"It always begins with the Wrong Gas Station. In real life, as I pointed out in my review of a previous Wrong Gas Station movie, most gas stations are clean, well-lighted places, where you can buy not only gasoline but groceries, clothes, electronic devices, Jeff Foxworthy CDs and a full line of Harley merchandise. In horror movies, however, the only gas station in the world is located on a desolate road in a godforsaken backwater. It is staffed by a degenerate who shuffles out in his coveralls and runs through a disgusting repertory of scratchings, spittings, chewings, twitchings and leerings, while thoughtfully shifting mucus up and down his throat."
A type of character often found in horror of the backwoods
variety, the Creepy Gas Station Attendant is a grizzled and Always Male hick
who appears to be the sole proprietor of a dilapidated and desolate service station. You know the ones, unsanitary
and filled with an assortment of vermin, outdated products, non-functioning fixtures, and rusting heaps that may have once been vehicles.
Not to be confused with Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant
- The Punisher: Welcome To The Bayou has Frank battle a Cannibal Clan, starting with the rat-faced guy running the gas station.
- Probable Trope Maker Drayton Sawyer from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Encountered early on by the protagonists, he appears normal enough, but when Sally goes to him seeking aid after her friends are killed, he is revealed to be Leatherface's older brother, and captures the girl to take home for dinner. Other examples from the series include Alfredo from Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III and W.E. from The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
- The gas station attendant (named Jeb, Jr. in a spin-off comic) from The Hills Have Eyes remake sends travelers in the direction of the mutants, and in exchange is given any valuables the victims had on them. By the events of the film, years of guilt have caught up with him, and he commits suicide by blowing his brains out in an outhouse.
- The unnamed old man and father of the hillbillies from the first two Wrong Turn films.
- Michael McDonnell (played by Brad Dourif of Child's Play fame) from Urban Legend, though true to the story the film is referencing, he is harmless and merely trying to warn Michelle that...
- An escaped mental patient from the first segment of the anthology film Body Bags kills a gas station owner, assumes his identity, and begins murdering customers.
- In Deliverance the guys stop at a creepy gas station with a creepy gas station attendant... and a kid who plays the banjo. The gas station attendant dances along, creepily.
- The cannibalistic and necrophilic Charles Reese in Rampage (the 1987 one).
- One shows up in Devil's Ground, and is named Tobe, probably in reference to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre creator.
- The gas station owner in Friday the 13th: Mother's Day turns out to be a Captain Ersatz of Norman Bates.
- "The Grinning God" is a pair of short stories by May and Jacques Futrelle (her's is "Wraiths of the Storm" and his reply is "The House That Was", both 1907) that feature a crusty New Englander variant of the unhelpful and alarming gas station attendant. He lives above the store in the middle of nowhere and is reluctant to sell fuel at night, despite the driver's car being clearly out of gas, miles from the nearest big city. He won't put the driver up for the night despite the signs of an approaching storm. He tells the driver that the road to the next town is "straight 'cept where it bends." Only an offer to pay double prompts the man to finally sell the fuel at all. The driver goes his way, and has a series of strange experiences. He comes to doubt his own sanity and act accordingly. It is up to Jacques Futrelle's Professor Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen ("The Thinking Machine") to work out the answer, bringing the distraught man along on a re-enactment of the trip to show that it was all real. The driver had turned and backtracked instead of going on toward his destination; the attendant tried to call after him but had his voice drowned out by the thunder and the roar of the engine.
- Played with in American Gods. Laura's a zombie, so she takes the night shift at a gas station so people won't notice her rotting corpse so easily. But she's firmly on Shadow's side.
- The series premiere of Criminal Minds ends with Gideon stopping at a gas station operated by a twitchy and stuttery man who he realizes is a Serial Killer the FBI has been after for a while. The next episode shows how he deals with being taken hostage by the guy.
- The first episode of True Blood had a Goth gas station attendant pretend to be a vampire to unnerve some travelers. After they leave, a peeved real (and redneck) vampire threatens the poser with death if he ever does that again.
- Persona 4: Doubly subverted initially with the totally unimportant female gas station attendant the main character meets in Inaba and engages in some friendly conversation and a seemingly innocent handshake. Later, it's revealed she's Izanami, the Big Bad responsible for starting the entire plot.
- An episode of MTV's Downtown featured such a character, which the main characters thought was part of the titular Cropsey Clan of that episode due to his unibrow (the inbred Cropseys supposedly all had unibrows).
- A character who sometimes shows up in South Park is an old gas station owner prone to offering ominous, overwrought and unsolicted warnings about things like cursed paths, haunted mountains and cemeteries that can bring back the dead.