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[NOTE: This post was initially published in September of 2010, but as this week marks the 25th birthday of Heavy Metal Parking Lot, we owe it to ourselves—and you—to repost it as a reminder of the greatness that happened in Landover, Maryland, on that seminal day.]

Directed by John Heyn and Jeff Krulik, Heavy Metal Parking Lot is a flat-out life-changer, a bona fide documentary masterpiece if there ever was such a thing. You don’t have to be familiar with the Capital Center in Landover, Maryland, or need to have grown up in the DC Beltway area to grasp the magic of the Maryland accents—and 1980s style—on display. Just sit back, relax, press play, and let your eyes widen and jaw slacken as Heavy Metal Parking Lot revisits an unforgettably sloppy tailgating session before a 1986 Judas Priest/Dokken concert. (On a personal note, the Cap Center is where I attended many sporting events as an adolescent and most of my concerts as a teenager—though they were of the hip-hop variety—so this film holds an extra special place in my heart.)

Even if you’ve seen this film as many times as I have, that’s no excuse not to watch it again. And if you somehow haven’t ever seen Heavy Metal Parking Lot, while I can’t quite fathom that, I will forgive you as long as you watch it right now:

— Michael Tully

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Michael Tully is an award-winning writer/director whose films have garnered widespread critical acclaim, his projects having premiered at some of the most renowned film festivals across the globe. He is also the former (and founding) editor of this site. In 2006, Michael's first feature, COCAINE ANGEL, chronicling a tragic week in the life of a young drug addict, world premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film immediately solidified the director as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s "25 New Faces of Independent Film,” a reputation that was reinforced a year later when his follow-up feature, SILVER JEW, a documentary capturing the late David Berman's rare musical performances in Tel Aviv, world-premiered at SXSW and landed distribution with cult indie-music label Drag City. In 2011, Michael wrote, directed, and starred in his third feature, SEPTIEN, which debuted at the 27th annual Sundance Film Festival before being acquired by IFC Films' Sundance Selects banner. A few years later, in 2014, Michael returned to Sundance with the world premiere of his fourth feature, PING PONG SUMMER, an ‘80s set coming-of-age tale that was quickly picked up for theatrical distribution by Gravitas Ventures. In 2018, Michael wrote and directed the dread-inducing genre film DON'T LEAVE HOME, which has been described as "Get Out with Catholic guilt in the Irish countryside" (IndieWire). The film premiered at SXSW and was subsequently acquired by Cranked Up Films and Shudder.

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