Demon Roadie Film Uncle Peckerhead (2020) Doesn’t Really Rock
Title: Uncle Peckerhead
First Wide Release: August 11, 2020 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Matthew John Lawrence
Writer: Matthew John Lawrence
Runtime: 97 Minutes
Starring: Chet Siegel, David Littleton, David Bluvband
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Judy (Chet Siegel) is optimistic about the future. She just quit her job at a pastry shop to fulfil her lifelong ambition of becoming a rockstar. Her band is about to go on a weeklong tour and Judy is certain that they are about to get their big break. The local radio station has even promised to look at their demo. Everything is great until their car breaks down. With their first show in a few hours and with no money to their name, the band has to find a way to get there on time. Thankfully, they run into Uncle Peckerhead (David Littleton), or Peck for short. After some convincing he agrees to give them rides to their show in exchange for food and company. Unfortunately for them, they’ll discover that Peck has some absolutely demonic tendencies.
Uncle Peckerhead is a bland and grating horror comedy that lacks the execution or heart needed to pull off the unfunny story they chose to tell.
It all comes down to the characters. If you have followed me for awhile, you’d know that there are few character archetypes that I despise more than the special slacker. Typically, they are adult men in their 30s or 40s who never take responsibility for anything and have no direction in life. I’m happy to report that Uncle Peckerhead subverts this trope by, instead, making a woman play this miserable character! Judy is incredibly self-centered, has tunnel vision, and refuses to take responsibility for the bad things that happen in her life when she is the cause of them.
I get it. Some people absolutely love to see the whole “zero to hero” thing come through onscreen. I have even found myself, on rare occasions, ignoring this role in certain movies. Little Monsters is a recent film to come to mind. The difference is the messaging. In Little Monsters, the main character realizes that he has been acting like a piece of garbage and changes his ways, not only for the betterment of himself but for those around him. Spoiler: Judy doesn’t have that arc. Judy’s arc is more about acceptance of others and persevering through the odds. Not only do I think it’s a terrible message, but it is also one devoid of any sort of interesting character development. Judy is awful and rarely gets called out on it.
Peck himself is a much more intriguing character, and one that the filmmakers should have focused on instead. Unfortunately, we learn very little about him other than his affliction of turning into a voracious cannibal demon at midnight on the dot. This concept has a lot of potential in being frightening but he rarely lingers in the plot long enough as a villain to really act as the main antagonist. Even then he isn’t that intimidating or scary thanks to his personality and the makeup effects being more laughable than frightening. Changes to his origin story may have at least solved some of the pacing and writing issues.
And there are plenty of writing issues in Uncle Peckerhead. Outside of the initial moral issue of touring with a literal demon of a roadie, there’s very little meaningful or interesting conflict in the film. Some hurt feelings about scone baking abilities and some manufactured indie band turf wars are the height of the conflict. Very little really happens.
It would make sense to ignore some of the flaws of Uncle Peckerhead if it weren’t so lifeless. Maybe it’s the deadpan humor or maybe it is the generic soft metal soundtrack, but it’s such a boring watch. The closest it amounts to anything interesting is towards the end, during an admittedly jarring tonal switch. Had the movie either leaned more into the horror of the situation or chosen a different avenue for its comedy, it might have been a more enjoyable watch.
Uncle Peckerhead is clearly not a film for everyone. I would be remiss to not mention that it is, in fact, receiving a lot of love within horror circles. I can’t say that I agree, but for fans of horror comedies or movies with a cult following, Uncle Peckerhead might be up your alley. Regardless, for me, Uncle Peckerhead fails to meet even the basest of expectations of a horror comedy: making me crack at least a smile so I cannot recommend to others.
Overall Score? 4/10