2-Disc Special Edition
DVD + Blu-ray
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''Ruby'' is a horror film with the emphasis on atmosphere and suspense, but it also contains enough creepy special effects and blood and gore to satisfy the most demanding genre fans. Most of it takes place at night, with all kinds of marvelous influences lurking in the shadows. Directed by cult-film director Curtis Harrington (Night Tide, Queen of Blood, Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet, Games, What's the Matter with Helen? Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? The Killing Kind) and featuring an impressive cast including Piper Laurie, fresh from her starring role in Carrie, 1976, as Ruby, and Stuart Whitman (Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, 1965). The movie begins in 1935, Ruby Clair, beautiful hostess of a Florida gambling house, watches in horror as her gangster boyfriend is gunned down, his bullet-riddled body sinking slowly into a dark, foggy bayou. That same night Ruby's baby is born. Fast forward to 1951. Ruby now owns a drive-in movie operated by a crew of ex-convicts she has befriended. Her beautiful daughter has never uttered a sound since she was born. One by one her theater employees are savagely murdered. Could it be the work of a rival criminal settling an old score? Or could it be an evil wreaking vengeance from beyond the grave? A psychologist from the state prison tries to find out - and what he discovers is not for the squeamish. This special BD/DVD combo is the definitive original theatrical version of Ruby, with a 2K restoration, 2 commentary tracks and over 2 hours of video interviews and special features!
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Piper Laurie rechannels her overbearing persona from CARRIE (minus the religious angle) as the title character who is the mother of a 16 year old mute daughter who becomes possessed by the spirit of her father, a gangster who was betrayed and murdered by his gang. One by one the various gang members meet horrible deaths at Ruby's drive-in theater until a psychic investigator is called in and the truth about what happened is finally revealed leading to an unlikely conclusion (added by the producer). In addition to Laurie is Stuart Whitman, an old hand at low budget nonesense, as well as B movie stalwart Len Lesser who has the film's most interesting demise. Roger Davis of DARK SHADOWS fame is the paranormal specialist and the striking looking newcomer Janit (yes with an I) Baldwin plays the daughter.
In the commentary Curtis Harrington complains bitterly about how the executive producer added scenes to make it more horrific while removing scenes that he didin't like. Harrington was an accomplished low budget film director as can be seen by any of his other films (WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH HELEN, NIGHT TIDE, even the Soviet-American hybrid QUEEN OF BLOOD) so the odds on him making a film this sloppy on his own are highly unlikely. Nevertheless in spite of all the post production tampering, RUBY remains a highly entertaining film that stays with with you in spite of its low budget background. It is well photographed and has several quality moments thanks to Harrington's poetic sensibilities and of course Piper Laurie's bravura performance. RUBY is another of those films that exists in several terrible public domain releases so beware. Be sure to get the VCI version as it is the closest to how the film appeared in theaters and comes with several worthwhile extras.
Piper Laurie is the title character, Stuart Whitman turns in a decent performance as a pivotal character, as does Roger Davis as a medium of the occult, & Janit Baldwin as Ruby's daughter who's possessed by her late father, a gunned-down gangster.
Employees of the drive-in are murdered one by one, & the suspense builds & continues to mount. I am proud to have this in my collection.