Uncle Peckerhead


A road trip with a punk band can be a bloody good time.

(2020) Horror Comedy (Epic/Dread CentralChet Siegel, David Littleton, Jeff Riddle, Ruby McCollister, Ryan Conrath, Greg Maness, Shannon O’Neill, Chloe Roe, Lucy McMichael, David Weinheimer, David Bluvband, Ruth Lolla, Alex McKelvey, Josh Peck, Adam R. Brown, Joey Maron, Nicholas Santos, Chris Tapp, Wicky Mendoza, Dave Ruestle, Kevin Lawrence. Directed by Matthew John Lawrence

2020 Florida Film Festival

With a title like Uncle Peckerhead, you know that the movie is either going to be very, very bad, or very, very good. Fortunately, in this case, it’s the latter.

Judy (Siegel) fronts a punk band called DUH! who are about to go out on their very first tour which will end with them opening a show for the Queef Queens, a punk band that features Jen Jennings (O’Neill) who happens to own a record label. Her dreams of rock stardom look to be within their grasp. But, as many indie bands will tell you, that’s generally when the floor disappears beneath you.

Their van gets repossessed, leaving her, guitarist Max (Riddle) and drummer Mel (McCollister) to look for some wheels to allow them to get them to where they need to be. Eventually, they find an old redneck living in a van which after some convincing, agrees to drive them in and to be their roadie. He introduces himself as Peckerhead (Littleton), or just Peck.

For some reason, Judy doesn’t hit it off with Peck even though Max and Mel think he’s great. Soon, it develops that there’s a good reason Judy has bad vibes about him. I won’t tell you exactly why but there’s a reason that the actors playing Max and Mel are covered in fake blood in the picture above. However, despite Peck’s horrible issue, Judy finally begins to warm up to him. Then, once again, out goes the floor.

The first few minutes of the movie don’t give any hint about how good it actually turns out to be. The movie starts out rocky with some awkward dialogue, stiff acting and a feeling that everyone is standing around, looking at each other and whispering “Now what?” Fret not, true believers. Once Peck gets introduced into the mix, the movie takes off. Yes, there is some gore although not a lot – some extreme horror fans might end up disappointed, but Peckerhead is such a great character, with a kind of bumpkin charm that’s endearing.

And the music! It really rocks, with some fairly high-level indie influences, not the least of which are X (for the harmony vocals) and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It’s a shame that DUH! isn’t a real band because I’d buy their shit for sure. There’s even a condescending rival band who doesn’t sound half-bad either. This might end up having the best indie movie soundtrack of the year.

There is a little more emphasis on the comedy than the horror, and while the scares aren’t the aneurysm-inducing sort they are nevertheless effective. The horror is more situational, and again tends to be overshadows by the more humorous elements. Best line in the whole film is when Peck asks Mel why they chose the name DUH! and she responds “Because James Taylor was already taken.”

There is a lot going on here that is worth checking out. I would have liked to see a little more attention paid to the horror elements, but that might well have been a function of its micro-budget. This could easily end up being a cult classic and inspire a franchise of its own. I enjoyed the heck out of this – and if you like a good horror movie with a good dose of comedy and killer indie rock music, you might just agree with me.

REASONS TO SEE: The music is actually really good. Peckerhead is kind of a sweet guy.
REASONS TO AVOID: The dialogue is occasionally awkward and a bit indie-snooty.
FAMILY VALUES:  There is all sorts of violence, profanity, gore and some adult images.
TRIVIAL PURSUIT: Riddle is the lone performer in DUH! who plays his own music in the film; he also supplies the guitar for Dominion Rising as well.
BEYOND THE THEATER: Amazon, AppleTV, Fandango Now, Google Play, Microsoft, Redbox, Vudu, YouTube
CRITICAL MASS: As of 8/20/20: Rotten Tomatoes: 100% positive reviews; Metacritic: No score yet.
COMPARISON SHOPPING: CHUD
FINAL RATING: 7.5/10
NEXT: 
Tesla

New Releases for the Week of August 21, 2020


With the Regal and AMC chains opening their doors in most cities starting this weekend (including here in Orlando), there is reason for movie buffs to celebrate. Not all cinemaphiles feel comfortable going to theaters yet, but with the Florida Film Festival closing out their Enzian Theater run this Friday, it looks a little bit more like normal, although of course things are far from that. While most of the offerings in theaters will be classic movies, or films like Bloodshot and Trolls World Tour that never got a theatrical run or never got their full theatrical run. There are a handful of independent films making their debut as well, including the anticipated Train to Busan sequel Peninsula as well as Cut Throat City (pictured above), Words on a Bathroom Wall and Tulsa, among others.

The major studios will get back into the mix next week with the much-delayed Disney/fFox Marvel entry The New Mutants and then in ernest on Labor Day weekend, when the much-anticipated Tenet will finally get its American premiere (it will be playing in other countries around the world, including China starting next week) but it will be the first week of September that we here at Cinema365 headquarters anticipate that the weekly preview feature will resume. It will be an abbreviated version at first – covering only films opening locally here in Orlando, at least for September, and maybe longer until things get a little bit more normalized. The monthly preview feature Pick of the Litter will likely not return until October or even later depending on whether theaters are able to remain open.

Currently scheduled for September openings from a major studio standpoint in addition to Tenet are Bill and Ted Face the Music (September 1), The King’s Man (September 18) and Greenland (September 25). Disney+ will be making the big-budget live-action Mulan available for a fairly hefty upcharge next week, while Lionsgate will be making their horror film Antebellum available on premium VOD as of September 18. If theaters look like they’ll continue to remain open in October, I’ll run a brief summary of major studio releases as a means of helping theatergoers plan their month. However, considering how unpredictable this virus has been, theatrical release plans remain extremely fluid, to say the least.

You can continue to check the Coming Soon pages for information as to what is coming out that month along with trailers (when available). It is an understatement to say that it has been hectic and considerable effort to try and keep up with all the scheduling changes and I’m pretty sure that I haven’t been entirely successful. Please, if you see something that you are aware that is incorrect, please bring it to my attention either in the comments section here, or by directly e-mailing me at cinema365@live.com. Thanks for your patience throughout this crisis and I hope you continue to stay healthy and safe in these troubling times.