Top 8 Dark Comedies of the '80s That Still Hold Up, Ranked
Some of the lesser-known dark comedies of that decade deserve a second chance in 2023.
The 1980s blessed us with some truly underrated dark comedies that didn't bag the big awards or set the box office on fire, but still deserve a watch – because, frankly, they did age better than some of the well-known hits.
8. The 'Burbs (1989)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 54%
Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks) is on vacation, but instead of relaxing, he becomes obsessed with his mysterious new neighbors, the Klopeks. Strange noises, odd night-time digging, and a missing neighbor convince Ray that the Klopeks are up to no good. Rallying his quirky neighbors, they snoop, scheme, and bungle their way into finding out the truth.
7. Parents (1989)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 56%
The suburbs: white picket fences, manicured lawns, and...cannibalism? 10-year-old Michael Laemle has just moved to a new town and is starting to suspect there's something fishy about his citizens. The meat they serve at dinner doesn't look like anything from the local grocery store. And those late-night sounds from the basement? Definitely not your typical house settling noises. Michael's imagination runs wild, but the truth might be darker than he thinks.
6. Eating Raoul (1982)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%
You've heard of get-rich-quick schemes, but this one beats 'em all. Paul and Mary Bland have a dream of opening a restaurant, but cash? Not so much. Enter a swinger who tries to get a bit too friendly with Mary, leading to his accidental death. But a dead guy's got a hefty wallet. A lightbulb moment later, the couple decides to lure other unsavory folks to their doom and rob them. And there's Raoul, a locksmith with eyes on the couple's venture and Mary.
5. After Hours (1985)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 89%
Paul Hackett heads to SoHo for a date with a woman he met earlier, but this seemingly simple outing turns into a night of pure chaos. Every attempt to head home is thwarted by a series of bizarre events and oddball characters. From an angry mob mistaking him for a burglar to an ice cream truck driver with a penchant for helping out in the weirdest ways, Paul's night is the stuff of urban legends.
4. Withnail & I (1987)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
You know those weekends you just need to get away from it all? "Withnail & I" is all about that. Two unemployed actors, Withnail and Marwood, are fed up with their dreary life in London. So, what do they do? They decide to take a trip to Withnail's uncle's country cottage for some relaxation. However, relaxation is the last thing they get. The cottage is decrepit, they're out of their depth in the countryside, and then there's Withnail's eccentric Uncle Monty, who shows up with some... let's call them 'intentions'.
3. Heathers (1989)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%
A high school setting that's anything but typical. Enter Veronica Sawyer, a popular girl in high school, who's getting pretty fed up with the elite clique she hangs out with – all named Heather. She starts seeing a rebel named J.D., and that's when things take a dark turn. Accidental deaths are made to look like suicides, and suddenly, the school's social structure is turning on its head.
2. Ruthless People (1986)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%
Millionaire Sam Stone detests his wife, Barbara, so much that he plots to kill her. However, before he can act, she's kidnapped by a couple demanding ransom. The twist? Sam's ecstatic and has no intention of paying up! The poor kidnappers are stuck with a hostage nobody wants. As the couple tries to figure out what to do next, Sam is living his best life, blissfully free of his wife.
1. Repo Man (1984)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%
Otto, a young punk rocker, finds himself out of a job and decides to become a repo man, repossessing cars. He gets caught up in the hunt for a Chevy Malibu driven by a mad scientist. Why's everyone after it? Well, rumor has it there's something extraterrestrial in the trunk. This dark comedy is a one wild ride with car chases, radioactive aliens, and a punk rock vibe that screams '80s