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Laughing in the Dark

by Cinemacannon

Created 01/19/13

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Do you ever want to laugh or gasp at a movie that you weren't sure it was a comedy or tragedy? Well, these are the films that create the thin line between them.

  • Hope you have a good pair of shoes, you might have a hard time stepping through the booze, pills, and more booze in this disturbingly humorous account of two struggling actors living in a heap ridden flat. With unemployment and clausterphobic parinoia closing in, they decide to escape to the country side for recollection of they're sanity. Bruce Robinsons cocktail mixed with shaksperian indulgence, desperation, and blistering rock n roll, this is a dizzy Odessy into England of the 60's

  • Finding a way around damaged honor can be like pulling teeth. Pertro Germi does it wilth frantic hilarity follows a respectable aristocract Vincenzo Ascalone and his motley family. All goes to hell when Vinchenzo discovers his pious daughter Agnes has been de-flowered by her sister's fiancé, only drastic actions can keep his honor from becoming ravaged. Germi wickedly orchestrates a befuddled commentary on social malice and catholicism morality thrown into anarchy.

  • Love comes in the form of a revolver in Pietro Germi's comedy crime of passion staring Italian screen legend Marcello Mastroianni as a deviously sly aristocrat plotting his freedom from his obnoxious and eccentric wife for his young blossoming cousin. The only way to fight for his love, he has to discover a man to fall for his wife, and murder her in order to liberate him self. Germi's hyperactive kolidascope of infidelity, morality, and honor is a humorous and nasty natured satire backdropped against communist Sicily.

  • Lock your cars, they might be coming for it. Alex Cox takes the wheel with this viscous satire, turning the corner on a nialistic punk, Otto (Emilio Esteves) who by a slim chance becomes a Repo man. Ottos new occupation bring him face to face with, corrupted coworkers, existential grease monkeys, weird government cover-ups, and a mysterious Chevy Malibu that harbors a deady secret. Cox brings every form of American anger into this anarchic and eccentric view of Los Angeles in the 80s. Hold on in this bumpy trip. 'The life of a repo man is always intense'

  • The conductor of satire Luis Bunuel brings fourth a off-beat passage of the righteous path of Viridiana, a nun who opens up her heart and her home to a group of beggars while living in her bourgeois uncle's mansion. Viridiana's moral plan takes a unusual turn in Bunuel's cataclysmic nightmare comedy of idealism, religion, and disillusion thrown together in a comical and deranged celebration of the nature at its most chaotic.

  • This is a tasty and tantalizing comical tid bit of the end of the sexual revolution, or the death of it. Paul and Mary Bland are a normal and prudence couple living in a hollywood apartment complex dominated by pesky swingers, with their desire to leave for the country side to open up a restaurant is falling through their hands, until they develop a scheme of killing swingers to make some buck. Bartel serves up a bawdy plate of campy annihilation and witty madness in this dark comedy that will beg you to have seconds.

  • Relaxation and peace is about to be disturbed in Roman Polanski's wirily non-syncopated comedy, when a wanted gangster (played by the great Lionel Stadler) barges in on a couple on vacation in a remote castle. A triangle of claustrophobia and masculinity scrapes the surface in Polanski's disturbed eccentric tension of human nature interrupted.

  • Nothing is in order, or is there ever really order in the world of Sam Lowrey, a paranoid and lonely burrecrat living in a survalenced Orwellian city where desire is filed away, and late payments are punishable by death, but when the Ministry of Information put the wrong man to his death, perfection and stabilization is obliterated, who is to blame? Sam is on the case to set it straight, but discovers the woman of his dreams in the process. Sam goes to the limit of his sanity to save, literally, the woman of his dreams from the oppressive M.O.I, and return order, if there was any in the first place. Surrealist extraordinaire Terry Gilliam encloses you into a dark and slapstick comedy of errors to the corners of love and doom.

  • Some come to Las Vegas for the games and atmosphere, these two came for the trip. Terry Gilliam's disturbed and savage adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's 'gonzo' 60s novel, following Thompson's alter ego Raoul Duke, a journalist covering the famous mint 500, brutishly represented by his grizzly attorney Dr. Gonzo. Add in a suitcase full of psychoactive substances and a quart of rum, you're ready for a brutal and brash look into the ugliness of America, and a dying dream of freedom that is only a state of mind.

  • Politics, murder, comic books, books, guns, Sam Fuller, Faulkner, amour, Siegel, loneliness, comedy, but is it really a comedy or a tragedy, or is it a love story? Godard ventures into a world of intrigue and images as he follows Ferdinand, and his supposed niece on a road trip to find money and freedom. The political, flagelation, and absurd converge into one of Godard's most personal yell into a stream-of-conscience detective story that is closer to the filmmakers, where he lays his life along side a fragmented film universe. It's a puzzle concerning society satire, just as it is Godard's self-destruction, just watch the end, it will all make sense, but still leave you in a mystery.

  • Freedom is sweet as it is sour in Dusan Makavejev's bitter and grotesquely dizzy venture satire in political ambiguity, sexual liberation, and consumerism constraint. Following two stories about a frazzled beauty queen on a Alice in Wonderland trip across sex and absurdity, and a proud communist and her boat toward liberty and primitive pleasure. Makavejev's stirs between documentary and fiction in all the right non-linear ingredients that sift his humorous mixing bowl of personal struggle to find a way to live without corruption in a eviroment where man is dangerous and delectable.

  • Wisdom doesn't come easy in Wes Anderson's portrait of three prestigious prodigies reconnecting with their absent father, Royal Tenenbaum, a hip deadbeat looking to find his way back into the clan's loving arms, the only way is to admit to them he is dying, but not exactly dying. With comic coolness aside bursts of emotional alienation. Anderson's new wave homage cloaked in a dysfunctional family comedy shows where intellectuality is alone, and the longing for forgiveness and love is a path we must find in ourselves.

  • A film in witch giving means getting something back, specifically on the holidays. Desplechin creates a charming and darkly humours tale of family when Junon (played by the iconic Catherine Deneuve) reaches out to her family during their annual reunion when she find out she need a bone marrow transplant. The only match is her distant son, Henri, who has been out of touch for years due to a devastating siblong rivarly Desplechin's heavy and heartfelt holiday tale of foly and acception brings us back to the beginning of cinematic experience, from Chinese shadow puppetry to the French new wave, as its also a surreal and bitter comedy on mortality and the magantism of family strength.

  • This isn't your average James Bond, this is Miles Kendig, a experianced CIA opperative, who after disobeying an assignment to detain a valuable russian spy, he is demoted to a desk clerk. Refusing to take the position, Kendig vanishes and pens out a memior on his experiances, exposing secrets from agencies all over the world, spelling trouble for his agency. A comedy of clumsiness amied at the post-Nixion american C.I.A. Kendig is like a conductor guiding a non-violent and musical game of cat and mouse. A last hurah of hilarity before going out in flames.

  • If your looking for a blissful family tale, you might not find it in Todd Solondz' darkly comic loosley based not-so-sequel of his late 90s feature 'Happiness'. Paking their bags from New Jeresy, a bruised family relocates to Florida to reinvent thier past. With underlining humor, and the search for desperate reinvention, Solondz shows a family looking for tender forgiveness and redemption in a changing America.

  • How dangerous is it to poke around in someone's head? Not to dangerous for director Spike Jonez and writer Charlie Kaufman. Craig Swartz, a small-time puppeteer lands himself a new job as a file clerk. With the atmospher as bizzare as his boss, nothing could get any stranger, right? Until Craig discovers a door behind a filing cabinet that leads to a portal inside John Malcovich's head. Surreal as it is cynical, Jonez brings a darwinian spectical of gloomy humor and fantasy into one compact cerebral comedy, where everyone desires to escape themselves and become someone else, but not without a price. MALKOVICH MALKOVICH MALKOVICH!

  • The question is clear, how do you get ahead in advertising, just ask Dennis Bagly (Richard E. Grant) a ruthless and cynical advertising agent caught between a deadline for a advertisement for boil cream and his own sanity after a talking boil protrudes on his neck. A Frankenstein perception of advertising as what you create can destroy you. Bruce Robinson's farcical vision of the truth realized is a neurotic and nightmarish satire fantasy on escape from the worst of ourselves, or face becoming the prisoner.

  • Consumerism, capitalism, and French culture get a swift kick in the ass when a bourgeois couple embark on a road trip to nab up a inheritance left by a relative. Godard pessimistic as ever, runs this absurd political breakdown of the human condition with childlike playfulness, the couple on their journey lays waste to everything that could be considered Society norms, disabling our emotional connection to the two monsters he has created. This apocalyptic playground is one of Godard's most exhausting satire experiments to date.

  • How do you emphasize with a serial killer? Simple, filmmakers Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel and Benoit Poelvoorde, introduce you to Benoit Poelvoorde, a professional and semi-parinoid killer with a penchant for guns, piano wire, and shellfish. This pitch black mocumentary follows around Benoit to learn to tricks of the trade, with searing and freeformed amorality dangerously laced with unflichable horrors. Learn how to understand the mind of a killer in this
    deranged terror comedy

  • Family is everything, especially when it means life or death. Alberto Lattuada's macabre comedy reunites Nino, a optimistic auto foreman, and dotting father, who travels from Milan with his family to Sicily for a long awaited family reunion, discovering secrets that were better left dead. With Italy's economic boom underway, Lattuada's diabolical dark comedy is loaded gun of modernism vs classical, and individual morality vs tradition. Reminding us of the old saying, what stays with the family, dies with the family.

  • A dysfunctional Italian family embodies disturbed intentions in Marco Bellocchino's comical outbursts of a son of a bourgeois family who attempts to free himself from them, taking unsavory measures to insure it. A vicious and vulgar chuckle attack on religion, morality, and political apathy in modern Italy. Bellocchino grabs you by the throat in this wicked comedy coated in blissful and almost bunuelian chaos.

  • Between monotony and entrapment there is always a way out. The person to find the perfect passage is Glauco (played by the enigmatic Michel Piccoli), a gas mask designer who lives in a mod household, with his lethargic wife, and his egotistic young maid. Glauco discovers a gun in his cupboard that may have belonged to the famous bank robber, John Dillinger. Marco Ferreri's quasi-humorous playful tragedy of tomorrow is a casuistry and conformity annihilation of the isolated individual breaking out of his modern mask.

  • Devilish and cynically comical is what you could describe Danny Boyle's diabolical choices of three offbeat London flats mates who discover a bag full of money when a new flatemate dies in his room. Deciding what to do with the money could get them deeper into the grips of hell. Boyle's dark comedy shows three individuals succumbing to greed and amorality, as money can save you or kill you.

  • Life has never looked so dead, as it has been for a melancholy death obsessed teenager, Harold who befriend's Maude, a elderly free spirit who shows Harold there is more to life than death. A bittersweet comedic meditation on self-liberation where you are never wrong in the path you follow. Ashby creates a surreal and off kilter world of outsiders looking further than what sorrow can do to existence, amplifying the happiness and acceptance of life and death unified.

  • It's not singularly violence that's in question, it's the entire persona of the violence of war that is brought to the table disguised as Monsieur Verdoux, a comically dashing aristocratic ladykiller, literally, a Bluebeard as he calls it, and his occupation, to quote, 'the liquidation of the opposite sex' for money to support his family. Chaplin plays with the juxtaposition of amorality and societal evils as well as Chaplin's personal animosity toward the politcal truth of man's destructive nature in war and its brutal creations, placed in a rampant and eccentric comedy that mirrors a planet falling apart, but shown through one man who might be a murderer, but a challenging and sympathetic creature of sophistication that can't compare to world terror.

28 comments

  • By Kyle Edward Harris
    March 06, 2013
    02:50 PM

    Check out the darkest of the dark with the darkest humor: THE VANISHING. And on the flip-side, the potentially lighter film with tragic sense of comedy: WISE BLOOD.
    Reply
    • By Cinemacannon
      March 07, 2013
      03:08 AM

      How dark did you say?
  • By Cinemacannon
    March 06, 2013
    04:10 PM

    I'll be filling the rest in a bit. Sorry for all the blank spots. Yes, Wise Blood is a great choice.
    Reply
  • By waltwhite
    March 13, 2013
    10:50 AM

    Great list. I would also add Boyle's Shallow Grave.
    Reply
  • By Cinemacannon
    March 13, 2013
    11:40 AM

    Thanks, white. That's a good one, will do.
    Reply
  • By Russell Fry
    March 20, 2013
    10:50 AM

    Harold and Maude? Making suicide funny... That's gotta be the blackest comedy I've ever seen.
    Reply
    • By Cinemacannon
      March 20, 2013
      12:32 PM

      Unfortunately, I haven't seen it, but I definitely will consider it.
    • By Cinemacannon
      March 20, 2013
      12:37 PM

      Holy hell, Ruth Gordon is in it? I think I'll pick it up today!
  • By Russell Fry
    March 21, 2013
    12:20 PM

    RUN! As fast as you can! Now! Trust me, you'll thank me later : )
    Reply
    • By Russell Fry
      March 21, 2013
      12:21 PM

      Ha, apparently you already did!
  • By Cinemacannon
    March 21, 2013
    01:23 PM

    Thank god for payday, and discount video stores. Haha! I loved it though Russell!
    Reply
  • By Sleestak
    March 26, 2013
    12:56 AM

    Great list! There's no better example than Cul-de-sac.
    Reply
  • By Cinemacannon
    March 26, 2013
    11:55 AM

    Thanks Sle, Glad you liked my choices. Cul is a must for any dark humored cinephile.
    Reply
  • By futurestar
    April 02, 2013
    05:57 PM

    this is a crazy and off the wall list. it contains a lot of thought and well researched efforts to even venture into something of this magnitude. spot on and respects paid.
    Reply
    • By Cinemacannon
      April 02, 2013
      10:41 PM

      Why..thank you. I did do a lot of thinking and searching and trying to remember what films revolve around this list. It did take me a while. God, I'm sure I've missed a few. Really future, thank you.
  • By JustinDW
    April 06, 2013
    12:21 PM

    Terrific list. Plenty to add to my "to watch" list. :)
    Reply
    • By Cinemacannon
      April 06, 2013
      05:43 PM

      Thanks Justin! I appreciate it. Now go and buy some good ones. :)
  • By Stroszek
    April 17, 2013
    08:21 AM

    I would definitely say Man Bites Dog is the darkest comedy I've viewed. CINEMA! CINEMA!
    Reply
  • By Connor
    November 13, 2013
    10:51 AM

    Nice list, but Kind Hearts and Cornets seems like a natural fit that's missing. Also, Rosemary's baby gets kind of darkly comic by the end.
    Reply
  • By Peter_Wilson
    December 09, 2013
    11:28 AM

    You always put such nice lists together, another well done. BTW have you checked out any of my recent lists?
    Reply
    • By Cinemacannon
      December 09, 2013
      03:11 PM

      thanks, man. I really appreciate your comments. It's good to know whatever right is actually being read and enjoyed. I like your new lists, too. I would love to see your your comments on submerge yourself. Keep it up!
    • By Peter_Wilson
      December 09, 2013
      03:49 PM

      Thanks man, so glad you like them.
    • By Peter_Wilson
      December 10, 2013
      09:23 AM

      I'll be adding comments to submerge yourself and daydreams shortly.
  • By zacmegpresmick
    December 28, 2013
    03:00 PM

    You spelled Malkovich wrong.
    Reply
  • By Barry Moore
    June 05, 2014
    05:50 PM

    Chaplin's dark masterpiece 'Monsieur Verdoux' is probably the preeminent example of this category, remaining one of the most important films ever made. Other films that warrant investigation in this same area include Elaine May's 1971 comedy 'A New Leaf', starring the director and Walter Matthau, cast against type, as a would-be Bluebeard, and James Whale's dazzlingly eccentric 1932 horror classic 'The Old Dark House', featuring a mute and menacing Boris Karloff among a whole gallery of grotesques.
    Reply
  • By Ryan C.
    August 01, 2014
    09:36 PM

    Though it can be goofy at times, "The Ruling Class" is incredibly dark... one of my favorite black comedies.
    Reply
  • By CINEMATIC
    September 13, 2014
    12:05 PM

    Have you seen the pornographers ?
    Reply