Making Headbanger History: 'Heavy Metal Parking Lot,' at AFI Silver

June 15, 2011


On May 31, 1986, local filmmakers Jeff Krulik and John Heyn ventured to the parking lot of the Capital Centre in Largo, Md., to capture metalheads in their natural habitat: tailgating before a Judas Priest-Dokken concert.

Twenty-five years later, the resulting documentary, “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” has elevated that now-demolished lot to cult status with its hilarious yet loving depictions of Maryland heshers in simpler times, when Aqua Net united men and women in a common goal: volume. The film has found an audience all around the globe and inspired countless spin-offs (“Neil Diamond Parking Lot”) and copycats (“Raver Bathroom”). On Friday, the AFI Silver will hold a special double feature to mark the silver anniversary of “HMPL,” screening the film with another Krulik/Heyn joint, 2010′s “Heavy Metal Picnic.”

“Honestly, I didn’t want to make this heavy-metal stuff my life’s work,” Krulik laughs. “But I love nostalgia and preservation of local cultural history. People were, and are, really passionate and connected to this music, even if I was unfamiliar with it.”

Ahead of the screening, we’ve created an illustrated guide to the characters who made “HMPL” great. (You can also catch up with some of the film’s alumni at Snagfilms.com, where “HMPL” is streaming in its entirety, too.)

DC101 Guy
Quote: “Priest is the best, man.”
Personal style: Rock radio station T-shirt, sleeves hacked off to reveal spindly arms; Steve Perry haircut.
Personal soundtrack: Judas Priest, “Living After Midnight,” sung a bit “loaded, loaded,” as the song goes.
Modern cultural significance: Advertising to a new generation of metalheads that DC101 is still an actual radio station.

Zebraman
Quote: “Heavy metal rules! All that punk [expletive] sucks. It belongs on [expletive] Mars, man.”
Personal style: Zebra-striped unisuit, multiple belts.
Personal soundtrack: Definitely NOT Madonna, who “can go to hell, as far as I’m concerned.”
Modern cultural significance: Reminding young men that skin-tight spandex can be ultra-masculine.

Glen Burnie Girl
Quote: “I’d jump his bones,” if presented with Judas Priest singer Rob Halford.
Personal style: Feathered red hair, sky-high bangs and … pearls
Personal soundtrack: Judas Priest “sings great,” but she’d also rock some Dokken, the night’s opening act.
Cultural significance: Preserving the Glen Burnie, Md., accent so that linguists may study its beauty.

» AFI Silver, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring; with “Heavy Metal Picnic,” Fri., 9:30 p.m., $11; 301-495-6720, Afi.com/silver. (Silver Spring)

Photo Courtesy bendependent.com

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