With Ruby, Curtis Harrington was making a quickie clearly designed to jump on the successes of The Exorcist (1973) and Carrie (1976). To such extent, Ruby even features Piper Laurie, then riding high on the critical kudos from her performance in Carrie the year before and giving another of the deep-throated, fierily passionate powerhouse performances that she does so well. Ruby intriguingly represents what the Baby Jane subgenre might have metamorphosed into following The Exorcist, with Piper Lauries grand old dame/faded Hollywood star/Southern belle being contrasted with a possession subplot.
While never entirely leaving the films quickie exploitation nature behind, Curtis Harrington crafts it with a series of often striking set-pieces bodies tossed about and impaled on trees; Stuart Whitman being pursued by supernatural winds; that wonderfully EC Comics-esque moment where a severed head is found attached to the interior of a Coke vending machine; and the genuine surprise moment when Janit Baldwin (an almost neglected actress who gives a eerily spooky performance) is revealed as possessed that lifts Ruby well above most Exorcist copycats.
Trivia note: The films period setting is slightly out the 1951 date is seven years too early for the drive-in theatre to be screening Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958).
Curtis Harringtons other genre films of note are: the low-budget mermaid tale Night Tide (1961); the English-language inserts for Roger Cormans Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965), which was re-edited from a Russian sf film; the alien vampire film Queen of Blood (1966), which also reuses Russian sf film footage; the psycho-thriller Games (1967); the Old Dames psycho-thriller How Awful About Allan (tv movie, 1970); the Old Dames psycho-thriller Whats the Matter with Helen? (1971); the Old Dames psycho-thriller Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1971); The Cat Creature (tv movie, 1973); the Old Dames psycho-thriller The Killing Kind (1973); the voodoo/zombie film The Dead Dont Die (tv movie, 1974); Killer Bees (tv movie, 1974); and Devil Dog: Hound of Hell (tv movie, 1978) about a Satanic dog.
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