Updated: Oct 8, 2020
Review by Craig Draheim
Writer/Director: Matthew John Lawrence
Starring: David Littleton, Chet Siegel, Ruby McCollister, Jeff Riddle
A punk rock band with the politest roadie… except when he’s a man-eating demon? Um, count me in! Maybe it’s because of everything going on in the world but horror comedies have been making a huge comeback after what felt like a several-year hiatus of quality flicks.
Uncle Peckerhead follows the three members of the punk band, DUH on their first tour. The band is unconventional and made up of three modern comedy stereotypes you’d find in successful comedy series like Parks and Rec (the nerdy and ambitious one, the silly man-child, and the dark/sarcastic one). After their tour van is repossessed, they scour the city in search of a new vehicle, eventually stumbling upon Peckerhead, Peck (Littleton) for short, who is looking for a reason to leave the city. Shortly after their journey begins, the trio realize that their new roadie transforms into monster (a “thing” as he likes to call it) from midnight to 12:13AM. While everyone is instantly taken with the overly charming Peck, the band’s leader, Judy (Siegel) struggles to maintain her sanity, keep the demon at bay, and jumpstart her music career.
First, I must say that watching this was such a joy in terms of dumb fun and that’s a compliment. It’s one of those projects that radiates positivity through and through. Even to a criticism that while some of the actors are delivering serious lines you can see the faint trace of a smile on their face. Issues like that flew under my radar because I was able to let go based on the silliness of the movie. In the same vein as the workplace vampire comedy, Bloodsucking Bastards, it feels like a horror film that was a product of a close-knit sketch group. Ultimately the success of this kind of movie comes down to its two leads, the intoxicating David Littleton and charming Chet Siegel, who provide what little heavy lifting is required for a movie like this.
Now since the reviewer in me must discuss a little more. Apart from the acting issues, the movie is well done and made competently. There are many moments throughout where the editing or shots are a little clunky and can’t just be chalked up to lack in funds. Did it ruin my viewing? No, but it was still considerably noticeable. Also, while I understand we are following this road trip structure, it never felt like there was enough urgency in the script for the character. Having the tour plot allows for an instant goal but that doesn’t equate to urgency, especially when dealing with a man that turns into a killing monster. Now, sometimes a certain level of silliness can negate those issues. However, the ending of Uncle Peckerhead takes a serious turn that doesn’t exactly flow with the tone prior. A prime example of a film that made this work is Shaun of the Dead, which starts off as a straight comedy but gets profoundly serious toward the end. In that movie there’s a progression and it feels like the same story. In this, without the urgency, having the sketch-like characters, and so on, it just ultimately feels, not unwarranted, but wrong within the world that they have created. They witnessed all this horrific stuff throughout and yet when a different bodily function is involved, that is the tipping point that changes this (already) strange dynamic?
I could say more, and it is an easy one to pick apart for those with too much time on their hands and forgot why they started talking about movies in the first place. But like its title character’s obvious flaws yet compelling charm, Uncle Peckerhead is a joy that had me grinning ear-to-ear throughout. If a movie can do that to me, I’m certain it could do that to many of you and why I highly recommend it.
3 ½ out of 5
Check out Craig's interview with filmmaker Matthew John Lawrence below