Punk rock and horror go way, way back. Before Green Room and The Ranger, there were punks writhing naked on tombstones in Return of the Living Dead and The Ramones were singing about their lack of interest in being buried in a Pet Sematary. Uncle Peckerhead once again reunites punks and horror in a road tripping good time.
Judy (Chet Siegel) has just quit her job at the bakery to join her bandmates Mel and Max (Ruby McCollister and Jeff Riddle) on their first tour. D’uh. The band’s name is D’uh. Despite the name and the trio’s inability to manage their money properly, they are actually pretty freaking good. Armed with plenty of copies of their demo tape to make some bucks along the way, they head out to hit the open road. Or, rather they would have were it not for their van getting repossessed just as they were about to load it. While searching for a last minute wheels replacement, they get an enticing but risky proposition.
Peckerhead (David Littleton) offers to roadie for them and drive them around in his van for the length of their short tour. All he asks in return is a little money for food and for D’uh to cover the gas. Judy is far more suspicious than the rest of the group, but with no other options she reluctantly agrees to Peck’s plan. Her hesitation is intuitive, but the audience knows she may be onto something because they have seen Peck eating human flesh in the pre-credits scene.
It does not take long for the band to find out what Peckerhead really is. Or, at least to the extent that he knows what he is. Every night he briefly turns into some sort of flesh-eating demon. Not ideal, but for a scrappy punk tour, it is certainly not the worst possible situation either.
Uncle Peckerhead keeps the tone light and the laughs coming. Judy is the only one alarmed by the death and dismemberment, and her reaction serves as a hilarious contrast to Mel and Max’s embrace of Peck. Siegel’s performance as slightly uptight but ultimately punk-as-hell is a great one, and it is truly satisfying to see a woman on screen who belts out punk tunes as much as she gives quizzical looks to her bandmates over their preposterous tour. Littleton is as charming as he would need to be to earn the nickname “uncle” as he watches over D’uh with an affection typically reserved for blood relatives.
Speaking of blood: all of the spews of blood throughout Uncle Peckerhead seem to be in on the joke too. Nearly every time Peck turns into a demonic murderer the blood sprays like geysers from his victims. There is no nod toward realistic gore effects, but rather the spewing blood and comical deaths merely enhance the jokes and deflect from any potential for empathy for victims. Uncle Peckerhead is all about the laughs and the sloppy deaths.
The levity of Uncle Peckerhead is warmly welcomed in these weird times of ours. Taking a step back from reality, and a step into a punk tour where an older demon man makes one helluva roadie, is a lovely way to spend some time. Laughing at death and guffawing at plumes of blood might not be for everyone in these dark times, but for the morbidly minded it is a delight.