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The Heaviest Dark Comedies Ranked Worst To Best

There are times when the things we laugh about the most are things that shouldn't really be laughed about. And when it comes to striking the right balance in dark comedy, there is extra pressure on the filmmakers who have chosen this genre as their forte.

When done right, dark comedy gives us the green light to find humor in the saddest realms of the human condition — be it pain, illness, or even death — and reminds us that life doesn't necessarily have to be taken so seriously at all times. In this article, we've mixed and ranked some of the most cringe-worthy and utterly tasteless non-traditional comedies that clearly overstepped their boundaries in films that. Yet even though they went a little too far, they passed the audience test and became timeless pieces of art in their own right.

So without further ado, here are the heaviest, most boundary-pushing dark comedies — some of which failed miserably, while others rightfully earned their spot in the halls of dark comedy fame — ranked worst to best.

The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence)

The conclusion to Tom Six's torture-porn trilogy managed to exceed all expectations ... about its sheer repulsiveness, that is.

The story takes place in a notorious and troubled prison where a sadistic warden (Dieter Laser) and his sidekick (Laurence R. Harvey) come up with a plan to sew 500 prisoners into a massive human centipede that feeds on its own excrement. Everything in this movie is done purely for the sake of being over-the-top violent and disgusting, and that's pretty much all it accomplishes.

Filled with tasteless jokes about sexual assault, disease, and castration (to put it mildly), this horrendous cringe-fest went far and beyond to earn its place as one of the worst and most disturbing dark comedies in history. And with an IMDb score of 2.7, it has even managed to make the first two parts look like actual movies in comparison — and that is definitely not an easy task to achieve.

If you're still considering watching "The Human Centipede 3," please be warned: your eyes might hate you for it.

Leprechaun 4: In Space

Yes, it's just as absurd as it sounds. This time, the Freddy Krueger of leprechaun's (Warwick Davis) finds himself on a planet far away, courting a beautiful princess (Rebecca Carlton) to become king of her home planet. As for her, the only reason she desires him is his gold. Eventually, the strange couple agrees to take each other's hand in marriage, with each planning to murder the other for said benefits. Meanwhile, a group of space soldiers band together and kill the leprechaun for disturbing their mining operations.

To celebrate the Leprechaun's death, one of the soldiers decides to urinate on his body, which gives the creature's spirit the chance to travel through his urinary tract and ultimately be born again through his genitals. Filled with over-the-top grotesque imagery, pre-PlayStation 1 CGI (check out that glorious real-life-looking spaceship), and Tommy Wiseau-level acting, this movie is so bad that it's actually funny at times.

If you're up for watching a sci-fi dark comedy horror that is so ridiculous that it feels like it was written by an AI bot, you definitely don't want to miss "Leprechaun 4 In Space."

Seed of Chucky

"Seed of Chucky, aka "Child's Play 5: Seed of Chucky," tells the story of killer dolls Chucky (Brad Dourif) and his bride Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) once again resurrected from the dead. This time, they are brought back by their gender-confused son Glen/Glenda (Billy Boyd) — who for some reason has a British accent — to unleash a new wave of terror upon Hollywood. Chucky and Tiffany also decide to leave their child-like bodies and take over the bodies of Jennifer Tilly and Redman themselves.

In an unfortunate turn for the Chucky franchise, this movie was a complete flop (maybe it has something to do with the fact that creator and writer Don Mancini thought it was a great idea to put on the director's hat for a change), with most of its ill-conceived jokes falling completely flat. There's even a scene where Chucky and Glen/Glenda are speeding down the highway only to be overtaken and flipped off by Britney Spears (Nadia Dina Ariqat) in her Mercedes. Needless to say, this sends Chucky into rage mode, and he pushes Britney's car over a cliff, causing it to violently explode. And here comes his genius punchline: "Oops, I did it again."

Trust us, if you're an '80s Chucky fan, do yourself a big favor and skip this one.

8 Heads in a Duffel Bag

Who knew that a comedy mobster horror could actually be a thing!? Released in 1997, "8 Heads in a Duffel Bag" tells the story of wiseguy Tommy Spinelli (Joe Pesci, of course) who is hired by two brainless hitmen to smuggle a bag filled with severed heads across the U.S. and bring it to a mob boss as proof that they've died. Although watching this movie can be an engaging experience, it sometimes relies too heavily on preposterous, nonsensical, and over-exaggerated moments to squeeze out laughs from the audience. For example, the nightmare scene where Spinelli gets attacked by the dead men's bodies while their heads sing "Mr. Sandman" in chorus.

On the other hand, thanks to Pesci's flawless acting, the movie can truly nail the dark comical moments. In what is perhaps the strongest scene in terms of black humor, Spinelli is told to watch his foul mouth by a grandma (Ernestine Mercer) while traveling in a van with her and her family. But instead of apologizing or telling her off, without saying a word, the mobster calmly opens the vehicle's side door wide open and throws her out, sending her flying over a cliff while she screams, "Don't 'F' with me!" As shocking as this scene may sound, the acting and delivery by both actors here are pure comedy genius.

Evil Dead 2

If you've seen the original "Evil Dead," you'll know that the second one is not nearly as serious as the first, and this gamble into the realm of comedy hasn't actually worked to its disadvantage. Also, all that slaying in part one seems to have paid off for Ash (Bruce Campbell) as here we see a much cockier, more confident protagonist who's even playing around with cool one-liners like "groovy."

In part two, Ash takes his girlfriend, Linda (Denise Bixler), to an isolated cabin in the woods, where he finds an audio recording of recitations from a book of mystical texts. To his horror, playing the tape unleashes several demons that end up possessing and tormenting his inner and outer self. From creepy severed heads to gored-up mega demons hanging from the ceiling, this movie's got all the stuff you might want from a horror flick, as well as some cool humor to boot. Although "Evil Dead 2" stands its own ground, sadly, the charm from the original is gone, and that's mostly the result of part two's somewhat disappointing cinematography.

Cheap Thrills

If "Saw" and "The Hangover" had a baby, this would be it. E.L. Katz's "Cheap Thrills" is an extremely nasty dark comedy that tells the story of a rich couple that tempts a broke group of average joes with cash in a twisted experiment to see how far they will go. The challenges start from $50 to drink a shot of alcohol and go all the way up to $250,000 for murder, with lots of other disturbing tasks in between.

Even though the film didn't get much recognition worldwide, it features strong performances (also pretty funny if you have the stomach to appreciate their humorous side) by David Koechner, Ethan Embry, Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, and more. Admittedly, at times "Cheap Thrills" goes a little too far with scenes such as the botched finger amputation and the dog-eating contest. Still, the writing team did a pretty good job at striking a good balance between making the victims both likable and repellent and the evil-doers both charismatic and well-worthy of loathing.

Killer Joe

In what might be one of Matthew McConaughey's most underrated roles, the "True Detective" star steps into the shoes of cold-blooded police detective/contract killer Joe Cooper, who gets hired by a desperate young man in debt named Chris Smith (Emile Hirsch) to end the life of his twisted mother in order to collect insurance money. However, things get a bit too messy when Smith changes his mind and calls the contract off while Cooper starts a relationship with his young sister. Demanding to be paid for the job that he's already completed, the family finds themselves in a world of pain as Cooper takes them all as hostages, knowing that the insurance money won't be going into Smith's hands.

Although this movie is quite violent and intense, it has a surprising amount of humor — the kind that makes you feel a little awkward about the fact that you're laughing — which works as a diffuser to an otherwise extremely serious and terrifying experience. So, if you're up for some merciless dark humor backed by a top-notch cast and an Oscar-worthy performance by McConaughey, make sure you don't miss out on "Killer Joe."

Harold and Maude

Fascinated by the thought of his own demise (and death in general), a young man named Harold (Bud Cort) meets a lively, adventurous elderly lady named Maude (Ruth Gordon) at a funeral who ultimately changes the way he looks at life. Although Harold's mother tries to help her son meet a young woman who can make him happy and take him out of his state of constant misery, he ends up falling in love with none other than 79-year-old Maude.

In this 1971 cult classic, director Hal Ashby does an excellent job of delivering visually hilarious scenes with on-point comic timing, usually involving Harold — whose car is an actual hearse — performing some nutty macabre prank while the rest of the characters simply carry on with their daily activities without even noticing him. "Harold and Maude" is basically "The Graduate" taken to its utmost ridiculous extreme and, to the surprise of many, works so well that it has earned a spot among the biggest names in this genre.


Set during the Mexican-American war, "Ravenous" follows the story of a young almost-deserter Captain John Boyd (Guy Pearce) who is left playing dead in a pile of gored-up bodies awaiting burial. He does, however, make it out in one piece and is eventually even given an award for his services. But after his superior finds out about his cowardice, Boyd is shipped off to a fort in California as punishment. There, he is greeted by a group of strange characters, who begin to pale in comparison to Colonel Ives (Robert Carlyle), a man who has survived the cold winter by cannibalizing his own men — a horrendous act that has mysteriously provided him with newfound strength.

This brave and unequaled 1999 black comedy takes us on a wild and crazy cat and mouse chase involving Ives and Boyd and his men and gifts us with some unexpectedly hilarious moments (all thanks to the excellent timing and directions of the late Antonia Bird), an eerie but catchy soundtrack, and a powerhouse cast that includes Jeffrey Jones, David Arquette, Jeremy Davies, and Neal McDonough, among others.

It's also worth mentioning that there is simply no way that a movie so daring would get greenlit by today's Disney-owned 20th Century Fox studio.


If there's anyone who has truly nailed the dark comedy genre to the highest degree, it's the Coen Brothers, and their epic 1996 crime comedy "Fargo" has proven itself as one of their most prestigious projects.

The story follows pregnant police chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand), who sets out on a mission to investigate a number of killings after a desperate car salesman (William H. Macy) hires two ruthless hitmen (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) to abduct his wife in order to extort a hefty ransom from her rich father (Harve Presnell).

Here, the Coens' unique style is perfectly captured by repeatedly stepping the line between dread and humor. One great example of this is Fargo's woodchipper scene where, knowing that he's running out of time, Peter Stormare's character Gaear Grimsrud tries to quickly dispose of a dead body, unaware that the police chief is right behind him with a loaded gun in hand.


Set in an old abandoned industrial building, David Lynch's debut feature, "Eraserhead," tells the story of a strange man named Henry Spencer (Jack Nance), whose girlfriend gives birth to a horribly deformed baby and eventually leaves him to care for it on his own. What follows is a trippy series of visions and events that defy common sense, including a weird dancing woman who lives in Henry's radiator and a dream sequence in which his head is used to manufacture pencil erasers.

No matter how well-versed one might be in the art of cinema, this film's unorthodox style and story are bound to surprise. And although, for the most part, "Eraserhead" is shaped more like a mystery horror, there are quite a few moments worthy of laughter in it. One example is the dinner scene where, at one point, Henry and his girlfriend's father, Mr. X (Allen Joseph), sit by themselves in silence while waiting for the food to be prepared. Unsure of what to say or do, Henry sits still while a grinning Mr. X stares at him for an awkward amount of time before asking, "Well, Henry, what do you know?", to which Henry replies, "Oh, I don't know much of anything." Mr. X then proceeds to stare at Henry for about half a minute more before the food finally arrives. Although extremely bizarre, this scene perfectly encapsulates the sheer terror and awkwardness many of us have felt upon meeting a partner's parents for the first time.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Written and directed by the Coen brothers, "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" is a Western thriller comedy that features six separate emotionally-packed short stories following a singing cowboy gunslinger, a charming thief, a strange traveling entertainer duo, an old gold miner, a touching yet tragic romance story involving a group of wagon train migrants, and a stagecoach encounter loaded with fake smiles and danger.

Being the birthplace of the "First time?" meme — in which a grinning about-to-be-hung James Franco asks a fellow criminal who also has a rope tied around his neck whether he's been hung before after narrowly escaping his first such experience — "The Ballad" holds no punches when it comes to heavy dark jokes, as is customary for the Coens.

In the "Meal Ticket" story, however, things turn quite grim when an aging impresario (Liam Neeson) decides to trade his poetry-reciting artist (Harry Melling) — who has neither legs nor arms — for a performing chicken, upon realizing that the disabled boy no longer draws in a crowd. To do so, the impresario decides to cold-bloodedly murder the boy by throwing him down a deep river in what is perhaps the most disturbing moment in the movie. It's a truly unequaled heartbreaking scene that will, without a doubt, leave you in stitches.

Man Bites Dog

Known to many as the most powerful mock-documentary, Belgian directors Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, and Benoît Poelvoorde (also playing Ben, the main character) take us on a trip following a serial killer eager to star in a documentary about his own life. Featuring Belvaux and Bonzel themselves as the crew, the story takes a twisted turn as they start becoming involved in Ben's crimes. And when they run out of money for 16mm film, they help him rob a family at their house, which ends with Ben smothering an innocent child with a pillow.

Although this is a cult classic filled with humor — largely thanks to the comedic genius of Poelvoorde — it also contains some extremely disturbing moments, such as Ben provoking a heart attack in an older woman to steal her money. Elsewhere, there is the New Year's Eve scene in which Ben and the group break into a young couple's house and murder them after sexually assaulting the woman.

Nothing can take away the brilliance of "Man Bites Dog," but one cannot deny that the film was uniquely dark. In addition, Rémy Belvaux allegedly committed suicide some years later, which makes this his first and final feature film.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).


Bong Joon Ho's 2020 multi-Academy Award winner, "Parasite," tells the story of a poor family that devises a scheme to exploit a rich family by gaining employment in their home while posing as unrelated, highly-skilled experts in their fields. The film can be seen as a social commentary in that it explores how different classes of people perceive life, with the poor family literally living lower than everyone else below ground. And when a heavy storm hits the city, the wealthy family marvels at its beauty, while the poor family struggles to save their flat as it's flooded with sewage.

This is one of those rare instances where a movie is virtually flawless from top to bottom thanks to an incredibly powerful and multi-layered story, intelligent humor, and exceptional directing, cinematography, editing, and casting. The craziest thing about this masterpiece is perhaps the final scene – the birthday party for the wealthy family's son (Hyun-jun Jung), which takes place in the yard on a wonderful sunny day. The peaceful and harmonious event ends up hosting a mass massacre as different members of the cast murder each other with steak knives. That's certainly one way to make an audience choke on their own laughter.