For those unfamiliar, Heavy Metal Parking Lot came out in 1986. The documentary chronicled metal fans in the parking lot of a Judas Priest concert and is considered one of the best rock documentaries ever made. The movie came out on May 31, 1986, meaning the film has a thirtieth anniversary coming up very soon!
In 2011, fan Craig Giffen took to his homemade webpage straight out of the 90s and began figuring out what every single shirt in the movie was. I'm not even kidding – the dude made a catalogue of every shirt in the movie which you can see right here.
Here's how Giffen describes the genesis of the project.
I first saw it sometime in the late 90s and started telling all my friends about it. Crushes would vaporize when a girl I liked would sit bored through the entire thing and summarize their review as: "uh, you found that funny?" Thankfully the girl I married not only had seen the film, she had her own bootleg VHS copy which had a completely awesome homemade VHS box cover.
During one of the zillionth times of watching it I started focusing on the periphery. After I saw the fourth ZZ Top Afterburner t-shirt, I began to wonder what other shirts showed up in the film.
Sometime around 2011 I imported the official DVD into Adobe Premiere and went though ~30,000 frames of the entire film, one by one. The frames that had the clearest shot of a t-shirt are displayed and accounted for below.
Life got in the way and I forgot about this project. When I read a recent and very detailed Deadspin article on the film by Dave McKenna, I realized I needed to finish this project in celebration of the 30th anniversary of that May 31st, 1986 Judas Priest concert.
Although I was able to identify several shirts, down near the bottom of this page are several shirts I have not been able to identify, feel free to drop me an email along with the shirt ID number if you have any ideas or write me on Twitter. You can also click on the photo and leave a comment.
Maybe you can identify some of those shirts he can't? Help a dude out, he's almost done!