Fans of fun midnight flicks will want to check out “Uncle Peckerhead,” a micro-budget, punk rock horror comedy with a charming B-movie vibe. Writer / director Matthew John Lawrence sticks with familiar territory, which makes the humor not only very funny, but organic as well. With a chemistry-filled cast of mostly unknowns, the film is so entertaining and witty (and has such an abundant amount of heart) that it manages to stand out in the crowded genre field.
Rock band DUH scores their first tour, and bassist Judy (a terrific Chet Siegel) dreams of traveling the world with her band mates Max (Jeff Riddle) and Mel (Ruby McCollister). But when the group’s van is repossessed hours before they’re set to embark on their road trip journey, Judy hesitantly strikes a deal with a redneck old-timer who goes by the name Peckerhead (David Littleton). Peckerhead (or Peck for short) has a large van and, seeking a rock and roll adventure, offers to drive the trio in exchange for food, gas, and the title of roadie.
Life on the road proves to be a little more than they all bargained for when it turns out Peck has an unfortunate “condition” that turns him into a man-eating demon when the clock strikes midnight.
It’s a witty premise that’s made even better with great characters. Some of the dialogue is instantly quotable, especially in Peckerhead’s strong Southern drawl. The more offbeat humor will appeal to only a handful of viewers (there are tons of indie band jokes), but the universal one-liners reach near perfection. Those expecting lots of blood and guts will be let down — the on-screen gore is pretty rad, but there’s not enough of it. You can count the number of special effect horror scenes on one hand, but they are all ridiculously satisfying (especially as Peck chows down on a shady concert promoter).
Not everything works. The big reveal is let out of the bag early, which slows down the storytelling as the film progresses. The gross-out, budget-busting scene near the end of the film is weak instead of shocking. But overall, “Uncle Peckerhead” is a solid, likeable study of eccentric horror.