11 Dark Comedies That Tackle Taboo Themes With Laugh Out Loud Humor

Dark comedy often amuses your viewers to address taboo, ordinarily challenging subjects. Through humor, shocking events may unfold more deeply.  In a recent online post, users suggested their favorite dark comedies.

1. The Death of Stalin (2017)

The Death of Stalin (2017)
Image Credit: Entertainment One Films.

Underrated British comedy writer Armando Ianucci cut his teeth on the low-budget BBC comedy circuit, with British comedy legend Alan Partridge his ticket to Hollywood, where he now produces and writes HBO’s Veep, based loosely on his award-winning BBC political satirical sitcom, The Thick of It.

Death to Stalin charts a darkly comical glance at Joseph Stalin’s last few days, with stellar performances from a talented ensemble of British actors.

2. Four Lions (2010)

Four Lions (2010)
Image Credit: Optimum Releasing.

Iannucci’s contemporary is a fellow British comedy writer and actor Chris Morris, who directed the hilarious local terrorist-driven comedy Four Lions. This movie’s use of deadpan and artful slapstick features creates a laugh-out-loud insight into four Muslims living in Sheffield, one of whom is a bad-tempered Englishman desperate to showcase a strong commitment to his new-found religion.

3. Very Bad Things (1998)

Very Bad Things (1998)
Image Credit: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment.

“Glad I’m not the only one that likes movies that go off the rails and just keep getting worse,” jokes a commentator in a new thread. Very Bad Things was the decorated director Peter Berg’s first feature film.

It hit several home runs with its ensemble of late-nineties stalwarts such as Christian Bale, Jeremy Piven, and Cameron Diaz. A group of friends’ weekend in Vegas soon turns sour before subsiding into all-out war in this entertaining precursor to the Hangover trilogy.

4. Fargo (1996)

Fargo (1996)
Image Credit: Gramercy Pictures.

Nobody treats dark comedies with more care than Messrs Coen. You could choose several of their illustrious works of art. However, Fargo’s blend of cold scenery, innocent North Dakota joviality, and tropes ranging from nerdy to blood-curdling anguish give it supremacy.

The movie’s story of a schmuck’s ‘false’ spousal kidnapping gone awry is movie canon of the highest order. Is it the Coen brothers’ darkest comedy? “You’re darn tootin’.”

5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
Image Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

“It’s not a comedy exactly, but it has dark comedic elements,” writes a movie fan. “I don’t think it gets the praise it deserves.” Martin McDonagh’s award-winning drama has powerful performances from Frances McDormand (see above), Sam Rockwell, and — as ever — Peter Dinklage in an unorthodox tale of a mother seeking revenge for her daughter’s brutal murder.

6. Wild at Heart (1990)

Wild at Heart (1990)
Image Credit: The Samuel Goldwyn Company.

David Lynch and dark comedies are like that (picture fingers twisted in unison). He practically owns the genre, defining much of the ’90s with his brand of twisted randomness and absurdist narratives. Wild at Heart stars Nicholas Cage and Isabella Rossellini in a fever dream of a road trip movie.

With nods to Elvis and alluding to The Wizard of Oz, even the darkest comedy lovers will sit in jaw-dropped contemplation as the credits roll.

7. Bonfire of The Vanities (1990)

Bonfire of The Vanities (1990)
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Released in 1990 was the excellent Brian De Palma satire based on Tom Wolfe’s best-selling riches-to-rags novel about ’80s greed in New York. Featuring Tom Hanks, Melanie Griffiths, and Bruce Willis at the peak of their powers, this tale of elitist arrogance and the subsequent downward spiral is almost moralist in its narrative — yet nihilistically funny.

8. I Care a Lot (2020)

I Care a Lot (2020)
Image Credit: Black Bear Pictures.

Rosamund Pike steals the show in this brutally cynical comedy about a con artist exploiting a legal loophole to rob pensioners. After signing her targets into nursing homes, citing a lack of mental capacity to live independently, Marla Grayson sells off their home and assets, pocketing a large commission. When the criminal chooses the wrong mark, twists and turns unfold.

9. Wag The Dog (1997)

Wag The Dog (1997)
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

“Wag the Dog,” someone writes succinctly. “Politics comes true.” The movie premise: after the U.S. President is embroiled in a sex scandal, his spin doctor employs a Hollywood producer to help fabricate an Albanian war.

The movie’s close-to-home theme is as relevant today as ever; at the time, comparisons between many real-life events that subsequently unfolded are uncanny at best. Wag the Dog was released just days before President Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky scandal.

10. Frank (2014)

Frank (2014)
Image Credit: Protagonist Pictures.

This indie comedy about the fictional rock band The Soronprfbs (you read that correctly) has a strong cast: Domnhal Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and the marvelous Michael Fassbender. After a novice musician spots an in with his favorite underground post-punk band, he is exposed to their brand of aggressive nihilism, befriending the lead singer, with consequences for the band.

11. JoJo Rabbit (2019)

Jojo Rabbit Fox Searchlight Pictures
Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Jojo Rabbit, a “Nazi-mocking satire” drama film written by Taika Waititi, said the story’s moral is “about learning to think for yourself and not falling into the trap of following the group.” The loyalty of ten-year-old Jojo shifts as he joins the Hitler Youth, meets a buffoonish Adolf, and emerges from a whimsical look at the crumbling Third Reich. Through dry humor, the film tackles severe ideas through symbolism, like Nazism, coming of age, toxic masculinity, prejudice, and hate.


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Movies can surprise us, sometimes in ways we least expect. Some films initially dismissed as terrible or received lukewarm responses upon their release have gone on to win the hearts of audiences worldwide. These movies have managed to transcend their early setbacks and gain a dedicated following over time.

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The magic of cinema has the incredible power to captivate, entertain, and transport us to different worlds. While many films offer uplifting stories or thrilling adventures, a subset of movies delve into the darker recesses of the human psyche, presenting narratives that challenge societal norms and push the boundaries of our comfort zones. People love these “messed up or harrowing movies”—films that disturb, unsettle, and provoke intense emotions.

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10 Celebrities That Have Suspiciously Clean Reputations

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Celebrities often find themselves amid scandals and controversies that capture public attention. However, a select few stars seem to have remarkably pristine reputations, leaving many wondering if there might be more than meets the eye. These individuals have managed to maintain a squeaky-clean image despite the constant scrutiny of the public eye.

This article was initially published and syndicated by The Cents of Money.

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