Ruby (1977) movie poster

director Curtis Harrington
viewed: 07/26/2017

Curtis Harrington does the Southern Gothic by way of a drive-in movie theater in 1977’s Ruby. Piper Laurie plays the titular gal, a one-time crooner, now owner-operator of the aforementioned drive-in in the swamps of Florida. She’s a lush, haunted by her dead lover, though she also employs all of his former gang members who shot him to death. Does this make any sense?

Her daughter is teenage Leslie (played by the interesting-looking Janit Baldwin). She’s a mute and an oddball, and eventually the vessel for her dead father’s return and revenge.

It’s decidedly middling in quality, but somehow, something about it sort of transcends itself. No single quality stands out, though there are a lot of interesting touches like the drive-in lady of the night and the drive in itself. It’s set somewhere in the 1950’s when Attack of the 50 Foot Woman was all the rage (and plays out extensively through the film).

Ultimately it plays its Exorcist card, one that ends in a sentimental twist. Rather unusual.