A little levity can brighten virtually any situation, and, it could be argued, a bit of lightness is especially important when the conditions are unusually dire. That's why funny moments in dark movies come as such welcome reprieves from the otherwise nonstop intensity of their respective films. From gritty epics to horror masterpieces, from tragic love stories to ominous mysteries, these films are as horrifying as your favorite comedies are funny.
Movies like Good Will Hunting and Silence of the Lambs are notoriously serious and, save for a few brief moments, they don't let up until the final credit has rolled. But some funny scenes stand out and are somehow even funnier amid somber plotlines. In the end, the few seconds of levity only underscore what actor Peter Ustinov once said: "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious."
- Photo: The Weinstein Company
The horse raid scene in Django Unchained is a testament to director Quentin Tarantino's ability to successfully lob a comedy curveball into the middle of his typically dark movies. As members of the Klan assemble to carry out a raid, one of them says through his hood, "I can't see... out of this thing!"
This opens up the floodgates, and soon all the members are arguing among themselves about the ridiculousness of their hoods.
958Is this starkly funny?
- Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Foxx, Quentin Tarantino
- Released: 2012
- Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
- Photo: Universal Pictures
Jordan Peele's 2017 film Get Out is a horror movie, a satire, and a serious social commentary. Although the film is not by any means a traditional comedy, any scene with Rod (Lil Rel Howery) calling on the phone brings instant humor to this modern masterpiece.
But Rod is also the first character to know what's going on in Get Out, so even his role as the comic relief is quite serious.
502Is this starkly funny?
- Actors: Daniel Kaluuya, Catherine Keener, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones
- Released: 2017
- Directed by: Jordan Peele
- Photo: Columbia Pictures
Frank Darabont's The Shawshank Redemption is a grim prison tale infused with a deep sense of hope. It is not, however, infused with a lot of comedy. One of the lighter moments comes when the characters unpack books to put in the library, reading the titles off as they go.
Heywood (William Sadler) misreads a title, "The Count of Monte Crisco," then proceeds to read the author's name: "Alexandree Dumba**."
488Is this starkly funny?
- Actors: Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth, Tim Robbins, Clancy Brown, James Whitmore
- Released: 1994
- Directed by: Frank Darabont
- Photo: 20th Century Fox
Gone Girl is another dark David Fincher mystery and is relentless in its twisted tale of a marriage gone wrong. Tyler Perry, an admittedly unusual casting choice for this type of movie, has one line that brings the house down.
Commenting on the strange marriage of Amy and Nick Dunne (Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck), the couple at the center of the Gone Girl riddle, Perry's character Tanner Bolt says to Nick, "You two are the most f*cked up people I've ever met, and I deal with f*cked up people for a living."
356Is this starkly funny?
- Actors: Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Emily Ratajkowski, Rosamund Pike
- Released: 2014
- Directed by: David Fincher