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Nightmare Fuel / Judge Dredd

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    The Dark Judges 

  • The Dark Judges tend to evoke this, and their very existence is a prime example, being four undead, omnicidal beings with assorted nasty powers (plus the two Sisters of Death) convinced that merely being alive is a capital offense who have already managed to wipe out all life on their own world. During the Necropolis storyline they took over Mega-City One and managed to kill sixty million people. And no matter how thoroughly you get rid of them, they always manage to find a way to return.
  • The Necropolis arc in general is a goddamn horrorshow from beginning to end. From Judge Kraken struggling to maintain his grip on sanity as he becomes a slave to Death's two Sisters, the city itself becoming a slaughterhouse where all the light is drowned out, and the groups of Juvies trying to escape from skull-headed Judge Mortis going after them like an undead Terminator.
  • Judge Fear's powers are this taken literally. The Face of Fear is able to actually scare people to death. He also shows the ability to detect people's inner fears without even using his face and project a terrifying aura that drives people insane.
  • The Sisters Of Death have no physical presence, so they invoke this trope in order to get what they want by manipulating a person's dreams or even using their powers on them. This only works if you believe they can hurt you, but the effect is so terrifyingly convincing, only someone with an iron will like Dredd (though he learned this the hard way) or someone with a knowledge of them (Anderson figures it out quickly enough) can resist unharmed. The page image above features Nausea appearing to Yassa Povey as a stunningly beautiful raven-haired woman... before dropping the disguise and revealing a rotting hag.
  • Even in life Sidney De'ath (who later become the undead monster known as Judge Death, leader of the Dark Judges) was a horror of a human being. His "family reunion" with his mother and sister after he became a Judge stands out. It plays out like a scene from a horror film, with Sidney, now licensed to kill for any excuse he can think of, hunts them down to a deserted castle and murders them both with a smile on his face. Even more terrifying is his explanation; his elderly mother doesn't understand why her son is so evil, and he screams at her that he loves her and is "doing it for her own good" before throwing her off a cliff—capping it off by noting that her cries are boring him.
  • A number of the Dark Judges' recent outings have opted for straight visceral horror with photorealistic artwork. In particular, the entire "Dark Judges IN SPACE!" Story Arc (Dark Justice, Dominion, The Torture Garden, and Deliverance) features many loving shots of mutilated corpses and bloodthirsty zombies. When a woman curses one of her fellow colonists for betraying their comrades' locations, Judge Mortis rips her mouth off while hushing her to be quiet.

    Mega-City One 
  • As if it's not enough of a Crapsack World with all the relatively mundane problems (and the aforementioned Dark Judges), the Big Meg gets about 20-30 cases of legit Demonic Possession per year. There's even a special force of (Red Shirt) psionic exorcists within the Judges to deal with such cases. During one case Judge Anderson had to cross over into a demonic Death World in order to stop a demon from unleashing Hell on Earth.
  • Judge Cal's mad rule wasn't very pleasant for his subjects. At a whim he might decide to outlaw another basic aspect of life, or force you to build a giant wall, or just start executing everyone in alphabetical order. It's one thing to be at the mercy of a regular tyrant, but a clinically insane one is a whole new level. Expecting all the other judges to do something about it? Too bad, Cal has brainwashed all but a handful, though thankfully that handful was enough in the end to bring him down.
  • Even the Undercity that the Big Meg is built over. In addition to Troggies (feral humans who descended from New York inhabitants), all manner of horrific and sometimes supernatural predators live down there, including, but not limited to, vampires, werewolves and (Xenomorphs). Some judges even choose to take their long walk down there on account of its general chaotic nature.
  • The various ruined areas of the world make even the Undercity look like a beach resort. There's The Cursed Earth, the remnants of the American midwest and south, which is plagued by among other things, horrible mutant monsters, enormous lethally radioactive zones, violent weather that includes deluges of acid rain, plantations where the owners use slave labor consisting of captured aliens, and various townships and shanties where there are no Judges to uphold the law. Outside of the US, we have the Radlands Of Ji, which are the remains of Chinas countryside, which have an unusual amount of psychic mutations originating from them, and the Web, which are the radioactive, mutated remains of the coral reefs outside of Australia and Asia, now riddled with hideously mutated sea life and bloodthirsty pirates of all colors and creeds.
  • Curse Of The Spider Woman. A normal woman who is a model good citizen (having just received an award for such good behaviour) develops a rare condition where her DNA becomes overwritten with that of a spider. Had the symptoms been detected in time, it could have been cured, but she is forced to undergo a slow and heartbreaking transformation with her mind slowly slipping away. She's eventually exiled to a treatment facility in the Cursed Earth, but comes back to kill her husband, having felt betrayed by him.
  • In spite of being a Police State, Mega City One is one of the better places to live. The Cursed Earth aside, other megacities are riddled with corruption (Ciudad Barranquilla, Brit Cit), even more totalitarian (The Sov Block cities) or just lawless hellholes (The Web).
  • Luna City 1 is relatively pleasant if a bit corrupt, if not for one single problem: you have to PAY for oxygen. One story revolves around the perps of the storyline choking to death in their hideout because they hadnt had time to pay their oxygen bill. For all the horrors back on Earth, atleast you can still breathe. The city is later abandoned by many megacities, pushing the corruption rate up. Luna 1 has become a wretched hive with a decaying economy and a privatised oxygen board.
  • Dredd's description of the final hours of Chaos Day are pretty haunting, with the Judges barely being able to keep the few relatively safe areas in check, most of the city blocks becoming cannibal hellholes and Judges murdered on sight, and bodies littering the streets everywhere with not even the mobile incineration units being able to keep up with disposing them. When Dredd's forces clean out one of the worst blocks, even Dredd himself (who has seen every manner of horror during his career) admits that sight was one of the worst things he ever witnessed. Out of a hundred thousand infected in that block alone, they managed to save only one little girl who hid behind the mountains of corpses.
  • While many diseases that threaten us today are no longer an issue (Dredd himself is a cancer survivor, which was very easily treated), some of the diseases that replaced them are even more horrifying. Jigsaw Disease sufferers disappear piece by piece in just under a month. The Chaos Bug and the 2T(FRU)T virus turn people into Axe-Crazy Technically Living Zombies who attack without provocation, both of which can potentially wipe out megacities. Grubb's disease causes people to break out in fungus growths, with some strains being more deadly and infectious than others. One super-variant had its victims break out in seconds and explode upon physical contact, spreading spores everywhere. There's also Block Mania, while not directly fatal, causes hyper-aggression and pack mentality, leading to Block Wars that destabilise Mega City One's defences against invasion. It's worth noting that many of these diseases are man made.
  • The Judges themselves, especially the more unscrupulous kind: A bunch of overgrown bullies on an authority trip and armed to the teeth, who can, at the drop of a hat, arrest you, terrorize you and threaten you and basically make your life a living hell and do so, to all of the citizens to ensure they are nothing more than a broken, spineless mass who are too scared to do ANYTHING that the Judges might take offense to. They also have zero oversight from any other organization (what little civilian government that exists only does so at their leisure), so nothing can keep them in check when they start abusing their power to keep the public under their boot. Oh and the things they will do if you ever start pointing out that they are fascist, power-hungry thugs: they'll ruin your life, frame you for crimes you did not commit to discredit you, threaten your family by taking your kids away and forcibly inducting them into the Judges (where they would be brainwashed into serving the system), and if they feel real froggy: grab you off the street, subject you to electroshock therapy to cause massive memory loss, surgically alter your face against your will, then drop you off on an alien world in an amnesiac state from which you will never recover.
    • Even worse? The Judge System is literally the only form of law enforcement capable of dealing with the sheer size of the population (pre-Day Of Chaos anyway), to the point that if the Judges were deposed, the immediate result would be violence and death not seen since the Apocalypse Wars. It doesn't help that the wildly inconsistent writing (which cant decide if it wants to be Black Comedy satire of totalitarian government, or a straight-up dystopian sci-fi) makes the system constantly swing between Fascist, but Inefficient and The Extremist Was Right. Considering the size of the system, it's entirely possible that it swings between the two daily.
      • Worse than that, a legitimate reason why Democracy Is Bad in this world? Is because Humans Are Morons. The people of Mega-City One are repeatedly shown to be, on-masse, such inherently corrupt, stupid, self-destructive creatures that they give the Judges a legitimate point when they say that giving power to the people is dangerous.
    • On that point, Dredd, well known as a Knight Templar, is one of the more upstanding judges. Many other judges fall under Rabid Cop combined with Hanging Judge, many of these cases also being Dirty Judges.
  • A 2021 story titled "Savior" has an alien from a race of aliens who look like pulp-style cave-men being sent to Earth to seek help from Judge Dredd, who visited their world once in the past and made such an impression that they have deified him as a justice god. The reason is because their planet has been invaded by a particularly amoral Mega-Corp, which is strip-mining their world for minerals and enslaving them to assist in the process. Dredd shows up and drives out the Mega-Corp... then orders the natives rounded up and put on reservations; now that Mega-City One's Justice Department knows that this planet has valuable minerals, they're going to exploit it themselves, whilst justifying their presence as "protecting" the natives. The story ends with 'Dredd of all Judges saying this:
    Dredd: City needs those resources. Long as the cave-freaks need our protection then we're here to say. And, trust me, we'll make sure these dumb alien simps always need protecting...

    The Cursed Earth and its Denizens 
  • Scared of rats? The Cursed Earth gives you good reason to be; the standard Cursed Earth rat is far bigger than its ancestors, eerily intelligent, and spots venomous fangs that can kill a man with one bite. Worse, they're voracious predators with no fear of man - if anything, they regard humans as just another food source.
  • One of the Cursed Earth's hazards are strange, gale-force storms filled with enormous cascades of debris that are whisked around at lethal velocity... and which are home to a flying variant of the aforementioned Cursed Earth Rat.
  • Windstorms that can literally suck you up into the stratosphere, where you will certainly die from the fall, have been known to just pop out of nowhere in the Cursed Earth.
  • The Black Plague! It's a swarm of millions of oversized and to some degree intelligent blood-thirsty spiders who only need two bites to kill an average human, and they straight up murder everything in their path. Which almost included Mega-City One itself. Even heavy-duty firebombs only took out a quarter of the swarm, because the rest simply burrowed underground! Sleep tight, arachnophobes.
    • Oh, and it gets worse; as the story Tarantula! reveals, the Cursed Earth is also home to giant tarantulas, so large they regularly prey on the bisoon (domesticated bison/cattle hybrids) that Mega-City One farms out in the Cursed Earth. And then the expy of the star of the film of the same name shows up...
  • Flinks. A mutant animal/vegetable hybrid that lives in the Cursed Earth and raids Munce farms, they breed very quickly with as many as a dozen generations spawned in a single day. In addition, each generation mutates and adapts with the latest generations shown becoming carnivorous. Justice Department organises annual culls of these creatures with judges being complimented by volunteer citizens and cube inmates. Dredd ends up ordering a hive of them to be firebombed. He succeeds in destroying them all. All but one, which sprouts wings.
  • The Gila-Munja, a tribe of mutants from the Cursed Earth, who resemble dwarf-like humanoids with pincer claws for hands and razor sharp teeth. They're natural assassins, where others fail, they will succeed, and they consider any contract they make to be a matter of honor, which they seal by murdering a tribsmember to offer their blood as proof of their vow. They don't even bother counting the money they're paid for their killings, because they know everyone is so scared of them they wouldn't dream of trying to double-cross them. On top of that, they're incredibly fast, agile and silent, they are able to scale cliffs and walls like spiders, they have natural chameleon-like abilities that lets them blend into the background, and they WILL. NOT. STOP. In their first appearance, they were hired to kill a mob informant that Dredd was protecting. Dredd managed to keep all of the killers out of the room... only to find that the witness had died anyway, from fear.
  • The Cursed Earth is populated by dinosaurs, which isn't scary. No, it's the fact that the Cursed Earth T-Rexes and other predators are known In-Universe to become literally addicted to human flesh, doing everything they can to get more of it, that's scary. The Helltrekkers story features a pack of Rexes tracking the convoy for hundreds of miles, through acid storms and an enormous radioactive hotspot, just to get more human meat.
    • The Cursed Earth, which was the first introduction of the cloned dinosaurs, also had the debut of Satanus, a massive T-Rex created shortly before the Apocalypse War, who became infamous for all the humans he killed even in captivity. He survived the nuclear holocaust and would become one of the most feared predators to roam the Cursed Earth, which is saying something, and facing him was so horrific that he's one of the characters Dredd has a nightmare about right before the end of the story. What's worse is that the comic heavily implies that It Can Think, and that Satanus is not only partially sentient, but even remembers his original pre-clone life in distant prehistory (which reveals that he was the son of Old One-Eye, the main antagonist from the earlier Comic Book/2000AD series Flesh).


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