Meet me in the parking lot

There are movies that most people would agree a person should see at least once in their lives—movies like “Casablanca” or “Schindler’s List.”

There are movies that most people would agree a person should see at least once in their lives—movies like “Casablanca” or “Schindler’s List.” Some of those movies make tons of box office cash and have a worldwide fan base. Others fall into the category of cult classics. These movies have a smaller fan base, but they are all loyal devotees. One such movie is “Heavy Metal Parking Lot.” Haven’t seen it? No problem. You can see it the way it was always meant to be seen this Saturday.

Saturday at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., the Laurelhurst Theater will show what has been called one of the greatest rock documentaries of all time. “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” is a 16-minute snapshot, shot in the parking lot outside Capital Centre in Landover, Md., while fans tailgated and stood in line for a 1986 Judas Priest concert. The filmmakers, Jeff Krulik and John Heyn, were equipped only with a simple set of sound equipment and a camera. Despite this, they managed to capture interviews with the assembled metal heads that encapsulate everything that was the golden age of heavy metal music.

Over the next twenty years, bootleg VHS copies of “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” circulated until it gained a worldwide cult following. It was even said to have been a band-viewing favorite of Nirvana’s on their tour bus. The film has gathered such a following it was eventually given a special-edition DVD release for its 20th anniversary, and it inspired a short-lived reality TV series simply called “Parking Lot” which documented the special camaraderie which forms in parking lots of music events and conventions.

Krulik and Heyn have been working together for more than 25 years. During their careers, they have worked together and separately on many documentary projects and music videos. Since the success of “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” Krulik and Heyn worked together on the “Parking Lot” TV series and also introduced a follow up to “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” in 2010 called “Heavy Metal Picnic.” This documentary features candid footage and interviews of a heavily inebriated crowd that gathered in a field in Potomac, Md., for a music festival called Full Moon Jamboree.

Now, the short documentary is celebrating its 25th anniversary by giving fans the one thing they haven’t been able to get for the past 25 years: “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” on the big screen. It is a part of the Found Footage Festival, which is a comedy showcase currently touring the country. “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” will serve as the opening act for this fun fest as it makes a one-night stop in Portland. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10 or online at

The Found Footage Festival has been a celebrating the awesomeness that can be found on old VHS tapes since its inception in 2004. Their tapes are found in places that range from thrift stores and garages sales to warehouses and dumpsters. Clips are put together with hosts who present the clips, offer the back story of how the footage was found and give commentary in the style of another cult classic: “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” Some of their most famous found footage includes outtakes from a Winnebago promotional video that features a curse-happy salesman and the safety video “It Only Takes a Second.” You never know what the curators of the Found Footage Festival will dig up.

OK, maybe “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” will never gain the same amount of respect as “Casablanca” or “Schindler’s List,” but it is a truly splendid bit of film, one which everyone should see at least once. ?