Petey Wheatstraw (1977) Poster

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Nullness22 June 2004
This movie is a breath of slapstic fresh air. It combines a ryhming charismatic hero (the devil's son in-law) with 60's Batman-inspired supervillains, hilarious kung-fu battling, black folklore, and a pimp staff with magical powers. I can't think of a better premise. The movie's humor is complete slapstick, the bumbling leroy and skillets doing their best to impersonate the three stooges combined (and they're both fat enough to do it). The acting is terrible, with purposfully, silent-movie style over-the-top expressions and reactions. It's a little bit too long and there are some sound difficulties, but well worth checking out. I would've loved to see a tv show with by R.R. Moore and his group.
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Odd start and finish - the rest is HILARIOUS!!!
treshon29 June 2003
I had trouble watching Dolemite (horrible acting) one month ago and Disco Godfather (crazy-a** halucination scenes, going on very long!) today!!! BUT!!! - Petey Wheatstraw had me laughing pretty much through the entire thing - watermelons, Petey's magical gift he recieved from the Devil, and Leroy & Skillet - hahahaha!!! Great actors, funny as hell! If you want to check out a Rudy Ray Moore film, check out this one! It's got a GREAT soundtrack, and the acting is better than his others (although I haven't seen Human Tornado in a while, very funny Kung-Fu moves by Rudy).
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Rudy Ray Moore Movies: He's the devil's son in law!
Joseph P. Ulibas8 March 2004
Petey Wheatstraw (1978) marks the end of Rudy Ray Moore's great run at independent film making. The 70's were about to end along with the great era of self produced films. The big movie companies were about to crush the small market studios once and for all.

Enough soapboxing on with my behalf, let's get on with the brief review. Rudy Ray Moore plays a signifying performer who some how manages to get mixed up with the Devil's personal affairs. He makes a deal with old Lucipher (watch the film to get that joke) and tries to welsh on his end of the deal. This film is flat out funny. Loosely based upon one of his stand up skits (Dolemite and the Human Tornado were also based on stand up routines)and technically sound (for a low budget production) Petey Wheatstraw is a must watch.

I highly recommend this film.
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Gotta love the theme song!
Golgo-132 September 2005
As another review once said, "The written word cannot do justice to the comedic stylings and kung-fu antics of Rudy Ray Moore movies." I agree. Petey Wheatstraw is a movie that must (and should) be seen to be believed. The opening is the birth of Petey. After his mother first passes a watermelon(!), the child is born and the good doctor gives him a few smacks on the butt to get him started. However, Petey is no infant, he's an eleven year old boy, even born with underwear. He proceeds to give the doc a beating until his dad steps in. Young Petey lips off to his father about "disturbing" him for the past nine months (get it?) and then goes after him! Such is Petey Wheatstraw: The Devil's Son-In-Law, and it only gets worse (or better?) from here. Full of offensive comedy, horrible kung fu, Moore's rhymes (the original rapper!), and cheap, crazy scenes (Satan's demons have glued on horns, wear red tights, and move like robots), this is a great cult flick not to be missed. FYI, the movie was actually influenced by the real blues artist, Peetie Wheatstraw.
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Dolemite vs. Satan and the Rev. Al Sharpton!
Backlash0073 February 2002
This one should have been called Dolemite versus Satan and the Reverend Al Sharpton (Leroy Daniels looks just like the reverend). Rudy Ray Moore stars as Petey Wheatstraw the Devil's Son-in-law in this black action classic. The basic story breaks down like this: Petey Wheatstraw is murdered and makes a bargain with Lucifer to come back and exact his revenge. The only catch is that he has to marry the Devil's daughter, who is a bus station skank. So Petey is given an enchanted pimp cane which gives him superpowers and he begins to plan out his vengeance (as well as a plan to doublecross the devil). In traditional fashion, it's loaded with off the wall humor. For example: Rudy Ray stopping in the middle of the street to comb some kids hair, ridiculous jogging, and watermelon child birth. Petey Wheatstraw is also loaded with the regular Rudy Ray cast, including Jimmy Lynch, Queen Bee, and Sheriff Beatty. Where is Howard Jackson though? It's not quite the masterpiece that is Dolemite, but it does have the greatest sex scene in the history of film. Can you dig it?
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An Absolute Classic!
shark-4330 May 2002
There is no other film quite like "Petey Wheatstraw". My friends and I love cheesy, weird little cult films and we've seen almost ALL of them in almost every genre - the black urban films that were churned out during the 1970's have some classics and some clunkers and Rudy Ray Moore is a fascinating movie "star". A nightclub comic who was famous forhis filthy "poems" - we had enjoyed his other films "Dolemite" and "Disco Godfather" but nothing prepared us for "Petey Wheatstraw" - from the absurd plotline to the garish costumes, the cheap sets, the great music, the bad acting and the awful, laughable fight scenes, this movie has everything!!! You just have to sit back with a beer, a drink, whatever floats your boat and take this thing on. You never can guess what oddity or strange turn of events are around the corner. Rudy Ray Moore, with his out of shape nightclub comic's body, struts around like he's the sexiest thing in the world and the street worn looking women in the film fling themselves at him. His "kung-fu" fighting has to be seen to be believed - my 95 year old grandpa could lift his leg higher!!
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I admit it ... I was wrong about Petey Wheatstraw
dr_foreman7 August 2008
Years ago, I wrote a hostile review of Petey Wheatstraw for IMDb. What can I possibly say to justify that? I was young, and foolish. And the greatness of this film had not yet revealed itself to me.

Well, "greatness" is too strong a word. Petey Wheatstraw is not great, but rather "amusing" and somewhat "crazy." If you permit yourself to be drawn into the film's wacky universe, you may have a thoroughly enjoyable viewing experience.

Petey Wheatstraw, in short, is about a kung-fu fighting stand-up comedian who makes an unwise bargain with Lucifer. It's part comedy movie, part horror movie, part gangster movie, part sex movie, and part kung-fu epic with intentionally (I hope) bad choreography. The film bounces breathlessly between these genres, especially in the early scenes, which are disorienting and seem totally unconnected. But soon enough, the story settles into a kind of weird rhythm.

Needless to say, the production values are poor (Lucifer's demon minions are men in ballet tights and Halloween masks), the editing is choppy, and the acting is of highly variable quality. The script, however, has a weird poetry to it. The comedy dialog, though extremely crass, is sometimes really funny, and some of the "character" scenes when Petey and Lucifer get together are bizarrely effective.

Now I feel all weird, because I'm trying to defend what is, in essence, an extremely tacky bad movie. But it's a *witty* bad movie, and I can appreciate the effort that went into its production. And the film undeniably captures a time -- a place -- a bizarreness. It's sort of hypnotic.

Let me put it this way: I bought Petey Wheatstraw as a bargain DVD years ago, hated it on the initial viewing, and almost pawned it. But I never did get rid of that DVD. It survived several years of DVD trading-in, numerous changes of address on my part, and other seismic events in my life that might easily have caused Petey Wheatstraw's demise. But that DVD survived through it all; I still have the movie, still think about it sometimes, still smirk when I see it on my shelf. And that's the best endorsement I can give it.
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kung-fu watermelon
batzu7 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
some of the most racially offensive acts on film, beautiful! see this movie, and everything else rudy ray did in the 70s, you won't be disappointed. (spoiler) the opening scene has petey being born (as a 7 or 8 year old boy) following a watermelon. then he gets p***ed at his daddy for being hit in the head when ever his parents got busy. unflinchingly ridiculously over the top hilarity. the theme song is great also!
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The best film made in the Blaxploitation genre... a classic
Roddy953 February 1999
A true film classic. Rudy Ray Moore stars as Petey Wheatstraw, a man who makes a deal with the devil and agrees to marry his daughter (the ugliest woman alive) in exchange for his life. The only film that rivals Petey Wheatstraw as best blaxploitation film is Black Belt Jones. Moore, as well as all of the other regular Dolemite regulars, are superb... their best work yet. A certain must see for anyone interested in fine black cinema.
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A Different Kind of Rudy Ray Moore
Michael_Elliott11 February 2017
Petey Wheatstraw (1977)

** (out of 4)

Rudy Ray Moore is back, this time playing the title character, a comedian who is doubled crossed by a couple jerks. Petey is shot dead in the streets and his spirit is visited by Lucifer who offers him a deal. If Petey agrees to marry his daughter and have a son, Petey can continue life and be given a magical pimp stick. Petey takes the deal and enjoys the powers that the stick gives him but when it comes time to pay he wants no part of Lucifer's daughter.

After DOLEMITE and its sequel THE HUMAN TORPEDO, Moore found himself playing a new character and while it's not nearly as entertaining as the earlier movies, if you're a fan of the comic then there's plenty to enjoy here. If you're coming to this film expecting to see anything like THE HUMAN TORPEDO then you had better check yourself because this film is something completely different. As wild as the story sounds, the film is actually pretty straight-forward without too many campy or over-the-top moments.

The direction they took this film is somewhat shocking because it barely registers a R-rating until the final fifteen-minutes when we finally get some exploitation moments including a weird orgy sequence and some nudity. Everything before that is pretty much a straight but bizarre drama dealing with Petey being murdered but then given a chance to seek revenge on the men behind it. All of this is played rather straight and it is entertaining but I'm just not sure the blaxploitation crowd are going to enjoy something straight when it comes to Moore.

The film finally reaches some high marks at the end when Lucifer and his servants come for revenge. The make up on the devils is quite generic but it makes for some fun. As usual Moore doesn't give a great performance but he's certainly quite the character and he manages to make the role fun and keep the viewer interested in what's going on. The supporting cast is nice and for the most part fans of Moore should enjoy this one.
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Fun but Not as Entertaining as the DOLEMITE Movies
brando64722 July 2012
In 1977, comedian Rudy Ray Moore must have gotten tired of the same old Dolemite routine and wanted to branch out into new characters. Rather than go through all the trouble of developing a new character with it's own brand of humor, Moore and writer/director Cliff Roquemore created a carbon copy of the Dolemite character and slapped a new name on him. Thus, we were blessed with Moore's third film, PETEY WHEATSTRAW: THE DEVIL'S SON-IN- LAW. I'm not sure why they saw the need to create an all-new character, but there you have it. If you're a fan of Moore's previous DOLEMITE movies, there is enough here to elicit some chuckles. It's Moore's usual brand of humor with the same flaws we've come to expect from his movies. Petey Wheatstraw (Moore) is…what else…a comedian. Born to his mother as a near ten-year-old child with a watermelon, he is soon taken under the tutelage of the wise old Bantu who teaches him martial arts and the importance of wisdom. Years later as Petey's comedy career explodes, he becomes the target of bumbling duo Leroy and Skillet. The two want to off the comedian before his local performance can damage the profits from the grand opening of their own club. At first it appears their plan has worked and Petey is gunned down, but the Devil has other plans for the comedian. He gives Petey the chance to return to life and seek vengeance in return for marrying his daughter and giving him a son.

Also, there's a magic pimp cane.

As I made my way through my collection of Rudy Ray Moore movies, PETEY WHEATSTRAW is about where my interest began to wane but not enough to keep from enjoying the film. It's still chock full of Moore's trademark humor with the added absurdity of the supernatural storyline. Even after two movies and a few years of experience, Moore and his crew still haven't learned how to tell a proper structured story on film. The movie, as with the two previous, is all over the place. The first act is all about Leroy and Skillet's attempts at sidetracking Petey from performing the same night as their grand opening. The second act introduces the Devil plot but continues to focus on Petey's vengeance against his attempted murderers (and discovering his new powers via the magic cane). And then the final act, which almost feels tacked on, is Petey trying to outsmart the Devil and avoid the marriage to the Prince of Darkness's hideous daughter. The whole "Devil's Son-in-Law" portion of the movie is largely unimportant until the final 30 minutes, after the whole Leroy/Skillet plot has been resolved and most movie's would end. It's a shame too because the whole Devil storyline, the part I was most interested in watching has some of the better WTF moments. It should have been the focus of the movie. With its horrible makeup effects and crappy professional wrestling style demons, there are some awesome fight sequences that'll have you laughing so hard it hurts.

There is a lot of promise for a comedian like Moore in such a bizarre concept but it's all wasted for yet another "save the club" plot. Another interesting point I've noticed: the movie is obsessed with watermelon. Seriously, there is a LOT of it here: Petey's mother gives birth to one, characters are always eating it, and a truck load of watermelons is even blown up. It's everywhere, and this is the only Moore film where he plays so heavily on this stereotype. Not important, just something that really stood out to me. Anyway, the cast is really what makes this movie so fun. Moore is doing his usual routine, but the rest of the cast adds some new flavor. Lady Reed is missing from this movie, and you won't hear a complaint from me. For a women who was billed as a comedian, she couldn't act and I was glad to see she sat this one out. Leroy and Skillet are probably the best part of the movie. A couple of goons, their evil scheming and total idiocy are some of the funniest bits. As funny as the duo are, I would have liked to see them show up in more of Moore's movies. And then there's the Devil himself, G. Tito Shaw. I love it…the man is chewing the scenery with his bravado and attempt at a commanding presence. The characters are a blast and the humor hasn't quite run dry in PETEY WHEATSTRAW; so while it's a little boring at times and the structure needs serious work, I would still recommend this movie to fans of Moore's movies.
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Rudy Ray Moore Grafts Supernatural Thriller and Ghetto Comedy
HughBennie-7771 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
What this Rudy Ray Moore action-comedy lacks in pace and skill (not like "Human Tornado" was a bastion of mature, professional film-making) it makes up for in sheer sloppy insanity. The grafting of a supernatural thriller onto Moore's usual urban scenario enables some of the funniest, bug-eyed, ethnic performances on record. And the implausibilities are hundred-fold. Whether it be the film's ridiculously costumed demons attacking ghetto toughs with kung-fu, an orgy of she-devils seducing Moore, as he whoops and giggles straight at the camera, ridiculous, feel-good montages, or the film's opening: the arrival of Petey Wheatstraw as a fully developed 9 year old boy, birthed straight out of his mommy's uterus following the discharge of a watermelon, there's plenty to enjoy. Yes, watermelons figure prominently in the movie, almost as much as the black supporting cast's hyper-gesticulating mugging and other raunchy, offensive material--and this doesn't include the sight of Moore's flabby body packed into tight polyester leisure suits, or the man's bare feet. One bad guy, disciplined by an avenging Moore, poops his pants and this sequence is celebrated almost as much as the comedy team antics of Leroy & Skillet, Skillet being a bulbous, muskrat-resembling criminal who weighs at least 600 pounds, most of the weight distributed throughout the ass area. This man's performance is more reason to see the movie than the nudity, doo-doo humor, awful karate fights, and funk score. Still, unlike the infinitely superior "Human Tornado" or even the tighter "Dolemite", what passes for a script here is about the most trampled, dismembered, impossible-to-figure-out, narrative mess, additionally hindered by too many lengthy scenes and abandoned characters. Yet it definitely beats Moore's unwatchable "Disco Godfather". For all the man's commitment to the project, Moore is disappointing, whereas Skillet is the true genius presence of the movie.
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One of the worst movies in cinema history! Don't miss it!
molasar1513 February 2005
If enjoyably (?) bad movies are your cup of tea, by all means, knock yourself out. I mean, Ed Wood is Stanley Kubrick compared to this garbage. Interestingly, in Croatia the distributors called it just "Devil's Son" (they conveniently forgot the "in-law") and advertised it as a horror movie to lure the unsuspecting (and, I might say, relatively undiscriminating) fans of the genre. And horrible it was: ludicrous plot, the worst acting imaginable, cheesiest fight scenes, the painful musical numbers, the lowest of the low production values (as I recall, Lucipher's mighty scepter was a stick with a ball of tin foil on top)... this one has it all. It is really so bad that seeing it leaves a permanent scar on the psyche. What more can one ask of a movie?
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Lord, have mercy. *SPOILERS*
Kelly5 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This was my first Rudy Ray Moore movie, and it may be my last. I read all of the comments and reviews and figured this would be a fun bad movie, and it has its moments. Overall, however, it's a dud. The 90+ minutes to view it seemed to last forever, and it's really ludicrous.

How could the cane given by Satan to Petey be more powerful than Satan himself? And why would Petey break the powerful cane since it was what had saved him time and time again? And how could merely breaking the cane in two render it useless? Why would Petey get into a limo, thinking it's one of his posse's car? There's only so much suspension of disbelief I'm willing to grant.

As I mentioned, the film has its moments, like when Petey combs the nappy-headed boy's hair, and the little boy's t-shirt that said 'I'm a little devil' was a nice touch. I also give credit for putting in politically incorrect stuff like watermelon and fat jokes. I did laughed when Petey's mom delivered a watermelon, when the bomb blew up a truck full of watermelons, and when the heavy chick struggled to fit into a lawn chair.

The biggest laugh for me came when the club singer's wig flew off. Wig's coming off are always good for a laugh with me. And there are a few hot brothers in polyester suits that show off their fine butts. Props for that.

But the parts are much greater than the sum.

Rudy Ray seems to have done alright for himself, being ambitious and being in the right place at the right time. I'm happy for him, but I'm just not a fan of this movie.
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I tried...
bigwickster11 March 2002
Okay, I respect Rudy Ray. _Dolemite_ was an absolute classic blaxploitation film. When I saw Dolemite, I noticed something fresh, something raw, and something that is deserving of its place in film history.

_Petey Wheatstraw the Devil's Son In Law_ was by far the worst movie I have ever seen. And believe me, I gave it a chance. It was recommended by a friend who knows what I want to see, and suggests both the best and the worst movies ever for me to see. He had already seen it once, and when we watched it, neither of us could finish it. I ALWAYS finish movies. I hate leaving, even to go to the bathroom, from even bad movies. This one just couldn't do it for me. The low budget nature is negligible. The poor acting is expected. But the acting is not just poor, it is terribly excessive overacting at points, and at other points cardboard-cutout-esque.

I had a hard time getting my mind around the stereotypes displayed.

The worst part of all is, it is not a bad movie you can make fun of. I mean, a scary movie, a drama, an action film... if done poorly, you can make these a laugh riot, either with a bunch of your pals or by yourself. But when a no budget comedy is horrible, you can't laugh at it. It is impossible.

Alan Alda's character in _Crimes and Misdemeanors_ says "If it bends, its funny. If it breaks, its not funny." This broke before the movie started and consistently waves the broken pieces in your face.

Look at it like this: A friend tells you a bad joke. It is uncomfortable to listen to, but the reward comes when you pretend to laugh and then they feel good about themselves. These jokes are even worse, so they are more uncomfortable to listen to, and then, since it cannot receive your reaction, assumes you are laughing hysterically, and kicks the horribleness up a notch, trying to top the last joke. And since the filmmakers are ignorant to your response it is not endearing, but annoying. You feel no reward for attempting to laugh. Its even hard to make your own jokes about it, because this film goes to such great lengths to try to make you laugh anyway but fails at every turn. And I do mean EVERY TURN.

Maybe I missed something, so you can try to watch it. After all, I do advocate trying new things. At least you will be able to appreciate good comedy.

Forgive me, Rudy Ray.
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