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Dark Reprise

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"It's the same old song, but with a different meaning since you've been gone."
Four Tops, "It's the Same Old Song"

A song starts in sunshine, but has a dark counterpart.

There are two main forms; the first is the sarcastic echo, the second is the dark reprise. This trope is favoured by the writers of musicals.

The sarcastic echo is a duet, but one party is oblivious to this fact. The main singer opens with a happy, even sappy verse. But there is an onlooking character mocking the first from the wings.

The other form is the dark reprise. Early in the show, we get a joyous song. In a later act, sadder and wiser, those same lyrics or melody are ironic and sad. Sometimes the reprise alters the original lyrics; sometimes they are the same, only sung more slowly and mournfully. In the case of a theme's reprise, the piece may have no lyrics at all. The "dark" part may even be literal, with the reprise using dimmer lighting.

The dark reprise is a subtrope of Ironic Echo, and the Evil Twin of Triumphant Reprise. Of course, the Dark Reprise and Triumphant Reprise can easily overlap if they happen to be the reprise of the Villain Song. In this case, the reprise comes as the villain stands triumphant (at least for now), which is good news for him, but bad news for everyone else. note 

Compare Dual-Meaning Chorus, more common in country music, where a song's chorus is interpreted differently with each iteration (and the song only plays once).

Can overlap with Lyrical Dissonance, although a dark reprise tends to smooth this over with a more somber arrangement. Note that this can also apply to moments that don't use music. See also Soundtrack Dissonance, Harsher in Hindsight, and Descent into Darkness Song.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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Dark Reprise

  • This Lincoln Project ad begins with Donald Trump boarding Marine One as the Jurassic Park theme plays...and then cuts to a disheveled-looking Trump returning from his disappointing June 2020 Tulsa rally to a horribly off-key harmonica version of the Jurassic Park theme.

  • The Popee the Performer episode "Swallower" has a sad instrumental violin and harp cover of its normally upbeat main theme. The episode is notable not only for having both Popee and Kedamono dead by the end of the episode, but also for being one of the only episodes of this Black Comedy to be banned from the airwaves.
  • Cowboy Bebop has "See You Space Cowboy", a lower and sadder version of the already solemn ending theme, "The Real Folk Blues", playing near the show's end.
  • The happy tune that Saya sings various songs to early on in Blood-C gets played in a slower, darker manner in the final moments of the last episode.
  • Cyber Team in Akihabara has his third ending which is a very dark version of the song "Taiyou no Hana" from the first ending (and played in a joyful version for the second ending)
  • The first season of Date A Live features the "Seirei" theme for the appearance of Spirits (more specifically, it is used for Tohka before she is named as such by Shido). The last episode of the second season features the ominous "Hanten Tohka", during the debut of her Inverse Form.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion gets one. The ending theme, "Fly me to the Moon" always seemed a tad out of place, even in the beginning, but by the end in the middle of all the Mind Rape, Heroic Sacrifices, Heroic BSoD's and other assorted wrongness, that damn song just keeps on playing. And it freaks you out. Especially in the Arael, Armisael and Tabris/Kaworu episodes. WITHOUT CHANGING A DAMNED NOTE!!
    • Probably easier to take seriously if you're not a native English speaker and are getting the meaning from subtitles. If you actually understand it, the fact that it's Gratuitous English and sounds more like "Fry me touda moo" kind of spoils any suspense it might create.
  • Gainax seems to like this. In the Rebuild of Evangelion movies, most of the soundtracks have been changed to now HAVE OMINOUS CHANTING ON TOP OF THE MUSIC! It does add to the mood of the scenes, but it sure does freak you out when you know that the voices are chanting.
    • And another Gainax-example: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has Libera Me From Hell, a remix between the classic, Latin song "Libera Me", and the up-beat rap-song "Rap is a Man's Soul". And that's not the only time they took a classic song and used it in an anime. Just watch the Rebuild of Evangelion version of Shinji versus Zeruel. THEY'RE PLAYING A CHILDREN'S SONG WHILE SHINJI IS CAUSING THE END OF THE WORLD, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!
    • Yet another Gainax example: in the penultimate episode of Mahoromatic ~Something more Beautiful~, the music track at the end of the episode gives way to a sad piano remix of the generally-happy opening song, So Re I Yu.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch reverses this with Return to the Sea. In its first uses, it's a dark, angry song in which Sara expresses her rage and hatred. However, when Hanon's assertion that Tarou really did love Sara gets to her, she reprises the song with a happier, more optimistic tone ("The inevitable distrust/Is only harmful weakness/Love cannot be defined, but/I want to believe in it again").
  • The Grand Magic Games arc of Fairy Tail has the appropiately-named "Grand Magic Games" theme, which has a grandiose tune fitting for a high-scale competition. However, when the Games end and the conspiracy plot is brought to light, the appropiately-named "The Truth About the Grand Magic Games", with several of the tones striking a dark chord and a different closing, plays, which is fitting for the grim prospects the plans of the real Arc Villain entail.
    • Predating that, the "Dragon Chain Cannon" theme is a dark reprise of the main theme of the series, which makes sense given that it plays when the lacrima made out of the Fairy Tail guild is about to be harvested by the titular cannon.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, the instrumental "Romantic" is played—you guessed it—in romantic moments in the first few instances. It is reprised numerous times later in the series, e.g. when Miaka tries to kill herself to save her friends and when Mitsukake dies.
  • Appears in Soul Eater with the songs "soul-eater (so scandalous)" and "soul-eater (reprise)." The first is a hip-hop tune with Word Salad Lyrics used over some title cards and at other light-hearted moments. The second keeps the Word Salad Lyrics, but the catchy refrain is gone, some of the lyrics are warped, it sounds a lot creepier in general, and it's generally played when people are going crazy.
    • It also has "Black Star (never lose myself)" and "Black Star (lost myself)". The first is a stirring hip-hop song that serves as Black Star's leitmotiv, the second one is a complete jumbled mess with the voice turned incomprehensible and the entire musical arrangement sounding like a carnival on acid.
  • Macross Frontier has the song Aimo, a love song/lullaby taught to Ranka Lee by her mother. Later in the series, Ranka sings a version created by her manager, Aimo O.C., which changes the song into a battle hymn.
  • One Piece has the melancholic track 'Hahanaru Umi' (Mother Sea), which is a slow piano cover of the series' upbeat theme song 'We Are!'
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has a weird version where the darker version shows up first... in the very first scene. It's a creepy song and fits the dark atmosphere of the scene. It turns out to be a slowed down, distorted version of the ending theme, "Magia", which the show deliberately avoided using until Episode 3. The ending version is... only slightly less creepy than the one used in the opening scene. The slowing down and pitching down of "Magia" and other songs in Episode 1 turned out to be a production error exclusive to certain TV broadcasts; it was later "SHAFTed" back to the regular version in the DVD/Blu-Ray releases.
    • Another weird variation comes up late in the series. Homura's theme, "Puella in somnio" (Girl in the Dream) tends to follow her arrival onto a scene without fail, and is a mysterious and airy. A reprise comes in the form of "Inevitabilis" (Inevitable), a heavy and melancholic piano reprise that plays during Episode 11 when she breaks down in front of Madoka and explains everything before resolving to fight Walpurgis Night by herself. While the reprise came up much earlier in the series, it's particularly more poignant in the context of this scene and sets a much bleaker tone from thereon in (which, for Madoka Magica, is saying something).
    • Signum Malum is a darker and more melancholic revision of Sis Puella Magica.
    • Sayaka Miki's leitmotif is a somewhat cheery tune called Decretum, which has a slower, more melancholic version called Conturbatio. Later, when Sayaka becomes a witch, she is accompanied by a harsh, orchestral version of Decretum called Symposium Magarum.
      • Oddly enough despite Conturbatio being the darker, more melancholic version, it's Decretum that's the dark reprise making this a minor example of Soundtrack Dissonance. Conturbatio plays when Sayaka makes her wish and when she is with Kyosuke, Decretum plays when she's sinking into despair and when she turns into a witch.
    • Early on, we have "Venari Strigas" (Witch Hunt) during a fight against a witch. Later on, we get "Surgam Identidem" (I will rise again), which plays during the climatic fight against Walpurgisnacht, the strongest witch in the story (not counting Kriemhild Gretchen).
  • Sailor Moon uses this to great effect many times. Some examples:
    • Most of the dramatic scenes in the first four seasons of the show use a slowed down version of the theme song, 'Moonlight Densetsu', most notably the star locket.
    • Sailor Stars also uses a slowed down version of the theme 'Sailor Star Song' in emotional scenes (though there's also a happier, faster version); it's even billed as a separate song in the soundtrack, called 'Makenai' (Don't Give Up). The same trick is used with Princess Kakyuu's theme in her death scene.
    • The way it happens in The Movie of Sailor Moon R is probably the most interesting: after Usagi manages to save 'everybody' as she puts it, with the help of the other senshi and Mamoru, using the power of the Silver Crystal in a sequence set to 'Moon Revenge', she uses up all her power and dies the song 'Fukkatsu No Serenade' starts playing, and it's somber and sad, but blossoms into a more hopeful tone as a contrite Fiore uses his powers to resurrect Usagi.
    • A scary version happens with the Sailor Star track ''Nehellenia Fukkatsu' which is already pretty sinister when normal, but is reprised later in the season, most notably when Sailor Galaxia kills 99% of the Earth's population, and it's pure undiluted Nightmare Fuel.
  • Spy X Family: In the first episode of the anime adaptation, the cheery tune of the track "Girl's Pastime" is changed to the sadder theme of "Subject 007" when Anya Forger has a flashback to her time at the laboratory she received her powers from.
  • In Fate/Zero, Let the Stars Fall Down and Manten share the same tune, the former being used when Irisviel takes on Kirei and the latter being used as the ending theme for Kiritsugu's flashback episodes. Then there's The Dream Fades Before Dawn #3, where the melody becomes flat out creepy. Fitting that it's featured when Kirei is about to backstab Tokiomi.
  • Everyone familiar with The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya knows about the cheery, happy tune of "Hare Hare Yukai" ("Sunny Sunny Happiness"), the ending theme from the anime adaptation's first season. Included in the Image Song Album for each of the characters is a version of "Hare Hare Yukai" sung by that character. For the most part they have the same lyrics, but Ryoko Asakura's version has very dark and moody lyrics about how she has no place in the world and mentions destruction a few times.
  • Kurogane from Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- has two themes, Break the Sword of Justice which is high energy action theme, and Broken Sword of Justice which is a slower more swelled orchestral theme. 'Broken Sword'' plays when Kurogane loses both his parents, his father to combat, and his mother at the hands of a murder.
  • Tokyo Ghoul has Unravel, the epic first-season opening, which, admittedly, was already a bit sad as far as the lyrics go, but then it just becomes... depressing with its special version during the second-season finale. What once was guitars and others becomes just a piano, a violin, a cello, and TK's fragile-sounding voice. While it plays, you see the aftermath of all that's happened in the episode: Anteiku has burned down, characters are dead and other characters are mourning, and most importantly, Kaneki is walking through this all, carrying the body of his best friend Hide in his arms.
  • In Your Name, the upbeat vocal opening theme, "Yume Tourou", gets remixed into the slow, melancholy instrumental "Kataware Doki" when Taki and Mitsuha finally meet in person at the lip of the mountain crater.
  • Happens with the anime adaptation of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable. The third opening theme, Great Days, has a cheerful and laid-back tune, with a warm color palette and the heroes standing together. However, during the final arc, the opening distorts into a creepy, off-tune mess with a dark and unsettling color palette, and some segments (and even the animation under it) being played backward, slowed down and sped up, to reference the Big Bad's terrifying 11th-Hour Superpower, which loops and distorts time.
  • The dub version of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! uses a foreboding version of Kirby's Transformation Sequence music for the scene in "Fossil Fools, Part 2" where a dinosaur made from Kirby's DNA copies the Fire ability.
  • My Hero Academia has several songs that are somber reprises of its most memorable themes.
    • The adrenaline-pumping "You Say Run" is the series' Signature Song for some of its greatest "Hell, Yes!" Moments. But "Anguish of the Quirkless" is a somber version that first plays the day Izuku learns he's Quirkless and thus his dreams of becoming a hero are impossible while he and his mom cry uncontrollably over it. The similarly saddening "Supportive Heart" features parts of "You Say Run" and plays when All Might has used up all of his power as Izuku sobs in his arms.
    • "I Am Here!" is All Might's soaring theme song that plays whenever he arrives to save the day. The far more solemn and gentle "Resting Symbol of Peace" plays as All Might reflects on how little time he has left to be a Hero as he clings to whatever remnants of One For All he has left.
  • Hunter × Hunter has Hyori Ittai, a fast-paced, upbeat fight song that plays during the second half of the Chimera Ant arc. A much more somber piano rendition plays when Killua finds a hopeless Gon having given up all nen he'll ever have to take revenge on Pitou.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is this to the original Final Fantasy VII. Apart from the Darker and Edgier approach, even the soundtrack features Dark Reprises of well-known tunes from the game itself - the random battle theme is now a chilling piano instrumental, and even the iconic One-Winged Angel has been amped up into a rock opera.
  • While the theme song ("Chirin No Suzu") to the 1978 animated film Ringing Bell was already melancholy from the very beginning. As the movie progresses, the song gets gloomier with newer lyrics added. A notable example is after Chirin mourns his mother's death, he decides to leave the stable and confront the wolf. As he's preparing to leave, a slower variation of the theme song is heard complete with drums.
  • Re: Cutie Honey: One of the villains' lackeys sings a mocking reprise of the iconic theme tune to lure Honey out after the whole city is convinced that she's only a danger to them, our heroine included.
  • The 1963 and 1980 versions of Astro Boy use melancholic or suspenseful reprisals of the main theme in various moments throughout the show. A notable example of this is the final episode of the 1963 show, which plays a choir version of the main theme as Astro Boy sacrifices himself to save the earth. The Japanese version of the 2003 show uses a sad music box reprisal of the original theme for flashbacks of Tobio's memories.
  • Early on in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, Tohru sings a cheerful tune about annihilating all the dust and garbage while cleaning. She sings it again 100 chapters later, only this time it's being used as a Pre-Mortem One-Liner as she prepares to finish off Jida.

    Audio Plays 
  • Doctor Who and the Pirates (one of the audio stories) has Evelyn Smythe and Red Jasper claiming to be a Pirate Queen and King respectively, filking a Gilbert and Sullivan song while Evelyn (a sixty-something history lecturer) attempted to intimidate a pirate crew. Red Jasper sings it again shortly afterwards, celebrating his absolute authority after forcing a crewman to eat his own tongue. The enthusiastic pirate chorus is... somewhat less enthusiastic.

    Fan Works 

Kirby, Kirby, Kirby...
He was the name we know...
Kirby, Kirby, Kirby...
He was the star of the show...
He was more than you think, he had maximum pink...

Kirby, Kirby, Kirby was the one...

  • Used in Gantz Abridged, of all places. In the final episode, when Kurono realizes that everyone else has died, a sad-sounding rendition of the Rickroll (Gantz's theme) plays in the background.
  • Draco's solo in "Back To Hogwarts" from A Very Potter Musical. It switches from the happy major of everyone else's solos to a high minor, and it's about his dream of leaving Hogwarts, taking over the world, forcing everyone to submit to him, and getting Harry out of his way. Of course, since it's a parody musical, it's played for comedy:
    ...and then I'll be the one who is totally awesome!
  • A meta version, in LazyTown, the memetic Villain Song known as "We Are Number One" has been met with people on the internet turning it into a Lonely Piano Piece after Stefan Karl Stephenson's death.
  • Perfect Cell's Villain Song in Dragon Ball Z Abridged initially has him being a Large Ham and introducing himself upon absorbing Android 18, but takes a sinister turn when he sings it after he survives a suicidal attack which take out King Kai's planet (killing its residents and Goku) and, after regaining his Perfect form, returns to Earth, killing Trunks to demonstrate what he means when he says "F is for how fucked you are".
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series fanfic Insontis, "Catch a Falling Star and Put it In Your Pocket" initially appears when Spock and kid!Kirk bond over having heard it from their mothers as children. When Spock is unconscious, McCoy walks in on Kirk trying to sing it to him.

    Films — Animation 

Disney Animated Canon:

  • Aladdin:
    • Jafar's reprise of "Prince Ali". "Prince Ali, Yes, it is he, But not as you know him."
    • "One Jump Ahead" and its reprise also qualify: in the first Aladdin sings about what a great thief he is, in the second he wishes people saw that there was more to him than that.
    • When Genie puts the palace on the mountain, a sinister slowed down version of "Friend Like Me" plays.
    • "Why Me" was a rejected alternate reprise of "Prince Ali". In the stage adaptation, it was used as Jafar's introductory song.
    • In the third movie Aladdin and the King of Thieves, everyone is singing about Aladdin and Jasmine's upcoming wedding, but in the middle, it's a slow Distant Duet between Aladdin and Jasmine nervous about the changes going on in their lives.
  • "Who's Been Painting My Roses Red?" from Alice in Wonderland, an accusatory reprise of the cheerful "Painting the Roses Red".
  • Beauty and the Beast:
    • "Gaston" starts out as an amusing but mostly harmless comedy piece, touting Gaston's "virtues" from the inane ("no-one's got a swell cleft in his chin like Gaston") to the unpleasant yet still funny ("in a wrestling match, nobody bites like Gaston!"). In the reprise, although the tune remains the same, all pretense is stripped away to openly trumpet Gaston's villainy. ("No-one persecutes harmless crackpots like Gaston!") There's a few Dark Instrumental Reprises in later scenes, such as when Gaston and LeFou visit Monsieur D'Arque and when he first encounters the Beast in the tower.
    • "Death of the Beast" is a sad instrumental reprise of "Beauty and the Beast" and the Beast's leitmotif, and had a rejected alternate version that was considered too light.
    • "The Mob Song" seems to follow the same melody as "Be Our Guest," with both the melody and material significantly darker.
  • In Cinderella, after the stepsisters rip up Cinderella's dress, dashing any of her chances to go to the ball, and Cinderella goes into the garden to cry, a somber offscreen chorus sings "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" while Cinderella has a Heroic BSoD lamenting that she's lost all hope (or so she thinks).
  • "Breakout/It Comes With a Pool" from Dinosaur, which is a dark reprise of "Courtship." It's played during the scene where Aladar, the Lemurs, Eema, Baylene, and Url accidentally discover an alternate route to the Nesting Grounds while attempting to find their way out of a large cave. The reprise comes in when Zini the lemur starts to surf in the lake, and the dark part comes in when Eema actually tells Aladar that the old entrance to the Nesting Grounds has been blocked by a huge landslide, and that Kron is threatening all the other dinosaurs into taking that route.
    • Also "Across the Desert", which is a slow and somber version of "Raptors/Aladar Meets the Herd". It's played during the scene where Kron forces the Herd (as well as Aladar, the Lemurs, Eema, Baylene, and Url) to march across an endless desert reminiscent of the final act of ''The Rite of Spring''. Fortunately, there's a lake ahead...
  • In Dumbo, following the Pyramid of Pachyderms disaster, Casey Jr. mournfully hums some bars from his otherwise cheerful theme song.
  • Frozen:
    • "For The First Time in Forever" has a reprise where Anna confronts her sister and tries to convince her to come home and end the winter she made. After Elsa learns she created an endless winter, she starts to panic, her singing quickly drowning out Anna's and ending with her accidentally striking Anna in the heart with her powers.
    • There's a melodic reprise of "Frozen Heart" as well at the end of that song which is appropriate because Anna now literally has a frozen heart.
    • "Do You Want To Build A Snowman?" morphs into a Dark Reprise of itself in the final verse. It begins as an upbeat song where the young Anna tries to get her sister to come out and play. The singing stops in the middle to depict their parents dying in a shipwreck. A final verse is then sung by Anna, pleading Elsa to let her in - sorrowfully ending on a tearful delivery of the line "do you want to build a snowman?"
    • The cut duet between Elsa and Anna, "Life's Too Short", had its own Dark Reprise. In a way it's also a dark reprise to "Do You Wanna Build A Snowman?" as it uses its melody. While Anna is slowly dying and Elsa is imprisoned in the castle's dungeon, they sing about their regrets. While the original is them arguing about how life's too short to put up with one another, the reprise is them realizing that life's too short to fight each other. Anna sounds painfully like she can barely breathe at the end of the song, implying it ended right before Olaf's scene.
    • An even earlier Cut Song "We Know Better" had a dark reprise. The first portion is about Anna and Elsa growing up together as little kids, having fun and making mischief. The dark reprise begins with civilians doubting Elsa due to her bold personality and frightening powers. Anna and Elsa begin to drift apart as the song goes on while people detest Elsa more and more. It ends with Elsa and Anna discussing princes - with Elsa being distasteful towards them while Anna adores the idea of falling in love - and Elsa repeats the chorus by herself.
    • On a score-related note, Hans has a leitmotif during the scene where he first meets Anna. After it's revealed that he's the Big Bad, the theme plays again with a more sinister tone.
  • Frozen II: The score "Ghosts of Arendelle Past" contains a dramatic instrumental reprise of "Dive down deep into her sound. But not too far, or you'll be drowned" from "All Is Found" near the end when Elsa freezes in Ahtohallan.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame:
    • The film features a lovesick Quasimodo singing about how he has finally found love after years of assuming he was unlovable (Heaven's Light). Not much later, these same lyrics are echoed with a new, bitter twist as he discovers this his newfound 'love' is more interested in her Knight in Shining Armor.
      I knew I'd never know
      That warm and loving glow
      Though I might wish with all my might
      No face as hideous as my face
      Was ever meant for Heaven's Light...
    • And seconds after the first instance, Frollo sings his own version, "Hellfire'', about his fury at and lust for Esmeralda.
      • In addition to the instant dark reprise, "Hellfire" doubles as Lyrical Dissonance. The Ominous Latin Chanting aka "Confiteor" is a general confession of sin recited at the beginning of Mass of the Roman Rite in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a strong contrast to Frollo's actual song.
        Frollo: It's not my fault! (Choire: Mea culpa through my fault)
        Frollo: I'm not to blame! (Choire: Mea culpa through my fault)
        Frollo: It is the gypsy girl, the witch who sent this flame! (Choire: Mea maxima culpa through my most grievous fault)
  • "The Bare Necessities (Reprise)" from The Jungle Book. It's sung by Baloo and Bagheera as the two both walk off into the sunset after Mowgli bids them both farewell and heads back to the Man-village. Earlier in the film, there is another dark reprise of "The Bare Necessities". Mowgli sings it before Baloo reluctantly attempts to take him to the Man-village.
  • Near the end of Pinocchio, a much more somber and slower variation of "When You Wish Upon A Star" performed on a violin is briefly heard as Geppetto and the others are mourning Pinocchio after Pinocchio died saving Geppetto's life. This is but moments before the Blue Fairy appears and announces Pinocchio's sacrifice is what proves himself brave, truthful and unselfish, and she restores his life and turns him into a real boy.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: The music that plays when the Sugar Rush characters bully Vanellope and destroy her kart is a darker version of the upbeat theme that plays during the roll-call for the race.
  • The Lion King (1994):
    • Scar was originally going to have a reprise of "Be Prepared". It started with the deleted scene of him trying to court Nala as his mate, then when she refuses and the pride refuses to banish her on Scar's behalf, he introduces them to the hyenas, who in this version had been denied the run of the Pride Lands for some time. They then sing a more traditional reprise of "Be Prepared", warning the lionesses that they now run the Pride Lands as they chase Nala away from home.
    • When Scar discloses his intent to kill Mufasa and Simba in "Be Prepared", the hyenas misread it to mean there would be no king at all, leading them to chant "No king! No king!" before Scar angrily corrects them. A choir can be heard singing an ominous reprise of this chant later as Mufasa struggles to save Simba during the wildebeest stampede, moments before being murdered by Scar.
    • Although it is sung first, it could be argued that Timon and Pumbaa's introduction and coda to "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" could fit in the Sarcastic Echo form.
  • Moana:
    • "More (reprise)" is a Cut Song that served as a dark reprise (or at least a sad reprise) to "More" (which was replaced with "How Far I'll Go"). The original song was about Moana's Small Town Boredom and how she wanted to sail the sea. The reprise takes place after her grandmother dies and Moana begins her journey.
    • Also, after escaping Tamatoa, Maui sings a dark reprise of "You're Welcome" that goes "What can I say except we're dead soon? We're dead soon. Hey! It's ok. It's ok. We're dead soon. We're dead soon".
    • Played for laughs, Tamatoa sings a sad reprise of "Shiny" after the credits.
  • The Princess and the Frog has two:
  • "Colors of the Wind (Reprise)" from Pocahontas. It's a somber, instrumental version of the song "Colors of the Wind" that plays at the end of the film where John Smith is actually sent back to England as a result of him being shot by accident by the villain while attempting to protect the Indian chief.
  • Tangled
    • The reprise of "Mother Knows Best". That was already a dark Villain Song to begin with, showing Gothel emotionally abusing Rapunzel under a "good mother" facade. At the reprise Gothel has dropped the facade and is now outright hostile to Rapunzel. The fact that both are literally in the dark but the first time it's because Mother Gothel closes the curtains, and at the reprise it's because they're outside at night, can be symbolism for Mother Gothel dropping her facade: the darkness as well as Mother Gothel's attitude is artificial vs. natural.
    • The second reprise of "The Healing Incantation" as Rapunzel desperately tries to revive the mortally wounded Flynn after her hair has been robbed of its healing magic.


  • All Dogs Go to Heaven:
    • All Dogs Go to Heaven: A Christmas Carol, it manages to have a normal song paired with a Dark Reprise at the same time with I Always Get Emotional At Christmas Time. On one hand, Killer is singing about how he loves Christmas and it makes him feel repentant for his evil deeds while Belladonna's version has her singing about how much she loves doing evil things to people on Christmas.
    • The second film has the reprise of "It Feels So Good to be Bad", brief as it is. While the first song was simply Red singing about how Evil Feels Good and how doing evil things can give one pleasure, the reprise is about how the coming success of his plan to steal Gabriel's horn and send all dogs to hell makes him feel good about what he's doing at the expense of others. The kicker that truly makes this a dark reprise? Carface, the previous song's Chew Toy is singing along with Red, saying how "it's deeply pleasing to be the reason so many will be so sad".
  • Arlo the Alligator Boy
    • The aptly titled "College of Broken Dreams", which segues into the BSoD Song, is an unhappy mashup of the songs "Better Life", "Beyond These Walls", "More More More" and "Follow Me Home", with more cynical lyrics.
    • And just in-between said moments when Arlo falls into the lake at Central Park before plunging into the sewer, the background score is playing a slow, more lustful instrumental reprise of the movie's prologue song, "New York, My Home".
  • Cats Don't Dance uses this trope with "Big and Loud". The first time, Darla is giving advice to Danny about how to impress an audience. Once Danny is hustled out the door, the lyrics change as she declares her true intent — to destroy Danny's career and that of anyone else who gets in her way. The first time she tells Danny, "[Your act]'s gotta be big and loud!" but it shifts to, "They're gonna fall big and loud!" The song is used a third time as she puts her plan into action, with the same lyrics as the second time, as she revels in her victory.
  • Coraline
    • When Coraline visits the Other Mother's parallel world, she meets the other world's version of Mister Bobinsky (her strange yet friendly house neighbor), who performs his the "Mice Circus" song. Later, when Coraline heads back to retrieve the souls of the Other Mother's victims, she finds the circus in disrepair and the Other Mr. Bobinsky reduced to a pile of talking rats. The song accompanying this scene presents the feeling of a circus falling apart.
    • Likewise, when she revisits Spink and Forcible's burlesque theater, the bawdily silly song they'd earlier performed plays in the background, making for an unnerving contrast to the gloomy setting. Eventually, it becomes a twisted sort of ballet music.
  • During the song "Let There Be Snow" in Frosty Returns, Mr. Twitchell sings one with his own lyrics ("There's no more snow!") to an industrial metal version of the tune.
  • Inverted and played straight in How to Train Your Dragon. The music playing when Hiccup first encounters Toothless is a sinister version of the "Friendship Theme" played later in the movie. This does however get a true dark reprise during the scene where Hiccup accidentally betrays Toothless by telling Stoick that only a dragon can find the hidden island.
    • Also played straight with "Test Drive", originally heard when Hiccup is learning to ride Toothless. A sadder version comes later after Hiccup lost a leg during his fight with Red Death, and must learn to walk with a crude prosthetic limb.
    • The Dark Reprise is used to great effect in the second movie as well. The lovers' song that Stoick and Valka sing together with such enthusiasm and joy when they are reunited is later brought back during Stoick's Viking Funeral as a slower, sadder version with mournful background vocals singing during Gobber's farewell speech to his friend.
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part: "Everything's Not Awesome" starts as a dark reprise of "Everything Is Awesome" after everyone is trapped in the storage bin after Ourmamageddon and they start to lose hope, but turns into a Triumphant Reprise after Lucy inspires everyone not to give up.


  • Coco: While the first performance of "Remember Me" is a bombastic grandiose ballad, it reappears on a more melancholy note later in the film. In an inversion, the former is actually Ernesto's bastardized version stolen from Héctor, while the latter is how the song was meant to be played, as a farewell lullaby from Héctor to Coco.
  • "How Bad Can I Be?" from The Lorax (2012) was supposed to have one in the cut song "Biggering" where the Once-ler takes a flying leap off the slippery slope, becoming a villain who is totally aware of the carnage he's causing and choosing to ignore it, rather than the Obliviously Evil Anti-Villain he stays in the real movie. The piece was removed for being too dark.
    Once-ler: Who cares if some things are dying? I don't wanna hear your crying!
  • In Mickey's Christmas Carol, the background music starting at Scrooge's arrival at the graveyard through Bob Cratchit's exit is mostly an instrumental sad reprise of the opening credits song, "Oh What a Merry Christmas Day".
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks:
    • The B-section of the Villain Song "Battle" is an evil counterpart to the chorus of the "Cafeteria Song" from the first Equestria Girls. This part gets an even darker arrangement in the Dazzlings' part of "Welcome to the Show", as mentioned in the Sarcastic Echo section.
    • When the Dazzlings have been defeated, they sing the "We will be adored..." part of "Welcome to the Show" horribly, as a result of all their powers gone when their ruby pendants have been destroyed.
  • In the My Friends Tigger & Pooh film Pooh's Super Sleuth Christmas Movie, there's "Christmas Isn't Coming," a sad reprise of the special's opening number "Christmas Comes Tomorrow," performed after the Sleuths and the rest of the cast, sans Darby, have given up the quest to reach the North Pole as hopeless.
  • In The Prince of Egypt, the song "The Plagues" is partially a dark reprise of Moses' earlier "I Want" Song inversion, "All I Ever Wanted", turning from a celebration of his life as an Egyptian to a lament over having to destroy it to win freedom for the Hebrew. It also doubles as a Villain Song for the Pharaoh, showing his anger at his foster brother's betrayal. Makes it even more dark and sadder if you remember that in-between "All I Ever Wanted" and "The Plagues", Moses' adoptive mother, the wife of the pharaoh, sings a reprise of this song, in a tender, motherly and comforting way, while trying to convince him to forget his true origin and embrace his Egyptian life and his adoptive family.
  • "My Kingdom of The Heart" from The Princess and the Pea. It was sung by Daria earlier as she and Rollo shared a Dance of Romance, and the reprise is sung when Rollo settles to marry Hildegard and Daria wanders around the forest after being exiled.
  • "I Stand Alone" in Quest for Camelot is Garrett's "I Am" Song in which he embraces his solitude and declares that he works alone. He gives it a brief but passionate Dark Reprise towards the end of the film, bitterly repeating the chorus as he unhappily resigns himself to remaining alone.
  • In the Chuck Jones adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Darzee's Chant gets a Dark Reprise when it is thought that Rikki has been killed offscreen by Nagaina. It then switches almost seamlessly into the triumphant original lyrics.
  • The song "First Toymaker to the King" from the Christmas Special Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town is reprised as "No More Toymakers to the King" by Burgermeister Meisterburger.
  • In The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, there's the Goofy Goober song. Sung at the beginning in a childish, sugary haze, it receives two dark reprises:
    • At the Thug Tug, the head thug realizes there are "babies" in their midst (i.e. SpongeBob and Patrick), and his method of weeding them out is to line everyone up and play the song at full volume, knowing that "no baby can resist singing along" to it. It becomes a full-on Dark Reprise when the thug, noticing the duo struggling to remain silent, leans right into their faces and starts singing the song in a taunting, sinister voice. They're a second away from breaking when another pair break first and are promptly set upon by everyone else in the bar, allowing them to escape unnoticed.
    • The song is reprised in a slower, lower key as the two main characters are literally being killed; by being dried up by the heat of a lamp's lightbulb shining over them.
  • In the South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, "La Résistance" begins as a rousing anthem in the vein of "One Day More" from Les Misérables. "La Resistance (Reprise)" is a duet between the Mole and Kyle as the Mole dies.
    • "La Resistance" also provides a very short version of this for Satan's oddly poignant Villain Song, "Up There." The original has him sing "Up There there is so much room/Where babies burp and flowers bloom," while he adds in the reprise, "Tomorrow night Up There is doomed..."
    • Also in the song, the brief reprise of 'Uncle Fucker'—as Terrance and Phillip await their pending execution, they sing "Looks like we may be out of luck/Tomorrow night, we're pretty fucked!!"
    • The Setting Introduction Song "Mountain Town" is quite cheerful, but Sheila's verse establishes her personality with its cynical lyrics and darker background music.
  • Thumbelina:
    • The song "Let Me be Your Wings" has a dark reprise halfway through the movie, called "Once There was the Sun". She sings this in lamenting Cornelius' apparent death.
    • When Thumbelina goes missing, her mother sings a sad reprise of Thumbelina's "I Want" Song "Soon".
  • "Friends to the End (reprise)" from Tom and Jerry: The Movie, which plays when Tom and Jerry start to chase each other again, all without any dialogue.
  • Toy Story 3 begins with a montage of clips of Andy playing with his toys while 'You've Got a Friend in Me' plays, until suddenly the music stops and the line 'our friendship will never die' is the last line you hear.
  • Up: The first song heard in the film is Charles Muntz's theme, a jaunty and optimistic tune that represents the inspiration he brings to Carl and Ellie. When Carl meets Muntz at Paradise Falls and his theme returns, it gradually takes on a far more sinister tone as his true intentions are revealed.
  • WALL•E has an interestingly reversed version of this, with the "dark" version coming before the 'light' one. In the first act, the titular robot watches a video of "It Only Takes a Moment" from Hello, Dolly!, with the sappy romantic lyrics serving only to accentuate the hopeless loneliness of his existence. The song is used throughout the film as a Leitmotif, until at the very end of the film it gets a full reprise, only this time played straight.

    Films — Live-Action 


  • Across the Universe: "I Want You" is an interesting case, where it starts as a dark song about war conscription, then has a "light reprise" (not quite triumphant) as Sadie and Jojo share a romantic moment. It then has another reprise, as Prudence sings the song, this time about her unrequited love for Sadie. So the third time the song is sung, it is a Dark Reprise of the second time the song is sung, while that second time is a light reprise of the original, dark song. Also is almost a Sarcastic Echo, since Prudence's lines almost make it a duet with Sadie's; however, the tone is more heartbreaking than sarcastic.
  • Ah Boys to Men has a dark rendition to the marching song "Training to be Soldiers" used in the prologue where a lone female singer sings it solemnly as Singapore is invaded though it turns out to be part of a video game in an internet cafe. Another version is used in real National Service to torment Aloysius for running away from a brawl in a restaurant.
  • Baby Driver has an inversion that segues into a straight example. Midway through the film, after what he believes was his One Last Job, Baby dances his way out of a junkyard while listening to "Easy" by Lionel Richie. At the end of the film, after his real One Last Job, Baby and Debora listen to a tape of Baby's mother performing a more quiet, sombre rendition of "Easy" as they drive away to their new life... only to run straight into a police roadblock. The song keeps playing as a full-on Dark Reprise as Baby allows himself to be arrested to spare Debora from jail, and is sentenced to a lengthy prison spell.
  • The main title of Back to the Future Part II is a mildly dark reprise of the theme music. It's played on lower instruments and, while still sounding perhaps triumphant, there is a certain foreboding to it.
  • Tim Burton's two Batman Film Series films have some:
    • Batman (1989)
      • The film has what could more properly called a "Darker/Sarcastic Reprise," we have Danny Elfman's "Waltz to the Death." This is played as The Joker, having first revealed his clown-face to the audience, murders his former boss by shooting the old man six times from various angles. Here the music is more darkly funny than scary, though it does segue into a creepy lullaby tune played on chimes at the end of the scene. Much later, toward the end of the movie, "Waltz to the Death" is heard again as Batman stalks the Joker in the cathedral belltower, only to be ambushed by his gang while the Joker forces Vicki Vale at gunpoint to dance a waltz with him. Now the tune is less brassy than before, with a weird dreamlike quality that would be a Light Reprise if it weren't so out of character for the Joker (it's really disturbing to see a man who had previously murdered a young boy's parents while taunting in a demonic voice being portrayed as a romantic gentleman, albeit a villainous one) and if it didn't abruptly fall off toward the end into almost total silence. Even before then, the howls of rage and pain as the Joker's Mooks and Batman beat the tar out of each other do a great deal to undercut the supposedly light mood of the piece.
      • Inverted on the movie's pop soundtrack by Prince. "Batdance," his dance mix at the end of the album, takes some of the darker songs that have gone before ("The Future" most notably) and parodies them by remixing them in a goofy "deejay" style.
    • There's a more straightforward example in Batman Returns. During the "Lair" sequence, we hear a poignant, hopeful violin piece as The Penguin speaks of returning to the world above and once again being accepted as a human being. After he has been rejected once again and vowed to kill all the children of Gotham City, the Penguin's theme is heard once more...this time (once again) in "chimey, creepy lullaby" style as the Penguin plays with an umbrella from which have been hung various toy animals.
      • Another inversion occurs with "Selina Transforms." When we hear it the first time, the piece starts out tragic and just goes downhill from there, mounting to what sounds like a Hitchcock movie score on acid as Selina Kyle loses her mind. "Selina Transforms" is then heard again at the end of the movie, but now it is Lighter and Softer, an elegy of sorts now that Catwoman is apparently dead.
      • "The Finale" soundtrack in Returns can be considered a Dark Reprise to the first film's "The Finale." Both scores end with church bells being rung three times before segueing into Batman's main theme, but while in the first film, they're being rung in a triumphant tone, in keeping with the second film's Bittersweet Ending, the bells are being rung in a slower, more somber mood.
  • The Disney adaptation of Bridge to Terabithia plays the Steve Earle song, "Someday", twice. The first time it's played, Jess and Leslie are starting to have feelings for each other as they began developing a blossoming friendship, with them having a Held Gaze on each other during the song. The same song is played again near the end... after poor Leslie suffered her Death by Newbery Medal and drowned in a creek, the day after her funeral, where the same replayed song is instead dark, sombre, and with Jess in mourning.
  • Parodied (or played straight, or...who the hell knows?) in The Brothers Solomon, in which the power ballad "St. Elmo's Fire" (from the film of the same name) is used first as a general triumphant anthem for the titular brothers. During their (extremely brief) falling out, a more sombre, acoustic version of the song is played.
  • The 1951 version of A Christmas Carol has the old folk song "Barbara Allen" as the leitmotif of Scrooge's kindly sister Fan - when she dies giving birth to his nephew the tune is played in a dark minor key. Then played again toward movie's end, when he reconciles with his nephew, in a warm cheerful fashion (at least as much as the lyrics allow).
  • The graveyard scene in A Christmas Carol: The Musical has a brief dark reprise of "A Place Called Home", as well as dark reprises of "You Mean More to Me"(when the Cratchits are mourning Tiny Tim) and "God Bless us Everyone"(sung by Grace Smythe and the ghosts of Fan and Mrs. Scrooge right before the Ghost of Christmas Future drops Scrooge into his grave, with a touch of Soundtrack Dissonance).
    • Additionally "Dancing on Your Grave" features a dark reprise of the instrumental intro of the already grim "Link by Link" as its main vocal melody, and of "Jolly Good Time" and the main melody of "Link by Link" as Scrooge's possessions are divided up, whilst "Yesterday, Tomorrow and Today" is the same tune as the warnings the Spirits sang to Scrooge earlier in the second half of "Nothing to Do with Me".
    • The Money Montage segment originally used a dark reprise of "The Lights of Long Ago", but it was omitted from later productions and the film. It still has a minor-key instrumental reprise of "Mr. Fezziwig's Annual Christmas Ball" when Marley dies.
  • One of the earliest examples of this in films occurs during the first half of Citizen Kane. As Charles Foster Kane is embarking on his political career, he brings a marching band and a line of chorus girls into his conference room to sing a very upbeat rendition of "There Is a Man, A Certain Man" to the assembled businessmen and politicians at the conference table. ("Who is this man? It's Charlie Kane! He doesn't like that 'Mister'; he likes good old 'Charlie Kane'!") Much later, after Kane has lost the race for New York governor under extremely humiliating circumstances, a much slower and even dirge-like version of "There Is a Man" is played as an instrumental tune as Kane's campaign workers clean all the confetti off of the stage.
  • In Con Air, Garland and a little girl sing "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands". He sings it again as the plane crashes into the Las Vegas strip.
  • Early in Darling Lili, Lili performs "I'll Give You Three Guesses" as a cheery, wholesome song-and-dance number. Later, after discovering her jealousy of Crepe Suzette, she changes it to a striptease.
  • Dead Poets Society: After Neil's death, the society's theme plays mournfully as the remaining members try to pay tribute, with Todd breaking down from trying to process this.
  • Enchanted:
    • Edward and Giselle sing "I've Been Dreaming of True Love's Kiss". When they reunite, he sings this to her again but she forgets the words.
    • A sad instrumental of " That's How You Know " plays when Narissa manipulates Giselle into eating the poisoned apple.
  • In Gone with the Wind, Gerald O'Hara has the song "Peg in a Low-Backed Car", which he sings every time he gallops home drunk. It's Played for Laughs until his Sanity Slippage takes effect later in the book. While singing it, he attempts to jump the gate, falls off his horse, breaks his neck and dies.
  • The opening theme to the first Harry Potter movies, is dramatically skewed for the Deathly Hallows part 2 trailer.
  • "Gong Jin'ou", the national anthem of the Qing Dynasty, is sung formally in The Last Emperor, then gets sadly reprised one last time before the Qing abdicate.
  • Inverted in Logan. "Old Man Logan" (a bleak, depressing western-type track) plays at the beginning, while we see the muted agony he lives through day by day (As he's pulling out his stuck claw with his bare hands, while hungover and covered in fresh wounds). However, at the very end, when he finally dies, having saved the mutant kids, with his daughter holding his hand we hear the same music start, only to turn into the sweet, emotional reprise "Don't Be What They Made You".
  • In Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, we see Gollum singing joyfully while catching fishes in a mostly comical scene. However, at the start of The Return of the King we see a flashback of how he became what he is, and the song echoes in the background as he sinks his rotting teeth into a raw, live fish, and the song emphasises how degenerate, wretched creature he became under the Ring's power.
    ♫ The rock and pool
    Is nice and cool,
    So juicy-sweet!
    Our only wish,
    To catch a fish,
    So juicy-sweet! ♫
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron uses a slow, nightmarish version of "I've Got No Strings" from Pinocchio. Post Villainous Breakdown Ultron is actually singing this in bits and pieces, in the Quinjet.
    • The closing credits of Avengers: Infinity War (which are also the first in the MCU to completely avert the Creative Closing Credits) are set to a sombre orchestral piece, which ends with the film's title card scattering into dust over a quiet piano-rendition of the normally epic and bombastic Avengers-theme that accompanied the title cards of the previous two films.
    • The triumphant "Wakanda" from Black Panther (2018) gets a of mournful rendition in "Killmonger vs.T'Chaka" the moment that Killmonger kills Zuri and takes advantage of T'Chaka's rage afterwards to seemingly kill him and mixes parts of "Killmonger" and "Ancestrial Plane" for his taking of the throne. Then it gets a bittersweet reprise when T'Challa kills Killmonger in "The King's Sunset"
  • In Mary Poppins, an already dark song gets an even darker reprise. "Feed the Birds" is first sung by Mary to the Children, and later played in an orchestral version as Mr. Banks heads off to be fired. The reprise continues relatively toned down as Banks walks alone through the London streets until he reaches St. Paul's... and its steps are completely barren, of birds and bird woman alike. At this point the orchestra swells to its full tearful majesty as Mr. Banks looks skyward, forlorn and desperate.
    • Earlier, after Mr. Banks sings a self-pitying song about said firing (itself a Dark Reprise of "The Life I Lead", Mr. Banks' theme), Bert (Bert!) gives him a Reason You Suck Song by both echoing "The Life I Lead" and reprising "A Spoonful of Sugar" into a song about Banks' neglect of his children for his work. However, when it reaches "A Spoonful of Sugar" it becomes briefly uplifting again, as Banks realises what is truly important to him.
  • The trailer for Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation features a menacing version of "Ready or Not" by the former hip-hop group The Fugees.
  • In the soundtrack to the Kenneth Branagh movie of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing (1993), the melody of the wedding march at Hero's first, doomed wedding reappears (in minor key) as her dirge when she is believed dead. By contrast, no music is played at the second wedding (during which the audience knows that the bride is Hero, alive and well, but her groom believes her dead and thinks he is marrying her cousin) until the moment she lifts her veil. This is very effective in setting the mood for all three scenes.
  • While not exactly a reprise, The Muppet Christmas Carol had a sad little echo of 'Bless Us All', sung by Tiny Tim about how he and his family have so much to be grateful for, played as it pans over his crutch after his death with his family in mourning.
    • It also contains a Light Reprise of 'When Love Is Gone' sung while Scrooge is left by his fiance sung at the end as 'The Love We Found' after he changes his ways. Sadly, the first song was cut from the theatrical release (and only reinstated on some video releases), meaning that the finale is less poignant.
  • Jack's reprise of "Santa Fe" in Newsies is pretty damn bleak.
  • In The Nutty Professor (1963), Buddy Love sings "That Old Black Magic" much to the delight of a club full of youngsters. Later, he sings it again drunkenly after hours. The girl he is with starts to see how limited his appeal really is.
  • Inverted in 102 Dalmatians when we get a light reprise of "The Villain Sucks" Song from the first movie talking about the confusion of why Cruella is being nice and is now an animal lover.
  • In Paint Your Wagon, The Parson leads the citizens of No Name City in The Gospel of No Name City, warning them against their wicked ways or God "will gobble up this town and swallow it down." Naturally, the townsfolks take the Parson's preaching as a compliment. The song is reprised by the chorus, with one modified line note , when No Name City actually sinks into the Earth.


  • Godzilla vs. Kong: The soundtrack version. The film reverts Godzilla's Triumphant Reprise from Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) into a darker, slower, more foreboding theme similar to the original version, reflecting Godzilla's more hostile and antagonistic-seeming role in this film compared to how the previous film made him out to be a heroic, deity-like being.
  • Last Night in Soho: Cilla Black's "You're My World" features in a glorifying context during Ellie's first vision of Sandie, but it returns in a haunting context as Sandie/Miss Collins attempts to kill Ellie in the climax. Sandie's rendition of the song as she stalks with a knife colors the loving lyrics as an obsessive Murder Ballad ("you're every breath I take"), while the violin from the song now sounds more like full-blown "Psycho" Strings. The song shifts back into Cilla's rendition, but remains dark due to being ironically and tragically joyous against the struggle and the full picture of Sandie's life.
  • The Phantom of the Opera movie musical ends with a sad melody of Christine's breakthrough hit "Think of Me" when the elderly Raoul visits her grave.
  • Predator has a pop-music version: As the commandos' helicopter is touching down in the jungle, the guys are full of macho bravado, slathering on camouflage makeup and trading humorous insults, while Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" blasts from a cassette player; the music is then abruptly cut off during the landing. Later in the movie, when the commandos are finally starting to realize that they're being hunted by a killer from outer space, Mac suffers some Sanity Slippage and begins heedlessly babbling "He saw his baby coming and he jumped back in the alley...We gonna have some fun tonight...have some fun tonight..."
  • Compare the ending song of "Everyone Wants to Rule The World" (by Tears for Fears) in ending of Real Genius to the trailer of Dracula Untold. (By Lorde). First. Second.
  • "Ramona On My Mind" on Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is played sadly again after she gets back together with Gideon.
  • The Sound of Music:
    • "Edelweiss" comes up twice in the movie: First as a straightforward sign that Captain von Trapp is finally opening up to his family, and later as a defiant but bittersweet statement of patriotism in the face of a Nazi takeover that will do away with the country he loves. It's a subtler version in that the song is performed in the same key, performed by the same person, and does not differ until the Captain falters in his singing. (This is only a Dark Reprise in the movie version; on stage, the song is sung in the later scene only.)
    • The second-act reprise of "My Favorite Things" begins as this, with the children trying to cheer themselves up after Maria has left, but it doesn't work. Then it turns into a Triumphant Reprise as Maria returns and sings along with them.
    • The children sing "The Sound of Music" for the Baroness when she arrives and this leads to their father bonding with them. Later on after Maria has left and the children are depressed, Max tries to get them to sing. Thus the song becomes sadder and some of the children are unable to do it. (This is again only in the film version; in the stage version, the Captain stops them from singing the song again at this point.)
    • "So Long, Farewell". The first time, the Von Trapp kids sing this to a bunch of amused guests. The second time they sing it to a festival sponsored by Nazis, and begin their Run for the Border immediately after all of them are conveniently offstage. However, the trope is averted in that the song is played the same way both times (not counting the faster version the orchestra strikes up at the end of the latter scene, when it becomes clear that the family has escaped).
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek Beyond has a dark reprise of "Enterprising Young Men" when the Enterprise is attacked and boarded by Krall and his mooks and a sad reprise when what's left of her crashes on Altamid.
    • In the opening of Star Trek Into Darkness, there's a more of a tragic dark reprise of the classic Trek theme leading up to the introduction of Harrison.
  • Star Wars
    • Inverted at the end of The Phantom Menace, where the celebration music is a childrens' choir doing a "light" version of the Emperor's exceptionally dark Leitmotif (far grimmer than, if not as immediately imposing as, the Imperial March), foreshadowing the coming darkness. Similarly, at the end of Attack of the Clones, a more triumphant version of the Imperial March is played, underscoring that while the clones appear to be a good thing at the time, evil will come of them later.
    • The prequels are just full of this. Anakin's Theme from Episode I repeatedly utilizes six notes from the Imperial March in a soft, light piece. Also, it doesn't quite count, but at the end of Episode II, the love theme that plays over Anakin and Padme's wedding morphs into something that calls to mind the Imperial March. Most of the end credits music for Attack of the Clones is the love theme, with a different ending—it segues into the main thrust of the March, as played slowly on a double bass.
    • The iconic "Force Theme" has several variations ranging from solemn and contemplative (the "Binary Sunset" scene) to triumphant (Leia honoring the heroes for blowing up the Death Star, young Anakin blowing up a TradeFed battleship), but perhaps the darkest variant plays during the final stage of the duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin.
    • Another inversion occurs when Anakin Skywalker dies at the end of Episode VI, where the Imperial March is reprised quietly on a solitary harp.
    • In the Shadows of the Empire soundtrack, "Leia's Nightmare" is a dark version of the "Han and the Princess" love theme mixed with the Imperial March. This is originally in the soundtrack for The Empire Strikes Back during the carbon freeze scene.
    • Yoda's death music in Return of the Jedi is a sad reprise of his theme and the Force theme.
    • Star Wars is made of this trope. Most of the consequential music pieces are darker versions of earlier pieces of the trilogies.
  • Parodied in Team America: World Police: "America, Fuck Yeah" is played again later on in the movie, when Gary has left the team and the rest of them go to fight Kim Jong-Il alone. The musical tone is sad and subdued in the reprise, but the lyrics are exactly the same, which is to say, relentlessly boisterous, boorish and ultra-patriotic. The soundtrack actually labels this song as the "Bummer Mix".
  • Titanic (1997): Near the middle of the movie, Jack is singing 'Come Josephine' to Rose as they stand near the front of the ship because it feels like they're flying. Later, singing the song is the only thing keeping Rose alive. Also, the music that plays during the dramatic final plunge of the sinking (aside from that played by the actual musical trio, of course) consists heavily of the main theme of the movie, but in a darker and more frantic tone.
  • Train to Busan: Su-an's initial performance of "Aloha'oe" (Farewell to Thee) is shown at her school recital. She had practiced it with the intention of performing it for her dad, who didn't show up to the recital. She sings it loudly at the end, letting the Busan soldiers know that she and an accompanying pregnant lady are both human, and not zombies. Fittingly, it's a farewell song - and she chose it for her dad, who killed himself after he was bitten and infected by a zombie, just minutes ago.
    ♫ Aloha 'oe, aloha 'oe
    Until we meet again... ♫
  • Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen has a Dark Reprise of the iconic 'landing of the Autobots' scene from the first movie, with landing Decepticons causing widespread damage.
    • Many of the musical themes from the first film are gone, and Optimus's theme becomes the backbone of the score. However, it's never in the same tone of the previous film, which was performed on a woodwind and with minimal percussion to make Optimus's theme sound more organic. The two main treatments are a minor-key variation with dark brass, and a more "spiritual" take (generally used for scenes involving the mythology and taking place after Optimus's death) utilizing a One-Woman Wail. To hear the effect in full, listen to the track titled "Optimus" from the first film, then the one titled "Prime" from the second.
    • In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the scene in which the Autobots are exiled and forced to leave Earth is accompanied by a heartbreakingly sad reprise of the "Arrival on Earth" theme from the first movie: "There is No Plan".
  • TRON: Legacy: The opening notes of "Adagio for Tron" are the same notes (in a lower key) as the sweet end credit music from the first film.
  • The original theme from Unbreakable gets a more distorted remix combing motifs from its Stealth Sequel Split in the Grand Finale Glass (2019) with the track "David & Elijah", in which Mr. Glass himself threatens David Dunn that a whole lot of people will die at the hands of him and the Beast unless if he. Breaks through. That. Door!
  • Pink Floyd's The Wall features a darker reprise of an already-dark song. "In The Flesh?" expresses Pink's disillusionment with life, or, alternately, an outsider's view as Pink starts to isolate himself. Later, "In The Flesh!" shows Pink's graduation into a full-blown fascist after a psychotic breakdown.
    • "Hey You" could also be considered another darker reprise of "Another Brick In The Wall" (Parts All) as they both share the same guitar riff. "Another Brick in The Wall" being about Pink's anger at the world and feelings of abandonment which leads him to build the Wall while "Hey You" is about the crushing despair and loneliness he feels once he completely withdrew behind it only to find that he was trapped behind the wall.
      • The various parts of "Another Brick In The Wall" are gradually darker reprises of one another too, while each is of a rather dark subject matter (His father dying, his cruel authoritarian teachers, and his wife cheating on him and leaving him respectively) they get increasingly angry and deranged with each passing part, Part I is rather cold about it, part II is much louder and more aggressive, and Part III is by far the angriest and loudest with the same ghostly guitar riff used in all of them becoming much louder and faster.
  • In War Comes to America, the last film in the Why We Fight series, the song My Country, 'tis of Thee plays over an animation of America's early expansion. At the end of the film, a dark version plays over scenes of Pearl Harbor on fire, morphing into a Triumphant Reprise as FDR calls for war against Japan.
  • A few times in Will Ferrell movies:
    • In Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the day after he goes out with his attractive co host, Ron Burgundy and his crew sing "Afternoon Delight." Later, he has lost his job and all respect, and is now sitting drunk at the bar, singing the same song in a drunken, sad way.
    • In Blades of Glory, the song for the pairs first performance is "Don't Want To Miss A Thing." After his partner refuses to speak to him, he leaves many messages on his phone, one of which is a sad, drunken version of that song.
    • And Semi-Pro: Jackie Moon earned all his money that he bought the Tropics with using royalties from his song "Love Me Sexy." He later goes through a Heroic BSoD of sorts, and sings a variation of that song while lying in a dumpster. Yes, it's sad and drunken.
  • The Wizard of Oz, in a scene that was ultimately cut from the movie for being a little too long and depressing, had Dorothy doing a Dark Reprise of the famous song "Over The Rainbow" after being trapped by the Wicked Witch in her castle. The performance is said to have reduced the cast and crew to tears. The remainder of the scene is kept in the movie: Dorothy cries out to Auntie Em how frightened she is, and Aunt Em appears in the crystal ball. After begging Dorothy to tell her where she is, she vanishes into a swirl of light. The swirl converges onto the witch, mocking her "Come back! Come back!" She cackles at Dorothy before turning toward the camera (the audience) and cackling as if to say, "You're next!"

  • In The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo and Frodo sing almost the same song as they leave the Shire. A single adjective is the difference between Bilbo's song of adventure and Frodo's complaint the arduousness of his task.
    (Bilbo's version) Now far ahead the Road has gone
    And I must follow, if I can
    Pursuing it with eager feet...
    (Frodo's version)
    Pursuing it with weary feet...
  • Children's story Superworm, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler of Gruffalo fame, invokes this of all things with a reprise of the "Superworm is super-long, Superworm is super-strong" theme after Superworm's capture.
    • Crow: Superworm is good to eat! Superworm's a special treat!
  • In A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Francie is horrified to hear her father come home singing the last verse of "Molly Malone" ("She died of a fever, and no one could save her..."), a verse he otherwise never sang. He dies a few weeks later.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A sinister cello version of Jenna's Turkish pop song "Muffin Top" plays during 30 Rock episodes when she or Tracy are up to something.
  • Austin, from Austin & Ally sings a slow acoustic version of the upbeat title song in Albums & Auditions. The lyrics are all about how Austin can't do what he does without Ally. The sad situation of Ally leaving the group to go to New York makes it a Dark Reprise.
  • Babylon 5: Early in season 1, we hear G'Kar singing a merry Gilbert and Sullivan-inspired song comparing the acts of fishing and flirting while preparing his dinner. Fast forward to season 4, and G'Kar is trapped with his Arch-Enemy Londo Mollari in a burning elevator. G'Kar begins to softly sing again, but wit new lyrics, this time comparing Londo to the freshly caught fish.
  • Bates Motel: In season 2, Norman and Norma sing "Mr. Sandman" as an audition for a community theatre musical. In season 4's "Forever," Nan Vernon's Softer and Slower Cover of the song plays as Norman turns up a broken furnace and starts closing air vents so that he and Norma will die of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • "Under Your Spell". In the first version, an upbeat love song, Tara uses the title phrase metaphorically; later Tara discovers she is literally under a spell to prevent her breaking up with Willow, and the Dark Reprise uses the phrase literally. The second version is actually a double version of this, seeing as it's a duet with an (even) Darker Reprise of Giles' earlier "Standing".
    • In "Walk Through the Fire", Tara reprises Buffy's lines from "If We're Together": "We can't we face / If we're together?"
  • Cobra Kai: S2E10 begins with the original version of "Cruel Summer" playing, and ends with Kari Kimmel's slow, somber version of the same song.
  • In a season 3 Community episode where Annie accidentally breaks Abed's The Dark Knight DVD, Troy walks in on her while he is humming "Daybreak". After telling Annie to confess, Troy walks away while humming "Daybreak" again, but this time crying while doing so.
  • Doctor Who:
  • A sad rendition of Sybil and Branson's love theme "Emancipation" plays after she died in Downton Abbey.
  • Entertainment Tonight uses a Lonely Piano Piece version of their theme whenever a celebrity dies.
  • The background music during the final scene of the Firefly episode "Jaynestown" is a sad, subdued, instrumental version of the earlier "Ballad of Jayne".
  • In the Fringe episode "Brown Betty", the story version of Walter is introduced amongst the cheerful sound of corpses singing The Candyman. Later, he sings it to himself as his son abandons him and he is left to die alone.
  • Game of Thrones uses this trope several times:
    • The first appearance of King Robert is heralded by a grand song called "The King's Arrival". The theme is then played as "You Win or You Die" at the climax of the eponymous episode. Then in the second season premiere, another more dark version of the theme, "The Throne Is Mine", plays when guardsmen hunt down and systematically kill Robert's bastard children throughout the capital. Inverted in the same piece when it transitions into "Black of Hair", a more triumphant rendition of the Baratheon theme, when Gendry escapes the purge. Then it's given an even darker and creepier reprise in Season 3 as Littlefinger's theme "Chaos Is a Ladder".
    • "The House of the Undying", played during Daenerys' Bad Future vision in the House of the Undying sequence near the end of "Valar Morghulis" is a grimmer rendition of "Finale", the track played over the reveal of the dragons at the end of the first season, mixed with elements of "The Wall".
    • Theon's theme, "What Is Dead May Never Die", first heard when he returns to the Iron Islands, gets a twisted and dissonant reprise in "A Man Without Honor" to hint at his deteriorating mental state. This is taken further in Season 3 when it sped up and set to a drum beat to reflect Theon's panic during his flight and later corrupted into "Reek" when Ramsay tortures Theon into accepting his new name.
      • "Chaos is a Ladder" itself receives a Dark Reprise, an eerie and lonely five notes when Littlefinger finally lies dead in a puddle of blood, executed by the Starks for his crimes against them.
    • In the final episode of the second season, "Valar Morghulis", a very grim, foreboding version of the series' main theme called "Three Blasts" is played when an army of dead led by the White Walkers approaches the Fist of the First Men. In the same episode, a mournful version of the main theme is played on a sorrowful violin as the Stark kids, Hodor and Osha survey the burnt wreck of Winterfell.
    • In a season 3 episode, the Brotherhood without Banners sing "The Bear and the Maiden Fair". In the end it is reprised as a heavy metal riff after Jaime gets his hand cut off.
    • The National's "The Rains of Castamere" during the end credits of "Blackwater" acts as this for a far more cheery rendition performed by Bronn earlier in the episode. Then in "The Rains of Castamere", the eponymous music is played during the Red Wedding, were Robb and his bannermen are killed, and again when Ned Starks sword has been reforged into two swords. Finally it is played following the death of Joffrey and upon Tywin Lannisters death at the hands of Tyrion, signifying the beginning of the end of the Lannisters. In a bit of irony Tywin is very much the reason how the music came to be.
      • Later done again in the show's penultimate episode, "The Bells". After Cersei and Jaime are crushed beneath the falling rubble of the collapsing Red Keep, Serj Tankian provides the song's final reprise, which is also the most bombastic yet tragic as it signifies the near-death of the House. For extra irony, the manner of their deaths mirrors the houses mocked in the song. The pair are trapped under ground like House Reyne, buried by their collapsing castle like House Tarbeck, and killed as the city is being sacked, much like Elia Martell and her two children during Robert's Rebellion were at Tywin's orders.
    • The sixth season finale opens with "Light of the Seven", a lovely piano piece that slowly adds the cello and organ along with vocalizations. As the piece goes on, Cersei and Loras' trial by the Faith begins. As Lancel spots the wildfire, though, and Margaery begins to put two and two together, things speed up musically, quickly turning south along with the action. As the situation becomes more tense, the organ starts playing the main theme of the show in a frantic and alarming manner. And then, when the music cuts off, the wildfire ignites, destroying the set.
  • In Season 4 of Glee, Blaine sings a stripped-down version of Teenage Dream to his boyfriend Kurt before admitting that he cheated on him. The usual upbeat and happy version song is the first one Blaine ever sang to him back in Season 2.
  • In the BBC adaptation of Gormenghast, Lady Fuschia sings a childish (and rather stupid) rhyme to announce herself in the first episode ('I am Fuschia, I am me...') and in the final episode, Steerpike sings a seriously twisted version gloating about his utter madness and the fact that he has mudered several members of Fuchsia's family, including her two aunts, whose corpses he is dancing around at the time. And it's all downhill from there...
  • The theme for the documentary series Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story, detailing historic child sex offences against Jimmy Savile, is a darker version of the theme for Jim'll Fix It, the show he was most associated with.
  • In Flemish series Kabouter Plop by Studio 100, the show's theme sometimes plays in a sober tone whenever a sad moment occurs between the characters.
  • Kamen Rider:
  • The opening theme of Loki (2021), "TVA", receives an intense and ominous arrangement for the end credits of the first season's final episode, which is a reflection on the state of the TVA after He Who Remains dies and Kang takes over in that episode.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power introduces Halbrand as a Mysterious Stranger that Galadriel meets in the middle of the sea. First hint that he is from the Southlands, comes from the hardanger fiddle performing same instrumental as the Southlands theme. His theme is melancholic and rustic, but gets a twisted and ominous arrangement in the final episode of Season 1, right before acknowledging he is Sauron.
  • The episode preceding Lost's fourth season finale introduces the show's home theme as a happy, sentimental motif. The episode's final moment's transform it into a song of doom.
  • In the Series 4 finale of Merlin, a lovely piece of music plays over Gwen's coronation. Come the finale, the same melody returns in the scene when Arthur dies. Talk about Mood Whiplash.
  • The Mickey Mouse Club: Now it's time to say goodbye to all our company.../M-I-C ( real soon!)/K-E-Y (Why? because we like you!)/M-O-U-S-E...
  • NCIS does this in several episodes with their theme song, both with 'darker' versions as well as several sad versions. Interestingly, they often only change the speed of the song.
  • Power: The season 6 mid-season finale and finale, "No One Can Stop Me" and "Exactly How We Planned", play a sad version sung by Jacob Banks of the opening theme, "Big Rich Town", over the ending scenes of Ghost falling after being shot and of Tasha being booked into jail.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Episodes of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers usually end with a brief, chipper instrumental reprise of "Go, Go, Power Rangers" before the credits. However, a darker, slower and uncompleted reprise closes darker endings such as the earlier episodes of arrivals the evil Green Ranger and Lord Zedd and after the Command Center is blown up at the end of third season.
    • In Power Rangers Wild Force, the standard music for the combination of the Wild Force Megazord begins with a jungle drumbeat, symbolic of the show's theme. When Zen-Aku combines the Predazord for the first time on screen, it's personal theme begins with an off-key version of the Wild Force Megazord's theme.
  • In Robin Hood, when Isabella first shows up, she's accompanied by a very dark, off-key remix of Marian's theme, indicating that her betrayal was planned from the start.
  • John's theme in Sherlock is shifted into a minor key for the music that plays when he is mourning Sherlock.
  • A variant from Stranger Things: the already ominous theme used for the Upside Down gets a slower and even more threatening reprise 51 seconds into "Rats". The latter plays during a scene in the third season's first episode where the Mind Flayer enacts its plan to create a flesh proxy in the real world by forcing several dozen rats to explode into viscera.
  • The Story of Tracy Beaker featured a slow, sombre piano rendition of the theme song that would play over more poignant moments, typically involving Tracy and her absent mother. Results in a bit of Lyrical Dissonance given the upbeat, positive nature of the lyrics.
  • In each episode of The Sweeney the opening theme are upbeat and heroic, while the closing theme is the same themes but slower and in a minor key, reflecting Regan's incomplete success and his regrets for the compromises necessary to achieve even that.
  • In episode seven of The Terror, when a demented Hickey brutally stabs Lieutenant Irving to death, a twisted version of the song that Irving was singing ('Hampstead is the Place to Ruralize') at the Carnivale in the previous episode can be heard.
  • More of an even darker reprise of already dark music: In Torchwood: Children of Earth "Day One", "Countdown to Destruction" plays over the imminent destruction of the Hub and a very passionate kiss between Jack and Ianto. Come "Day Four", the same music plays when Jack and Ianto confront the 456, which doesn't end well. The real gut punch? The very same snippet that played over the kiss in Day One plays as Ianto collapses in Day Four.
  • The promo and first trailer for The Twilight Zone (2019) use a dark, ominous remix of the theme for the classic series.
  • In Walking with Beasts, when the Neanderthals attack the mammoths, the music that plays is a mix of the ones played during the mammoth migration and Megaloceros hunt but darker and with chanting and drums.
  • The Wire:
    • In the penultimate season 2 episode, a jaunty folk tune plays when Frank decides to stick it to the Greek. It plays again when they meet to discuss getting Frank's son Ziggy out of prison except the Greek's FBI mole found out Frank talked to the cops so he's walking to his death.
    • The season 1 version of the theme song plays over the series finale montage, indicating that nothing has changed in Baltimore.
  • One episode of The Wonder Years opens with Kevin extolling the virtues of his sweetheart Winnie as the Beach Boys' classic "God Only Knows" plays. The song is used again at the end of the episode when Winnie dumps Kevin.
  • Wynonna Earp: The theme song, "Tell That Devil", is usually fast-paced in order to reflect the action-packed nature of the series. However, in the episode "Colder Weather" it's much slower and more somber, reflecting the In-Universe mood following the death of Dolls in the previous episode.
    • A similarly somber version of the theme tune plays over one of the final scenes of the Season 3 finale as Doc ascends to Eden to rescue Waverly.

  • Nena's hit "99 Red Balloons" is a song about 99 red balloons being mistaken for a threat on radar and the nuclear holocaust starting. It's not exactly a sunshine song, but it's rather upbeat. Then the melody and lyrics turn soft and wistful for the final verse:
    99 dreams I have had
    And every one a red balloon.
    It's all over and I'm standing pretty
    In this dust that was a city.
    If I could find a souvenir
    Just to prove the world was here...
    And here is a red balloon
    I think of you and let it go...
  • The Who's The Kids Are Alright from My Generation: The middle two sentences ("I know, if I go, things will be a lot better for her. I had things planned, but her folks wouldn't let her.") change the meaning of repeated verse.
  • In The Protomen, Mega Man declares "As I live, there is no evil that will stand, and I will finish what was started - the fight of Protoman", when he first decides to avenge his brother. He repeats the line near the end of the opera, only this time, he's referring to trying to force humanity to fight for itself by allowing Dr. Wily to slaughter it.
  • Arcade Fire's album The Suburbs, about the appeal and dream-crushing nature of the aforementioned place, ends with a dark reprise of the titular song, representing (in one interpretation) the overwhelming nature of the suburbs. It ends with a slow fadeout of the words "Sometimes I can't believe it/I'm moving past the feeling", implying that while the protagonist once railed against the suburbs vociferously, he has given up his fight as futile.
  • Muse has the song Hyper Music which is an upbeat noise rock song... and also Hyper Chondriac Music, which is the same song but done in a mournful acoustic style. The lyrics were about someone going through a breakup and the stages of anger and depression respectively.
  • Skinny Puppy's Remission has "Glass Houses", and its more sinister reprise, "Glass Out".
  • Cord Lund's I Wanna Be in the Cavalry and its reprise: The first song is an upbeat country song about a young recruit, full of eagerness and enthusiasm who wants to join the cavalry. The reprise is a song about the hardships of being of a cavalryman in the 19th century, disease, starvation, and the elements and all. To add to the bleakness, the narrator is a soldier in an army fighting a losing war.
  • In Joanna Newsom's album Have One On Me, the final song, Does Not Suffice, is a Dark Reprise of the central In California. Whilst In California is about the evaluation of a relationship, which is threatened by distance, homesickness and a fear of commitment, Does Not Suffice is a definite break-up, as the voice describes packing her belongings and leaving her lover, stating that "everywhere I tried to love you is yours again and only yours". The "chorus" of In California, which focused entirely on a sense of indecision, is echoed in Does Not Suffice by a series of resigned, defeated lalala's, which fade away as they are overwhelmed by strings and a burgeoning, crashing electronic drone (a stark mechanical presence in an album full of pastoral imagery). Definitely darker.
  • In "Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf" by The Killers, it's the line, "And I love you endlessly, darling, don't you see, I'm not satisfied." The line isn't as noticeable at first, because it goes by quickly and the music is still playing, but when the music fades out and the song puts special emphasis on it by making it the last line in the entire song, it seems like they are trying to tell you something. And they are: The next song in the trilogy, "Midnight Show", has the narrator killing his ex-girlfriend, whom the first song was also for.
  • Evillious Chronicles:
    • "Daughter of Evil", begins with the line, "There was, once upon a time, an evil kingdom that no one dared to face, and the ruler was a girl so mean, a little princess of only age fourteen". This line is repeated at the end, right before the princess is about to be executed- though it is really her twin brother taking her place.
    • In "Drug of Gold", the line "The two of us going won't be so bad" is repeated twice. The first time, it refers to the singer learning that his fiancée's dream is to travel around the world. The engagement is broken off, and the singer later starts working as his former fiancée's chef, under a false identity, becoming increasingly horrified by just what she has become. The second time the line refers to him resolving to poison her and himself.
  • In the Vocaloid song "Kagome, Kagome" (Circle You, Circle You), Miku and Luka singing the words to the game (which is a real game, by the way) starts out already being extremely creepy. But when you find out their reasons for being in the abandoned orphanage and the things that happened in the orphanage before it was deserted, you realize that they are very likely murderous ghosts. The line gets even darker when they sing it a second time.
  • Ne-Yo's album Libra Scale opens with "Champagne Life", which is an easygoing, upbeat party tune, full of vitality and celebratory swagger. The album closes with "What Have I Done", a regretful look back at past mistakes and broken love whose backing track echoes the carefree tune of "Champagne Life" with piercing guilt.
  • Lit's "Miserable" has this happen all within the chorus: "You make me cum/You make me complete/You make me completely miserable."
  • Green Day's "¿Viva La Gloria? (Little Girl)" from their Rock Opera 21st Century Breakdown is a Dark Reprise of one of the earlier songs, "¡Viva La Gloria!" While the latter is that of one of the main characters, Christian, praising and encouraging Gloria to "start a war", the former is that of Christian accusing her of being a useless "dirty liar".
  • In the Domain concept album The Last Days of Utopia, this song is played when the main character is washed up on the shores of the titular city, and is breathtaken at its majesty. Later on, after the destruction of the island and with the main character floating alone lost at sea, we get this.
  • Happens within a single song for The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets' concept album The Shadow Out of Tim. The song is called "Operation: Get the Hell Out of Here," and the chorus goes "Take your time, take your toll, everything's under control/Execute Operation: Get the Hell Out of Here" until after the last verse of the song, where the protagonists accidentally unleash an Eldritch Abomination, it's changed to "Take your life, take your soul, everything's out of control/Execute Operation: Get the Hell Out of Here".
  • The last song of Caamora's opera based on the novel She, The Fire of Life, is full of these.
    • Partway through the song, Leo reprises part of a much earlier song, Covenant of Faith. But instead of hopeful and optimistic, it's now full of despair. The line "But I won't turn back from this journey that I take" in Covenant refers to his exploration of the lost island they've washed up on, whereas in Fire he's referring to his decision to bathe in the Fire of Life and rule the island as its immortal king.
    • Shortly after, Ayesha's "Wait for me" chorus has the same melody as the instrumental introduction to the song, but with a quiet, almost ethereal quality to it.
    • Finally, the ending chant of "She Ayesha, She Immortal" is the same as the one in the prologue of the entire opera, except now it sounds hectic and desparate as the volcano erupts around the protagonists.
  • "The Princess Who Sleeps In A Glass Coffin" from Sound Horizon's Märchen, Snow White sings a darker, more vindictive version of the song's first verse once she's revived.
    With skin white as sorcery, hair black as obsidian,
    And lips red as the flame, I have been reborn.
    If your burning envy has made you sin, then with burning shoes,
    You shall dance until you die!
  • Front 242's Front By Front reprises "Until Death (Do Us Part)" as "Agony (Until Death)".
  • The fourth (and final) movement of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 in F Minor (Op. 36) can qualify as this. Right after the fast, energetic melody at the very start, a fairly light and upbeat version of a Russian melody "In the Field Stood a Birch Tree" follows, played by flute and oboe. The melody returns later in the movement, much more melancholy, and slower in tempo. Listen to this for an example, and particularly, listen to 0:15, 1:35, and 4:05. This is perhaps even more pronounced in his ''Symphony No. 6 in B Minor"" (Op. 74). Light and joyful second theme of the first movement is used in a minor key in a unusually slow, depressive and hopeless fourth (and final) movement. Moreover, some parts of a similarly light second movement appear as a coda of the fourth movement, but now they transform into a shape of a funeral march. The fact that the author has died only nine days after the first performance of this symphony cannot make symbolism any stronger.
  • Maurice Ravel's La Valse can be considered as a deconstructed variation. The piece itself can be considered as a homage to Johann Strauss, but with nasty twists. The first half of the piece starts with a set of melodies; some are sweet, others are exciting, all are generally benign. The second half shows fragments of the melodies arranged differently, becoming progressively more jerk-y and dissonant. The piece tries to bring itself together back again at the end (with a repeat of the first melody), but utterly fails, resulting in an atonal, dissonant, and savage danse macabre ending. All of this alludes to the rise and decline of 19th-Century Vienna, and eventual destruction by World War I. Read this Other Wiki page for more info.
  • Pink Floyd's The Wall has a couple:
    • "In the Flesh?" opens the album with Pink discussing his vaguely defined issues: "If you wanna find out / What's behind these cold eyes / You'll just have to claw your way through this disguise." When it repeats on the fourth side, it's about his (perhaps imagined) descent into fascism ("If I had my way, I'd have all of you shot!")
      • The film adaptation takes it further, where "In the Flesh" is redone in an orchestral format in order to fit with Pink's hallucination of him speaking at a Neo-Nazi rally instead of performing at a concert.
    • "Another Brick in the Wall"'s three versions go from laments about Pink's childhood and education to a violent rejection of all human contact as he retreats behind his self-built Wall.
    • At the very beginning of "In The Flesh?" we hear very soft, calm music which is pretty easy to not notice and the first couple words we hear are "...we came in?" At the end of the album in "Outside the Wall" is the exact same music and in the closing seconds of the album we hear "Isn't this where-". It's worth nothing that "Outside the Wall" is about Pink finally escaping from behind the emotional wall he's built between himself and everyone else, so "Outside the Wall" leading back into the very beginning (which after the soft part turns into the same music as in the later "In the Flesh" when he's at the height of his troubles). In case you haven't put it together yet, he's right back where he started.
  • The Cruxshadows' Ethernaut gives "Winter Born" a dark reprise with "A Stranger Moment", which uses the same progression as the former's main riff and verse. The formers' lyrics speak of a hero's Last Stand in a Darkest Hour, while the latter appears to be about the character's Apocalyptic Log or a Message in a Bottle to his loved ones.
  • In !HERO: The Rock Opera, there's a Dark Reprise Medley. Right after "Execute" on the same track, there's the reprise to "Intentions" where Jude is Driven to Suicide for betraying Hero, and then immediately after that there's the reprise to "Hero" and "Lose My Life With You" as the characters singing it realize that Hero is dead.
  • The Frozen Autumn's Fragments of Memories includes an instrumental lonely piano and strings reprise of the already gloomy "Winter" from Pale Awakening.
  • Jason Webley's Against the Night has a Dark Reprise in the form of Again the Night, which drops the guitar and percussion, turns the accordion up to a mourning roar, changes Jason's voice from smooth to gravelly, and makes the lyrics even MORE melancholy than the original.
  • Interface's The Perfect World album zigzags this trope with "Square One", a desperate reprise of "It Begins Today", which segues into the Triumphant Reprise "Back To the Beginning".
  • Bumblefoot's song "Normal" received two different Dark Reprises. The first, on the same album as "Normal" (aptly titled "Normal") is "Shadow" and is about how he starts to fall back into his depression after finally having been normal for a short time. The second is more of a Spiritual Successor, though. On the album released after "Normal", titled "Abnormal", we get the title-track, "Abnormal", which is where he's completely crazy and depressed again. Also, "Shadow" is the second-to-last track on "Normal", followed by "Thank You". "Abnormal" is the first track on "Abnormal", making the connection a bit clearer.
  • On DJ Shadow's album Endtroducing....., the already eerie "Transmission 1" which appears near the start of the album is made even more haunting in "Transmission 3", the album's finale. This track is fuzzier and more distorted than the original, and ends with a spine-chilling Twin Peaks sample.
  • Gentle Giant's album begins with "Proclamation", a song narrated by the oppressive ruler of a kingdom. At the end of the album, the song "Valedictory", which uses the same melody as "Proclamation", is instead narrated by the man who took control and tried to make the country a better place, having become just as oppressive and tyrannical as the ruler before him.
  • In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel's holocaust-themed concept album, has a few of these:
    • The King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1 is immediately followed by The King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 2 & 3, which has a much darker, heavier sound than the original track (which is largely acoustic), though the subject matter is a bit lighter, since the first song dealt largely with abuse and incest while the second one talks about spiritual reverence.
    • Two-Headed Boy receives a more standard Dark Reprise in Two-Headed Boy Pt. 2, which is much slower than the original and ties together the original song's ideas about intimacy and identity with the album as a whole's themes of grief, perversion and tragedy.
      And when we break, we'll wait for our miracle
      God is a place where some holy spectacle lies
  • VNV Nation's Empires album reprises the upbeat "Rubicon" as the melancholy "Distant(Rubicon II)".
  • "Amnesiac" by Radiohead features a darker, more orchestral-sounding reprise of "Morning Bell" from Kid A in the form of "Morning Bell/Amnesiac".
  • Ween: The Mollusk has a distorted version of the opening track, "I'm Dancing In The Show Tonight", as a hidden track following a few seconds of silence (and then ambience) on "She Wanted To Leave".

  • The BBC musical education series Time and Tune did this in its Viking themed set Sea Thunder. The titular song is a Dark Reprise of the first song "Row, Row". Both have the exact same melody but wildly different lyrics. "Row, Row" is a robust and triumphant song about Vikings celebrating their high seas conquests, while "Sea Thunder" is an ominous song about their ship being caught in a storm and the Vikings panicking as their ship sinks.


    Pro Wrestling 
  • The old entrance music of Colin & Jimmy Olsen in Chikara 06-07 was Britney Spears' 'Toxic', along with the intro from Full House. After Colin left for greener pastures, came back, and subsequently had a Face–Heel Turn, he used A Static Lullaby's cover of Toxic - the alternative metal/screamo music emphasising that he'd changed about as much as his brother had.
  • This is the song of Dashing Cody Rhodes, arrogant and handsome jerk extraordinaire. Now this is the theme he took when his face got busted and he had to wear a mask because of how "ugly" he thought he was.
  • Eddie Guerrero was well-known as the crafty, resourceful Lovable Rogue babyface of Smackdown between 2003 and early 2005, and his theme stated as such. After his Face–Heel Turn on Rey Mysterio, his theme would be slower and more menacing.
  • Neville, during his heroic cape-wearing days would come out to "Break Orbit", a fast-paced eletronic rock track. After his Face–Heel Turn and his transformation into the ruthless "King of the Cruiserweights", his theme became slower and gained a more menacing feel.
  • The 2018 "Ultimate Deletion" match between Bray Wyatt and "Woken" Matt Hardy had two cases of Dark Reprises for Bray:
    • When he first started out in the WWE, Wyatt would often serenade the fans with a creepy version of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." At the climax of the Ultimate Deletion match, Señor Benjamin would toss an inflatable globe at Wyatt, then sing the song at Bray with Brother Nero, distracting Wyatt long enough for Matt to pick up the victory.
    • The week following the match, when Señor Benjamin found Bray's trademark lantern as the only trace of him left, a somber piano version of Wyatt's entrance theme "Live in Fear" played as Matt was giving the lantern to his son as a gift.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura's original entrance theme in WWE (both in NXT and on the main roster) was "The Rising Sun", a triumphant, soaring theme. After losing to AJ Styles at WrestleMania 35 and subsequently making a Face–Heel Turn, he switched to a new theme, "Shadows of the Setting Sun", which combines the melody of "The Rising Sun" with an aggressive electric guitar and a Boastful Rap in Japanese.
  • While Bray Wyatt was already a Darker and Edgier character than most of WWE's roster, upon his return in April of 2019, Wyatt cranked this up. Becoming a Depraved Kids' Show Host was only the tip of the iceberg, as it was revealed that he could now harness and control his inner darkness, becoming something far worse than even the old Bray. That being is the Monster Clown known as "The Fiend." Appropriately enough, to match this even darker character, Wyatt received a new theme: "Let Me In", a metal remix of his old theme, "Broken Out in Love/Live in Fear."
  • When Drew McIntyre returned to NXT, he debuted a new theme song "Gallantry", which is a slow-paced rock song with the traditional Scottish bagpipes...however, upon turning heel on the main roster, he gained a more traditional remix with more drums and less guitars with emphasis on the bagpipes.
  • After Sasha Banks turned heel in early 2019, her original theme "Sky's The Limit" gains a remix with darker brass and darker lyrics rapped by Snoop Dogg, one of which describes her current attitude as a heel:
    She's a Legit Boss, but y'all knew that
    The Big Boss Dogg, yeah I had to do that
    That's my family and we so G
    Bow down to the new Champ of WWE
  • After Baron Corbin got dethroned from his position as King of the Ring, he started becoming broke and his once rocking theme "I Bring the Darkness (End of Days)" gets a darker and sadder arrangement simply, yet tentatively, titled "Darkness".
  • When Anna Jay turned heel and joined the Dark Order, her theme "Crawl" got a mostly instrumental trap remix called "Queen Slayer". It later got inverted when Anna Jay turned face with the rest of the Dark Order after Brodie Lee's passing.
  • After Finn Balor joined The Judgement Day and kicked (former) leader Edge out, each (remaining) member received a darker arrangement of their individual themes. Once Dominik Mysterio joined the group, he also received a darker arrangement of his theme as well.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street:
    • The special Elmo Saves Christmas has three in a row:
      • Elmo and Lightning sing a melancholic reprise of "Every Day Can't Be Christmas" as Elmo finally realizes having Christmas Every Day is a horrendous decision, resulting in Sesame Street becoming unhappy.
      • Elmo and Lightning's first glimpses of Sesame Street in the Bad Future, is accompanied by a mournful and lustful instrumental version of the theme song.
      • When the carolers have lost their voices, this results in an out-of-key variation of the special's opening number, "It's Christmas Again".
    • In the episode "The Good Bird's Club", Big Bird is bullied and rejected by a trio of birds who mock him over his appearance; this causes his initially excitable "I Am Great!" Song to gradually degenerate into uncertainty until finally becoming straight-up sad and heartbroken over himself.
    • Episode 4525, "Grover Does it All" features the eponymous very energetic and upbeat song, where Grover sings about he can do several different things at the same time. The song has 2 reprises just as peppy as the first renditions, before a depressed and defeated Grover sings "Grover Just Can't Do It All".

  • American Country Countdown: The 1995-1998 music cue package had two somber-sounding cues, one to open and the other to lead to a commercial. Usually, these were used for ballads, but a few times they were used before song with a sad or somber theme.
  • The Steve Wright afternoon show on BBC Radio Two, has a jaunty opening theme. The closing theme is a Dark Reprise, played at the end of the show in slower tempo on French horns, acting as a very cheesy "The show is over, goodbye, loyal fans, see you tomorrow" theme.

  • In Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna, the main melody from "Enchanted Reunion", the Aerial Poles/Peacock Dance theme, gets a dark reprise in "Creature of Light", the Chinese pole act theme. In the former, the Peacock Goddess attempts to distract Romeo from pursuing Miranda, in the latter, now dressed in black, she abducts Miranda, beckoning him to climb up the pole after her. Preceding that, the Thousand Arms music (also part of "Creature of Light") reprises the non-soundtrack subdued section of "Elma Om Mi Lize" (Meteors). Conversely, the villain's juggling act song, "Mutation", is reprised this way when the Valkyries capture him. Subverted by the slow Hawaiian guitar reprise of "O Ma Ley" played when Romeo and Miranda fall in love. It's not on the soundtrack, so many people forget its existence.

    Theme Parks 
  • If you've ever rode on the Disneyland ride, Splash Mountain (based on the movie, Song of the South) the annoyingly addictive song "Laughing Place" becomes more sinister when the ride passes by the two sinister, animatronic crows anxiously waiting for Brer Rabbit's death (and, in the Disneyland Anaheim version, before that scene, the dark reprise starts earlier with two Mother characters exclusive to that version of the ride singing mournfully about Brer Rabbit being caught facing certain death warning their children to not go to the laughing place) and when it climbs up the last and highest hill in the cave before descending below.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Kirby Guardian: The main theme gets a deeper, muffled remix for Episode 6
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Arguably, "Blood Gulch Blues", which is the theme with lyrics added, although the lyrics aren't too morbid, and the song is mainly about how the teams fight among themselves more than with the other team. However, especially because it was played after Tex's (apparent) death, some of the parts seem borderline depressing (It's Blue Versus Blue/And Red Versus Red/Living like this, we were already dead). It also helped that the snippet played ended before getting to the outright sillier lyrics ("My car's like a puma, it drives on all fours").
    • Done to great effect in Carolina's fight with York during the freelancer break-in using her leitmotif from Jeff Williams' "Extraction". Also of sorts done when Agent Washington explains he'll be taking the Epsilon unit by force from the Reds and Blues at the end of Recreation, using a slower portion of his leitmotif Good Fight by Trocadero.
    • In season 10 during the scene where Carolina confronts the Director, Jeff Williams' "Finding the Director" contains a piano version of the chorus of the season 8 theme "Red vs. Blue".
    • The main theme of The Chorus Trilogy, "Contact", is slightly downbeat. But then the credits of season 13 make it downright depressing with the piano-driven "Contact Redux", not helped by following Epsilon preparing an Heroic Sacrifice so the Reds and Blues can survive the Bolivian Army Ending.
    • "Blood Gulch Blues" finally got a full-blown Dark Reprise in Season 17, Singularity, with the help of the singer from the above mentioned "Contact Redux": "Blood Gulch Blue" reduces all the instrumentation to a melancholic piano, and through some rewritten lyrics and solemn vocals all the uplifting comedy from the original is gone. The scene where it plays (everyone coming to terms with the fact that again Washington is going to be shot in the neck and suffer a lot as a result) makes things even worse.
  • RWBY:
    • Amity Colosseum and the Vytal Festival Tournament are introduced with a grandiose, heroic fanfare of a theme. When Ruby encounters the supposedly-injured Mercury in one of the arena's maintenance hallways, the theme is reprised with a slow, ominous electric guitar, signaling that things are about to take a turn for the worst.
    • Pre-corruption Salem, the Girl in the Tower, receives a sweet, wistful, gentle leitmotif in the flashback spotlighting her. When the present-day Salem hits her Rage-Breaking Point over the news that her lover-turned-archnemesis Ozpin has reincarnated early and is coordinating the heroes, that same theme plays, warped almost beyond recognition and with a hefty dose of Scare Chords.
  • Alphabet: "nZ..." starts with F and his friends happily dancing to a jaunty xylophone instrumental of the alphabet song and, when he loses all his friends and grows up to become the Big Bad of the series and Z cries about the sad events happening on him, a sad piano and glockenspiel instrumental of the song plays.

  • Homestuck uses this multiple times over the course of the soundtracks; for example, the lighthearted song "Harlequin" from early in the story gets a pretty effective Dark Reprise called "The Carnival" to represent Gamzee's descent into insanity.
    • Another song, "Chorale for Jaspers", is used in Act 3 as a sort of silly, self-parodying epitaph for Rose's childhood cat. The same melody appears hundreds of pages later in a dramatic scene where Rose faces Jack to avenge the mother and friend he murdered.
    • "Hate You" ends on a Dark Reprise of Feferi's Theme, "Love You". It even replaces Feferi's pearly laugh by Meenah's mischievous giggles... which then overlap with the Evil Laugh of her tyrannical adult alternate self, in all her imperious condescension.
    • Inverted with "Expedition", which is a heroic take on "English", Lord English's theme.
    • Eternity's Shylock (later expanded and renamed Eternity Served Cold), which adds Ominous Latin Chanting among other changes, to let you know that this is no longer a case of Orcus on His Throne. The original ends with a soft, barely-there reprise of a melody from Savior of the Waking World - the song played during John's and later Jade's ascension to the God Tiers. Given what happened in the update it accompanies, it causes shivers.
      • That song also reiterates Revelawesome, an overdramatic song that played during a very silly scene, in one of the scariest scenes in the entire comic.
    • Most of the album Cherubim is made of this trope, with Caliborn's half of the songs being Darker and Edgier variants of Calliope's.

    Web Videos 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog has one with "Slipping." The song's melody is first heard as background music as Horrible is attempting to steal the Wonderflonium. When we actually hear it as a song in its own right, it's significantly darker...not that it doesn't have totally random humorous moments (such as the Doctor interrupting his own song to give a reporter the correct spelling of his name.) This is Dr. Horrible, the king of Mood Whiplash, we're talking about.
    • Also, the theme song. Also a mild subversion in Brand new day / the music at the party after Hammer's defeat. The subversion is that BOTH usages are dark, but in different ways.
    • My Eyes, the opening number of Act II, probably counts as a sarcastic (ironic?) echo, with Billy and Penny singing completely different songs in the same space. Billy/Dr. Horrible's is a angsty, dark song about his descent into supervillainy because Penny is boinking Captain Hammer, while Penny's is an inspirational song about Hammer superficially supporting the homeless shelter to get into Penny's pants but still being a jerk to the bums. "So They Say" continues along these lines.
    • The background singers, and the title of the "Everything You Ever" are a reprise of a line in Slipping where Horrible declares he'll get "Everything he ever". The word "wanted" is implied in both cases. The latter half of the song, "The Nightmare's Real" contains a dark, techno version of Brand New Day as well as a darker version of the theme music.
  • Horrible Turn has a dark reprise of "No Place on Earth like Australia" for the dark finale song of webmovie.
  • Something Broke has two, one being a meta example: Hide The Body (Art Of Distress), which echoes two songs from the source show, and Ponyville: All Seems Normal.
  • Lovely Little Losers posted an old video of Benedick and Balthazar singing "Beatrice, You're Vivacious"—the song that Benedick uses to declare his love for Beatrice in the prequel series Nothing Much To Do—two days after Bea breaks up with Ben.
  • Played with in Vinesauce Tomodachi Life — in episode 35, the Jahns (a reclusive trio of mysterious aliens) are given a song called "Jahn of the Jahngle"; the song opens with the line "We the Jahns will assimilate", ends with "Until the break of new day", and all the lines in between are the word "Jahn" repeated over and over with different annunciation. At the time the song is just as goofy and random as every other song Vinny gives the Miis. Then the song is played again (unaltered) in episode 49, after the Assimilation Plot has begun; naturally, it's far less goofy. This is not lost on the mind-controlled Vinny, who simply declares "It was all there from the beginning".
  • In Atop the Fourth Wall, at the end of the story arc "A Piece of the World is Missing", a slower, more somber rendition of the theme song plays as Linkara goes out to confront the Entity, who has absorbed the entire population of the Earth at this point. It helps to convey the hopelessness of the situation, and how overwhelmed Linkara was by the sheer scale of the threat he was facing.
  • The Demolition of Six Flags Astroworld episode of Defunctland closes out with a somber country and western-style acoustic remake of one of the amusement park's most famous and upbeat advertising jingles ("We Make People Happy") from when it was still open. This is in reference to both its location in Houston, as well its status as one of the most beloved and sorely-missed locations featured in the series.
  • "Wii Shop One Last Time" by StacheBros takes Luigi's song about the Wii Shop Channel from its respective episode of "Luigi Time!!!" and turns it into a somber piece lamenting the service's discontinuation on January 30, 2019.
  • Super Mario 64: CLASSIFIED: The ending of 09.02.97 contains a rendition of Super Mario World's "Donut Plains" theme, as the video gets progressively more corrupted and someone screams in the background.

    Western Animation 
  • In the final episode of 6teen, the peppy and happy main theme gets a dark, melancholy remake, courtesy of Brian Melo, which serves to drive home the point that yes, the series is ending.
  • Adventure Time: The episode "Simon and Marcy" has Simon sing the Cheers theme song to entertain a young Marceline. When the two are beset by Ooze Zombies, Simon is forced to wear the crown to protect themselves and he sings the song in a desperate attempt to hang onto his sanity.
  • The final episode of The Amazing World of Gumball begins and ends with a somber version of the show's ending theme.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Tale of Iroh once has Iroh singing a fairly happy song to cheer up a crying child. He later sings it while breaking into tears as he sets up a memorial for his dead son.
    • Only made worse in that the song is about a soldier coming home. Iroh's son was a soldier who died in battle.
      • Not to mention that the whole mini-episode doubles as a memorial for the actor voicing Iroh up to that point.
    • Even more interesting since the first time the song sends the message that War Is Glorious. The Dark Reprise instead sends the opposite message that War Is Hell.
    • Done to comic effect in another episode, where the leitmotif of the imitation Avatars is the normally awe-inspiring Avatar music played on an off-key tuba.
  • The soundtrack to the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Joker's Favor" has the cheery "Sub Main Title's" melody as Charlie Collins Leitmotif. The Second song, "Cussing Out the Joker" is a happy variation of the Leitmotif that plays while Charlie Collins is Mugging the Joker. The third melody, I had a bad day, is a very Dark Reprise of the Leitmotif that plays while Charlie Collins makes a Deal with the Joker.
  • A Batman Beyond episode does this to the Superman: The Animated Series theme when mind-controlled Superman is chasing Terry. Its most notable changes are altering the tempo and reversing the recurring three-note riff. It's very effective at conveying the message that Terry is well and truly boned if he doesn't do something.
  • Beavis and Butt-Head - on a field trip, Hippie Teacher Mr. Van Driessen stands at the front of the bus strumming his guitar and singing his gentle song "Touch a Mountain" - then the driver slams on the brakes missing a turn, and he plummets out the windshield and down a canyon. The song is replayed in a dark minor key as an emergency medical team airlifts him out.
  • Big City Greens: In the Christmas Episode, "If I Can't Have Christmas" serves as a dark parallel to "Good Deeds are Good Indeed" played earlier. While the latter song is light, bouncy and upbeat and shows how Cricket is willing to prove to Santa that he should be on the nice list, the former is a more sinister and malevolent melody as Cricket decides to resort to naughty pranks after believing Santa thinks he's just that. Cricket's Melancholy Musical Number, "No Christmas At All", also includes a brief somber reprise of the opening song "The Best Part of Christmas", and seems to combine elements of both "Good Deeds" and "If I Can't Have Christmas", making it an extreme mash-up of his thoughts as he begins to realize it was indeed all his fault for almost ruining the holiday for everyone.
  • Bojack Horseman: In "The Old Sugarman Place", one of the flashbacks shows Honey and Crackerjack singing a song together. Later on, Honey duets a somber and melancholic version of the same song with Eddie, as they both mourn their loved ones, Honey's son and Eddie's wife.
  • In the CatDog three-part episode "The Great Parent Mystery", the titular Conjoined Twins CatDog at one point find themselves at Yokelburg, a town inhabited by a dog family named McDog and a family of cats called the Catfields who manage to live in harmony. When CatDog first encounters the two families, the McDog patriarch and the Catfield matriarch are singing a song called "Ain't No More", where they list the violent and hurtful things they used to do to each other before they started setting aside their differences. Later, Cat angers the yokels by refusing to marry a girl he burped in front of, which causes the McDogs and the Catfields to resume their feud and sing a reprise of "Ain't No More" that's now about how the McDogs and the Catfields living in harmony is no longer the case.
  • Central Park:
    • In "Episode One":
      • "Shampagne Was My Best Friend" is one for "Poops I'll Pick It Up", in which Cole mourns no longer being with Shampagne and is consoled by his father.
      • "Central To My Plot" is Bitsy singing about their plot for Central Park, to the tune of "Central In My Heart".
    • In "Dog Spray Afternoon", while "If There's A Will" already dealt with Helen's grievances and desire to kill Shampagne for the will, the reprise has Helen even angrier and more focused on killing Shampagne.
    • In "Squirrel, Interrupted", Paige sings a reprise of "Can We Do Today Again?", after she feels horrible for allowing Molly to play against a chess master and losing to him. She thinks that Molly's loss will turn her off the game of chess for good.
  • Gravity Falls: The credits music at the end of "Dreamscapers" is a haunting, slow version of the normally upbeat theme song reflecting the jarring mood change brought about by the season finale.
    • The final scene of the following episode and season finale, "Gideon Rises", features a slow, mysterious version of the main theme, slowly building up a crescendo to an epic flourish for the final moment.
    • The theme song for "Weirdmageddon Part 1" is a distorted and warped version of the regular one.
    • The music for the ending of "Weirdmageddon Part 3: Take Back The Falls" transitions from a piano tune to a slow and acoustic version of the theme. Unlike the other examples, it’s a more bittersweet moment, as while it is the end of the series, it also shows several members of the cast going in new directions of their lives and Dipper and Mabel hopeful for the future.
  • Infinity Train: In Book 3, Tuba sings Hazel a cheerful and upbeat lullaby. It gets a gut wrenching full version at Tuba’s funeral.
  • Jem has an example where the song is exactly the same, but played in a different context. "Take It or Leave It" by The Stingers was originally an egotistical song of disrespect towards the Starlight Girls, who were not happy with The Stingers' attitude. In the later episode "Riot's Hope", however, the song is played as he thinks about his troubled relationship with his father, which may even be what the song is actually about.
  • Justice League gives us one in "Divided We Fall" when Luthor/Brainiac modifies the Brainiac droids into Justice Lord versions to fight the Justice League, playing a dark version of the series opening theme.
  • In Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts, Yumyan Hammerpaw's Bragging Theme Tune gets a sad piano reprise during his final moments before he undergoes a permanent Death of Personality.
  • Scar gives the song "Sisi Na Sawa" one of these in The Lion Guard. It’s sung by Jaziri in the first regular episode as an upbeat happy song, and in the season 3 opener, Scar sings it to convince a now scarred Kion that he’s going to turn evil. "Sisi na sawa means we’re the same... though you’re made of flesh and I'm made of flame!" Kion denies it, but the venom in his system starts him questioning for a while.
  • In Metalocalypse: The Doomstar Requiem, "Magnus and The Assassin" has parts of Dethklok's "Go into the Water" and possibly "The Hammer" incorporated into it.
  • In the TV Special of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax all the creatures have a reprise of their introduction song in a minor key as they each in turn leave the land, the last one being a reprise of "For He's a Jolly Good Once-ler" after the Thneed factory shuts down since there are no more Truffula trees.
  • One episode of My Little Pony Tales has Starlight sing about her crush on Ace while picturing the two of them as a "Perfect Pair". She then joins the soccer team, only to discover Ace is a Jerk Jock who goes out of his way to humiliate her just because he can. Cue a weepy reprise where she admits "We're... not a perfect pair."
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic had an absolute bombshell of one of these. The Season 2 Finale, A Canterlot Wedding, introduces Twilight Sparkle's brother Shining Armor as the groom. However, his bride who is actually a fake and the real Princess Cadence engage in a Distant Duet entitled "This Day Aria." A few scenes later, the villain, who reveals herself as the fake Cadence, reprises the song, and the scenes of carnage and war play while she sings.
    • The episode also features this with the song "My Big Brother Best Friend". The original upbeat version is about Twilight singing about how she and her brother were so close; the mournful reprise is about how she's managed to ruin their relationship.
    Twilight: He was my big brother best friend, forever/ And now we'll never do anything together.
    I'm at the Grand Galloping Gala, and it's not what I dreamed.
    • The beginning of "Pinkie's Lament" from Pinkie Pride sounds like a sad reprise of the roll call section from the MLP G3 opening theme, whose first verse started with "We'll plan a party with Pinkie Pie...".
    • Canterlot Boutique zigzags this trope with "The Rules of Rarity". First, Rarity sings a dark reprise after Sassy forces her to make and sell only the Princess Dress at Canterlot Carousel, at the cost of her creativity. Then at the end, it has a Triumphant Reprise after Rarity's own designs featured in the "going out of business sale" prove to be a success and they are able to keep the boutique running.
  • In Over the Garden Wall has "Potatus et Molassus," an eerie, Latin version of "Potatoes and Molasses" that plays while Greg is dying.
  • Pibby: The trailer opens with Learning with Pibby's theme song, a cheerful and innocent tune suitable for a cartoon for small children. Near the end, well after the true tone of the series becomes evident, the background music changes to a version with slow, emotionless vocals and a progressively harsher mechanical beat. In particular, as Pibby witnesses an Eldritch Abomination assume the former of her deceased friend Bun-Bun, the last line is layered to sound outright demonic.
  • Popeye on his birthday befriends a lonely little schnook who slowly but surely drives him nuts with his manic accident-prone cheer, singing "Happy Birthday to my pal" right up to the last straw when Popeye shoots him, and the cartoon ends the song on a somber chord.
  • The Pound Puppies (1980s) Musical Episode "Garbage Night: The Musical" featured this in a scene where Howler used an invention to show what happened inside Bright Eyes' body after she ate a piece of meat and Scrounger's body after he ate a piece of cake. Bright Eyes' body is shown to fill up with muscular personifications of vitamins called Vita-Men, and they are given an upbeat song about how vitamins make your body healthy and fight off germs to prevent you from getting sick. Scrounger's body instead fills up with lethargic Blobs, who are given a reprise of the song at a slower tempo that explains how a lack of vitamins makes your body unhealthy and leaves nothing to stop germs from infecting you and making you sick.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998) had this occur on a few occasions, typically when the end shot comes up.
    • "The Powerpuff Girls' Best Rainy Day Adventure Ever" had the end shot theme playing in a very slow tone when the girls are called to stop a giant alligator Mojo Jojo released on Townsville after the rain stopped. Having already play-acted this adventure during the storm, needless to say, the girls are not looking forward to having to tackle this job. Even the narrator is annoyed by this.
    • "Twisted Sister" ends with the girls' fourth sister, Bunny, dying in an explosion due to her being unstable and being broken down into her original ingredients. As the girls, and even the narrator, are mourning Bunny's death, a very melancholy version of the background music for the end shot plays.
  • The last song in the Rocko's Modern Life Musical Episode "Zanzibar" is Ed Bighead's mocking rendition of "RECYCLE".
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: The fifth season trailer uses a sad reprise of the usually triumphant opening theme, since this is the Darkest Hour.
  • The Simpsons
    • In the episode "Black Widower", there's a scene where Selma and the seemingly-reformed Sideshow Bob sing "Somethin' Stupid" together as a duet. At the climax of the episode, after Selma's hotel room blows up and Bob believes his plan is successful, he sings a rather morbid version:
      Sideshow Bob: ...and then I went and spoiled it all by doing something stupid like explode you!
    • After Apu loses his job he sings an upbeat song "Who needs the Kwik-E-Mart?", Later with the dark reprise: "Who needs the Kwik-E-Mart?... I dooooooooo!"
      Homer: He lied to us through song! I HATE when people do that!
    • In the episode "Elementary School Musical", the Art Camp counselors (who are actually Flight of the Conchords) sing Lisa and the other kids a song about how exciting being an artist is. When Lisa travels to Sprooklyn to become an artist, however, they decide to "sing her the truth"; a dark reprise about how being an artist means taking demeaning jobs and living off sandwiches that dropped on the floor.
  • Steven Universe:
  • Tangled: The Series:
    • At the end of the Pilot Movie Before Ever After, Rapunzel sings a brief melancholic reprise of "Life After Happily Ever After" as she is forced to be confined within the kingdom walls by her father, feeling locked inside all over again. It then transitions to a Triumphant Reprise of "Wind in My Hair" as she vows to face whatever lays ahead of her.
    • The special "Queen For a Day" features Arc Villain Varian singing "Let Me Make You Proud" while journeying to Corona to get help from Rapunzel to save his father from the black rocks he was experimenting with. After Rapunzel denied him help because she's swamped with an even worse disaster at hand (Corona is being destroyed by a deadly blizzard curse based on the legend of Zhan Tiri and her own parents are missing), and he was forcefully ejected from the palace, he returns home to find it's too late to help his father. He sings a reprise of this song, which signals his Descent into Darkness Song.
      Varian: Anybody who stands or has stood in my path, they are going to pay! They. Will. Pay.
    • The Moonstone's Decaying Incantation as learned in "Rapunzel and the Great Tree" is the complete opposite of the Sundrop's Healing Incantation. Unlike the latter which heals anything making contact, the former is dangerous and destructive, and can harm and kill anything in its path. It even burnt Cassandra's hand. And once Rapunzel starts chanting, she cannot stop unless someone brings her to her senses.
      Wither and decay,
      End this destiny.
      Break these earthy chains,
      And set the spirit free.''
  • Underdog: In "Riffraffville", when he's running out of energy, a sad Spaghetti Western style version of the title theme plays.
    "Once he was lightning, once he was thunder, now this could end him, if he should blunder, Underdog. Without his super energy pill, he gets weaker and weaker and weaker still ".
    • Then subverted when he gets his powers back, and the heroic lyrics return, but still sung in the same Spaghetti Western style.
  • A non-musical example would be Waspinator's Catchphrase, "Waspinator has plans..." In the show Beast Wars, it's said in a comical tone of voice, but in Transformers: Animated, it more creepy-sounding.
  • Shrek: The Lyrical Dissonance singing info booth from the first film returns in the Halloween special Scared Shrekless with a nightmarish rendition of "Duloc is a Creepy Place", with ominous lyrics and the aftermath of a Sugar Apocalypse. Some might find it less creepy than the Stepford-style Crapsaccharine World version, but the way the dolls' eyes pop out...

Sarcastic Echo

    Anime & Manga 
  • Two versions of the song "Aura" in .hack//SIGN. One showing the majesty of The World, and the other the horror. Lyrically, however, both versions sound like a Villain Song.

    Films — Animation 
  • Frosty Returns has one called "Let There Be Snow", but it's unique in that it gets two sarcastic echoes. In the first time the song was sung, the school children are playing and singing about how much they love the snow, while the snow-shovelling adults voice their complaints through song. Later in the special, the song is reprised as the protagonists explore a landscape filled with snow, singing about the benefits of snow. At one point, it cuts to the Big Bad Corrupt Corporate Executive sitting in his limousine elsewhere, and the music takes on an industrial arrangement as he extolls his plans on becoming king now that his patented method of getting rid of snow has gone mainstream.
  • Kung Fu Panda 3: In a meta-example, "Kai's Theme" is a dark remix of "I'm So Sorry" by Imagine Dragons. Hint: He isn't. At all.
  • Similar to the above is the song "On the Open Road" from A Goofy Movie. Goofy is excited and happy about his road trip with his son, who is inversely angry and depressed about leaving his new girlfriend behind.
  • "I Won't Say I'm in Love" from Hercules is one of the lighter forms of the sarcastic echo, with Meg singing and the Muses responding.
  • "Welcome To the Show" from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks begins with a sinister reprise of the Dazzlings' Villain Song, switches to the Rainbooms for their song, back to the Dazzlings as they employ the avatars of their true forms and begin to overpower the Rainbooms, then finally Sunset Shimmer joins in, leading to a Triumphant Reprise of the Rainbooms' song. After being depowered, the Dazzlings sing an out-of-tune reprise of their song before being booed off the stage.
  • In Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, Robin sings "My Superhero Movie" about how his movie needs to be the coolest one ever and have all the superhero movie mod-cons. Slade throws it back in his face in the climax, while tricking him into being brainwashed by the subliminals in Robin: The Movie.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Producers:
    • The song "We Can Do It" has Bialystock and Bloom alternately singing about how their plan cannot and is sure to fail, respectively.
    • Also, Max's song "Betrayed" is practically the entire show abridged, and includes mocking Leo.
  • Song of the South: Br'er Rabbit is singing a cheerful song called "How Do You Do?" when he happens across the tar baby. When he doesn't get a response from the dummy he picks a fight with it and gets himself trapped, whereupon Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear emerge from hiding and sing a brief, mocking reprise.

    Live-Action TV 
  • During the climactic "Walk Through The Fire" in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode "Once More, With Feeling", quotes from the earlier, more positive "If we're together" appear as sarcastic echoes.
  • The theme song of the show Green Acres is similar to, but lighter than the Candide example, where husband and wife protagonists give radically different versions of the perfect life to the same melody.
  • Kamen Rider Kiva - The promotional band for the series, TETRA-FANG, did a cover for Nago Keisuke a.k.a Kamen Rider IXA called Individual System. He then does his own version of it with the lyrics changed to support his twisted Black and White view of the world called Fight For Justice. He then does it again with his more lighter mindset called Don't Lose Yourself

  • Used in Lupe Fiasco's already somewhat dark song 'The Die.' The second verse consists of the character's friend trying to convince him that he's safe, while the killer repeats the laundry-list of 'hidden' guns, and the two's plans for the evening and replaces the last line ('Go and get some grub') with 'Catch a few slugs'
    • A lot of Fiasco's songs have a darker meaning in them. He can be extremely dark when he wants to be. For example, his smash hit Superstar can sounds cool, smooth and joyful at first, but if you know Lu's music, and know how he sometimes calls out other rappers for the content of their music and all that, the chorus will sound a little scary. If you are what you say you are, a superstar, have no fear.
  • The Blue Öyster Cult and Patti Smith recorded The Revenge of Vera Gemini, where Patti comes in towards the end of the male singer's lines with a sarcastically mocking echo of his words.
  • Genesis used this fairly often, with The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway in particular containing the example of "The Light Dies Down on Broadway", a Dark Reprise of themes from the album's title track and "The Lamia". Another example is "Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers in That Quiet Earth", which reprises themes from "Eleventh Earl of Mar" in a substantially more sinister fashion.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • During a famous angle in which his career was almost ended note  by Earthquake, a video shown on WWE TV (and later in home video) about Hulk Hogan started by playing his famous entrance theme "Real American", but cut to footage of Hogan being massacred by Earthquake on "The Brother Love Show," interspersed with clips of Hogan's greatest moments and "happy times," set to a sad, melancholy, string version of "Real American" which ended with a shot of Hogan's locker being slammed shut.
  • One WWE video detailed the history of the company set to Kid Rock's "Lonely Road of Faith". As the New World Order were set to debut, they made their own version.
  • After The Great Khali's hard-to-understand yet heartwarming birthday song to Natalya, the Bella Twins beat her in a match and taunted her by singing a nasty version of the birthday song.

    Web Animation 
  • Hazbin Hotel has Charlie, princess of Hell and All-Loving Hero, publicly detail her plans to open a rehabilitation facility for demons in the hopes that they can redeem themselves to heaven. When talking about it doesn't get her point across, she breaks out into her song Inside Every Demon is a Rainbow, explaining her belief that every demon has at least the potential to be redeemed. Later, Alastor the Radio Demon, a feared and nearly-eldritch elder of Hell, approaches Charlie and offers his support. He's very open about how he believes Charlie's goal is ridiculous, but he thinks demons trying to redeem themselves and failing would be great entertainment, hence he offers his patronage with no strings attached. Charlie accepts Alastor's help, and after implementing a few improvements, he breaks out into his own musical number Alastor's Reprise. It's somewhat similar to Charlie's, and it's actually sueprficially cheerful too, only intentionally ironic instead of how Charlie's was unintentionally twice as ironic. Fitting his early-1900s radio announcer theme, Alastor's song has a bit of a ragtime twist. The former title lyric becomes "Inside every demon is a lost cause."

    Web Videos 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog:
    • "My Eyes" — inverted, as it starts with Dr. Horrible's negative verse and follows up with Penny's optimistic variation. The overall effect, however, is the same.
    • In subtext, Penny's version comes off as darker, since she's blind to the negative aspects that Billy is actually seeing accurately. Also, Billy is a sympathetic character and Penny's being taken in by Hammer (who is an egotistical jerk), so...

    Western Animation 
  • The Batman: Joker has his own version of gear up sequence when he decides to become Batman for an episode.
  • Gravity Falls In "Boss Mabel", As Mabel's running herself ragged from dealing with Wendy’s slacking off, Soos’s antics and the Monster of the Week, a grim/frantic instrumental version of "Mabel's the Boss" plays in the background.
  • Sweet Sea's happy, cheery opening song is reprised in a minor key and with altered lyrics as Sweet Sea cries over the ruined kingdom when Sheeba takes over.
  • In Total Drama World Tour's first song, Noah's only line has him sarcastically echoing the song itself.
    • "Come fly with us, come DIE with us."


The Scarsdale Yeomanry

The harmonious fiddle tune played during the Scarsdale Yeomanry's introduction makes a combative, menacing reprise in the climax when they carry out a false-flag attack.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / DarkReprise

Media sources: