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Heavy Metal Parking Lot (1986)

HMPL

“Madonna can go to hell as far as I’m concerned! She’s a dick!”

If aliens ever came down to Earth and wanted to know what the eighties were like, they could look no further than the time capsule that is “Heavy Metal Parking Lot.” It is, as many have described it, the viral video before viral videos existed. I’d love to see a documentary about this film some day, or perhaps an actual feature made around the events that occur in the fifteen minute documentary. It’s a hilarious and often absurd look at a certain time period where everyone wore mullets, walked around without shirts, bragged about doing drugs, and women were often very proud to admit they wanted to “fuck” certain band members’ “brains out.”

Directed by John Heyn and Jeff Krulik, “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” is a very well known cult documentary that’s become famous and infamous for all the right reasons. It’s a very non-corporate, uncommercial look at a time during rock and roll that is not exaggerated or concocted by a studio. What we see is very much what was in during the decade. During a time where pop and hip hop were rising, there were folks that chugged beer, walked around in zebra striped shirts, and stood around parking lots genuinely commuting to watch their favorite band perform. For this documentary it’s Judas Priest, but many fans are asked about the other kinds of music they love, and they bring up the obvious hair bands of the mid-decade. There’s Dokken, Metallica, Osborne, and a lot of mentions of The Scorpions, one of my all time favorite eighties rock bands.

This is not a crowd that should be confused with any other though, as documentary filmmaker Heyn asks people if they love punk, only to inspire jeers and a rabid rock fan proclaiming that punk is a whole other shit and should be sent to Mars. They also really hate Madonna. “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” should be the envy of many documentary filmmakers and also the template. Many documentaries lasting two hours barely rack in the raw material, honesty, and memorable moments that John Heyn and Jeff Krulik’s film does in merely sixteen minutes. Granted it’s not without it’s cringe inducing moments, like the twenty year old Air Force enlistee clutching to his thirteen year old girlfriend who he smothers in tongue kisses, but these are merely just a lot of people having a good time, and really enjoying their passion for rock and roll and Judas Priest. Sitting through “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” is an absolute trip, and a definite warp back in to time that should be admired, embraced, and celebrated.