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Music DVD Reviews: Review of Heavy Metal Parking Lot
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Heavy Metal Parking Lot (2005)

Buy your copy now from FilmBaby.com
You could argue that providing over two hours of special features for a documentary that only runs for 16 minutes is the greatest example of overkill since NotLame Records put out a 4-CD box set dedicated to Jellyfish, a band who only ever put out two studio albums...but you’d be wrong.

“Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” put together by filmmakers John Heyn and Jeff Krulik, is less a documentary than simply a matter of turning on a video camera in the parking lot of the Capitol Center in Landover, MD, prior to a 1986 Judas Priest / Dokken concert, and letting the metal heads say whatever came into their heads, no matter how ridiculous or alcohol-addled it may have been. And it is, to put it bluntly, funny as hell. Cameron Crowe called it “one of the greatest rock movies ever,” Roger Ebert described it as “a time capsule...stoned worshipers at the shrine of their own bewilderment,” and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters says it’s “basically Rock & Roll 101”; none of these statements contain enough inaccuracy to make it worth positing an argument against them.

The harsh truth of the camera eye has never been more devastating than when the hairstyles, fashions, and automobiles appear on screen during these 16 minutes. There are mullets galore, of course – they’re de rigueur at heavy metal shows, even now – but if you didn’t actually live through the ‘80s, you’ll find proof here that the jokes about the amount of hairspray used by girls back then are totally based in reality. Listen to the dialogue and cringe as you’re forced to remember a time when the preferred slang phrase to describe wanting to have sex with someone was “I’d like to jump his / her bones.” (Also enjoy the irony of all the girls who apply this phrase to Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, who has since come out of the closet.) And while the era of guys wearing zebra-striped spandex is one that a lot of folks would prefer to put behind us, if bell bottoms can come back, anything can come back, so let’s just hope that people will watch and learn from this particular history lesson.

Remember, kids: white (and black) lines, don’t do it.

Among the special features included on the DVD are directors’ commentary, heretofore-unreleased extra footage from the “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” sessions – played over the perfect soundtrack, Wheatus’s “Teenage Dirtbag” – as well as a few of the sequels Heyn and Krulik have made over the years, like “Neil Diamond Parking Lot” and “Harry Potter Parking Lot.” (Sadly, there’s only a snippet from “Monster Truck Parking Lot,” which was never finished.) There’s even a where-are-they-now segment, which clearly took a lot of legwork, since it’s not like the people who were captured on tape in ’86 signed releases or anything. Possibly the simplest but funniest of the special features, however, is Dub-O-Vision, which gives you the opportunity to watch a 10th-generation VHS dub of the documentary. Ultimately, however, the most telling feature was filmed in the parking lot of a 2003 Iron Maiden / Motörhead show at Merriweather Post Pavilion, in Columbia, MD, where Heyn and Krulik attempted to film a commercial for the first DVD release of the movie. Lord only knows how much footage was required to compile a 30-second spot, but it’s clear that, even after all these years, heavy metal parking lots haven’t changed a bit.

You don’t have to love heavy metal to appreciate “Heavy Metal Parking Lot.” Hell, you don’t even have to like heavy metal; you just have to like to laugh. Take 16 minutes out of your schedule to sit down and watch it...but, just to be safe, set aside 32 minutes. Trust me. You’ll want to watch it again.

~Will Harris 



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