A comedy with a wicked sense of humor -- often dark, cynical and edgy -- that makes fun of such supposedly serious subjects as death, illness, murder, or war. Nothing is sacred from attack in black comedy, and all taboos are welcome. Black comedy first found popularity in the 1940s and 1950s, in a world that was struggling to understand the global evil of Nazism and its second World War in less than three decades. In America, Arsenic and Old Lace was among the first examples, while the British perfected the form with films like The Ladykillers and Kind Hearts and Coronets. Since the '40s, the British have taken the form to new, darker levels, with films like The Wrong Box, If..., The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, A Zed and Two Noughts, Brazil and the work of Monty Python. In America, black comedies have increased in number with the rise of independent filmmaking (though M*A*S*H, Harold and Maude, and the films of Tim Burton are fine studio examples). Directors like John Waters, the Coen Brothers, Paul Bartel, and early Brian De Palma blended black comedy with social issues and/or absurdism. Abroad, directors like Luis Buñuel, Roman Polanski, Juzo Itami, Pedro Almodovar and Paul Verhoeven are just a handful of filmmakers who have kept the style alive and vital.