Watch the full film on the
Welcome to Fandor. Watch thousands of award-winning films online. ×

Ruby1977

  • 3.3
Piper Laurie plays RUBY, a mother whose mute daughter becomes possessed by the spirit of her murdered father. In one terrifying night of horror, he exacts his revenge on his assassins.

Copy embed code

×

What makes this film worth watching? See All Reviews

2 members like this review

Death at the drive-in!

…and sometimes death by drive-in!

It’s Florida in 1935, and Ruby (Piper Laurie) is the red dress-wearing moll of gangster Nicky Rocco (Sal Vecchio). As they are about to enjoy a romantic boat ride, five gunsels pull up and unload some lead into Nicky. Ruby collapses on the dock, and a voice informs us that that was the night Ruby's baby was born.

Cut to 1951, and we find Ruby is the owner of a drive-in movie theatre in the same vicinity as the murder. Working for Ruby is Vince Kemper (Stuart Whitman), as well as the same men who murdered Nicky sixteen years before (didn’t she ask for their references?!). One by one, the tables are turned on the ex-killers, as they are tracked and murdered by some mysterious force.

At the same time, Ruby's mute daughter, Leslie (Janit Baldwin), is displaying an extreme form of Electra complex. Only she doesn’t want to possess her father…she wants to be possessed by him! Vince's friend, parapsychologist Dr. Paul Keller (Roger Davis), is trying to find the answers to a lot of questions: Are the ghosts of Ruby's past coming to exact revenge? Who is killing Ruby's associates? What does a pair of scissors have to do with the jar Ruby keeps in her closet? What’s playing on the bill with Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman? And how could a movie made in 1958 be playing at a drive-in in 1951?!

Ruby is an odd movie. Its story begins in the 1930s, but the rest of the film takes place in the 1950s. Unfortunately, the movie is unable to capture the flavor of any time period but when it was made — the late 1970s. That’s not such a terrible predicament to be in if the movie is strong enough, but Ruby has a patchwork feel that never comes together fully. In his book Creature Features Movie Guide Strikes Again, John Stanley mentions the rumor that director Curtis Harrington was fired and replaced by Stephanie Rothman (It’s a Bikini World, The Student Nurses, The Velvet Vampire). This may explain the incoherent feel of the production.

That being said, there are strong performances throughout. Both Piper Laurie (who has got it goin' on in this film!) and Stuart Whitman give it their all, even though Laurie veers into the realm of Camp once too often. Janit Baldwin has little to do since she is mute for most of the picture, but she perks up once she is taken over by Nicky's ghost. Sharp eyes will pick out Jerry Seinfeld's Uncle Leo, Len Lesser, as Barney the jailbird refreshment stand attendant. Lila June is a typical small-town diva, and as played by Crystin Sinclaire she comes across as a slutty version of Carol Burnett's cracked Southern Belle, Eunice. The scenes in the drive-in are usually played for laughs, albeit weak ones. There are a few good scenes that occur in its environs, however, especially Barney's death. It'll put you off the Cherokee Red for a good long while.

All in all, Ruby is a pretty good flick. Enjoyable, but ordinary in spots. There are moments that shine through, however: Ruby being stalked by the voice of her dead lover through the speakers in the drive-in, and her dancing with her daughter/lover in the attic spring to mind. The Exorcist-style scenes with Leslie towards the film’s end are also quite effective even if they are a bit derivative. The filmmakers were obviously fans of the older, more atmospheric horror films of the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Indeed, the end of the film seems straight out of a Roger Corman or Vincent Price flick. And the desire of Harrington to go for terror over horror (see Harlan Ellison and Stephen King for a fine differentiation between the two) sets Ruby apart from other films of the time period. Perfect popcorn movie on a Saturday night. Enjoy!

…now if I could only get this darn pop machine to make with the Cherokee Red. It took my last quarter!

Picture?width=100&height=100
top reviewer
Cast & Crew
Starring
Directed By
Executive Produced By
Produced By
Cinematography
Edited By
Written By
Story By
Music By
Genres Festivals & Awards Related Articles

Member Reviews (6)

8dae6774defd1d0f91cc7dd2835ce800?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2fmale%2favatar m 0083
top reviewer

Harrington's A+ movies include "Games," "What's the Matter with Helen?" and "Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?" They're truly creepy and weird. "Ruby" is too, but not nearly as much or as effectively--it's more like a clumsy, drunken pervert pawing you when what you really want is seductive menace. There are moments, to be sure, but the heavy-handed characterization and bargain-bin supernaturalism (kind of like a backwater "Exorcist" knockoff) ruin the mood.

3 members like this review
Picture?width=100&height=100
top reviewer

Death at the drive-in!

…and sometimes death by drive-in!

It’s Florida in 1935, and Ruby (Piper Laurie) is the red dress-wearing moll of gangster Nicky Rocco (Sal Vecchio). As they are about to enjoy a romantic boat ride, five gunsels pull up and unload some lead into Nicky. Ruby collapses on the dock, and a voice informs us that that was the night Ruby's baby was born.

Cut to 1951, and we find Ruby is the owner of a drive-in movie theatre in the same vicinity as the murder. Working for Ruby is Vince Kemper (Stuart Whitman), as well as the same men who murdered Nicky sixteen years before (didn’t she ask for their references?!). One by one, the tables are turned on the ex-killers, as they are tracked and murdered by some mysterious force.

At the same time, Ruby's mute daughter, Leslie (Janit Baldwin), is displaying an extreme form of Electra complex. Only she doesn’t want to possess her father…she wants to be possessed by him! Vince's friend, parapsychologist Dr. Paul Keller (Roger Davis), is trying to find the answers to a lot of questions: Are the ghosts of Ruby's past coming to exact revenge? Who is killing Ruby's associates? What does a pair of scissors have to do with the jar Ruby keeps in her closet? What’s playing on the bill with Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman? And how could a movie made in 1958 be playing at a drive-in in 1951?!

Ruby is an odd movie. Its story begins in the 1930s, but the rest of the film takes place in the 1950s. Unfortunately, the movie is unable to capture the flavor of any time period but when it was made — the late 1970s. That’s not such a terrible predicament to be in if the movie is strong enough, but Ruby has a patchwork feel that never comes together fully. In his book Creature Features Movie Guide Strikes Again, John Stanley mentions the rumor that director Curtis Harrington was fired and replaced by Stephanie Rothman (It’s a Bikini World, The Student Nurses, The Velvet Vampire). This may explain the incoherent feel of the production.

That being said, there are strong performances throughout. Both Piper Laurie (who has got it goin' on in this film!) and Stuart Whitman give it their all, even though Laurie veers into the realm of Camp once too often. Janit Baldwin has little to do since she is mute for most of the picture, but she perks up once she is taken over by Nicky's ghost. Sharp eyes will pick out Jerry Seinfeld's Uncle Leo, Len Lesser, as Barney the jailbird refreshment stand attendant. Lila June is a typical small-town diva, and as played by Crystin Sinclaire she comes across as a slutty version of Carol Burnett's cracked Southern Belle, Eunice. The scenes in the drive-in are usually played for laughs, albeit weak ones. There are a few good scenes that occur in its environs, however, especially Barney's death. It'll put you off the Cherokee Red for a good long while.

All in all, Ruby is a pretty good flick. Enjoyable, but ordinary in spots. There are moments that shine through, however: Ruby being stalked by the voice of her dead lover through the speakers in the drive-in, and her dancing with her daughter/lover in the attic spring to mind. The Exorcist-style scenes with Leslie towards the film’s end are also quite effective even if they are a bit derivative. The filmmakers were obviously fans of the older, more atmospheric horror films of the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Indeed, the end of the film seems straight out of a Roger Corman or Vincent Price flick. And the desire of Harrington to go for terror over horror (see Harlan Ellison and Stephen King for a fine differentiation between the two) sets Ruby apart from other films of the time period. Perfect popcorn movie on a Saturday night. Enjoy!

…now if I could only get this darn pop machine to make with the Cherokee Red. It took my last quarter!

2 members like this review

loved Piper Laurie in "Ruby". One of the best ghost/horror movies ive seen in a long time. Great acting and story. Don't miss this classic horror movie. On a scale from 1 to 10 I give this movie an 8.

1 member likes this review

It'S OKAY

1 member likes this review
C5563e1a224ed5f73b70e9811f132c40?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2ffemale%2favatar f 0049
top reviewer

this is one tremendous fright in film ,superior acting scary and extremely unsettling to watch having all the elements of a first rate horror movie, very well made Piper laurie and Stuart whitman main players turn in a great performance ,a definite must see and will thill the viewer endlessly throughout this presentation!

A near-miss for Curtis Harrington, saved by Piper Laurie's scenery-chewing.