Written by Emy Cook
Uncle Peckerhead opens with a glorious, juicy, freshly ripped apart corpse. This is how I know, I’m in for a fun ride.
Do not let the name deter you- Uncle Peckerhead is everything you want from an independent film- and solid proof you do not need a hoard of hyper-fast (but somehow decomposing?) zombies to have tons of fun with the undead in this indie horror genre flick. Peckerhead follows lead singer of DUH- an up and coming band- Judy (Chet Siegel) and her bandmates Max (Jeff Riddle) and Mel (Ruby McCollister) who are doing everything they can to rock their way into the summer band tour circuit. Judy has everything perfectly planned out, which would be helpful if not for their van being repo-d 20 seconds before hitting the road. This leads to the DUH trio acting out of a hopeful desperation as they put their dreams of punk-rock royalty in the hands of a weird, but friendly stranger by the name of Peckerhead (David Littleton.)
There are a lot of things to fear about going on a band tour for the first time: bed bugs in dingy hotels, running out of gas money, running into rival bands that want to act like assholes, the hangovers……! But one thing that not many bands would think to take in consideration is one new roadie literally turning into a flesh eating creature every night… adds a new level of ‘we are not getting the hotel cleaning deposit back.’
Judy is the protagonist of the film, and throughout she grapples with everything from imposter syndrome with her band to cleaning up actual guts. That is what makes this so fun. Is Peckerhead a physical manifestation of insecurity? There is something very real about the anxiety of failure and discrediting one’s own talent that can feel like being eaten alive. A creative desire to make a living out of doing what they love is such a prevalent theme and one that is a huge monster to fight in a capitalist society- where especially during a pandemic when live music shows, theatre shows, etc are still figuring out how to re-open. It’s almost like creatives everywhere must grapple with our own Peckerhead… I mean without the eating flesh and whatnot.
Peckerhead is the perfect film to watch on a hot summer night with a (socially distanced) group of buddies andromeda’s cold drinks. The film is an indie American Pie meets Cabin in the Woods– it is hilarious, well produced, with the perfect amount of gore, and a classic 80’s feel despite taking place now in anywhere, USA.
Verdict: 4 out of 5