Uncle Peckerhead is a film that covers all the nuances of going on your first tour: the naïve excitement, wearing dirty clothes, holier-than-thou sound people, fighting over what music to play in the van, playing multiple shows with a band that sucks, and having a roadie that turns into a cannibalistic monster every night at midnight.
Uncle Peckerhead is a horror-comedy that covers all of the common ground mentioned in the paragraph above. The band Duh exists in a universe of terrible punk band names, including Shark Dick, Quif Queens, and Turd Toilet just to name a few. Duh is comprised of Judy, the bass player, leader, and optimist of the band; Mel, the dark, monotone, and stoned drummer; and Max, the happy-go-lucky jolly idiot guitar player. Duh sets off on their first-ever six-day tour when their van is repoed. After a desperate search, they run across Peckerhead, AKA “Peck,” who has the most absolute perfect van, and offers to let them use it as long as he can tag along. They are resistant to Peck due to their age gap and his modern hillbilly exterior, but he’s all they’ve got.
Only after their first horribly attended show, Judy runs in on Peck transformed into a skull-faced, clawed monster brutally devouring the promoter that only paid them three dollars. Despite the horror, the band decides to keep Peck around due to his charm, ability to move merch, exquisite baking skills, and, most importantly, his van. Besides, as long as he takes his sleepy time medicine around midnight his Mr. Hyde persona stays at bay.
The band continues touring while running into all those other tour tropes such as scripted stage banter, dealing with band divas, and regrettable romances. But when more mutilated and partially eaten bodies start showing up, the band becomes skeptical of Peck’s sweet redneck charm.
There’s a lot to like about the movie. If you’re a gore fan, there is plenty of it. I foolishly wore headphones while watching this, enhancing all the slurps and rips as people are getting their heads and faces ripped off. The horror often takes the back seat to the comedy (even though Peck is driving, yuk yuk), which is fine because there are a couple of really good laugh-out-loud moments. Max (played by Jeff Riddle who also wrote all of the Duh songs) has some of the best scenes due to how silly he can be. A lot of physical comedy out of that guy.
The movie may be one of the best comedies about a band going on a DIY tour since 1996’s Bandwagon. It hits close to home in a lot of places. I believe there might be some kind of satire about having a problematic person in your band and ignoring it despite seeing their atrocities with your own eyes. Or the consequences of fulfilling your dreams, selling out, and hurting people on the way to the top. Or it could just be a funny road movie with a monster that vomits acid on screamo bands’ faces. –Rick V. (Subtle T-Rex, subtletrex.com)