With an opening scene that looks like something from a 1970s horror film, Matthew John Lawrence’s Uncle Peckerhead makes it clear its contents are about as subtle as its title. But what else would you expect from a punk rock comedy featuring a hillbilly cannibal roadie?
Punk rock band DUH Is about to embark on its first tour. Members Judy (Chet Siegel), Max (Jeff Riddle, who wrote the band’s songs) and Mel (Ruby McCollister) are ecstatic until their van gets repossessed. However all is not lost, Peckerhead (David Littleton), Peck to his friends, offers to be their driver and roadie in return for gas and food. He’s living in his van and doesn’t have anything better to do.
The tour gets off to a bad start as the promoter of their first gig rips them off. It gets worse when Judy finds Peckerhead dining on the promoter. It seems every night at midnight, for thirteen minutes, he turns into a raging beast that needs human flesh to survive. Which sucks, but he has a van and they don’t. And he did get them paid for their gig, even if it took some extreme measures.
Uncle Peckerhead could easily have gone very wrong. Horror comedies aren’t easy to get right. And mixing rock and horror tends to result in films like The 27 Club and Sunset Society. But the script keeps its focus on the characters as much as the gore, and there is plenty of that. And the four leads are, for the most part, likeable while Peck’s victims have a tendency to be assholes.
A lot of the credit has to go to David Littleton for making the title character so likable. It’s not easy making a flesh eating monster, or thing as he prefers to be called, likable. And if we didn’t like him we wouldn’t buy the band liking him and trusting him not to eat them.
The fact we see his eating habits in detail makes that even harder. The effects are well done and the camera doesn’t shy away from them. Even when played for laughs, like a punch in the face turning into a hand being bitten off, Uncle Peckerhead doesn’t water things down. A bloody and funny treat, Uncle Peckerhead even features some well-done songs. It’s the kind of gory humour that made me think of Blood Diner and Body Melt. And I can certainly use that right about now.
Dread will be screen Uncle Peckerhead in select theatres Friday, August 7th. It will be available on VOD/Digital Tuesday, August 11th. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more information.