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VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Arianna Wechter
These comedies turned to the dark side. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for dark comedies that took their subject matter to the absolute extreme. Our countdown of the darkest dark comedies includes “Jojo Rabbit”, “American Psycho”, "In Bruges", and more!

#10: “The Menu” (2022)

It’s hard to believe a story centered around a high dining experience could be so violent yet so satisfying - oops, we mean, satirical. After the audience is lured in with a gorgeous setting and a seemingly normal dinner, things take a very dark turn just a few courses in. From chefs dying before the guests’ eyes to body parts being removed, “The Menu” showcases to both the characters and us a restaurant experience from Hell as Chef Slowik doles out suffering to those he felt destroyed his passion. The meal grows more twisted, ultimately leading to the grand finale: a s’mores-inspired death trap that ensures everyone’s fate. What makes things more dire is the chef’s nonchalance towards all of the cruelty, highlighting how his fanaticism for the craft completely warped his moral compass towards those he deemed his enemy.

#9: “World’s Greatest Dad” (2009)

Any story pertaining to a minor losing their life is bound to be devastating— but this takes the cake. After the accidental passing of his son Kyle, his father and high school teacher Lance realizes that the cause could permanently affect the teenager’s legacy— so he decides to fib about what really happened. Lance unexpectedly gets a taste of the success he always dreamed of when the note he wrote on his son’s behalf is leaked to the school paper. This causes the wannabe professional writer to create and attempt to sell content that he falsely claims was written by the deceased teen. The thought of a man exploiting such a horrific tragedy for his own gain is sickening, and that feeling is only exacerbated by the truth of Kyle’s fate. By exploring one of the dark sides of celebrity, “World’s Greatest Dad” takes a seemingly sentimental premise and turns it into something truly twisted, but still finds some humor in it along the way.

#8: “The King of Comedy” (1982)

While many black comedies are overt in their themes, some manage to convey them in a more subdued way. This is evidenced in projects like “The King of Comedy”. While it maintains a threatening aura, it does so without a single explicit scene. It follows aspiring comedian Rupert to the point where he’s willing to do anything— even kidnap a fellow performer - to pursue his dreams of fame. Between his obsessive tendencies and the mere implication of potential violence, the Martin Scorsese flick does a spectacular job of showing how deep seated Rupert’s mental health issues are without spilling a drop of blood. This is exacerbated by the finale, wherein a disembodied audience cheers and claps— leaving the audience to wonder what’s real and what’s a product of his delusions.

#7: “Jojo Rabbit” (2019)

Given the horrific nature of the events that occurred during World War II, it makes sense that any artwork depicting them would be depressing by default. However, some art still manages to twist the knife in the wound and remind the viewer of just how awful the circumstances were. “Jojo Rabbit” does this by presenting them through the eyes of a child that had been groomed into supporting the genocidal regime. It had no qualms about highlighting the harsh realities of war, including public executions carried out by Allied and Axis soldiers. These juxtaposed with sequences of Hitler being portrayed as Jojo’s bumbling imaginary friend is undoubtedly jarring. But it also effectively highlights the loss of the titular character’s childlike innocence as he learns the truth behind his hateful ideology.

#6: “Heathers” (1989)

At the beginning, it seems as though this is going to be like any other teenage movie. However, the shiny veneer drops pretty early on, revealing the true underbelly of teenage angst and sadism at Westerburg High School. After Veronica becomes disillusioned with popularity, she decides to play a prank on the queen bee— only to inadvertently poison Heather Chandler instead with a concoction created by bad boy and love interest, J.D. This sets off a chain of increasingly chaotic events, wherein he takes others’ lives but passes off the deaths as intentional. His delinquent tendencies go hand-in-hand with the student body’s bizarre glamorization of the fallen teens. By successfully capturing the broader fears caused by J.D.'s rampage alongside the more mundane horrors of adolescence, the black comedy creates a hyper realistic and cynical portrayal of high school.

#5: “American Psycho” (2000)

While other psychological horror films usually build up to its appalling aspects, “American Psycho” rips the band-aid off early on. Patrick’s indiscriminate way of choosing victims leads to a wide array of people being mindlessly killed, whether he knew the victims or not. However, it isn’t just the inhumanity that lends to the grisly moments. His carefully calculated persona is firmly in place at work, giving off the impression that he’s normal. However, that mask slips often, revealing the darkness lurking within him. Satirizing capitalism, culture and other themes with both dark humor and horror, the movie showcases Bateman desperately trying to convince others that all the carnage he committed was real as an intense descent into madness. His confessions are brushed aside by the ultimate form of rejection though, hitting him in the only place it could really hurt: his ego.

#4: “Trainspotting” (1996)

It turns out it is possible to hit lower than rock bottom. “Trainspotting” is centered around a group of friends constantly chasing their next high, with no regard for themselves or others. While the depiction of hard substance use is already graphic enough, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The comedy-drama tackles multiple serious issues through a surreal and exaggerated lens. The group can’t help but drag their sober friends into their depressing vortex, helping ruin more lives other than their own. Though they do try to get clean, many of their attempts fail and they end up wanting to numb the pain of their worst moments with another hit. Even when the protagonist himself tries to recover, Renton is still unable to completely bounce back.

#3: “In Bruges” (2008)

Martin McDonagh has proven that he’s one of the kings of somber humor. Whether it’s a violent ensemble piece like “Seven Psychopaths” or a gut-wrenching thriller like “In Bruges”, his work has provided some of the most hard-hitting black humor in recent years. The latter in particular has become a standout in the subgenre. The comedy-drama grapples with whether people can truly change and the possibility of second chances, interspersed with scenes of intense bloodshed and drug-fueled debauchery. The moral conundrums it presents are thought-provoking yet unsettling all the way up to the climax, when one man reluctantly forces himself to stick to his principles— at the cost of his own life. The macabre ending was inevitable, but that certainly didn’t lessen the suddenness of his final act.

#2: “Fargo” (1996)

The Coen Brothers have taken on plenty of dark comedies over the course of their careers, with each one having their own place within the genre. While some fall more onto the satirical side, such as “Burn After Reading”, their most harrowing piece comes from a more grounded concept. “Fargo” took the Midwest’s stereotypical mild-mannered conduct and managed to twist it into something evil– subverting the audience’s expectations of what a killer’s behavior could look like. The mindless brutality eventually culminates in one of the murderous kidnappers becoming a victim himself, forcing him into the place of those he had victimized. Carl being forced into a woodchipper by his own associate is the ultimate punishment– with the image having now been burned into the minds of viewers everywhere.

#1: “Pink Flamingos” (1972)

This one definitely isn’t for the faint of heart. Known for its extreme and unapologetic nature, “Pink Flamingos” is a black comedy that has also become a prime example of ribaldry. It completely ran the gamut of shocking and bawdy content, depicting extreme acts that had hardly ever been seen on the silver screen, if at all. While it contains sequences that are intense, what made them even more lurid was each characters’ seeming enthusiasm while participating in them. They appeared to find pleasure in inflicting their obscenity onto others. None could hold a handle to Divine though, who’s willing to do everything to maintain her title as the “filthiest person alive”– including one vile act we won’t show here that likely had viewers squirming, screaming or feeling sick to their stomachs.

Which black comedy do you think has the darkest concept? Let us know in the comments below.