Heavy Metal Parking Lot is a concert film without the concert. On May 31, 1986, aspiring documentarians John Heyn and Jeff Krulik showed up to the Capitol Centre in Landover, Maryland on the day of a Judas Priest show, hoping that the crowd of tailgaters would prove to be an interesting enough subject. Heyn and Krulik found that the young metal fans were more than enthusiastic about stepping in front of a camera to proudly extol the merits of what in this film seem to be the only two things worth living for: Priest (minus the guy who claims that the Scorpions are better and the girl who came to see Dokken) and partying in its numerous forms.
For years, Heyn and Krulik’s film acquired its cult status via bootleg VHS circulation. For such a sought-after item, Heavy Metal Parking Lot is awfully brief, but it is indeed a consistently entertaining 17 minutes. Whether one views the film with nostalgia, condescension, bewilderment, or some combination of the above, it’s hard to deny that the fans make up quite the colorful cast of characters. Countless Heavy Metal Parking Lots could (and should) have been made throughout the 1980s, and this is just one audience at one concert in one town, but somehow the moments captured by Heyn and Krulik wound up being some of this subculture’s most firmly cemented and iconic. Recommended as a breezy addendum to a night or two of viewing that may also include some combination of River’s Edge, Seventeen, Out of the Blue, and Over the Edge.
— Garret Kriston