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Hearses are featured in popular culture but are still part of the death ritual

Hearses are most associated with funeral processions; however pop culture has introduced us to some unique hearses.

The Ghostbusters movies feature one such uniquely modified, to say the least, hearse- The ECTO-1. I must admit, I did spend part of my junior high years in Nova Scotia, wanting to see this vehicle on the local roads. I had to wait until I was an adult, and in Ontario, before I saw a similar one included in a local parade.

A second example is the horse-drawn hearse at Disney’s Haunted Mansion, one I have seen in person during my visits to the park while on holiday.

A third example is from the movie Harold and Maude. Harold builds a hearse from a Jaguar XK-E, which is crashed at the end of the movie.

The fourth example comes from a television series, Six Feet Under. The main character of Claire drives around in her trusty green beauty, a mid 1990s Cadillac Fleetwood Hearse.

As a fifth example, who can forget the scene in Dumb and Dumber as the two main characters pass a bus full of children while driving a hearse, and as true to their character’s personalities they act inappropriately in front of this impressionable audience.

Sixthly, in Terminator 3, there is the cemetery escape scene in which Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character, after rescuing the young protagonist make their escape- coffin and all, in a hearse.

Seventhly, the Adams Family/Wednesday television series also feature a hearse as their main method of transportation, often with Lurch as the driver.

Finally, I do remember, as a young child (and probably annoying my family while doing it) singing The Hearse Song, from the children’s book Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Google it, and scenes from the movies I’ve mentioned above, on YouTube for your own nostalgia trip.

In conclusion, Pop Culture is the break we all need from reality now and then. Movies and television shows provide us with entertainment and escapism. In some of those movies, a hearse is the transportation of choice and/or the perfect getaway vehicle. In real life, a hearse is just part of a death ritual. 

Sources Driving the dead. a history of the hearse, by Rachel Osolen, September 22, 2021

https://tvovermind/The Five Best Uses of Hearses in a Movie, by Tom Foster

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