FTP: Uncle Peckerhead (2020)

SEPTEMBER 25, 2023


For the most part, the worst thing I can say about Uncle Peckerhead is that it often reminded me of two better movies. Luckily, both of them are relatively obscure compared to the movies most small budget horror films ape (i.e. Conjuring or whatever the newest hit slasher was), so it’s possible one could watch without having seen them, and maybe you’ll be more engaged by what it has to offer. But if you’ve seen Green Room and/or Eddie the Sleepwalking Cannibal, be prepared for a lot of déjà vu.

Luckily it’s not as hard to watch as Green Room (even if star Anton Yelchin didn’t ultimately die of a gruesome accident in real life, I don’t think I could ever watch his arm injury scene again), it’s just got a similar backdrop: a very poor punk band trying to make a go of it when playing for next to nothing and stealing gas from other cars in the parking lots they often sleep in. The scene where that film’s The Aint Rights plays to a pizza parlor has a very close cousin here, and the plot also kicks off in the same way, when our hero goes back inside the club and sees something they weren’t supposed to. The key difference is that what they weren’t supposed to see there was your standard murder, and here it's their roadie, Peck, turning into a zombie monster and devouring the greedy promoter that just ripped them off.

And that’s where the Eddie the Sleepwalking Cannibal element kicks in, as Peck seemingly means our hero band (a trio named Duh) no harm, and is actually a pretty helpful addition to their band, so they kinda let his murderous ways slide (and occasionally help cover up evidence of such digressions) as their band is getting more successful due to his influence – he’s quite good at selling merch, for example! But you know how this sort of story goes – they’ll enjoy the success for a bit, and then realize it’s not right, so their ally turns into a foe. So maybe Little Shop of Horrors would be a more apt comparison, but the dry humor and the fact that the monster is a person (not a plant) had me thinking more of Eddie, so I’m sticking with it!

But that said, it’s a pretty fun watch. The trio of band members (two girls, one guy) are likable and easy to root for, and honestly could have made for the basis of a straight indie comedy without “Uncle Peckerhead” worked into the mix. Since they never have money for a motel they often crash at rando’s houses, giving the film a steady stream of new faces/dynamics, and their rivalry with an emo band led by a pretentious Jared Leto type provides the film with its funniest moments (though as an old school Simpsons fan I would cite an out of nowhere Poochie reference as my favorite gag). It’s never really laugh out loud funny, but it provided pretty of amiable smiles, which is fine – if the comedy part of a “horror comedy” is a total failure (and many are), it drags the whole movie down, so getting decent results in that half of the equation is something of a win on its own.

It’s just too bad that the ending is garbage! I won’t spoil it outright, but it tonally didn’t fit with the rest of the movie to my eyes, sending me out on a downer instead of another wry smile that the previous 85 minutes had been providing with regularity. I’m not sure why they went the way they did with it, but man, it’s been a while since I’ve seen so much goodwill get tossed out the window at the 11th hour. I’d almost rather it sucked the whole way through, at least it’d be consistent. I guess I see the intent, that at the end of the day the band deserves some punishment for what they allowed to happen, but it swings too far into the other direction and ends abruptly to boot, leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Your mileage may vary of course, but be prepared for some whiplash.

The disc comes with a group commentary (arranged via Zoom or something, as it was recorded in the early days of the pandemic – at least we know they’re smart!), to which I couldn’t always tell the participants apart but they have a good chemistry and never fall silent, loading the track up with production stories, the occasional jab at each other’s expense, and praise upon the other crew members, many of whom wore multiple hats on the production. A short film about a demon that has a few of the same cast members is also included; the back of the blu-ray promises it’s in the same universe as the film but I don’t see how that’d be possible with the doubling performers. There’s also an 11 minute compilation of Duh’s music if you’d like to listen without the movie’s audio distracting from it. A fairly low-key release for a similarly enjoyable but ultimately just shy of a must-see movie.

What say you?


Post a Comment

Movie & TV Show Preview Widget