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[[quoteright:350:[[Film/BodyBags http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/creepy_mortician.jpg]]]]

->'''Sheldon:''' What do you wanna be when you grow up, Dante?\\
'''Dante:''' I'm not sure. I like working with people... But I like being alone, too...\\
'''Sheldon:''' How about being a mortician -- best of both worlds.\\
'''Dante:''' Heeeey... Not bad.
-->-- ''[[http://www.sheldoncomics.com/archive/020212.html Sheldon Comic]]''

Be they morticians, pathologists, funeral house workers or gravediggers -- people who deal with the dead have always been assumed to be interesting, because, well, they deal with the dead. That is why in fiction, it is popular to present workers in those professions as either outright creepy, or at least have a [[BlackComedy way-off sense of humor]]. Especially if they don't look creepy (or aren't normally so), looking at something like this for the first time can creep any guy out. They play around with the bodies of the deceased, joke while performing scientific dissections, or at least die first during a zombie attack. They are also suspect for profiting from someone else's death; after all, such a person may seem a little too happy about the fact that, now that someone has died, the mortician is going to get paid for the funeral.

The trope can just be PlayedForLaughs as well as PlayedForDrama, with often a lot of overlap between the two. The more unsettling version lurks around the graveyard and has an unhealthy obsession with his deceased clients. When they're not in the graveyard, they can be found in rather eerie places, such as near newly deceased bodies or in coffins. Often they are the primary suspect whenever something particularly creepy happens. May turn out to be a LivingDollCollector, a [[ILoveTheDead Necrophille]], or an outright evil {{Necromancer}}. Prone to spout ominous-in-context lines like "Be seeing you..."

If they accidentally encounter a living person instead of an expectedly dead one, it may be related to WakingUpAtTheMorgue or BuriedAlive. Also see BlackComedy.

Compare with the {{Undertaker}} character in {{Western}}s -- some of whom fit here too, the tropes can overlap.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The Undertaker from ''Manga/BlackButler''. Even creepier in the Manga, [[spoiler:where it is revealed, by him, that he is the one responsible for the reanimation of the corpses that were attacking everyone on board the ship. And that was just because he was curious!]] Justified in that he's actually [[spoiler:a {{Shinigami}} rather than a human -- and a rogue amongst their ranks, in the manga]].
* ''Anime/GregoryHorrorShow'' is built around this. Good old Gregory is downright unnerving, especially as you learn more about what he is. He suffers from VillainDecay in the other three seasons, however, becoming a victim of the greater evils around him. Still, [[spoiler:he does feed off of human souls.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ComicBook/GreenLantern villain Black Hand was reinvented as one of these in the lead-up to ''ComicBook/BlackestNight''.
* ''ComicBook/LuckyLuke'': Undertakers are recurring characters in this series, usually using ''formol'' as perfume, named [[PunnyName Mortimer or Rigor O'Mortis]], have vultures as pets and already coming to take measurements for the coffins before the cowboys are actually shot down. The most recurring undertaker has a pale skin color, sometimes green and creep out almost anyone they talk to (it doesn't help that to express their gratitude by with custom-fitted coffin). Subverted in a few strips where one is shown to play violin at a party (all for the sake of a LifeOfTheParty pun) or when one, after a burial, asks if anybody wants to use his cabs to go back in town and say.
-->'''Undertaker:''' Driving someone ''to'' the saloon would have been nice for a change.
* The main character of ''ComicBook/RachelRising'' has an Aunt Johnny that has been working as a mortician for a long time. While she's not creepy, she is much more used to being around the dead than the living at this point, so she's a little rough in the social skills department, and [[ImaginaryFriend the ways that her mind distracts her during her work hours]] leaves her just slightly disconnected from reality at the start of the first volume, until Rachel brings her back to Earth.
-->'''Aunt Johnny:''' Spend 20 years with corpses and see how ''you'' end up, smartass.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Dirt Nap from ''Fanfic/{{Equestrylvania}}'' is a creepy gravedigger-turned villain who made a DealWithTheDevil and ends up [[spoiler:burning down most of Ponyville]].

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Tony Todd's character, William Bludworth, in the first two and fifth ''Film/FinalDestination'' movies seemed to know a ''lot'' more about recent goings-on than he let on. Oh, and he also sounded like the Antichrist.
* This character is a staple of bad movies, if the morticians of ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' are any indication.
** The mortician from ''Agent for HARM'', for example (played by Robert Donner, better known as Exidor from ''Series/MorkAndMindy''):
--->'''Morgue Attendant:''' ''[grinning]'' Mr. Chance? Dr. Stefanik? May I present Mr. Henry Manson? ''[solemnly]'' I'll prepare the autopsy room.\\
'''Mike Nelson:''' My apologies for my odd performance.
** There's also Smolken, the gravedigger in ''Film/TheUndead'' who'll sing death or plague-related songs on a dime.
* Very subtly played in ''Film/TheReturnOfTheLivingDead'', which you could easily think to be an inversion. Ernie the mortician is strongly implied to be an ex-Nazi: when we first meet him, he's listening to a UsefulNotes/WorldWarII German march on his headphones, and when startled, he produces a Luger. Later on, we see a poster of Eva Braun in his office.
* The ''Film/{{Phantasm}}'' films have the Tall Man, adding a touch of HumanoidAbomination for effect.
* The mortician Dobbs in ''Film/DeadAndBuried'' is a bit ''too'' interested in making the bodies presentable. [[spoiler:He's also turned everyone in town, [[DeadAllAlong including himself]], into a zombie.]]
%%* There's a creepy undertaker in Creator/PeterDavid's SpaceWestern ''Oblivion''.
%%* ''Film/VanHelsing'' has a rather creepy undertaker in the village.
* The title character in ''Film/CemeteryMan'', despite being a handsome Rupert Everett, is still pretty crazy and spooky.
* In the 1993 anthology film ''Film/BodyBags'' John Carpenter portrays the Coroner, a wacky character who has a twisted fascination with the corpses he gets every night and hosts the framing segments. Among other things he holds conversations with the dead people around him and even [[ILoveTheDead plays around with some of them]]. [[spoiler:Subverted at the end when he turns out to be another corpse come to life when the real coroners appear.]]
* Played with in ''Film/RachelRachel''. Rachel's mortician father isn't all that creepy really--but Rachel is, taking an unhealthy interest in her father's job. She goes so far as to get a flower and climb into a coffin that has been put out for the dead child her father is working on at that moment.
%% The "Back to the Future Part III" example fall into the stock Western character {{Undertaker}} rather than this trope.

* In Neil Gaiman's ''Literature/AmericanGods'', Ibis and Jacquel's Funeral Parlor is run by two Egyptian gods, one of whom (Anubis) consumes a part of every organ of the deceased. This actually lines up with Anubis' mythological portrayal, and it's implied that him taking part of the heart in particular is actually a sign of great respect.
* Averted (bordering on discussing this trope) in one of Creator/DeanKoontz's novels, where it is specifically stated that the morgue crew the protagonists meet are totally unlike the stereotypical image of their profession in fiction.
* According to the ''Literature/{{Discworld}} Companion'', the Guild of Gravediggers, Embalmers and Allied Trades, like all Ankh-Morpork guilds, cultivates a certain image in its members, which in this case includes training in morbid humour and ventriloquism.
%%* Pylum in ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear: City of the Dead''.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
%%* A couple of examples in ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' sketches.
%%* Moody dark moor Scotsman Fraser on ''Series/DadsArmy''
%%* Technically, the Cryptkeeper from ''Series/TalesFromTheCrypt''.
* The mincing, AmbiguouslyGay Dennis Rainbird from ''Series/MidsomerMurders''. He even drives a Porsche with a [[VanityLicensePlate RIP]] license plate, and one of the first things he says about a murder victim is how she prepaid for the most expensive funeral service, with a tone implying that he's very much looking forward to it. He and his mother are the town gossips and way too involved in everyone else's affairs, which makes them suspicious from the start [[spoiler:but they turn out to be a RedHerring and are killed by the actual murderer]].
* Averted in ''Series/TheMunsters''. Herman works in a funeral parlor and Lily apparently has her hair done by a mortician.
* The ''Series/{{CSI}}'' series and its spinoffs, as most criminal shows, features forensic pathologists as side characters. A few one-shot funeral home workers also get this treatment to some degree. They're particularly fond of [[OneLiner one-liners]] whenever they find anything interesting about the person's corpse or death during the autopsy. Especially ''Series/{{CSI NY}}'', where Sid's sense of humor got a FanNickname -- "Sid's creepy place":
-->'''Sid:''' ''[after finding a ringing phone inside a victim of the week]'' My very first dead ringer.
* ''Series/MurdochMysteries'' has a woman pathologist as one of the main characters -- a lady capable of "quoting poetry while cutting a man's body open". While Murdoch loves Julia, he's never quite got used to "morgue humour", as lampshaded in a season 10 episode where the new morgue assistant thinks her own attempt has offended him, and Julia tells her not to worry about it.
* ''Series/SixFeetUnder'', a series about a family-run funeral home, subverts this trope. The characters have their issues, but they always attempt to treat the deceased with respect and provide some consolation to the families.
* ''Series/KolchakTheNightStalker'' has morgue attendant Gordon "Gordy the Ghoul" Spangler, an exceedingly chipper fellow who runs a lottery at the morgue for crime reporters.
* Sam leaps into a mortician in an episode of ''Series/QuantumLeap'', who was already regarded as rather distasteful by the people in town, and then he starts trying to solve the murder of his most recent corpse, asking questions and pawing through her things. Since he is the protagonist it doesn't really play that way, but when a guy whose job involves his arms being elbow-deep in the recently deceased starts demanding answers to questions about your sex life....
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' gives us Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard. His habits include going into unnecessary detail in describing what he is doing around the team, [[TruthInTelevision talking to those he is performing an autopsy on]], and his criminal psychology degree means that he talks about the mess in a killer's mind with almost as much detail as he describes the mess in the body of their victims. Also, Gibbs will occasionally [[ScareEmStraight bring an uncooperative suspect down]] so Ducky can explain to them ''exactly'' what will happen to their bodies if they don't start cooperating.
* ''Series/DueSouth'' had [[MeaningfulName Mort]], who would sing opera while doing his autopsies.
* ''Series/MyNameIsEarl'' had Mr. Hammerick (played by Creator/JohnWaters), who liked to arrange the deceased in what he called the "Living Tableau". That is, he would arrange them for viewing, not in a coffin, but posed doing their favorite thing. (This isn't always popular with the families, who often wish for a more traditional burial, which he finds to be cliched and boring.)

[[folder:Myths & Religion]]
* The Vodoun/voodoo deity Baron Samedi a.k.a. Saturday takes this appearance. In some lore he lurks in graveyards looking for people to turn into zombies.

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* While Wrestling/TheUndertaker more fit the Western trope early in his career (and still has a few hints of it), his former manager Wrestling/PaulBearer fit this to a T, with pale skin, modern black suits, and a really creepy high-pitched voice. Even better, William Moody, who portrayed Bearer, really had worked as a mortician before becoming a pro wrestling manager. Moody maintained his mortician certifications all the while he was a wrestling manager, and returned to the funeral trade after his time as a wrestling manager ended. He told of several times someone at a funeral would recognize him, and want to take a picture of him with the recently-deceased. He always declined.

* The '40s and '50s radio (and later TV) sitcom ''Series/TheLifeOfRiley'' had a comedic version of this in Riley's pal Digby "Digger" O'Dell, "The Friendly Undertaker", who specialized in hilariously morbid {{pun}}s referencing his line of work, such as his usual greeting ("Hello, Riley. You're looking very... ''natural'' today") and signoff ("Well, goodbye, Riley. I'd better be... shoveling off").
* PlayedForLaughs in ''Radio/TheGoonShow'' with Gravely Headstone, as in the following (quoted from memory):
-->'''Seagoon:''' You can't bury me, I'm still alive! It's impossible!\\
'''Headstone:''' Not impossible, but one should have to box ''exceeding'' clever.\\
'''Seagoon:''' No, wait, you can't bury me yet -- I want to join the Guards.\\
'''Headstone:''' No man under six foot can join the Guards. Come along.\\
'''Seagoon:''' No, no! Keep away! Aaagh!

* ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'' fits into this trope with the gravedigger, digging a grave while joking about who is to be buried there.
* ''Theatre/{{Oliver}}'', both the stage and film versions, has a whole family like this. They even get a song, "That's Your Funeral". In the film this is downplayed, the song is removed and Mr. Sowerberry is rather partial to his drink.

[[folder:Theme Parks]]
* The Caretaker from [[Ride/UniversalStudios Universal's]] ''Theatre/HalloweenHorrorNights'' is a soft-spoken mortician and surgeon that dug up bodies from numerous graves to use for company, furniture, or even as a dinner ingredient. He's not any more kind to living, either; as he kidnaps innocents to use as guinea pigs for "living, breathing autopsies".

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The gravedigger in ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryIV'' is a creepy hunchback who is nonetheless friendly and helpful despite his... unusual sense of humor. His name is [[TheIgor Igor]], too.
%%* The player character from the old arcade ''Nightmare in the Dark'', a ''VideoGame/SnowBros''-like platform game.
* Dampe from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' is often seen lurking around the graveyard when you are young Link, it gets kind of unsettling what with the [[OurGhostsAreDifferent Poes]] that also lurk around there. Bizarrely enough, a cute little kid idolizes Dampe and spends daytime wandering around the graves trying to mimic the gravedigger. He pays you a lot of rupees for a spooky mask that helps offset his cuteness.
%%* ''VideoGame/{{Carmageddon}}'' has a pair of undertaker twins as one of the opponents.
* The creepy gravedigger in ''VideoGame/GodOfWar''. [[spoiler:Actually Zeus in disguise.]]
* Mr. Russett from ''VideoGame/TheLostCrown'' is a subversion: he ''looks'' fairly creepy, but is actually one of the most helpful people Nigel meets.
%%* The Coffin Man from ''VideoGame/{{Baroque}}'' is a humorous/lighthearted version of this trope.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/TheBackwaterGospel'' features an undertaker who simply sits and waits...

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Dag Darkomen, played by Creator/BrianPosehn, from the second campaign (starting at episode 74) of ''Podcast/NerdPoker''.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* WesternAnimation/TexAveryMGMCartoons:
** The first WesternAnimation/{{Droopy}} cartoon, "Dumb Hounded", has the wolf character jump off a building while a mortician suddenly appears next to him during the fall, takes his coffin measurements and then disappears again.
** It looks like the same mortician in Avery's "Li'l 'Tinker" as a skunk tries to attract girls by impersonating Music/FrankSinatra, he walks up behind him while singing and takes measurements (one of many morbid "Frankie is skinny" gags).
* In its first Halloween episode, ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' featured morticians eating while preparing Kenny's body, and accidentally spilling sauce into the embalming fluid. And this of course leads to a ZombieApocalypse.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': Homer and Bart visit a funeral parlor run by a creepy Creator/VincentPrice type. When Bart gets locked in a coffin and starts screaming in terror he chuckles, "Ohh, the living!"
* In ''WesternAnimation/GravedaleHigh'', the bus driver Boneyard resembles this trope. He dresses similarly to a mortician and the bus he drives looks like a hearse.