CUFF 2020 Review: Give into the idiocy of Uncle Peckerhead and enjoy the loony, bloodthirsty fun

Dang it! Our roadie is eating people again! You guys were supposed to be watching him! 

When a trio of punk rockers are quibbling about the man-eating antics of their kindly roadie/driver with the same tone of voice that might be used to ask who left the toilet seat up, it’s a sign that the band’s priorities might be a bit out of whack. That’s pretty much the tone of Uncle Peckerhead as a whole; three twentysomethings so wrapped up in the challenges and headaches of a rock tour that they barely pay attention to the huge problem they have with their new roadie. Specifically, that he transforms into a cannibalistic monster every night at midnight. If this were a Stephen King story, they’d panic. If it were H.P. Lovecraft, they’d go mad. Instead, they roll their eyes and snort, “Great. Just what I need.”

Punk rock band DUH have their van stolen just as they’re beginning their first ever tour. In desperation, they team up with a scraggly, homeless stranger who offers his own van, along with his services as a roadie. The stranger, known only as “Peckerhead” (Peck for short) looks a bit like the late, great Sid Haig, and he wins the punks over with his kind eyes and pleasant demeanour. David Littleton succeeds in making Peck a likeable character, despite his monstrous ways. At least, he’s likeable compared to the band members, who are all little shits. 

Whenever any new characters are introduced, they immediately act like jerks so that we know that they’ll get eaten next, and we look forward to their cartoonishly messy deaths.  (I kept hoping he’d eat the band.) 

The band members all learn of Peck’s affliction on their first night together, but they really didn’t like the first victim (a snotty promoter who stiffs the band on their bill) and they really want to continue the tour with a working vehicle. But is that seriously enough reason to keep hanging out with a fang-toothed mass murderer? Apparently so. Max, the guitarist (Jeff Riddle) is too dumb to see the problem. (We’re not talking Spinal Tap dumb here; Max is full-on Ralph Wiggum dumb.) Mel, the drummer (Ruby McCollister) just doesn’t care. That leaves band ringleader Judy (Chet Siegel) to raise the obvious issue of “YOU GUYS, WE CAN’T KEEP LETTING OUR ROADIE EAT PEOPLE,” but in the end she goes along with it. 

Take out the violence and obscenity, and you’ve got a plot that would make a fairly typical Saturday morning cartoon from the ’90s. (“OK, gang! This concert is gonna be our ticket to the Big Time! We just have to make sure that our cat behaves himself in front of the Mayor’s wife!” CRASH!!! “Eeeek!”  “Garfiiiieeeeellllldddd!!!”) Stretched out to feature length, which means we get to hear the same argument over and over about whether we should stop employing the spree killer and finally call the police. These arguments are all pointless, because we know if Judy finally convinced her bandmates to do the sensible thing, we wouldn’t have a movie. It’s better to just ignore the dialogue and wait for the next bloody evisceration. 

For a film about punk rock, the music is surprisingly tame and forgettable. (Some of the music from the rival band is bad on purpose, which doesn’t help.) The band DUH looks pretty forgettable as well. These “punks” have maybe one piercing between them, wear regular T-shirts, and wouldn’t get noticed walking into a church. (Except for when they’re covered with blood and viscera, or course.) Still, the film manages to be loony, bloodthirsty fun, despite it’s idiocy, and any audience paying to see something called Uncle Peckerhead will get what they came for. 

Uncle Peckerhead is available for screening as part of the Calgary Underground Film Festival until June 28. (The June 25 drive-in screening at Big Rock is sold out.) To stream go to

John Tebbutt is the Video Vulture. He has been writing about obscure and ridiculous cinema since 1997. You can keep up with his nonsense on his website, Facebook, Twitter and through episodes of a program he’s doing with NUTV.