Hearse Life (2017) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A stylish exploration of funeral car history, sub-culture, and outrageous reactions.

  • Chronicles a brief history of United States-built hearses from the late 1800's to modern-day as told by several on-camera funeral directors. The picture later interviews various funeral coach owners, collectors, and dealers; some of whom created a subculture of hearse clubs. Finally, the viewer will experience vastly diverse reactions to a variety of hearses from people of all walks of life.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Inspired by two young women whose reaction[which went from disdain to respectful wonder] to Peter Rodkey's 1972 hearse parked in a shopping mall structure, "Hearse Life" showcases various hearses and their owners. The primary focus is a fascinating view of these unique funeral coaches and the peculiarities of the drivers themselves. The secondary focus is to enlighten the audience - particularly non-hearse owners - with a greater understanding and appreciation of these professional vehicles. A brief yet detailed history of the funeral coach will reveal the major coach builder's names and their factory's origins. We will see how the vehicles have evolved from 19th Century horse-drawn carriages to modern-day, sleek driven fleets. While acknowledging the coach's primary function in funeral processions, "Hearse Life" will also highlight a voice-over narration and interview structure to depict many hearses in terms of year, make, style; be they stock or custom. The picture's creator, Peter Rodkey, a hearse owner himself, guided by historical consultant, Paul Nix, a hearse dealer/'Professional Car Society' member meet select individuals who freely show and discuss, the what, when, where and the why regarding their coach which, we are told, elicited a myriad of reactions - both positive and extremely negative. Lastly, as Peter Rodkey drives/parks his own hearse in parts of Southern California he too is the recipient of surprising, if not outrageous reactions from numerous passersby some of whom very shortly dispel their own myths and pre-conceptions of at least one funeral car and its owner.

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