Writer/director Matthew John Lawrence’s Uncle Peckerhead isn’t what you would call a traditionally great film, but it sure is entertaining. Further, the movie knows exactly what it wants to be. It’s a schlocky, shocky B-movie horror/comedy and it delivers on all of that being as silly as it is gory.
Set in an undisclosed time period (though presumably late 80s or early 90s),the film revolves around Judy (Chet Siegel), Mel (Ruby McCollister), Max (Jeff Riddle), and their punk band “Duh”. They’re about to embark on their first tour when their van is repossessed. Enter Peckerhead (David Littleton), an older southern gentleman who, for a few dollars, offers to become their roadie and allow them the use of his van. Oh, I should probably also note that between midnight and 12:13 am every morning, he becomes a vicious man-eating demon.
Sounds entertaining? It is! For the most part. I did find that quite a number of the jokes didn’t land for me. I had quite a bit of fun, but I didn’t find myself laughing all that much.
Admittedly, I found the characters of Mel and Max to be terribly obnoxious. I think the intention was for them to be lovably obnoxious, but to me they were just annoying. I did quite like Judy though, and Siegel’s performance was strong. Really, despite being a demon, I loved Peckerhead. For a cannibal, he’s actually very sweet. And then we get Shiloh (Ryan Conrath), the frontman of another band, and he plays (and was written as) the most perfect self-aggrandizing douche. I loved hating him.
Assuming you’re a gorehead, the practical effects and makeup in this film are a delight. They’re funny, they’re bloody, and they’re nasty. The movie revels in its brutality, and I thoroughly enjoyed that.
While I did quite like Duh’s music (think early Green Day and early Offspring), I did take some issue with it never really looking like the band was actually playing. Sure, this is a nitpick of mine that I bring to many movies, but it’s something I always find frustrating. Perhaps the actors trained as musicians, perhaps they were actually playing, but if so, the way it was shot and edited didn’t make it look like that.
I also found the violence in here to be tremendous fun. There is a moment where Peckerhead is beating a man with a baseball bat, and it’s so delightfully cheesy and unrealistic. It reminds me of Trey Parker’s Orgazmo jump-kicking Ron Jeremy in the face, and his face shattering like pottery, a reference to old-school Kung-Fu movies.
I will say that I didn’t love the ending of the film. Peckerhead’s actions felt a little out of character. The movie sets him up as one thing, and then he becomes something else, and that didn’t work for me. Still, I really enjoyed this movie. It’s wonderfully entertaining, if not terribly funny (though I did have a few solid laughs). It’s short and paced well. The practical makeup effects are really fun and gross. I would suggest not going into it looking for The Exorcist, but something more akin to The Ranger, a punk-rock slasher flick that is just enjoyable, even if you don’t necessarily consider it quality filmmaking.
- Genre: Comedy, Horror
- Release Date: 8/25/2020
- Directed by: Matthew John Lawrence
- Starring: Chet Siegel, Jeff Riddle, Ruby McCollister
- Written by: Matthew John Lawrence
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