Recently resurrected during a 15th Anniversary showing at The 18th Annual Olympia Film Festival last month, “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” is a true underground classic. Filmed by Krulik on a shoestring budget with fellow lensman John Heyn, it’s a flavorful slice of anthropological pie that perfectly sums up the vibe of the mid-eighties music scene. At a time before the emergence of Nirvana, when more flamboyant bands like Judas Priest and their fraternal partners in metal like Ratt, Motley Crue, Dio, and Scorpions reigned supreme, such concert scenes were a bridge between the disco era and the grunge renaissance. Arena rock ruled, and it was still hip to dress up and sing about dungeons and dragons.
With this in mind, there was no better band to host the party than Judas Priest. Blonde guitarist KK Downing stood opposite brunette counterpart Glenn Tipton, while both of them pelted riffs at listeners from stage left and stage right. Bass and drums vibrated coliseums. The band’s charismatic blonde singer, Rob Halford, wailed in ear-piercing falsetto and drove onstage perched atop a motorcycle. A kind of heavy metal Liberace, he donned leather and studs and alternated between party anthems (sample lyric: “Livin’ after midnight, rockin’ to the dawn, lovin’ ’til the morning then I’m gone!”) and more apocalyptic numbers about war and death. It was the ultimate irony when this embodiment of redneck, macho energy came out of the closet in 1992 to announce that he was gay.
Theatrical to the extreme, Judas Priest’s onstage antics were still upstaged by the goofy rock god worship demonstrated by their pre-show fans, which Krulik and Heyn stalked using Â¾ inch video and tube cameras. It’s not until the end of “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” that we actually see footage of the band: the main focus of this grainy, slapdash, 15 minute movie is Judas Priest’s maniacal following waiting in line out front. When Krulik asks a black-garbed redhead with bad skin what she would do upon meeting Halford, she screams, “I’d jump his bones!” Little did she know.
Later, the camera-wielder comes across a vanload of kids sporting an open drink cooler. “Have a Busch or a Budweiser,” offers a friendly local yokel wearing a military green shirt that says, Kill ’em All – Let God Sort ’em Out. Nearby, another mob of hyped-up teens hold a Judas Priest banner made of bedsheets, while chanting, “Priest! Priest! Priest!” Hanging out by the band’s tour bus is a runty male with a black and white striped shirt. “Heavy metal rules,” claims the outspoken critic, affectionately dubbed “Zebra Boy” by Krulik. “All that punk s**t sucks and Madonna can go to hell!” All the while, he’s attempting to chug beer from an unopened bottle. Who says that today’s youth aren’t respectable?
Get the rest of the story in part three of GET OFF ON “HEAVY METAL PARKING LOT”>>>