The cult classic that spawned from the big craze from “The Exorcist” is finally on blu-ray in its original glory, as it was once butchered for television and altered for a wider audience. “Ruby” is a goofy film, albeit one of the most successful independent horror movies of all time, starring Piper Laurie whose undead husband begins haunting the family through her deaf and mute daughter. Despite some really striking scenes of horror, and some fine hammy performances from Laurie and the like, “Ruby” is pretty much a stinker.
“Ruby” is mostly a film born from the big possession phase and you can sense the writers and director Curtis Harrington working hard to make their film less a paranormal picture about an obsessive undead lover, and playing more toward the angle of a young girl being taken over by a spirit. The hazy dream atmosphere allows for a surreal energy to the picture, and I also find it hard to hate Piper Laurie, even in the biggest stinker, but “Ruby” is a mostly unsalvageable and incredibly terrible movie. I’ve never had a hard time paying attention to a horror movie as I have “Ruby,” and I dig most seventies horror outings.
Granted the whole pseudo-Exorcist sub-genre of films are filled with nothing but duds and tedious pieces of junk. “Ruby” has a unique premise here, it’s just lost trying to bank on “The Exorcist” and its success. Plus, that final scene with Piper Laurie being pulled in by the obvious prop skeleton is right up there comedy wise with Bela Lugosi wrestling the squid in “Bride of the Monster.” The VCI Entertainment release through MVDvisual is one for the collectors, and will likely require a repurchase as VCI had some problems pressing wise. Otherwise, the extras present a wealth of bells and whistles for the horror and cult buffs.
Featured in the release is the original trailer for “Ruby,” an hour long David Del Valle Video Interview from 2001 With Director Curtis Harrington, in which film critic Del Valle discusses Curtis Harrington’s film career and films. This was on the original DVD from VCI Entertainment. Harrington also explains the cuts made to his film by the producer and why he disowned the movie for a long time.
There are episodes one and two of ‘Sinister Image,” a public access show focusing on genre films that was hosted by David Del Valle. In one episode from 1988 he interviews Curtis Harrington, and the second episode, also from 1988, features another interview with Harrington but this time with the focus placed on his film “Games.” Carried over from the 2001 VCI DVD is a commentary with Curtis Harrington and co-star Piper Laurie, and finally a new commentary with David Del Valle and Nathaniel Bell. Both gentlemen provide history and analysis, and the producer’s role in the original film.