Uncle Peckerhead follows an aspiring punk band that finally gets their first tour, but they have no mode of transportation. When a seemingly harmless old man offers his van in exchange for joining them on their tour, they can't pass up the opportunity. But the friendly, if odd, old man is withholding a dark secret...he turns into a bloodthirsty demon at night and must feed on someone.
Uncle Peckerhead Review
A low-budget indie horror comedy is usually a safe bet nowadays. The acting and directing doesn't have to be stellar as long as the effects and one-liner gags land. Uncle Peckerhead rides that line between horror-comedy gags at the expense of acceptable shortcomings to something that is mildly entertaining and inevitably forgettable.
Something that is often the case with films of this ilk, it takes a while to warm up to the actors as it seems it takes them a while to warm up in their performances. But once things get going, you either get used to it as a viewer or they start to better evolve into their roles. Either way, that becomes a less noticeable problem than the directing and editing, which fails to hit the mark on the horror gags every time. But, they do still hit enough to make me laugh out loud a few times.
The demon's moments are hit-or-miss, with a pretty hilarious reveal (the shot above taken from this scene) followed by an even greater comedic moment of Peckerhead trying to explain his "condition" to the punk rock group. Unfortunately, I might argue that this is the peak of the film for me from an entertainment perspective, which doesn't bode well for the rest of the feature.
Perhaps the lag comes from a lack of experiential empathy for the protagonists. A good portion of the runtime is devoted to tackling the aggravating nuances of the punk rock scene in a satirical way. Think of a blend between the opening scenes of Green Room, but trying to be cleverly sardonic like Velvet Buzzsaw. The commentary is transparent enough to see inside their shoes, but not enough to coerce one into wearing them. So, inevitably, too much of the horror comedy plot is stalled by these detours into the life of a suffering punk rocker and it makes the film drag at times.
There are still some good gags and decent moments of mayhem sprinkled throughout, but it's imbalanced with the lagging moments and the film's overarching moral compass that feels forced rather than pertinent. In fact, the moments of moral tension come too late and abruptly to the point that it doesn't feel natural and establishes more confusion and ambiguity than impact. It's always nice to establish a little bit of substance into even the most ridiculous of plots, but sometimes it's okay to take the highway of horror-comedy chaos and dump the moral lesson off on the side of the road, especially if it feels like an unnecessary bumper sticker you slap on the bloodied, rusty van you've been driving around all movie.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 7/10
Horror Quality: 6/10 Film Quality: 5/10