wasn't borrowed from THE EXORCIST at all – but rather from a Salvador Dali painting about a psycho-physiological condition known as the Hysterical Arch!
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A former gun moll runs a sleazy 1950's Florida drive-in that becomes a scene for several creepy and deadly supernatural occurences.
verna5514 September 2000
This oddball horror/possession flick was yet another '70's film made in the race to rip-off the super horror hit THE EXORCIST. However, this one is better than most because it was directed by cult favorite Curtis Harrington who pays special attention to plot, character, atmosphere and detail rather than reverting to spinning heads and vomiting pea soup. Furthermore, Piper Laurie(who won an Oscar nomination the previous year for her role in CARRIE) gives a marvellous performance in the title role, and Janit Baldwin is also impressive as Laurie's disturbed young daughter. Roger Davis(of DARK SHADOWS fame) also does well with his role as a psychologist who gets caught up in this eerie tale of the supernatural. BEWARE: Although most video editions of the film run fifteen minutes longer than the version that was originally released to theatres, they slash much of the gore(which wasn't really all that graphic to begin with) and substitute it with dull, pointless footage featuring supporting characters that really have no connection to the plot or action of the film. This version of the film is credited to the pseudonymous Allen Smithee and was apparantly the version that first aired on network television. If you are lucky enough to find the 84-minute version credited to Curtis Harrington, the film's original director, you"ll fare much better.
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Not too bad, despite the producer's lame ending.
Katatonia6 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Possible minor spoilers ahead...

Ruby isn't too bad of a movie for a late 70's flick. It has the feel of a drive-in movie, and that actually is a part of the story. The similarities to CARRIE are evident, from Piper Laurie to the revenge motif in the plot. Ruby was marketed as being the movie up there with The Exorcist, The Omen and similar movies. I've even heard that it was the biggest independent money maker before John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN came along.

Ruby suffers from one major flaw and that is the incredibly cheesy ending of the movie. The director Curtis Harrington had nothing to do with that final shot and was completely against it. It was filmed entirely by the Producer. The original ending was not as "shocking" or as "cheesy" and was much more involved.

Another thing that should be noted is the old VHS releases were heavily edited from a TV version, from the same producer who screwed with the ending. All of the murder scenes were cut way back and it looked like a completely different film. That "Producer's Cut" version is really garbage. That may be a very good reason why this film does not have a higher rating on here. Find the Curtis Harrington "Director's Cut" version, even though the original ending is long since lost and sadly not included in it. That version is as close as you can find to the original vision of the film, even if it still has that awful ending.
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Solid little supernatural shindig.
EyeAskance25 October 2003
Despite a multitude of minor blemishes, RUBY stands as an effectually devised psychological/supernatural chiller which gainsays its deficient funding.

Piper Laurie turns out an impressive performance as Ruby, a hard-drinking harlot in ownership of a weatherbeaten old drive-in movie theater. In years past, she was a knockout gangster's moll whose man was murdered gangland style. Before he died, he vowed to return from the grave...a promise which, it seems, he has kept.

A cleverly formulated B quickie thick with gloom and disquietude, RUBY is an honorable short-order undertaking which emanates a pleasingly differential mood of foreboding creepiness.

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How did Piper Laurie get talked into this?
moonspinner5519 March 2006
After ending a 15-year retirement from films to do Brian De Palma's "Carrie" (in which she was Oscar-nominated), Piper Laurie inexplicably turned up the very next year in this low-rent schlocker directed by Curtis Harrington. Needless to say, she didn't net another nomination. It's an abhorrent concoction about an aging gangster's moll who runs a drive-in movie theater, and Laurie gives a flat, depressed performance. Turns out the gangster's ghost now haunts the drive-in, and he may be responsible for possessing a young girl (Janit Baldwin, forced into imitating Linda Blair). Mixture of scares, satire, comedic elements, and bloody violence makes for one cruddy movie. NO STARS from ****
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Not a good waste of time...
chas771 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I really wanted to like this film. I loved the director's earlier "Night Tides" movie which I saw at a special screening in the '90s somewhere in Hollywood. Many critics have praised this film and I heard it was a minor hit when it came out so I was looking forward to it.

That said, this is not an easy movie to like. I think part of the problem lies in the forced attempt at creating the '50s setting. In larger budgeted films where you can use a studio back lot or hire tons of top-notch art directors, set dressers, expensive costumers, etc., that type of recreation can work (although sometimes it does do not) but in this case it seemed like they were trying to too hard to set it in the '50s -- it seemed off. My wife walked by while I was watching it, didn't know anything about this movie and said, "it looks like a '70s movie." Why would she say this? Something about it is off, the haircuts seem a little bit too shaggy and some of the costumes aren't quite right. It was a coup to get all the period cars though, gotta give credit where credit is due.

Anyway, getting to the story. This is also kinda weird. We're supposed to believe that a nightclub singer whose beloved boyfriend was killed by his mobster friends right in front of her eyes would hire the same mobsters to help her run a drive-in after they are paroled from prison? And she's even sleeping with one of them? I don't think so. Had a hard time buying that. Piper Laurie as said singer is also shown in flashbacks from 17 years ago and instead of getting a different actress (one who might be 30 pounds lighter) they simply change her hair do. I'm not buying it.

The acting is hit and miss. Piper is one-note shrill. Stuart Whitman as her retired mobster boyfriend is pretty good. The guy playing the parapsychologist (or whatever he was - somehow he doubled as the prison doctor, from what the dialogue inferred) seemed like something out of another movie entirely. The best acting goes to the weirdo possessed daughter who gets to be in the movie's few effective scenes when she babbles in a man's voice. Maybe if the film included more of these "Exorcist"-inspired scenes it would have worked better.

The laughable ending with Piper fighting a plastic skeleton in the water is mind-numbingly awful. Even worse is the "Laura" rip-off end song which is just bad.
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Creepy Little Flick
vampi196026 July 2006
About a year after Brian DE palma's;Carrie,A low budget independent horror film came out called ruby(aka;blood ruby)starring Carrie co-star piper Laurie,who ill always know as Cathrine Martel of twin peaks. this was made by dimension pictures,who also gave us kingdom of the spiders with bill shatner.its a creepy little flick about a gangsters moll(Laurie)who runs a drive in theater,with her gangster associates. who gunned down her lover.well you can probably imagine the rest. well ruby's daughter(played by janit Baldwin)gets possessed by the ghost of Niki(ruby's dead lover)and bodies start piling up.Stuart Whitman plays ruby's new lover,who was one of the gunners,but does'nt seem like the type.anyway its sort of exorcist meets JD's revenge. with creepy music and sound effects.also starring;roger Davis from TV's dark shadows.and there's an interesting movie playing at ruby's drive -in.the 1958 classic;attack of the 50 foot woman,starring Allison Hayes. Curtis Harrington directed this little gem from 1977.harringtom who also directed the 1961 night tide with a young Dennis hopper,kudos to piper Laurie who i think played the part of ruby so well.and beautiful big eyed janit Baldwin(who was in gator bait with the late Claudia Jennings)as ruby's mute possessed daughter.awesome movie,check it out. 8 out of 10.recommended
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Overlooked and Underappreciated Horror Film
kirbylee70-599-52617931 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I first saw RUBY back in 1977 when it was first released. The movie played at the drive-in as the first of two features, the second of which I can no longer recall. But this movie left an impression on me. Perhaps it was due to the fact that it took place in a drive-in for most of the film's 85 minute length. The drive-in at that time was my lifeline to movies, a new double feature playing twice a week all summer long. I saw more movies that way than at any other time until I began working as a theater manager for 5 years.

The movie opens in 1935 as Ruby Claire (Piper Laurie) and her lover Nicky Rocco are out for a moonlight spin in his car, stopping near the docks at the nearby swamp. Ruby is obviously pregnant at this time and as the two prepare to go for out in a rowboat another car pulls up. Out step the members of the gang Nicky is a part of who then open fire and kill Nicky. Swearing on his dying breath that he will have his revenge, Ruby goes into labor there on the dock.

Fast forward to 1951. The land that was once owned by gangster Jake Miller (who was in charge of the gang that shot Nicky) is not controlled by Ruby. She's taken the land and turned it into a drive-in, employing the old gang members to do the day to day operations. Heading them up is Vince (Stuart Whitman), selling tickets and overseeing the rest who run the concessions and projector. Living in the big house on the hill that overlooks the drive-in along with Ruby is Jake, now muter and confined to a wheelchair, Vince and her daughter Leslie (Janit Baldwin).

As Leslie's 16th birthday draws near strange things begin to happen at the drive-in. As ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN shines on the screen each of the old gang members are being killed off in the most ingenious ways tying into the whole drive-in concept. Concerned about what is going on Vince has contacted the prison psychologist who helped him, Dr. Paul Keller (Roger Davis). Keller was interested in studying the paranormal on the side and Vince is certain something is afoot here.

As the film progresses Ruby continues to reminisce about the old days, walk around drinking more than she should and dreaming of Nicky. What she doesn't know it that Nicky is about to make his return. He possesses the body of his daughter, talking through her to let them know he's here to collect his revenge. And it won't be pretty.

The movie works on so many levels even though the budget constraints on this film are well known. Director Curtis Harrington (who also directed NIGHT TIDE, QUEEN OF BLOOD, WHOEVER SLEW AUNTIE ROO? and WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH AUNTY HELEN?) displays the skill he had at creating an effective atmosphere with what little he had. There are plot holes to be found and the pickier of people writing about the film seem to bask in their glory noting those whole. But that short changes what Harrington was able to accomplish with what he had to work with here.

The same can be said for the main actors on display: Laurie, Whitman and Davis. Laurie had just come off the hit CARRIE showing she had a knack for horror. 45 years old at the time the film was made (which is certain to be considered old in Hollywood years) she looks lovelier than ever here, still an attractive woman and that's what the role needs. The character of Ruby is one that all the men around her adore and desire while having no chance to find those needs satisfied. Whitman was always willing, ready and able to provide a solid performance no matter what he was in. An unappreciated actor you have to remember he had starred against giant rabbits 5 years prior in NIGHT OF THE LEPUS. And Davis was the heartthrob tragic werewolf that teens lusted over for years on TV's DARK SHADOWS, later moving into ALIAS SMITH AND JONES after the tragic suicide of actor Pete Duel. He never gave a bad performance that I've ever seen and does a solid job here as well.

The thing about this movie that makes it work so well is the combination of setting and atmosphere heaped on in heavy doses by Harrington. Intended from the start to be a drive-in feature it benefits from the fact that much of the film takes place in a drive-in. Side stories take place there, mostly around a young woman who teases her various dates and who Whitman notes to tonight's choice that he's seen her there every night for the past week with someone new. The killings of at least two of the old mob are both eerie with the second having a hilarious joke tossed into the mix.

The low lying swamp that permeates the air with a mist from the start of the film until the very end also plays an integral part to the story. The fog that just seems to touch the ground, hovering but never rising too high gives it that nice, creepy touch. The house with its old dance hall that Ruby used to sing in is a nice bit to have on hand and combines the memories of Ruby with the run down appearance of her world now. It only increases her longing for days gone by.

The movie rarely played on TV and was actually chopped up when it did. Harrington was not a fan of what the owners of the film did to his final work and says so in one of the extras here. While the film has been available on DVD in the past this is the first time it's been released on blu-ray. What we have here is supposed to be the definitive theatrical edition of the film or as close to it as we will ever see. The print is a 2k transfer with restoration that provides this version with the cleanest look since it was originally released. Included in the extras are a 2001 interview with Harrington by David Del Valle, a commentary track with Harrington and Laurie, 2 episodes of SINISTER IMAGE featuring host David Del Valle with Harrington, a commentary track with Del Valle and Harrington expert Nathaniel Bell, liner notes written by Bell, the original theatrical trailer which has been restored and as a bonus the DVD copy of the film.

As I've said before this was a movie that I found to be one of my favorites from the time when it was released. It remains a favorite of mine and one that I've watched on several occasions having bought the original DVD release several years ago. I can say that this edition on blu-ray exceeds that original copy and has provided fans with something to enjoy as much as they did when it was originally released. With the memories it brings back I can't wait to open the window this summer, listen to the crickets chirping outside, make a nice size bowl of popcorn, a tall soda nearby and my arm around my wife (then girlfriend) sitting beside me on the couch remembering those good old days at the drive-in. At least ours wasn't haunted.
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Highly underrated
PeterBradford25 September 2017
I don't understand all the negative reviews. Piper Laurie gives an emotional, strong performance as Ruby. The film has atmosphere, is moody, and somewhat original (particularly with the death scenes). Janit Baldwin looks remarkably like Piper Laurie in some scenes (I thought that was Piper Laurie on the theatrical release poster until I saw the film). Roger Davis, an actor with a spotty career, does a good job in his second film for Harrington (he had previously been in Killer Bees). And the ending...I love it! It's both chilling and effective. Check it out!
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Where old-fashioned atmosphere meets new-fangled bloodshed
Leofwine_draca4 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This effective shocker manages to combine the possession themes from THE EXORCIST with the supernatural deaths from THE OMEN into a workable mixture, heavy on the atmosphere and nostalgia; smattered with enough bizarre incident, cheap deaths, and harassed acting on the part of the main performers to make it worthwhile. The best thing about the film by far is not the fragmented plot, but rather the direction of cult favourite Curtis Harrington, who fills every moment with enough suspense, tense atmosphere, and shuddery chills to flesh out a dozen later horror flicks. The setting of a dead-end drive-in (forever playing ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN) is a perfect one, with supernatural incident after supernatural incident taking place in the creaking, derelict, and run-down old buildings. Bodies are impaled to the giant screen, hanged with film reels, and disappear inside Coke machines, and there are enough low-budget blood and grue effects to please the graphic horror fan no end, along with a little macabre humour here and there.

The scripting is character-focused for a change, giving a chance for the main performers to develop their roles before being offed by the unseen spirit, which is a plus because the casting is excellent. Taking the title role is Piper Laurie, hot on the success of CARRIE, playing another eccentric character whose fate is inexorably bound up with that of her dead lover. She's just as good here as she was in Brian De Palma's hit, even if her character is deeper and more subtle than there. The underrated Stuart Whitman also turns in a fine portrayal as Vince, the ageing helper with an affection for Ruby, who may or may not be doomed to die at the hands of the vengeful spirit.

As the possessed child Leslie, Janit Baldwin is exceptionally creepy; with the aid of some eye make-up she easily transforms from looking like an innocent child into a creature of evil, and hers is the scariest performance in the whole movie. Finally we have Roger Davis, as the spiritual doctor brought in to sort out the whole mess, and he too contributes a solid and flawless performance. High on horror and creepy shudders, RUBY skilfully combines old-fashioned atmosphere and suspense with new-fangled bloodshed and violence, and the end result is an unfairly forgotten yarn which is not without flaws, but for the most part one to watch. Also be sure to check out the CARRIE-style shock ending, which is one of the best I've seen.
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A cup of blood.
HumanoidOfFlesh30 July 2012
The prologue takes place in 1935.Former actress Ruby Claire witnesses her gangster boyfriend Nicky's killing by his associates.Sixteen years later.Ruby operates highly successful drive-in movie cinema located in the middle of rural US.Unfortunately the ghost of Nicky returns to claim revenge on his killers,who work with Ruby.Last theatrical horror film of Curtis "The Killing Kind" Harrington is a mix of haunted drive-in/possession flick in the vein of "The Exorcist".My favourite scene from "Ruby" is when mutilated body is hidden inside Coke vending machine.Incredibly fat woman decides to have a drink,puts a coin and receives healthy cup of fresh blood.The film has moments of effective suspense but there are also some dull spots.6 cups of blood out of 10.
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pwmediadvd12 December 2010
I remember seeing Ruby listed on the Drive In Marquee in my hometown when it came out,unfortunately I do not remember seeing it at that time but that's been a long time ago to remember. I just watched the DVD version and it was like seeing a new Ruby. Great incredible transfer and never before scenes. I also happened to pick up the Congress Video Group VHS that has been around for years and compared both. The VHS is very grainy and not watchable especially after being treated to the DVD Version.

But what is interesting is that there are some scenes that do not appear in the DVD version which involve the local sheriff's and some of the other characters in the film. So I was happy to see some of those. However this particular VHS version has omitted all the gore and violence for the most part and some scenes do not make sense (no wonder the director did not claim it). I just cant imagine why they would not show any of this. The box cover gives credit to Alan Smithee which was an official pseudonym used by film directors who wish to disown a project.

I highly recommend the DVD Version and if you can find a cheap VHS grab one up to see some of the missing scenes not found on the DVD.
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Enjoyable Grade B 70's horror flick
Woodyanders30 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Hard-bitten former gangster's moll and faded nightclub singer Ruby Claire (superbly played by Piper Laurie) runs a drive-in movie theater and pines for the good old days. The vengeful spirit of Ruby's murdered mobster lover Nicky Rocco (handsome Sal Vecchio) uses the body of Ruby's sweet and innocent mute daughter Leslie (an impressive almost wordless portrayal by Janit Baldwin) as a vessel to exact revenge from beyond the grave on the people who killed him. Director Curtis Harrington, working from an engrossing script by George Edwards and Barry Schneider, relates the absorbing story at a steady pace, offers a generous sprinkling of decent gore, adds a few neat touches of amusing macabre humor (a corpse gets stashed in a soda vending machine that pumps out the guy's blood), and does his customary expert job of creating and sustaining a supremely eerie and unsettling gloom-doom atmosphere. Moreover, Harrington brings a wistful and melancholy nostalgic sensibility to the material which kicks the picture up a few extra notches. The sturdy acting from the sound cast rates as another major asset: Stuart Whitman does well as Ruby's loyal and amiable longtime buddy Vince Kemper, Roger Davis contributes fine support as helpful parapsychologist Dr. Paul Keller, and comely flash-in-the-pan 70's exploitation film starlet Crystin Sinclaire vamps it up nicely as shameless stuck-up tramp Lila June. William Mendell's crisp cinematography makes excellent use of vibrant color and makes the most out of the misty swampland location. Don Ellis' moody score hits the shuddery spot. Marred only by a rushed and sloppy tacked-on cheap shock ending, "Ruby" overall sizes up as a fun little low-budget fright feature.
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A "lost" horror movie that should remain that way!
preppy-311 August 2005
Horror movie with a needlessly convoluted plot. In 1935 a gangster's girlfriend named Ruby (Piper Laurie) sees her boyfriend shot down dead. At that moment she gives birth to his baby (!!!) The movie cuts to 16 years later. Ruby is an alcoholic running a drive in and Leslie is her daughter--born a deaf mute (I think). For reasons never made totally clear she has the guys who shot her boyfriend dead working for her in the drive in! Then they start getting killed--it seems Ruby's ex is coming back for revenge...

If that synopsis sounds confusing you should see the movie! Curtis Harrington is a good director and I'm giving this a 4 just because it is just doesn't make a lot of sense. I saw the director's cut which was thought to be lost. Harrington was fired before the movie was finished. The producer took the movie, cut out all the violence and shot scenes with a totally different cast! That was the one released. Harrington complained about it and said his version was gone. Somehow it was found and that's the one I saw. If this is the cut the director approved I can only wonder how bad the reedited version was! Scenes seem to end before they're finished; the plot meanders all over the place; there are way too many unanswered questions still lingering at the end; Ruby is inexplicably always dressed like a madam; the special effects are poor; the deaths are very poorly done (and look REAL fake); the twist at the end comes out of nowhere--and doesn't make a lot of sense and, basically, this is BORING!

Laurie is a wonderful actress but she's terrible in this. She appears to be drunk most of the time--or looks like she wishes she were. Stuart Whitman walks through his role. Janit Baldwin is actually pretty good as Leslie. And Roger Davis (fondly remembered from "Dark Shadows") pops up about 30 minutes in as a parapsychologist. He has little to do with the plot except have Whitman provide some clumsy exposition to him. It's supposed to clear up the plot--it doesn't.

A dull, confusing mess. Not worth seeing at all. It's really a shame-the VCI DVD looks just beautiful.
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I"d rather be watching Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
bensonmum26 November 2017
Mobster Nicky Rocco is gunned down in the middle of a Louisiana swamp. With his dying breath, he vows revenge on all of those who did him wrong - including pregnant girlfriend Ruby (Piper Laurie). Some 16 year later, Ruby lives at and operates an out-of-the-way drive-in with some of the former gang members she's given jobs to. Also in Ruby's household is Nicky's teenage daughter, Leslie - a very troubled girl. Things start to get really weird when Nicky's former associates begin dying horrible, unexplained deaths. Leslie's demeanor also begins to change until one fateful night when her body is fully possessed by her long dead and wronged father. Through Leslie, Nicky repeats his vow of vengeance.

Overall, as my wife would say, Ruby is pretty much hot garbage. While the movie has its fair share of reasonably spooky moments, there's too much here that I didn't care for to give the film a positive rating. The plot is a mess, the dialogue is often silly, and there are long patches of the movie where nothing much happens. It wasn't until the final 10-15 minutes that anything really peaked my interest. The acting is all over the place. Piper Laurie chews enough scenery to choke on. Her overacting really got old. The usually reliable Stuart Whitman, in contrast, plays his part so understated that Laurie literally runs him over. No one in the cast really stood out to me. Also, the film is supposedly set in 1951. I've seen a number of goofs listed on IMDb about the film's setting. My issue is that it just doesn't look like 1951. The way Ruby was filmed, it has a distinct 1970s look to it that no manner of old cars or old clothes can hide. I don't know any way to say it other than I never felt like I was watching a movie set in 1951.

Finally, the movie we see projected on the drive-in screen is Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. It says a lot about my feelings on Ruby when I say that I would have much rather been watching Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.
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The Omen meets The Exorcist by way of film noir.
BA_Harrison14 August 2017
Piper Laurie follows her success in Carrie with another supernatural horror, Ruby, in which she plays gangster's moll Ruby Claire, who, sixteen years after witnessing the cold-blooded shooting of Nicky (Sal Vecchio), the father of her unborn child, finds herself menaced by his vengeful spirit. Believing that he was betrayed by his lover, Nicky's ghost proceeds to bump off the ex-gangsters now employed at her drive-in theatre, using his mute daughter Leslie (Janit Baldwin) as a conduit, before finally confronting Ruby herself.

Opening with the wonderfully dreamlike murder of Nicky in a bayou, Curtis Harrington's Ruby is not without atmosphere and style, the director making effective use of his rundown drive-in location and its eerie, foggy swampland surroundings. Sadly, despite the creepy ambiance, several creative kills (ala The Omen)—hanging by film stock, impalement to movie screen, death by drinks vending machine—plus a couple of fun possession scenes clearly inspired by The Exorcist, the overly talky nature of the script prevents the film from being a complete success, the dull dialogue frequently bringing the action to a standstill.
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Unfairly maligned 70's supernatural horror
Red-Barracuda21 June 2017
Despite its reception, which seems to have been quite negative from what I have read, Ruby made an absolutely huge profit at the box office. Made for $600,000 it went on to rake in $16million. That's serious commercial success for sure. But it appears to have been one of those movies which made big waves on initial release but then kind of fell off the radar immediately afterwards. In 1935 a man is gunned down by his fellow gangsters. Sixteen years later his wife, now the mother to a disturbing mute girl, runs a drive-in theatre that specialises in horror movies. She employs all the men responsible for the earlier murder and soon they all start winding up dead, victims of a mysterious supernatural entity. It soon transpires that the young daughter is possessed by her dead father's spirit and he's out for some serious pay-back.

This one was directed by Curtis Harrington who was responsible for the subtle off-kilter chiller Night Tide (1961) which featured a young Dennis Hopper in an unusually restrained role. Ruby is a decidedly more standard horror offering combining elements of a trio of big-hitting horror hits of the day including Carrie (1976) with Piper Laurie as a demented mother, The Exorcist (1973) with the spider-walking possessed young girl and The Omen (1976) with its series of elaborate death scenes - victims are impaled high up on cinema screens, choked to death on film reels, hung from trees and left bloodied in...a Coke machine. It's a combination that basically works though, with enough incidents occurring to ensure it's never a boring watch. I think its possession movie element is the one that works best though, with Janit Baldwin perfectly cast in the role of the demented daughter. With her saucer eyes and creepy smile she is genuinely unsettling and the scenes with her possessed by her father are actually kind of scary. Perhaps if the various death scenes had been executed with a little more verve and detail, the film would be better but the weird killings still do add a further macabre detail to the overall whole never-the-less. The drive-in setting is actually a pretty good one and gives the film a bit of distinct character and I did enjoy the interspersing of the featured film Attack of the 50 Foot Woman into things even if it was a movie released seven years after events depicted on screen were supposed to be happening - ah, the trifling details film-makers could so easily get away with in the days before the internet! Anyway, events do dovetail to an ending which was a little odd. I don't think the general idea of it was especially bad – quite decent in actual fact – but it was just far, far too abrupt. All-in-all though, this forgotten box-office smash is actually well worth seeking out if you like 70's horror movies, it's a little ropey in places for sure but it does have a bit of atmosphere, originality and legitimately scary moments.
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Low budget horror with a laughable ending.
sunznc9 June 2017
Ruby is a low budget film on the same level as something like "Mansion of the Doomed" or "The Hills Have Eye's". It isn't horrible but we're not talking Oscar material here either. It is a low budget horror film.

Piper Laurie and Stuart Whitman had to have known what they were getting into. Their acting is very good but they have nothing to work with. The dialogue isn't good, the direction is terrible and you can tell the editor struggled to make the film work. He didn't have much to get creative with.

What is annoying about the film is the direction. The film shifts abruptly from scene to scene, the acting from the secondary actors is, well, secondary. It's amateur time. The film is NOT scary. It has a few scenes here and there that could possibly be called haunting but the entire thing is just so low budget and makes no sense so you cannot become involved. All I could think of is 'thank God this is only 88 minutes" and then we get to the end. The worst scene of all. Laughably bad! Never want to sit through this again.
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The Paranormal Drive-In Massacre…
Coventry27 October 2015
Raw and gritty horror/exploitation movies from the glorious '70s decade simply can't start any better than "Ruby" does… With a fuzzy and soundless flashback, set in the mid-1930s, and witness the promenade of two young lovers in a Florida swamp area. Suddenly a car drives up and the four passengers that come out relentlessly execute the boy, Nicky, who apparently was an over-ambitious mobster. Now that's what I call an opener, and it even gets better, as we fast-forward to the year 1951 at a typical drive-in theater where a projectionist guy in his cabin inexplicably gets killed by his own film reel! Great stuff, but then of course the script has some explaining and character drawings to do, and the whole thing quickly crumbles apart like a cookie! It turns out that the murdered mobster's girlfriend Ruby now runs a drive-in and actually employs the retired assailants. Apparently Nicky extracts his vengeance from beyond the grave and to obtain this he also possesses the mind and body of their now 16-year- old daughter Leslie that he never saw getting born. So basically what we have here is a miscellany of gangster movie with revenge-flick and spiritual possession elements, and all this is served to us by an over-the-top bizarrely behaving Piper Laurie who was clearly asked to come across as unnerving as she did in last year's box office hit "Carrie"! I will gladly admit that I personally stopped paying attention to the incoherence and numerous holes in the script, and simply tried to enjoy the crazy murder sequences and wonderfully trashy atmosphere and scenery as much as I possibly could. Quite frankly I can't explain why little Leslie walks around like a spider just as Linda Blair did in "The Exorcist", or what exactly is the added value of Roger Davis' character, or even whether or not it gets revealed that Ruby did betray her lover all those years ago. Fact remains, however, that "Ruby" contains a handful of awesome moments that are simultaneously odd, cheesy and disturbing! Mobster bodies' are being tossed around and smashed against trees, the flamboyant Ruby spies on her drive-in employees through a telescope whilst being drunk and one poor sucker even ends up hacked up in a soda vending machine. Perhaps director Curtis Harrington ("Queen of Blood", "Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?") and his crew could have done even more with the smart drive-in setting, but they already include a couple of atmospheric moments, like for example when Ruby finds herself all alone in the middle of the drive-in parking and haunted by her murdered lover's voice coming out of all the separate speakers. In conclusion, "Ruby" most certainly isn't a good movie if you analyze or review it thoroughly, but it contains multiple strong moments and memorable details to make it a must-see for admirers of 70s horror cinema (drive-in classics and otherwise)
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Nicely done shocker.
Hey_Sweden30 August 2015
After tearing up the screen in the 1976 film "Carrie", Piper Laurie again gets a showcase role she can relish. She plays the title character, a former gangsters' moll who now runs a legitimate business, a drive-in. Her old criminal associates are now employees at the place and begin to be killed in supernatural occurrences. It would seem that the big flame of her life, Nicky (Sal Vecchio), is seeking vengeance from beyond the grave. Nicky forces his spirit on his and Ruby's daughter Leslie (Janit Baldwin), a mute teenager who lives in a world of her own.

"Ruby" is an above average production of this kind, which benefits the most from a grim and gritty atmosphere that pervades everything. There's a somber quality to the script by George Edwards and Barry Schneider; there's very little in the way of humour. The gore is minimal but effective, and the special effects are likewise good. Horror fans will love the memorable soda machine gag. Curtis Harrington directs quite well, giving "Ruby" a good pace and a sense of eeriness.

Laurie very much dominates the movie as a character who is not always terribly sympathetic. She receives sturdy support from Stuart Whitman as her friend Vince Kemper, and Roger Davis as parapsychologist Paul Keller. The striking young Baldwin has a very expressive pair of eyes, and registers strongly in a role mostly without dialogue. The sexy Crystin Sinclaire gets some laughs as the slutty Lila June, who's always showing up at the drive-in with somebody new. 1930s star Fred Kohler Jr. plays the crippled old Jake Miller, and Len "Uncle Leo" Lesser is one of the doomed employees.

Only a weak and cheesy final shot cheapens the experience.

Incidentally, many viewers are bound to notice an anachronism: the events of "Ruby" take place in 1951, but the one flick played most often at the drive-in is "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman", a 1958 classic.

Seven out of 10.
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Mad B movie that makes no sense but is fun all the same.
ashwetherall118 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Ruby is one of those film that should be filed under so dumb its fun. Made by the great cult director Curtis Harrington Ruby makes very little sense in the terms of plot but for some reason and god only knows why is very entertaining.

The story line goes something like this. In the Mid thirties gangster bad boy Nicky Rocco is shot dead in front of his pregnant girl friend Ruby. His assassins are members of his own gang. As he dies Nicky swears vengeance on his killers as his girlfriend Ruby goes into labour. From then the movie moves on 16 or so years with Ruby running a drive in movie theatre that shows films that haven't been made yet? (Attack of the 50 foot woman was made in 1958) but who cares.

But guess what, shes hired all her dead boyfriends down on there luck killers to run the place.. Why.. Who really knows. But here's what we do know. Something very nasties going to happen to them. Then theirs the fact that ruby now has a mute doe eyed daughter who acts very strangely and some old blind dude in a wheel chair who live with Ruby.

The film is quite incoherent, so you might ask yourself why is it so much fun... Well its down to another great unhinged performance from Piper Laurie in the title role. Add to that some great character actors to back her up including the ever reliable Stuart Whitman and Janit Baldwin as Ruby strange daughter and you have a gem of b movie with enough plot holes to drive a bus through. just enjoy the crazy plot don't take it seriously.
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It doesn't work
Maciste_Brother13 August 2003
RUBY is a bizarre amalgamation of incongruous elements taken from different genres that just doesn't work as a whole once they're put together. I haven't seen such a kookily conceived horror film since THE BOOGEYMAN. But unlike that Uli Lommel flick, which actually works in an odd kinda of way, RUBY's disparate elements are totally impossible to mix together to create a satisfying product. Take one part Film Noir flick, one part THE EXORCIST, one part CARRIE and one part DRIVE-IN exploitation flick and what you get is something that's just plain silly. The direction is very old fashioned, which would have worked in the 1960s but not in the gritty 1970s, when the film was released. And why is the title of the film called RUBY, when it should have been LESLIE? What does Ruby the character have anything to do with the horror in the story? If a movie can't get its title right, what hope is there for the rest of the film?

RUBY is more of a showcase for Piper Laurie, who's good but for what? Singing (but is that what we're looking for in a horror film)? Or dressing up in vintage clothes (again, the same question...)? Or spouting inane "film noir" dialogue? While watching it, I couldn't help but feel that the production was highjacked by producers (like THE REDEEMER) and the whole thing was altered in order to capitalize on the success of CARRIE and THE EXORCIST, and other horror movies of that period. The end result is embarrassing.
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Seeing red
brefane15 July 2010
Dull, murky, and uneventful horror film set in a remote Florida drive-in;the perfect place to show this film. Ruby is about a gangster's moll, the gangster's spirit, and the moll's possessed daughter. The whole things is sketchy and underdeveloped, the pace is deadening, the acting, writing and directing are lackluster, and the cinematography is muddy. You'll probably be seeing red long before the credits roll. Curtis Harrington who directed the compelling Night Tide(63), the campy What's the Matter with Helen?(71) and the disturbing The Killing Kind(73)doesn't distinguish himself here, and Piper Laurie who was scary as Carrie's mom is not terrifying as Ruby despite what the ad says. "Christened in blood, raised in sin, she's sweet sixteen, let the party begin!" Ruby opened and closed without a trace.
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* * out of 4.
brandonsites19812 June 2002
Woman (Piper Laurie) who runs a sleazy drive-in is plagued by a series of gruesome murders and her daughter appears to be possessed by her dead gangster boyfriend, who also appears to be responisble for the killings. Well casted, short, and directly to the point horror flick with some good scary scenes. Nothing that will enrich our movie going history, but entertaining.

Rated R; Graphic Violence.
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Good premise spoiled by silly, B-movie execution
ruffrider17 January 2005
I saw this one in the theater when it first came out and any film with Piper Laurie and Stuart Whitman holds promise for me. The dead-gangster-coming-back-to-avenge-his-murder premise could have worked, but the cheesy, B-movie script, the direction and several unfortunate sequences drag it down. Laurie and Whitman give the film its best moments but the rest of the cast is less than stellar and the minute Ruby's mute daughter starts "talking" in the dead gangster's voice we know this picture is in trouble. The low point comes when the hapless daughter is forced to do a ridiculous and incompetent take-off on Linda Blair's levitating and similar antics from "The Exorcist" - what can I say? I love good horror shows and hoped this would be one of them. There are chilling moments at the beginning and the very end, but the campy script and amateur supporting players sink this effort - too bad.
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