Jurassic Park (1993)
The Funny Death: Sleazy lawyer Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero) tries to do a runner from a T-Rex attack by hiding on the loo. But dinosaurs aren't interested in social niceties and munches him straight off the seat.
If It Had Been Played Straight: Jurassic Park is already as terrifying as family films get. This moment of black comedy laced with schadenfreude is a welcome respite.
The Funny Death: Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) vows to retire from modelling after realising that "just because we have chiselled abs and stunning features, it doesn't mean that we too can't not die in a freak gasoline fight accident. "
If It Had Been Played Straight: The incident would have been shot with less cheesy slo-mo and more visceral detail.
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)
The Funny Death: Ricky Caldwell (Eric Freeman) - brother of the first film's killer - goes on the rampage. Highlight: shooting a neighbour who is taking out his trash.
If It Had Been Played Straight: Freeman's unique acting style, somehow both stilted and O.T.T., ensures that his delivery of rubbish one-liners like "Garbage day!" is inherently funny.
American Psycho (2000)
The Funny Death: Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) calmly axes business rival Paul Allen (Jared Leto) to death while expounding the musical virtues of Huey Lewis And The News.
If It Had Been Played Straight: Bateman's music would be appropriately hard-edged. Rammstein, say.
Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
The Funny Death: Asthmatic hitman Wheezy Joe (Irwin Keyes) makes a fatal error by mistaking his gun for his inhaler. Bang!
If It Had Been Played Straight: Frankly, there wouldn't even be a character called Wheezy Joe.
The Wicker Man (2006)
The Funny Death: Edward Malus (Nicolas Cage) is burnt alive in a giant wicker statue… but in the alternate ending on the DVD, he also has to cope with an attack by stinging bees.
If It Had Been Played Straight: Not that it massively improves the film, but losing the bees - and specifically Cage's hysterical reaction to them - was a wise move.
The Funny Deaths: How do you kill a horde of zombies given that, technically, they are already (un)dead? Answer: with a LAWNMOWER.
If It Had Been Played Straight: It would be indistinguishable from every other non-comedic zombie horror.
The Ladykillers (1955)
The Funny Death: Professor Marcus (Alec Guinness) thinks he's got away with the loot, until a changing railway signal crashes fatally onto his head and knocks him onto a departing freight train.
If It Had Been Played Straight: The camera would track back to the house to reveal that Marcus had succeeded in killing the lady, Mrs Wilberforce (Katie Johnson) off-screen.
Deep Blue Sea (1999)
The Funny Death: Nobody fucks with Samuel L. Jackson, right? Except for the genetically enhanced shark that doesn't even let him finish his big speech before chomping him.
If It Had Been Played Straight: It wouldn't have been nearly as much fun - Jackson's shock second-act departure remains one of the great examples of a film knowingly subverting the rules of action movies.
Monty Python And The Holy Grail (1975)
The Funny Death: King Arthur (Graham Chapman) turns the tables on the keeper of the Bridge of Death (Terry Gilliam) by requesting further specifics on whether the keeper's question about the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow refers to the African or European swallow.
If It Had Been Played Straight: We'd be watching an Ingmar Bergman film, not Monty Python.