“Every touring band needs a roadie … don’t they?”
“Uncle Peckerhead? What the fuck kind of name is that? Yeah I’m not watching that any time soon.” That’s totally what I thought when I saw this movie pop up not too long ago. Then I saw a post on Instagram from a band I listen to promote it because the vocalist from another band (Augusta Koch of Cayatena and Gladie) did the vocals for the lead singer in the movie. So that got me a little interested. It also didn’t hurt that the lead actress (Chet Siegel) kinda reminds me of Linda Cardellini. Also, the (fake) band is from New Jersey? God dammit … I guess I’m watching this.
The gist of the film is this: Judy and her band, Duh, just quit their jobs so they can embark on their first-ever tour. Six shows in seven days. If all goes well this could be Duh’s big break. Clearly not all is going to go well. Anyone who has ever been in a band, especially a punk band, knows that not everything on a tour ever goes to plan. This takes that to the extreme.
First off, the band’s van gets repossessed right before they are about to embark on their tour. So they band canvases the town looking for someone to lend them a van for the week. That’s when they run into Peck (David Littleton), a seemingly harmless dude who offers to drive them in exchange for gas and maybe a few bucks. In typical road movie form, things go wrong for Duh at every turn. The band encounters empty venues, jerk promoters who screw them out of money, and their roadie turns into a man-eating demon at the stroke of midnight each night. Wait what? Yeah, that’s not normal. At least Peck promises to not eat the band and takes his sleep aid every evening. Fair enough, right? Wrong.
Overall, the movie portrays a pretty realistic glimpse into the life of a struggling touring band. And unlike Green Room, (another great punk rock horror film) the film is definitely less realistic but is still pretty gritty and horrific in a whole other way. This is mainly in part due to Duh’s guitarist Max (Jeff Riddle) actually being a touring musician himself. He wrote all the music played by both Duh and rival band Dominion Rising in the film. Hell, the rest of the band even learned to play their instruments just for the film.
I will say this, for an low budget indie film, the acting is pretty solid. While it is not an overly scary horror movie, it does have a lot of blood along with a lot of heart and humor. In his first feature film, director Matthew John Lawrence delivers a pretty entertaining film that holds you attention for its 97 minute run time. It delivers on both the jokes and the gore all the while telling a good road trip story. The third act may be a bit of a tonal shift from the rest of the film but I think the first two thirds of the movie helps it as a whole. So I say give it a whirl this October if you are looking for a new horror movie to watch. I think it will surprise you.