“Madonna can go to hell. She’s a dick.”

If I woke up some night with my apartment on fire, I'd grab three things: my decades-old Slayer shirt with Kerry King's autograph inked squarely on the left boob, my Frigid Bitch cassette (my ex-boyfriend's terrible Pantera tribute band), and my beat-up VHS copy of Heavy Metal Parking Lot. These are my roots—my history. A friend recently commented that Parking Lot, the 1986 cult documentary made by Jeff Krulik and John Heyn in a parking lot outside a Judas Priest concert, was nothing more than "ironic urban hipsters mocking rural low-information voters." He can think that all he wants, but for someone like me (my first concert, at 9 years old, was watching Alice Cooper play a drive-in movie theater, my first vinyl record was Black Sabbath's Paranoid), Heavy Metal Parking Lot is like one of my own memories. I lived it. Even for people who didn't come out of the womb a metalhead, that 17 minutes of footage resonates with anybody who's ever been a fan of anything. It's honest and hilarious, and, like Cameron Crowe once said, "one of the greatest rock movies ever made." I spoke with director Jeff Krulik.

You're the original champion of making "nobodies into somebodies"—celebrating beautiful losers on public-access television way before YouTube was invented.
I was always considered a "nut magnet" by my friends—always drawn to the unusual and eccentric characters—even when I was a kid. I remember picking up weird magazines at newsstands to read the classified ads and find the most obscure postings about earthworm farms and correspondence with prisoners, that sort of thing. I think YouTube is great, but I am completely lost and overwhelmed by the sheer glut and volume. I don't know where to go first, so I don't tend to go anywhere. I don't pay attention to public access anymore—I haven't in years. That was truly where I developed my eye and first got behind a camera in the mid-'80s, and I'll always be grateful. It was also somewhat of a professional cesspool that didn't exactly help my emerging career aspirations.

You've probably been asked this a gazillion times, but will there ever be a Heavy Metal Parking Lot: Where Are They Now?
We have a "Where Are They Now?" alumni segment on our self-released DVD (available at the screening, our website, Amazon, or the trunk of my car). There are four or five short alumni documentaries—including a piece on Zebra Man. I can also tell you that the guy at the end of HMPL who says, "Rob Halford, I don't know about you!" is now becoming a rabbi and is a killer mandolin player.

Since HMPL, there have been countless spin-offs/sequels/homages. How many have you made? Any favorites?
In 1996, we made Neil Diamond Parking Lot, which was our official sequel. Then in 1999, we made Harry Potter Parking Lot. Around 2003, we created a bona fide TV series called Parking Lot that ran on Trio, a sister channel to Bravo. Of course, nobody saw it. It's on YouTube now. Hmm, hard to pick a favorite—just like I can't seem to pick a favorite HMPL character. Everyone is like family to me, no matter how long or short their time is on-screen.

What’s the funniest and/or most bizarre, not made by you?
There’s a trailer on the DVD for Monster Truck Parking Lot that never progressed beyond that stage, but it’s really funny. There’s a note-for-note re-creation by the major-label band American Hi-Fi, made by major video filmmaker Chris Applebaum, for the song “Flavor of the Weak.” It’s really weird. It’s on the DVD, in the tributes section. We should have taken them to task for ripping us off, but we took the high road. I should give props to Heavy Metal Sidewalk, filmed at a Judas Priest concert in San Francisco by a guy named Robbie Socks. That one’s on YouTube.

What are you working on right now?
A documentary called Led Zeppelin Played Here—about Led Zeppelin’s first DC-area concert in a gymnasium in front of 50 confused teenagers on the night of Richard Nixon’s first inauguration in 1969. I’m screening a rough cut at Zep Fest 2011, a huge Led Zeppelin convention.

Wait, you’re telling me Led Zeppelin came to the United States and played a school gymnasium?! Weren’t they too big for that?
Gotta see the film!

I'll tell you what I have seen—Heavy Metal Parking Lot, oh, probably 200 times. I'm still excited to see it again—on a big screen. Do you ever get tired of it?
I've seen the film probably a million times. But no—I still get a kick out of seeing it on the big screen. My coproducer John Heyn and I are grateful that people still want to talk about it 25 years later. No qualms about that at all! It's nice to be known for something that's stood the test of time. recommended

Heavy Metal Parking Lot is playing as part of the Found Footage Festival, www.foundfootagefest.com. Find lots more Jeff Krulik–isms at www.jeffkrulik.com and www.youtube.com/user/ParkingLotTV.

This article has been updated since its original publication.