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File:Crusty-caretaker the-simpsons 2992.png

“Willie hears ya, Willie don't care!”

I aM ToRgo. I tAkE CAre of ThE plAce whiLe the MasTeR is aWay.

He - and it is always he - is a caretaker, janitor, groundskeeper, or better yet, gravekeeper, who is crusty, uncouth, or otherwise lacking in people skills.

Popular in horror, because there's a lot of overlap with The Igor and The Renfield.

Then, may also be the Old Retainer, in which case he is often the Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Expect the children of the house to love him despite his rough exterior.

If in a magical or superhero setting, he may be a Muggle Born of Mages.

His female counterpart is the Creepy Housekeeper.

Examples of Crusty Caretaker include:


  • A TV spot for Verizon Wireless has a creepy motel night clerk inform a guest that there's only one room left, and one he probably won't want anyway: "It's a dead zone. Can't get your calls, your precious e-mails. It's like you don't even exist." When the customer points out that he has the Verizon network, the nonplussed manager ripostes, "Towels are kinda scratchy!" (Cue Scare Chord.)
  • 'He stands behind every home he builds.'

Comic Books

  • Archie Comics: Mr. Smitty
  • The Caretaker, who shows up in Ghost Rider comics (and the movie) and related stories from Marvel Comics. In the books, he fills this trope to a tee. He guards the graveyard that much canon-scariness spills forth from. He's able to defend himself quite ably, often giving the main characters a literal smackdown when they are being stupid and or annoying. Enjoys scaring the naive by taking them through detours past some of the ickier bits of graveyard existence.


  • Manos: The Hands of Fate: Torgo
  • Scary Movie 2 has one with a deformed hand.
  • Riff Raff, "A handyman" from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, lacks in people skills.
  • Francesco Dellamorte the Gravekeeper (Cemetery Man), while elegantly handsome, is gloomy, socially awkward and misanthropic ("Go away. I have no time for the living"). The only people he tolerates are his mute assistant, an administrative secretary he sometimes telephones and the beautiful woman he relentlessly pursues. Sometimes no-one is lucky.
  • The recent[when?] Nancy Drew movie has a creepy one.
  • In a spot of Self-Referential Humor, the film Scream features a cameo by director Wes Craven as a crusty janitor called Fred, who wears a battered fedora and red/green striped sweater.
  • The Silent Hill film features Colin the Janitor, who is transformed into a contorted monster after being pulled into the Otherworld. Is is later strongly implied that he sexually assaulted Alessa prior to her burning.
  • The 2002 version of Dark Water has Kamiya, who doesn't seem to care for Yoshimi's concerns about the damp, leaky patches on her ceiling. The rest of the building seems to be falling into disrepair as well, and the water tank hasn't been cleaned for years (this becomes a relevant plot point). The 2005 remake also features a Crusty Caretaker, who is much more of a Jerkass.



Honesty Angus McAllister's face had in full measure, and also intelligence; but it was a bit short on sweetness and light.


Live-Action TV

  • Boothby, the groundskeeper of Star Fleet Academy from Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • Ned Quint, the groundskeeper in the episode "Sub Rosa" (definitely a tribute to this trope, complete with a Scottish accent that's a wee bit thick).
  • In CSI, it turned out that the miniature killer had been working as the lab's janitor for 6 months.
  • One episode of This Is Wonderland had an Afghan refugee-turned-janitor, who had post-traumatic stress disorder.

Video Games

Web Comics

  • Blockhead from The Kingfisher is too defiant to be a true Renfield, but has plenty of crust in his caretaking duties.

Western Animation

  • The Simpsons: Groundskeeper Willie, our page image
    • Don't forget his crustier creepier crazier cousin, Gravedigger Billy (he only showed up in one episode and looked exactly like Willie except with white hair)
  • Scruffy in Futurama.
    • He's the janitor.
      • He's also on break.
      • He's never seen you before, either...
  • Crops up quite often in Scooby Doo.
    • A good way to pick out the villain half the time, come to think of it.