The most popular comedic characters all have one thing in common - they don’t care about anyone but themselves. They put their needs and goals in front of everyone else; too bad if you’re in their way.
Oddly enough, that's the exact same way a killer in a horror film acts. And from the perspectives of the supporting characters, many so-called comedies are actually pretty grim.
Some such films are obviously horrific, but others only reveal their true, macabre nature after you take a closer look. The next time you’re watching a screwball comedy, remember the supporting characters are dying inside, terrified of what the main character’s going to do. Comedy is all about perspective.
Everyone loves Shrek, a heartwarming tale about learning to love yourself that takes a detour into Hostel territory somewhere near the end of the second act.
For everyone but the Gingerbread Man, this film is a tiptoe through the tulips, but when the poor cookie is captured by Lord Farquaad his life is utterly destroyed. Not only are his legs removed and crumbled to dust in front of him, but his gumdrop buttons are pulled off and chewed up before his eyes. This is terrifying, yet it's a thing Dreamworks thought would be cool to show children.
Actors: Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers, John Lithgow, Vincent Cassel, + more
Initial Release: 2001
Directed by: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson
#10 on The Best Animated Films Ever
#47 on The Most Rewatchable Movies
Is there anyone on the planet who isn't horrified for Lucy Whitmore in 50 First Dates? After suffering a massive head trauma, the woman believes she's living the same day over and over.
Whitmore's friends and family do everything they can to keep her from realizing anything's changed, but she's aging and the world is slowly leaving her behind. Then Henry Roth comes into town and decides to take her on a date. Even after her family (who are all terrible people) tell Roth about her condition, he persists in pursuing Lucy and by the end of the film she's pregnant with his child.
By this logic, she wakes up one day and everyone's like, "by the way you're pregnant."
Actors: Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler, Dan Aykroyd, Rob Schneider, Maya Rudolph, + more
Initial Release: 2004
Directed by: Peter Segal
#18 on The Best Movies for Women
Is Sid a super weird kid with emotional issues? Of course, he's young and dealing with a broken home, but he's engulfed in a full-blown horror movie during the film's third act.
Before blowing up Buzz Lightyear, Woody comes to life in front of Sid for the first time and begins speaking directly to the young lad. Following this, all of Sid's deformed toys come to life to teach him a lesson. This is quintessential nightmare fuel, especially for a developing mind.
The moment is played for comedic effect, but is it really funny? There's no way Sid got out of this series without a hefty therapy bill.
Actors: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Penn Jillette, Annie Potts, + more
Initial Release: 1995
Directed by: John Lasseter
#24 on The Funniest '90s Movies
#29 on The Most Rewatchable Movies
Kimmy Wallace is just trying to have a nice wedding. She's so focused on her dream, she doesn't realize she's stepped in the middle of the toxic relationship between longtime "friends" Julianne and Michael.
When Kimmy asks Julianne - a woman who's in love with her fiance - to act as her maid of honor, the bride-to-be essentially seals her fate as a victim. Throughout the film Julianne commits one horrible act after another in the name of stealing Wallace's fiance.
Julianne exploits every one of her romantic rival's weak spots, even breaking into Kimmy's father's email in an attempt to stop the wedding. This is psychological terror at its most pure.
Actors: Cameron Diaz, Julia Roberts, Paul Giamatti, Rupert Everett, Rachel Griffiths, + more
Initial Release: 1997
Directed by: P. J. Hogan
#93 on The Funniest '90s Movies
#36 on The Best Movies of 1997