YMMV: Blood Meridian
- Complete Monster: Judge Holden is one of the most famous and memorable villains in American Literature. Our first introduction to him is him casually ruining a man's life by claiming him guilty of a crime several towns over, before confessing he had never met the man before and just destroyed his life for giggles. Holden acts as a corrupting force to the Glanton Gang throughout the novel, subtly pushing them to commit more and more atrocities on the undeserving. Holden's savagery and cruelty utterly outstrip the rest of his contemporaries and the lives he takes are often done so with more terrible violence then the others. Holden thinks nothing of murdering children and they tend to go missing from areas he visits after he is seen tempting them with sweets. The true nature of Holden is left ambiguous, but regardless he is a creature who desires nothing less than permanent violence and closes the novel with a murder implied to be too horrible to show even in the story's depressingly bleak world.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Owing to this being one of the darkest books ever written, some readers will inevitably see it as a gratuitously violent and terrifyingly depressing book, with the borderline Black And Black Morality and Shoot the Shaggy Dog ending doing little to improve their opinion.
- Foe Yay: Between the Kid and Judge Holden. It's established fairly early in the book that Holden is a paedophilic rapist, which explains his interest in the Kid and what happens in the ending.
- Moral Event Horizon: "If we don't kill every last nigger here, we deserve to be whipped and sent home."
- "War is the ultimate game because war is at last a forcing of the unity of existence. War is god."note
- Nightmare Fuel: Yes. It'd be easier to find passages that don't contain some.
- Squick: The Idiot. The Judge ties a leash around his neck and walks him like a pet, naked and drooling, as he pursues the kid through the bone yard.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: One reviewer of the book mentioned how, on almost every page, McCarthy has made a reference to something, including Antinomial Christianity, Gnosticism, and Spaghetti Westerns.