What is Black Comedy? also known as dark comedy, it's a style of humor that downplays a controversial or disturbing subject which is generally considered taboo. In recent times this has been confused with African American comedies, where the majority of their cast is black, but I assure you that is a completely different genre of comedy.
Black Comedies usually focus on topics such as murder, prostitution, and mental illness, in which the humor comes in the form of sarcasm, cynicism or scepticism. As this is probably my favourite type of humor, in order to list all my recommendations I will need at least two videos to complete it. So today I'm going to focus on films with sex, murder & office politics.
In the Loop 2009
Director Armando Iannucci's black comedy political satire - When a group of sceptical British and American politicians are suggesting military intervention in the Middle East. During a BBC radio interview a relatively low level minister unwittingly backs military action which leads to him gaining a lot of new friends in Washington DC who support the war.
A hilarious spin-off the Tv Series "The Thick of it". In the Loop is one of those comedies where the cast play everything entirely straight, where if your just watched any random scene you'd think you were watching a political drama. In the Loop is one of those incredibly intelligent dark comedies that should have you in tears within the first 10 minutes.
A quick heads up though- it's filled with profanity so if that's not your thing, then give it a miss.
Grosse Pointe Blank 1997
Director George Armitage's, dark comedy crime action, Martin Blank is a freelance professional assassin who is rather depressed with his current status in life. When his secretary informs him of his 10 year High School reunion - his psychiatrist recommends him to attend, and his secretary gives him a job to assassinate a local man who's scheduled to testify in court against Martins client.
Grosse Pointe Blank is a funny and clever crime adventure that's well cast with a very enjoyable and original premise. I honestly believe this film deserves a lot more attention than it's received over the past few years. Where it has some surprisingly violent action scenes mixed with several pretty dark and offbeat funny moments. And let's not forget John Cusack's performance where he's so
deadpan when it comes to killing people.
In Bruges 2008
Director Martin McDonagh's, black comedy Crime Drama, Where Hit-men Ken and Ray are ordered by their boss to hide out in the Belgium city of Bruges, after Ray messed up his last job. While Ray can't relax and feels very guilty after past events, his partner Ken on the other hand has been given a special set of orders by their boss, who has a very strict code of principles.
This film has everything you could ask for from a black comedy; a great odd couple, a pretty twisted plot, preposterous dialogue and a brilliant ending. However some people will find a few scenes to be rather absurd and the motives of the bad guy to be a bit silly. But with a razor sharp script, great performances and solid directing; In Bruges a very enjoyable, black comedy masterpiece.
Arsenic and Old Lace 1944
Director Frank Capra's, dark comedy crime thriller, On his wedding day, Mortimer Brewster; an author known for his slander against marriage. Secretly heads home to give the good news to his two beloved aunts. While trying to break the news, he unintentionally finds out that his aunts have been inviting lonely bachelors to come and stay with them, to have a sip of their
special elderberry wine.
This hilarious classic stars one of my all time favourite actors Cary Grant where his physical comedy timing is spot on, in relation to his aunts strange habits. Arsenic and old lace is all about the characters and their performances, which complements the theatre like screenplay and overacting. While some of its jokes are obviously very dated, that doesn't take away from this ridiculous and awesome classic
Office Space 1999
Director Mike Judge's, black comedy Romance drama, Peter Gibbons, a computer programmer who despises his job, accidently goes under a form of permanent hypnotic suggestion. Where he decides to rebel against his boss by not going to work anymore. When possible layoffs effect
his fellow co-workers, they conspire with him to get revenge on his greedy employers.
With a pretty unique premise; feel good cult classic Office space is a very amusing, entertaining and above all, surprisingly clever satire of office work life. If you've ever worked in a cubicle, you really can relate to this movie.Where it parodies all the stereotypes your standard office worker can relate to; useless managers, crappy printers and OCD staff members.
However you don't need to have worked in an office to fully enjoy this movie.
Director Todd Solondz's, dark comedy controversial Drama, The film follows the lives of many individuals in sexual despair whose stories are all connected by their desire for happiness. Where each character goes about their lives in their own unique way, taking part in acts society in general
might find evil or disturbing.
By far the darkest and most controversial movie on this list. Happiness is an ensemble piece of multiple stories. From a sexually frustrated professional to an unhappy old couple. I honestly think it's one of those movies that makes you feel guilty for liking it, in which you can love and hate it at the same time.
I can imagine it been pretty difficult to watch for some, but I promise you, if you're a fan of pitch black comedies, Happiness would be worth your time
The Rules of Attraction 2002
Director Robert Avary's, black comedy romance comedy, Set in a well-off New England liberal arts college during the 80's. Where the story follows 3 over privileged students who are caught-up in a bizarre love triangle between Lauren the virgin, Paul the bisexual and Sean the drug dealer.
This highly underrated and stylistic romcom, The Rules of attraction is filled with intentionally one-dimensional low-life characters who are mean and generally unsympathetic. Where there's something very entertaining in watching these narcissistic students whining about their 1st world problems.
This is one of those movies I could watch on many occasions and never really get bored. it's a thought-provoking film that has a strong script which is highly quotable, with that been said, check it out if you haven't seen it yet.
Director Michael Lehmann, dark comedy cult drama, Follows Veronica, a student who is a member of the snobbiest clique in her high school, where she isn't' sure if she wants to stay in it. When Veronica meets a new guy named JD, she attempts to leave clique, but is met with resistance
from their leader. until JD comes up with a rather unique solution to her problem.
The classic 80s comedy on coming of age and power; Heathers feels almost like a standard high school "teen" movie, but it then quickly evolves into something else entirely that takes many unexpected twists and turns. It's a bold and interesting teenage angst film that took chances on its dark theme, which in turn paved the way for many future high school comedies such as Mean girls.