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Creepy House Keeper
"I am Frau Blucher.
(horses whinny) Your rooms are ready, Herr Doctor. If you will follow me, please."
Ever found yourself at a huge mansion in the middle of a torrential rainstorm? Chances are the door was opened to you by a Creepy Housekeeper. This character spends much of her time walking around a large manor house cleaning, cooking, being fanatically devoted to her master, and scaring off any new female inhabitants of the house. Although she often welcomes hapless visitors, chances are they will be either murdered or scared off by the end of a terrifying night. She will be common in murder mysteries/tales of the supernatural, although often subverted for comedy.
Her male counterpart is the Crusty Caretaker
. They'll often tag team any newcomers into being properly creeped out before the hauntings start. Sometimes takes on double shifts as a Haunted House Historian
to ratchet up the creepy.
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Anime and Manga
- This trope is parodied in the otherwise straight ghost movie The Haunting (1963). The housekeeper, Mrs. Dudley, has already given Nell a speech implying all sorts of nastiness about the house, and when she does an encore for latecomer Theo, Nell "helpfully" finishes parts of her monologue for her:
Mrs. Dudley: I set dinner on the dining room sideboard at six. Breakfast is ready at nine. I don't stay after dinner. Not after it begins to get dark. We live in town, nine miles, so there won't be anyone around if you need help...
Nell: We couldn't even hear you.
Mrs. Dudley: No one could. No one lives any nearer than town...
Nell: No one will come any nearer than that.
Mrs. Dudley: In the night...
Nell: In the dark.
- Frau Blucher(horses whinny) from Young Frankenstein: Every time someone says her name, horses neigh and there is lightning.
- Magenta and Riff-Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
- Femalé (pronounced feh-MAH-leh) from the remake of Cat People is hospitable, but she has a very voodoo vibe about her and is very loyal to the owner of the house who is a werecat. She helps him avoid punishment for his crimes.
- Rachel, the housekeeper from Haunted Honeymoon - the film satirizes many of the Haunted House tropes, this one being no exception. She is also, as is often true, married to the film's Crusty Caretaker, Pfister.
- The original House on Haunted Hill (1959) has one. She's blind, and gives quite a fright to poor Nora.
- And the audience is too, if her first appearance doesn't make them jump.
- In the original 13 Ghosts, the protagonist's son accuses the housekeeper of being a witch, due to her generally humorless and cruel demeanor and homely appearance. This is an in-joke for those that know the actress who portrayed her, Marget Hamilton, played the Wicked Witch of the West.
- Averted in Murder by Death. The housekeeper, Yetta, is new to the household, is deaf-mute and is never seen by, well, anyone (Jamesir Bensonmum, the butler who welcomes her, is blind) until she points out Bensonmum's body. It turns out she's Lionel Twain, the host, in disguise and he arranged the entire, murder-free, evening.
- Mrs. Danvers in Hitchcock's film adaptation of Rebecca. She is creepy in herself, with a deathlike appearance, and in her devotion to the memory of Rebecca such that she doesn't wash the clothes of Rebecca's scent and goes to her room every day.
- And spoofed in "The Time of their Lives" (1946) when the guests at a restored plantation meet the creepy housekeeper and one remarks "Didn't I see you in Rebecca?"
- Nettie from the short story Bargain with the Wind by Sharon Shinn might qualify. Unusually, she is the narrator, and she turns out to be an immortal earth spirit charged with protecting the masters of the house.
- Mrs. Danvers from Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca is pretty much the iconic example.
- Averted in Jane Eyre, where Mrs. Fairfax is the most normal and wholesome person around creepy Thornfield Manor.
- Also averted with the pleasant, helpful, long-suffering Mrs. Hudson. Though it might be supposed that her neighbors think she's a bit nutty for putting up with her eccentric tenant.
- In Northanger Abbey, while they are on their way to the titular location, Henry teases Catherine by telling her (among other things) that they employ a Creepy Housekeeper named Dorothy. This is one of the stock Gothic tropes that he (and, by extension, Jane Austen herself) is parodying with his outlandish narrative about what Catherine will find at Northanger.
- Eunice Parchman, the housekeeper in Ruth Rendell's A Judgement in Stone, is mildly creepy and off-putting, but that's probably just because she's desperately keeping a secret (her illiteracy) which will eventually drive her to murder the entire family. (And that's not even a spoiler: the book begins with the sentence "Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write." The ensuing novel is an exploration of the hundred tiny threads that lead to the murders, such as that she can't read a note written by the daughter and comes to believe that whatever's written on it is making fun of her.)
- The title character in Roald Dahl's short story "The Landlady" says that she has stuffed all her dead pets herself. Apparently, she has done so to her previous guests as well and is about to do so to the young man who stays in her house.
- Dr. McRae's housekeeper in My Dear Enemy.
- Of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Mrs. Macready is the housekeeper for the Professor. When she first meets the children and they ask if it's her she says "Afraid so." When they get to the house all she does is tell them what they're not allowed to do.
- The housekeeper at the mansion the Impress and party escape to in DaveDuncan's A Handful Of Men sequel quartet (A Man Of His Word is the first quartet). The housekeeper talks to the ghosts and interprets and furthers their prophecies.
- Rivers of London features Molly, maid, cook and housekeeper for the Folly. Looks like an attractive maid at first glance but at second glance moves too quickly and quietly for comfort, will not or cannot speak and covers her mouth when she laughs or smiles to hide way too many teeth.
Live Action TV
- Miss Stolz from Quantum Leap: In the episode "A Portrait for Troian," the Creepy Housekeeper is used to her full potential, and we find out that Miss Stolz was actually a ghost the entire time. If that's not creepy, I don't know what is.
- Mrs. Bale from As Time Goes By: Subverted, since she is secretly quite nice, just extremely strange. Lionel does, however, make a Mrs. Danvers joke at her expense. As is revealed in the wedding episode, she also has a secret crush on Rocky, her employer.
- Mrs Pritchard is the Doctor Who serial "Ghost Light". She turns out to be the lady of the house, brainwashed into serving the main villain Josiah Smith
- And the Expanded Universe has Satthralope, housekeeper of Lungbarrow back on Gallifrey. She's married to the house and spends most of her time sitting in her room spying on the house's inhabitants via the mirrors.
- Lurch. "You Rang?"
- He's hardly the scariest member of the family
- Heck, he's the LEAST scary. Except for Wednesday in the original series, who is really sweet; she just likes headless dolls and spiders.
- Mary-Anne plays a parody of this trope in a Vampire-spoof dream sequence in Gilligan's Island.
- That Mitchell and Webb Look has David Mitchell doing a hilarious spot-on version of Mrs. Danvers playing this trope to Rebecca herself, comparing her disdainfully to the second Mrs. De Winter!
- In Star Trek: Voyager, Mrs Templeton in Captain Janeway's Gothic romance holonovel is one of these.
- Sam and Dean Winchester run afoul of one in the episode "Hammer of the Gods." Said housekeeper is first shown killing a man, and then confirms his Uncanny Valley credentials with inexplicably disappearing, preparing other people for food, and cutting Sam to collect a blood sample without ever being seen. It is eventually revealed that he's the Roman god, Mercury. He's also hardly the worst thing in that hotel.
- Karla Grunwald in both "Pretty Little Liars and it's spinoff Ravenswood''. Subverted in that she's also Creepy Good.
- Daniella from Haunting Ground.
- Martha from Rule of Rose gives a distinctly creepy, unfriendly first impression, and the orphans in the Rose Garden Orphanage believe she's a witch. Subverted as it is revealed in the epilogue that she was the only definately sane and well-meaning person in the house despite of her unpleasant demeanour, and her attempts to contact the police about the strange happenings were implied to have gotten her killed.