The best supernatural dark comedies about or related to death

Who am I?

I’ve always been a fan of dark comedies. Fargo. Heathers. Fight Club. There’s something about being able to laugh about tragedy that feels both cathartic and as if you might get struck down by lightning. But I also grew up on a steady diet of supernatural horror à la Stephen King, Peter Straub, and early Dean Koontz. So combining the supernatural and dark comedy into my writing seemed like a natural fit. While I’m drawn to dark comedies of all sorts in both fiction and film, I have a soft spot for those with a supernatural element that involves death, either in the literal sense or as a character.


I wrote...

Breathers: A Zombie's Lament

By S.G. Browne,

Book cover of Breathers: A Zombie's Lament

What is my book about?

When I started writing Breathers in October 2003, I wanted to write a different kind of zombie story. Rather than the stereotypical brain-dead, shambling corpses who craved human flesh, I wondered what it would be like to be a zombie in a society where you weren’t considered human, had no rights, and were constantly carted off by Animal Control. What would your parents think? How would your friends treat you? Could you join a bowling league?

At the time, zombies were typically portrayed as villains, so I flipped the script and made my zombies the protagonists and the humans the antagonists. I wanted to create an unlikely hero the reader could empathize with and cheer for rather than condemn as a monster.

The books I picked & why

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Lullaby

By Chuck Palahniuk,

Book cover of Lullaby

Why this book?

It’s not often you read the opening chapter of a novel (in this case the Prologue) and go back to read it again before continuing with the rest of the novel because you’ve never read anything like it before. And the book just gets better from there. Combine an African culling song with a tortured journalist investigating crib deaths and a heroine real estate agent who sells haunted houses, then put that all in the hands of Chuck Palahniuk, and you have a supernatural horror dark comedy/satire unlike anything you’ll ever read. Except maybe another Chuck Palahniuk novel. After reading this, I was inspired to write Breathers.


A Dirty Job

By Christopher Moore,

Book cover of A Dirty Job

Why this book?

Christopher Moore is one of those rare authors who can actually make you laugh out loud, and there are plenty of those moments to be found here. Secondhand store owner and beta-male Charlie Asher becomes a death merchant, retrieving soul vessels before those souls end up in the hands of the forces of darkness. Set in San Francisco, A Dirty Job features a colorful collection of characters that includes Goth teens, Buddhist monks, and the Emperor of San Francisco. This was the first of Moore’s books that I read and it remains one of my favorites.


Vamped

By David Sosnowski,

Book cover of Vamped

Why this book?

Ten years before What We Do in the Shadows comically imagined what everyday life might be like for vampires, David Sosnowski published Vamped. Set in a world where vampires outnumber humans, the story stars a bloodsucking bachelor bored with his existence and all of the modern vampire conveniences, and inconveniences. Like missing coffee. And chocolate. And sunlight. And not having any more fresh humans to hunt. But when our hero stumbles across a human child, his existence gets complicated. A sharp, smart, charming, and occasionally heart-warming black comedy with an anti-hero who you end up rooting for.


Reincarnation Blues

By Michael Poore,

Book cover of Reincarnation Blues

Why this book?

Not only is this novel about death and dying (10,000 times, to be exact), but it also features Death as a main character. So it gets bonus points for hitting both of those marks when it comes to my love of dark comedies about death. But it’s also a story about finding a reason for living, that reason being the aforementioned Death, who just so happens to be the main character’s love interest. It’s complicated. At turns both thought-provoking and laugh-out-loud funny. Reincarnation stories have always intrigued me and this one does it in a fashion unlike any other.


Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

By Mary Roach,

Book cover of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Why this book?

Full disclosure: this is non-fiction, so there isn’t anything supernatural about it. But when it comes to dark comedy and death, Stiff has it in spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs. Plus it was instrumental in helping me to research what happens to the human body when it starts to decompose, which I incorporated into Breathers. So I had to include it here. I’ll go out on a limb and say this is one of the funniest books about death you’ll ever read. Also one of the most disgusting and educational. From a body farm dedicated to the study of human decay to cadavers being used as crash test dummies, this book has it all. And when it comes to making science entertaining, Mary Roach is a national treasure.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in death, dark comedy, and reincarnation?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about death, dark comedy, and reincarnation.

Death Explore 203 books about death
Dark Comedy Explore 61 books about dark comedy
Reincarnation Explore 33 books about reincarnation

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Gut, From Here to Eternity, and The Strange Library if you like this list.