From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Humans are unable to distinguish color when either light or darkness predominate. In the absence of light, perception is achromatic and ultimately, black.
The emotional response to darkness has metaphorical connotations in many cultures.
An interest in dark culture began for the first time consciously by the Decadent movement. Paul Verlaine wrote in Les poètes maudits at the end of the nineteenth century that he loved "this word decadence, all shimmering in purple and gold. It suggests the subtle thoughts of ultimate civilization, a high literary culture, a soul capable of intense pleasures. It throws off bursts of fire and the sparkle of precious stones. It is redolent of the rouge of courtesans, the games of the circus, the panting of the gladiators, the spring of wild beasts, the consuming in flames of races exhausted by their capacity for sensation, as the tramp of an invading army sounds."
The interest in dark culture is continued in present times. American cultural critic Mark Dery's describes his preference as :"Aesthetically ... I'm interested in the unlit, unfrequented corners of society, the nethermost regions of the self: freaks, forensic pathology, true crime, conspiracy theory, cannibalism, madness, medical museums, Art Brut, weird science, sexual deviance, soft tissue modification (by tribal peoples and postmodern primitives), creature features, alien abductions, insects, Situationism, Surrealism, science fiction, the gothic, the grotesque, the carnivalesque -- in short, extremes and excess of every sort. I want to induce, in my reader, the vertigo that comes from leaning too far over the edge of the cultural abyss." 
Films and novels often use the term "Dark Age" with its implied meaning of a time of backwardness. For instance, the popular movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail humorously portrays knights and chivalry, following in a tradition begun with Don Quixote. The 2007 television show The Dark Ages from The History Channel called the Dark Ages "600 years of degenerate, godless, inhuman behavior".
Dark romanticism is a literary subgenre that emerged from Romanticism popular in nineteenth-century Europe and the United States. Key writers of the darker strains of Romanticism include E. T. A. Hoffmann in Germany, Lord Byron in England, Edgar Allan Poe in the United States and Charles Baudelaire in France.
Dark Romanticism is connected to the gothic novel. The 'gothic' sensibility flourished in most European literatures. Every European country had its own terminology to denote the sensibility of the gothic novel. In France it was called the roman noir ("black novel", in Germany it was called the Schauerroman ("shudder novel"). Italy and Spain must have had their own, but I am unaware of their names as of yet. In nineteenth century France there also flourished a literature of horror on a par with the English Gothic novel or the German Schauerroman. It was christened 'le roman frénétique'.
Black comedy, also known as black humor is a sub-genre of comedy and satire where topics and events that are usually treated seriously — death, mass murder, suicide, sickness, madness, terror, drug abuse, rape, war, etc. — are treated in a humorous or satirical manner. Synonyms include dark humor, morbid humor, gallows humor and off-color humor. A seminal anthology in this category is Anthology of Black Humor (1940) by André Breton.
- Dark Ages
- Black humour
- Dark comedy
- Dark romanticism