GenreDrama, Horror Music directorDon Ellis CountryUnited States
Release dateJune 23, 1977 (1977-06-23) WriterGeorge Edwards (screenplay), Steve Krantz (story), Barry Schneider (screenplay) CastPiper Laurie (Ruby), Stuart Whitman (Vince), Janit Baldwin (Leslie), Roger Davis (Dr. Paul Keller), Crystin Sinclaire (Lila June) Similar moviesWalking Tall, Deadbeat, Mad Max: Fury Road, Taken 3, I Spit on Your Grave III: Vengeance is Mine, John Wick
TaglineChristened in blood. Raised in sin. She's sweet sixteen, let the party begin!
Ruby 1977 trailer
Ruby is a 1977 horror drama film directed by Curtis Harrington, which was one of his last horror films. The film centres on a woman named Ruby Claire (played by Piper Laurie) who is the mother of a deaf-mute girl. She runs a drive-in theatre where bizarre things begin to happen to her employees and the spirit of her dead husband possesses her daughter.
In 1935, a lowlife mobster, Nicky Rocco, is betrayed and executed in the swampy backwoods as his pregnant gun-moll, Ruby Claire watches. He swears vengeance with his dying breath, and then she suddenly goes into labour. Sixteen years later in 1951, Ruby is now running a drive-in theatre in the backwoods near her home and employs some ex-mobsters. Her 16-year-old daughter, Leslie Claire, is mute and has been since birth.
Soon strange and bizarre accidents claim the lives of Ruby's employees, then Leslie begins to show strange behaviour, and then begins to speak... in her dead father's voice. Nicky Rocco possesses his daughter's body and terrorizes Ruby with levitations, telekinesis, maniacal laughing and bizarre sexual aggression.
Piper Laurie as Ruby Claire
Stuart Whitman as Vince Kemper
Roger Davis as Dr. Paul Keller
Janit Baldwin as Leslie Claire
Sal Vecchio as Nicky Rocco
Paul Kent as Louie
Len Lesser as Barney
Crystin Sinclaire as Lila June
Jack Perkins as Avery
Eddy Donno as Jess
Fred Kohler Jr. as Jake Miller
Rory Stevens as Donny
Raymond Kark as 1st Man
Jan Burrell as 1st Woman
Kip Gillespie as Herbie
Tamar Cooper as S Woman
Patricia Allison as Pickup Man's Wife
Stu Olson as A Man
Mary Margaret Robinson as Maybelline, Sheriff's Wife
Michael Alldredge as Sheriff's Wife's Date
The film was released theatrically in the United States by Dimension Pictures in August 1977.
Ruby was long available on video in the U.S. only in a re-edited (and apparently re-shot by director Stephanie Rothman) for television, deleting the R-rated violence and adding new dialogue scenes.
VCI's DVD was released on June 26, 2001 and is presented in its original theatrical version; however, this is not a director's cut: it contains Krantz's abrupt, horror ending rather than Harrington's intended romantic one. It is presented in widescreen but not anamorphic. The special features include: the original theatrical trailer, motion menu, scene selection, commentary with Curtis Harrington and Piper Laurie, interview with Curtis Harrington, photo gallery, and Director's Theatrical Cut. This version is currently out of print.
Critical reception for Ruby has been negative. Time Out magazine, stated that the film starts well, but was ruined by "cluttered art direction", "nostalgic flashbacks", and predictability. Variety gave the film a negative review, noting the film's promising start, but felt that it was bogged down by poor performances from the film's cast.