Harold Chasen (Bud Cort) leads a lonely life in a palatial home with his controlling mother (Vivian Pickles), a haughty socialite whose relationship with her son favors formality over affection. In the movie's opening scene we are all shocked when she walks into the music room and finds Harold swinging by the neck at the end of a rope. She on the other hand doesn't bat an eyelid. Her response?... "I suppose you think that's very funny, Harold".
Apparently she has seen this sort of thing before. It seems that Harold, not your ordinary kid, has taken to staging elaborate fake suicides to gain his mother's attention. She takes it in unflappable stride but when next she discovers his mutilated body in a blood-drenched bathroom even she is taken aback... "This is too much... I can't stand much more of this... I can't take any more!!"
Then ... Harold next visits what then was San Carlos Auto Wreckers at 959 Sky Way Road, San Carlos, alongside Highway 101 next to San Carlos airport (map). This view looks east towards Alameda County across the south bay.
... and Now, the wreckers yard is gone, replaced by a business park - this recent matching photo was taken from its parking lot. The Kaiser Cement Silos at the Port of Redwood City, originally built in the 1920s by the Pacific Portland Cement Company, are at top right both Then and Now.
... in 1966 ... here's a vintage aerial photo of San Carlos airport showing San Carlos Auto Wreckers alongside Highway 101, bottom left, as it was when the movie was filmed.
... and Now, the same view courtesy of Google Earth. The 240,000 square foot Skyway Landing office complex was built on this site in 2001.
At the wreckers yard Harold finds the perfect vehicle for one so obsessed with death - a hearse!
After he runs it through a car wash any funeral parlor would be more than happy to add it to their fleet.
... as an identifier, here's the same model photographed at a car meet; it's a 1959 Superior Cadillac Sovereign Royale Laudalet 3-way hearse.