Underground Film Journal

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Happy 25th Anniversary! Heavy Metal Parking Lot!

By Mike Everleth ⋅ May 31, 2011

Today marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most important days in underground film history. On May 31, 1986, public access TV guys Jeff Krulik and John Heyn “borrowed” some equipment from their station, drove out to the Capital Centre arena in Largo, Maryland and videotaped a bunch of stoners in the parking lot partying before a Judas Priest concert. The edited together footage would become one of the most beloved bootlegged classics of all time: Heavy Metal Parking Lot. Watch it again embedded above and feel the love. And the drugs.

From initial showings in Krulik’s and Heyn’s living rooms to migrating its way onto L.A. video store shelves where it ended up on Nirvana’s tour bus, in Edward Norton’s dressing room on the set of Fight Club and in Sophia Coppola’s home VCR, Heavy Metal Parking Lot has been passed around more times than the beers consumed in the video.

After all these years, the film is still wild, anarchic fun even after repeated ad nauseam viewings. (I can’t count how many times I’ve watched it.) You watch it and continue to wonder: How did we ever make it out of the ’80s alive?

And, yes, while it’s totally awesome that HMPL is now online to be enjoyed the world over, nothing can beat the amazing DVD version of the video that’s still available. It includes the original classic, several “sequels,” reunions with a couple of the participants, fan tributes, a Count Gore De Vol intro and a ton more. Buy the DVD online!