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Super Shorts: Heavy Metal Parking Lot

See the seminal 1980s doc about tailgating at the Judas Priest show, a short whose influence can still be seen in the anthropological delights of reality hits like MTV's Jersey Shore.

Heavy Metal Parking Lot

After a decade defined by reality TV, the sweet kids caught on video tailgating for the Judas Priest show in 1986's Heavy Metal Parking Lot seem quaint in comparison. There's an innocence and naïvete to these kids, a lack of hunger for fame and validation, even if they are part of a drunken, silly subculture. They just love drinking, metal, girls, and getting their faces rocked off by Judas Priest and (opening act) Dokken. It is a simple anthropological study of people in their natural habitat; in this case, heavy metal fans in a parking lot.


A 15-minute documentary by Jeff Krulik and John Heyn, this short became a cult classic, passed around on bootleg VHS and with high-profile admirers from the band Nirvana to director John Waters, who said it "creeped him out." It's been culturally influential, as well: one example includes the movie Dazed and Confused, which takes a lot of inspiration from Krulik and Heyn's work. The short has also been a wellspring for jokey music videos, including the one-hit wonder American Hi-Fi's "Flavor of the Weak."


In Krulik's career, he's continued the Parking lot series with a TV show adaptation and another short called Neil Diamond Parking Lot. His Wikipedia page is extensive and hilarious, and you should read it. Rock on!





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