"Better safe than sorry, Better safe than sorry, Better safe than sorry, I can't believe he bit me!! Better safe than sorry! I, I opened the door before and I got bit for my trouble. No. Won't fool me twice. Better safe than sorry! Better safe than sorry!"Characters who are having a mental breakdown sometimes become fixated on a certain phrase that they repeat until everyone in the world is sick of it. Sometimes, this chanting allows the character to snap out of their insanity. Sometimes, it becomes their life-long theme song as they rock back and forth in a cozy padded room. If they aren't locked up, expect a room with every square inch stating the phrase. When combined with As the Good Book Says, the ominousness goes through the roof. Just about every mental institution scene has someone chanting some sort of non sequitur in the background. And woe betide us all if this non sequitur should be significant. May result in the terms becoming meaningless and possibly descend into a strange form of Mondegreen thanks to the human knack of picking up patterns out of nothing. Contrast the Talkative Loon, who at least varies the chatter. Compare to Cluster F-Bomb and Rapid-Fire "No!". A Survival Mantra is an attempt to master fear and pain, but when it doesn't work, you find the point where that trope crosses over into this one. Must trope. Must trope. Must trope. Must trope. Must trope. Must trope.
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Anime and Manga
- Kill la Kill: Nui after getting her arms chopped off.
"IHATEYOUIHATEYOUIHATEYOUIHATEYOUIHATEYOUIHATEYOUIHATEYOUIHATEYOUIHATEYOU! I HATE YOU ALL!!!"
- Steins;Gate: "I failed I failed I failed I failed I failed I failed I failed I failed I failed I failed I failed I failed..." Happens to Suzuha Amane after her memories of her mission to retrieve the IBN 5100 finally return to her—nearly 25 years after she was supposed to have retrieved it.
- A silent version arrives in Kiryuu's constant typing of "FB FB FB FB FB FB FB FB FB...".
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn!. After Kozato Enma's famiglia is completely abducted by the Vindice he goes insane, loses control of his powers, and keeps muttering to himself.
Enma: Kill Tsunayoshi... Kill... Kill...
- Domina no Do! has Ayako, where after having a yandere moment, travels with the Domina's Family grandmother, sending a note to Takeshi for him to wait for her. The phrase "wait for me" goes on for several pages, growing increasingly erratic with each new line.
- Most main characters from Nasu's series usually gets one or even several mantras.
- Tsukihime: This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair. This chair.
- Sailor Moon: ''I won't forgive you. I won't forgive you. I won't forgive you. I WON'T FORGIVE YOU!!" from the first episode of the 5th season.
- In the last season, when Galaxia reveals that she's killed Tuxedo Mask, Sailor Moon is briefly reduced to only being able to say "Mamo-chan...is dead..." over and over.
- A much more prevalent one throughout the second half of season 4 is "Yume yume itagau koto dakare; yume miro kodomo no yume no yume", translated in the subtitles as "Dream dream don't doubt it; a dream of dreams that children dream". (Or, for a more rhythmic translation, "Never ever forget to remember, a child's dream is a dream forever.") It becomes more and more disturbing the more it's used.
- In Higurashi: When They Cry, the characters are prone to saying "uso da"/"that's a lie" when/after they snap.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry..."
- Axis Powers Hetalia: "KOLKOLKOLKOLKOLKOLKOLKOLKOLKOLKOLKOLKOLKOLKOLKOL..."
"LET'S GET MARRIEDMARRIEDMARRIEDMARRIEDMARRIEDMARRIEDMARRIED...''" (Although, to be fair, they don't have mental breakdowns, they're both just consistently crazy.)
- Bokurano: "There's no way Dad could've died, there's no way Dad could've died, there's no way Dad could've died..." Said by Kodaka after he accidentally crushes his father while piloting a Humongous Mecha.
- Joshua from Chrono Crusade launches into a chant of "Sis. Sis. Sis. Sis. Sis." on at least one occasion.
- One episode of Witch Hunter Robin features an obsessive-compulsive witch who, when confronted by the main characters, starts repeating, in an increasingly panicked voice: "You soiled... you soiled... you soiled... you soiled... you soiled... you soiled..."
- Tekkonkinkreet has White's repeating mantra, "be happy be happy."
- "Real bullets don't work!" "No more...please!" Sousuke and Tsubaki from Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, after experiencing a particularly horrifying battle against a invincible, chainsaw-wielding, maniacally smiling, insane laughing, normally polite old janitor.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: "I mustn't run away, I mustn't run away, I mustn't run away..." An attempt at a Survival Mantra that didn't really work.
- Made hilarious in the outtakes: "I mustn't run away, I m-ok, I got that, good, ok. Now, if I were to run away-let's analyze that-, where the fuck would I go?!"
- Then there's Asuka's "I don't wanna die! I don't wanna die! I don't wanna die!". It becomes even creepier when her mother's "You are not alone. You are not alone. You are not alone" gets piled over it. Unlike Shinji's example above, Asuka's mantra does work. For about 15 minutes.
- It becomes even creepier still when you realize that interspersed with her mother's "You are not alone." is the shrill voice of the half of her mother that went crazy and hung herself shrieking "Please die with me!"
- Asuka also muttered "I'll kill you... I'll kill you... I'll kill you... I'll kill you..." when she made her unpowered, impaled and gutted EVA move via sheer force of will. For about 40 seconds.
- Then there's Shinji's "I can't take it anymore... I can't take it anymore... I can't take it anymore..." from End. That one really counts as a Madness Mantra since he's losing his grip on reality at that moment. Using a negative phrase in a Mantra is usually not a good idea.
- Dragon Ball: "Mounds...mounds...mounds..."
- Canaan has Hakko's "I love you". Even more poignant is that these are the last words Santana hears before his death, because her voice is lethal, the reason behind her breaking down.
- Tomo in Azumanga Daioh: "Today is the first day of school..."
- "I want to become a bird!", from the infamous "snail parasite" story from Volume 4 of The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service.
- Death Note: Sakujo, sakujo, sakujo, sakujo, sakujo, sakujo, sakujo, sakujo...
- R.O.D the TV:
- "John Smith got his forest burned down.
That's why he planted new trees.
A lot, a whole lot, and a lot more...
A lot, a whole lot, and a lot more..."
A lot, a whole lot, and a lot more..."
- Bakemonogatari: Hate! Hate! Hate! Hate! HAAAAAATE! YAAAAAAAAAAAH!
- In Scryed, Biff is captured and brainwashed; afterward, he becomes practically incapable of saying anything beyond "Hammer!" (as in "NR Hammer," the name of his Alter).
- Serial Experiments Lain: "Beep... beep... ... beep... ..... beep...."
- "Everyoneisconnected. Everyoneisconnected. Everyoneisconnected." And in the middle of a busy street, no less.
- D.Gray-Man: NEVER FORGIVE, NEVER FORGIVE, NEVER FORGIVE, NEVER FORGIVE...
- Pumpkin Scissors: Töten Sie! Töten Sie! ("Kill them!") note
- Shizuo in Durarara!! subverts this in that what appears to be a very obvious Madness Mantra ("Kill'em kill'em kill'em kill'em kill'em...") is actually a Survival Mantra to channel his anger and prevent himself from going into an Unstoppable Rage.
- Saika's constant spamming of "Mother mother mother..." (and later "Shizuo. Heiwajima Shizuo. Heiwajima Heiwajima Heiwajima...Shizuo Shizuo Shizuo Shizuo Shizuo..."), on the other hand, is a textbook Madness Mantra
- Perfect Blue: Excuse me, who are you?
- Also, on the fax Mima receives from Me-Mania "TRAITOR TRAITOR TRAITOR TRAITOR TRAITOR TRAITOR TRAITOR TRAITOR..."
- Bleach: "Kurosaki-kun... Kurosaki-kun... Kurosaki-kun... KUROSAKI-KUN!"
- Fumio of Saitama Chainsaw Shoujo, just before snapping due to being dumped by her boyfriend, uttered a mantra of her own.
"Unforgivable! Unforgivable! Unforgivable! TOTALLY UNFORGIVABLE!!!"
- Soul Eater: "Jijijijijijiji... Jijijijijijiji..."
Free: I can't see... I can't see anything... I really wanna see a fine comedy...
- "I don't know how to deal with this... my blood is black... I'll kill you all. Kill you. Kill you. Kill you."
- "An apple. An apple. An apple. An apple. An apple. An apple. An apple. An apple. An apple."
- "Wrath of the Pharaoh! Wrath! Wrath! Wrath! Wrath! Pharaoh! Pharaoh! Pharaoh! Wrath! Wrath! Wrath!"
- There is one that crosses into the territory of both Dark Comedy, Overly Long Gag, and Brick Joke in chapter nine of the manga (where Free makes a brief cameo), that, while setting up the mood of the Witch Jail (It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context/ It Makes Sense in Context), a background character repeatedly adds one and two together, while never coming up with the solution to the problem, thinking that he's multiplying what he's adding, much to the annoyance of the one lone guard who has had to put up with him for an undetermined amount of time. This is interrupted by Free, much to the shock of both the guard's and prisoner's shock, who silences him with his own hinted mantra:
- Monster: "Kill him... kill him... kill him..."
- When Johan begins to explain his intentions to Nina "The end...the end...the end...the end...the end...the end...the end...the end...the end."
- This little snippet from Episode 29: Dr. Gillen is interviewing the murderer Peter Jurgens. He shows Peter a picture of Johan and Peter says that he does not know him, and then he asks him for a pen. He takes the pen and begins shading around the face of the man in the picture. He tells Dr. Gillen that on the second day of the murder, he had gone to the park; he was telling himself that he wanted to stop, and then he saw the man surrounded by children there. Peter then repeats the words "You should come too" (or "Come with us" in the English dubbed) over and over again while some ominous little tune plays and the camera does a close up on his expressionless face. He then takes the pen and plunges it into his right ear. Blood squirts out and he falls over dead.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!: "Make them atone. Don't forgive. Kill them all."
- Usopp of One Piece seems to like doing these, particularly after experiencing the danger his shipmates tend to love.
- Hajime No Ippo: "Left, Left, Left, Left, Left, Left, Left, LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEFFFFTTT!" I'll just leave this here.
- Detective School Q: "Tartarus... Tartarus... Tartarus... AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!
- Paprika: A creepy chorus of dolls in the parade chants: "No more anger! Our world is happy and mundane!"
- I'm Gonna Be an Angel!: "Ganbare, ganbare" and "I/we will become angel/s" by Mikael and "I won't become an angel!" by Silky.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The early part of Oktavia's labyrinth has "Look at me" written all over it.
- The runes found in witches barriers always translate into this.
- Gintama: ANPANanpanAnPaNanpanANPANanpanaNpAnANPANanpanAnPaNANpananpananPANANpan
- From the English dub of Tenchi Muyo!, episode 8:
Ryoko: "Diapers. Diapers. Diapers. Diapers. Diapers."Ayeka: "Milk. Milk. Milk. Milk. Milk."
- The Big O: "There is but one truth. If you avert your eyes from it, you will always remain nothing more then a puppet."
- In Eureka Seven, after Charles Beams dies, Ray spends most of an episode humming an eerie tune. Made even more creepy by the fact that the audience barely sees her, just hears the humming over scenery shots of the rooms she's trashed.
- After a pressure cooker of stress detonates in his head, Renton has a menacing freakout in the midst of a firefight with human-piloted enemy mecha. Suddenly, he's butchering them all to pieces in a swearing fit of "DAMMIT," punctuated by horrendous amounts of gore as he enters a berserk rage and starts killing them all like a rabid beast. Nirvash spawns red, glowing eyes as Renton mangles them all, finally leading up to a when he sees an evil shadow with his own face, laughing maniacally. Renton peels open the last mecha left intact, screams wildly, then stamps Nirvash's boot down on the exposed cockpit with the pilot still inside, squashing him like a bug. Unfortunately, what was left of him- namely, tons of blood and the severed arm of a married man- hitched a ride on the sole of the boot- which Renton saw crystal clear. Immediately followed by total Heroic BSOD, My God, What Have I Done?, and vomiting. Made even worse that the only discretion shot was for the puke, NOT the bowel-loosening gore.
- Black Butler: "Snuff out the barren. Snuff out the useless. Snuff out the unclean."
- Koharu No Hibi. Koharu to Akira: "I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you."
- Shiki: Megumi-chan is going to come and kill me. Megumi-chan is going to come and kill me. Megumi-chan is going to come and kill me.
- "Damn you old man, damn you old man, damn you old man..."
- Rosario + Vampire: Tsukune's Ghoul form repeats the word "kill".
- In Fruits Basket Akito, who's rather crazy, repeatedly screams "IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!" at Kana.
- Kyo also shouts "IT'S NOT MY FAULT!" over and over again in response to being blamed for his mother's death.
- Pandora Hearts has this:
Jack [after Glen says that Lacie can't be brought back] Unacceptable! Unacceptable! Unacceptable! Unacceptable! Unacceptable! Unacceptable! Unacceptable! Unacceptable!
- Kara no Kyoukai: Lio says to Shiki "That's a lie, that's a lie, that's a lie, that's a lie!"
- Berserk has Theresia's "Just take me back to my room."
- Hellsing has Seras going berserk after Zorin Blitz kills Pip and refers to him as an insect and screaming "Unforgivable... Unforgivable... Unforgivable... Unforgivable!" (Japanese) or "You'll pay... You'll fucking pay. You'll fucking pay. You'll fucking pay!" (English) Also, after she drinks from Pip and becomes a powerful vampire she says "Let's slaughter, Pip ... Slaughter... Slaughter!"
- SHUFFLE!. Kaede, in episode 19, tells either of these at Asa after snapping on her:
- In the original Japanese: "Go back. Please go back...Please go back...Please...go back...Go back...Go back...GO BACK! GO BACK! GO BACK!"
- Im the English dub: "Get Out. Get out of this house. Get out of this house. Get out... Get out.... Get out. Get out! OUT! GET OUT OF MY HOUSE! GO AWAY!"
- Yuno of Mirai Nikki repeating "Yuki praised me!"
- Episode 4 of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn has Loni Garvey repeating "Sieg Zeon" in the final few minutes, having been Brainwashed and Crazy by her mobile armor's psycommu system.
- From Casshern Sins, the hoards of robots that believe devouring Casshern will grant them eternal life are always shouting the same thing.
KILL CASSHERN! DEVOUR CASSHERN!
- Jeremy a little bit in A Cruel God Reigns. He repeatedly says "Hallelujah" at one point while being beaten by Greg.
- Flame of Recca:
- Kirin, a mind-reader, suffers a wardrobe malfunction while fighting Domon and gets to hear a barrage of obscene thoughts centered around said malfunction.
- Aoi, being a "Well Done, Son!" Guy, is haunted by the mantra "FAILURE"
- In an Oh Crap! moment, Renge's inner monologue changes from "not gonna die" to "gonna die" as she realizes how much more powerful Kurei is.
- Played for Laughs in Infinite Stratos Season 2 Episode 7. Laura flips out when Ichika reveals he's already chosen a tag-team partner for the upcoming IS Academy tournament, and it isn't her. She summons her IS arm's Laser Blade and is about to hit him with it, when Chifuyu suddenly hurls her across the room, berating her for unauthorized IS usage. When Laura tries to protest by saying this is a matter between husband and wife, we get this exchange:
Laura: Instructor, this is a problem between husband and wife!Chifuyu: Husband and wife? You Fool! I'd never accept a rude girl like you as my sister-in-law!(a look of horror appears on Laura's face)
- Detective Conan: "No one will believe me!" Said by Atsuko, which refers to how she was the true author of her best script that Chikako made pass as hers, causing Atsuko to commit suicide a few afterwards.
- "It's a lie, it's a lie, it's a lie!", is another one, this time said by Ryuuichi Mifune after being not only being found out as the killer of the case, but also being told about Shouko's feelings for him.
- In Minamoto Kun Monogatari Rokujou's sanity is way gone when Kaoruko tells her that Terumi does not love her and doesn't need her like she would like to believe. One panel is so dedicated to her thinking thoughts like "Lies, No way, You're wrong", etc. that the words are overlapping with each other.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena: In episode 33 at one point, an awkward-looking Utena is lying on a bed but we only see her face, her bare shoulders, and her hand as she babbles about food and what she should make for lunch tomorrow. At some point she bites on her knuckle, then keeps speaking about the meal in an increasingly desperate and moaning tone. The animators stop getting crap past the radar and downright push it down when she shudders and shivers repeatedly, then tenses up and goes still for a millisecond while breathlessly gasping "Tell me..." while the screen goes to black. Soon we see her hand... which holds onto a man's dark skinned own. Yep, Utena just had sex with Akio, on-screen. Now keep in mind that she's in eighth grade and he's a hell of a lot older (and even moreso when we consider his backstory)... and the consent is dubious enough to make the scene count as Rape as Drama by many people's sensibilities. (The kanji seen flashing in the background at some point, i.e., can be read as "Stop it, stop it, stop it...".)
- Seraph of the End: When Yuu lets his Superpowered Evil Side take over he repeats "Annihilate the sinners."
- Adekan has "Onna-neko... help me... onna-neko..."
- After the Chameleon snapped in one issue of Spider-Man, all he was capable of saying was "Nothing nothing nothing nothing..."
- In Grant Morrison's run on Animal Man, the Arkham inmate Psycho Pirate chants phrases such as, "Worldswillliveworldswilldie," and "One and two and ess and ex and three and four and prime." These turn out to be Arc Words, referring to the parallel Earths variously merged or destroyed in Crisis on Infinite Earths some years earlier. The Psycho Pirate is the only one in the DCU who remembers these lost worlds, and so these Madness Mantras allude to, respectively, DC's promotional tagline for the Crisis crossover and the names of various parallel Earths (Earth Two, Earth S, Earth X, etc.). His ravings are a premonition of the temporary reemergence of superheroes and supervillains from the lost Earths.
- In an issue of The Flash, Wally's ex-girlfriend Tina McGee calls him for help because she believes there is something wrong with everybody around her. When Flash gets there he finds that she is at her keyboard, repeatedly typing "I'magoodgirlI'magoodgirl". Everyone thinks she is having a nervous breakdown, but actually her colleagues have been taken over by the Kilg%re, and she's perfectly alright.
- "He won't have a gun, Trust me Ashley. He won't have a gun, Trust me Ashley..."
- In an issue of Justice League, the Atom has the song Stardust stuck in his head throughout the issue, but can't remember all the lyrics. He and the other leaguers soon encounter an alien probe named Mnemon, who steals memories. After temporarily stealing the memories of the league, it is defeated and ends up drifting through space with just one memory that it repeats endlessly: the song Stardust. And it still doesn't know the words. A nice combination of this trope and Earworm.
- In V for Vendetta, after V destroys Lewis Prothero's priceless doll collection in front of him, he goes insane, and can only say "mama, mama."
- After Starr gets his genitals eaten by a dog in Preacher, he spends a lot of time fondling a gun and muttering "DOOM cock, DOOM cock".
- In Detective Comics Annual #9, Riddler finally divulges his life story to (what he believes are) the doctors at Arkham. When he discovers that the doctors behind the one way glass left the room for a snack and he's been talking to himself the entire time, he begins repeating "no one there" in shock . It is unknown when he recovered from this.
- One of the children attacked by a Fear Demon in Saga Of The Swamp Thing #26 keeps repeating "ANIMALANIMALANIMALANIMAL..."
- Kurt Gerhardt, the third Foolkiller, used "Bingo Bango Bongo".
- You know things are bad when Superman starts using one of these: during Grant Morrison's (Is there a pattern here?) run on JLA, in fact near the end, in "World War Three", Supes has his hope and will broken by the Old Gods' death machine from the edge of space, Mageddon. While under the influence of the doomsday device, he compulsively utters... "We can't win over this... the end of it all... oblivion... MAH-GED-DUN.."
- One of the Freak Brothers tries to write a horror story while high on drugs. The result: "Andtheywentandtheywentandtheywent..." (Promptly gets him a Frankenstein/Gertrude Stein pun.)
- A written one from Calvin and Hobbes: The Series:
- Then there's Calvin and Hobbes II: Lost at Sea: "Su... su... su... su... su... SU...su...su...su... su... su... su... su... SU...su...su..."
- Evangelion 303: In chapter 12, while Asuka is arguing with herself during a breakdown, she yells out loud: "SHUT UP!!! Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up Shut up SHUT UP!!!"
- HERZ: In chapter 2 Asuka remembers her words during her battle against the MP-Evas:
"I'll kill you. Kill you. Kill you. Kill. Kill. Kill." Her mantra as she clutched her face and reached out with her right hand of vengeance. "Kill you. Kill you. Kill you. Kill you. Kill. Kill."
- In The Precious Book, Harry greatly cares for a copy of Alice in Wonderland given to him by a kindly bookshop owner, regarding the characters as his friends. When Quirrel uses a mind control curse on Ron Weasley to make him destroy it, Harry spends several heartbroken weeks doing little but sob "Murderer" over and over again.
- Queen Of All Oni has Jade's thought processes degenerate into this when Lung tortures her trapped astral form.
"Gotta get away, gotta get away, gotta get away, gotta get away, gotta get away, getaway, getaway, getawaygetaway..."
- The Second Try: Asuka uttered one when Gendo interrogated her about Aki and then taunted her with her speech not being very motherly:
Asuka:"You bastard! You don't know anything about her! You have no right to talk about her! I swear, if you do as much as to say her name once more, I'll kill you!"
Gendo:"Kill me? You don't seem to be in any position to make death threats. That aside... [...] That is not a very motherly way to talk..."
Asuka:"You... I'll kill you. I'll kill you. I'll kill you! I'll kill you! I'LL K-agh... y-y..."
- In chapter 13 of Passageways a time-travelling Harry attacks Abraxas Malfoy and several other Death Eaters after they show up to terrorize Diagon Alley. When Malfoy sees the lordship ring of a formerly-extinct family on Harry's hand, he goes into shock and keeps repeating "It can't be..."
- Being a crossover with The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, The Grim EDventures of Ed, Edd, n Eddy includes a similar Madness Mantra to the one in the source material in the first chapter. It comes right outta nowhere, has absolutely nothing to do with the plot (despite there not being that much of a plot yet) and nobody ever mentions it again. Yup, it's a Big Lipped Alligator Moment, alright.
- In Father Mine a Death Eater who came off rather poorly during an encounter with Sailor Moon keeps repeating "Never. Coherent. Moon! Glowing...traitor...watch out! Moon..."
- In The Boy With The Magic Notebook, the way Maxwell is writing down medicinal potions nonstop for hours on end comes off like this.
SUPER MEDICINE SUPER MEDICINE SUPER MEDICINE SUPER MEDICINE SUPER MEDICINE
Films — Animated
- The animated movie 9: "The source... The source... Go back... to the source..."
- In Nocturna, the Luminuses(?) chant the word "Kidnapper..." over and over again, due to so many of them going missing.
- Queen Elsa at one point in Frozen:
"Get it together! Control it! Don't feel, don't feel, don't feel, don't feel!
Films — Live-Action
- The Magdalene Sisters: Crispina, a slightly mentally handicapped girl of the Magdalene Asylum, was routinely sexually abused by the Padre. Her friend Margaret sees this and confides to her, "He's not a man of God." Margaret then contaminates his robe with poison ivy. Inevitably Crispina contacted with this and caught it as well. While giving an open-air sermon at some saint's feast, the Padre begins to itch uncontrollably and at least runs off into the woods disrobing as he goes, revealing a horrific rash. Crispina pulls up her dress to reveal the same rash on her thighs. She then chants out "You're not a man of God, you're not a man of God, you're not a man of God......" over thirty times with increasing fervor expressing her humiliation and frustrations of physical and mental abuse in the convent. The audience claims this mantra was overdone and/or inadequate to compensate for the abuses she has suffered especially in light of her mental challenges.
- This is hinted at in the ads for Don't Say A Word, by the young woman in the asylum repeatedly muttering "I'll never tell!" in singsong. Her actual madness is a matter of conjecture, but the phrase proves important to the plot.
- Rain Man: "X minutes to Wapner," as well as reciting both sides of the "Who's On First?" sketch in absolute deadpan.
- Josh Peck's character in Mean Creek repeats, "His daddy splattered his brains all over the wall" during the scene where he gets really mad.
- Evil Dead 2: "WHO'S LAUGHING NOW?"
- Batman Begins: "...Scarecrow..."
- The Aviator features Howard Hughes with a number of OCD-inspired mantas. Though Hughes suffered from the disorder, the mantras themselves were an invention for the film.
- "They come in with the milk. Come in with the milk. Come in with the milk. In with the milk."
- Way of the future. Way of the future. Way of the future. Way of the future. Way of the future.
- Show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blueprints, show me all the blueprints.
- "Quarantine"... "Quarantine"... Q-U-A-R...A-N-T-I-N-E... "Quarantine".
- Robot Monster: "I cannot. And yet I must."
- In The Silence of the Lambs, one anonymous psycho starts yelling "Hannibal the cannibal!" over and over again.
- In the novel, the disorganized schizophrenic Sammie (replacing Hannibal's former cell-neighbor, Multiple Miggs) has a very distinctive mantra that apparently started some time after he put his mother's severed head on the Church collection plate:
I WAN TO GO TO JESA, I WAN TO GO WIV CRIEZ, I CAN GO WIV JESA, EF I AC REEL NIIIZE!
- In the novel, the disorganized schizophrenic Sammie (replacing Hannibal's former cell-neighbor, Multiple Miggs) has a very distinctive mantra that apparently started some time after he put his mother's severed head on the Church collection plate:
- The Pink Panther: "KILL CLOUSEAU!"
- The Pink Panther Strikes Again - "Every day in every way I'm getting better and better!"
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956): "You're next!"
- The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: "I MUST KNOW EVERYTHING! I MUST BECOME CALIGARI!"
- "I AM CALIGARI! I AM CALIGARI!"
- "HE IS CALIGARI!"
- Hans Beckert's whistling of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" in M probably counts.
- In the aftermath of Batman Forever, Edward Nygma, a.k.a. the Riddler, is reduced to repeating "Too many questions...too many questions..." after his brain is overloaded by the malfunctioning Box. This was once a rant by Nygma, spawned by his boss and idol Bruce Wayne rejecting his project by saying that it raised "too many questions."
- Split/Second had "Big guns. We need big FUCKING guns!" as a character's Madness Mantra after an encounter with the Big Bad.
- In Disturbing Behavior, Dr. Caldicott's daughter is found in a mental institution, constantly repeating the phrase "Meet the musical little creatures that hide among the flowers."
- There Will Be Blood "Get out of here, ghost. Get out of here, ghost. Get out. Get out of here, ghost."
- Tie-in media for The Blair Witch Project reveal that Kyle Brody, sole surviving victim of Rustin Parr, was reduced to gibbering insanity later in life, only ever saying "Never given! Never given!" over and over again. Parr himself was also prone to muttering the phrase shortly before his execution.
- Willow: "NOT A WOMAN!"
- Arguably, more likely Lug's Berserk button being pressed than proper madness mantra.
- John Sayles's brilliant City of Hope features a character named Asteroid, clearly a deinstitutionalized schizophrenic, who provides a nonstop clang-association Madness Mantra in every scene he appears in.
Psychoses, neuroses, dementia, amnesia. Schizoid, paranoid, psychotropic seizure. Manic, manic depressive, genetically regressive. Paranoiac, melancholic, acrophobic, alcoholic ...
- The Shining:
- "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy..."
- Redrum... Redrum... Redrum... Redrum... Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! REDRUM! REDRUM! REDRUM! REDRUM!
- Parodied in the 1983 horror spoof Hysterical; when Kate finds the pages from Frederic/Casper's novel, they read "All work and no play makes Casper a friendly ghost. All work and no play makes Casper a friendly ghost."
- This trailer for A Serious Man borders on this trope. You're gonna be fiiine...
- In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Sam starts babbling while under the influence of a shard of the AllSpark, sometimes repeating himself over and over and over, "KITTEN CALENDAR KITTEN CALENDAR KITTEN CALENDAR..."
- Dr. Strangelove "Peace on earth/purity of essence/peace on earth/purity of essence" scribbled everywhere. Also an important clue.
- Admiral Beckett in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End suffers one of these when he realizes he's lost control of the Flying Dutchman and both it and the Black Pearl are bearing down on his ship. "It's just good business."
- "Part of the crew, part of the ship. PART OF THE CREW, PART OF THE SHIP!!"
- The Pianist "Why did I do it? Why did I do it? Why did I do it?"
Halina: "She's getting on my nerves. What did she do, for God's sake?"Father: "She smothered her baby. They'd prepared a hiding place and so, of course, they went there. But the baby cried just as the police came. She smothered the cries with her hands. The baby died. A policeman heard the death rattle. He found where they were hiding."
- Empire of the Sun: "I can bring everyone back, everyone... I can bring everyone back, everyone..."
- The virus in the film Pontypool causes the infected to go mad and repeat phrases. Something gets stuck... gets stuck... stuck... stuck...?
- Unusual in that it can actually be counteracted, with difficulty. Rendering the repeated word meaningless breaks its mental hold. Mazzy gets Sydney to replace her chanted mantra of "kill" with "kiss", and they get on the air and try to spout nonsense to all their listeners.
- Them: "Make me a sergeant in charge of the booze! Make me a sergeant in charge of the booze!"
- Predator: "I'm gonna have me some fun... I'm gonna have me some fun... I'm gonna have me some fun... I'm gonna have me some fun..."
- Marie from High Tension repeats the phrase "I won't let anyone come between us anymore" in a whispering voice over and over when kneeling above her blood-drenched but still living best friend (and secret crush) Alex, whom she spent the movie trying to save from a sadistic rapist/serial killer. The real madness of it comes into play with the knowledge that The killer was an alternate personality of Marie herself, and she was repeating that phrase after Alex stabbed her through the torso with a crowbar.
- In Falling Down, the main character spots a man protesting his recent lay off with a sign proclaiming that he has been deemed "not economically viable." The mantra proves contagious, as the main character has also just been laid off.
- In A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Kristen threatens an orderly with a scalpel to stop the doctors from sedating her, while weepily reciting the "One, Two, Freddy's coming for you" Ironic Nursery Tune. She's too much of a basket case from sleep deprivation to recall the last line, but Nancy arrives and finishes it for her, soothing the girl enough that she hands over the blade.
- The Wolfman (2010): Where is my father? Where is my father? WHERE IS MY FATHER?
- Julien Donkey-Boy: "THE WIND IS BLIND, THE WIND IS BLIND, THE WIND IS BLIND..."
- TRON: Legacy: A program that was caught before Sam by the Recognizer is a nervous wreck about becoming a Games conscript. He repeats "Not the games" over and over.
- Crazy Stupid Love: Cal's incessant babbling about the man with whom his wife committed adultery, and the whole "cuckold" thing, come off a bit like this.
- Barton Fink: I'll show you the life of the mind! I'll show you the life of the mind! I WILL SHOW YOU THE LIFE OF THE MIND!!!
- At the end of Blood Rage, Maddy kills herself while madly repeating the hero's declaration of "I'm Todd".
- Played for Laughs in The Sandlot, when the provocations of Wendy Peffercorn finally overcome Squints Palladorous.
- Chef in Apocalypse Now after he has a Freak Out over running into a live tiger. "Never get out of the boat! Never get out of the boat!"
- Near the end of Mad Love Dr. Gogol tried to strangle the woman he was obsessed with while murmuring "Each man kills the thing he loves...each man kills the thing he loves..."
- Animal House: REMAIN CALM! ALL IS WELL!
- Vampire's Kiss: "I'm a Vampire! I'm a Vampire! I'm a Vampire!"
- In Man of Steel, Zod repeating "I will find him!" over and over is used to illustrate him slowly losing his mind after first being defeated.
- In Godzilla (1998), a Japanese fisherman who survived the monster's attack is shown in a hospital bed chanting, "Gojira, Gojira, Gojira..."
- "Come on come on come on I want you to do it I want you to do it come on come on I want you to do it I want you to do it hit me hit me come on HIT ME"
- Das Versprechen: I wait, I wait, he will come, he will come...
- The Hunger Games: Tick, tock, tick, tock...
- Red Wall Doooooommmm!!!! Doooommmm!!! Doom and Gloom, Doom is all that awaits you... doooommmm!!!!!
- The eighth book of the Malazan Book of the Fallen has Mad Artist Kadaspala who manages to combine Talkative Loon and this. It's not that he makes no sense, he just takes ages to get to the point as he turns almost anything he says into a Madness Mantra that first had to pass through an insanity filter.
'But you but you but you are the knot the knot. Snapping tight! No one gets away. No one gets away. No one gets away. Hold still hold still and hold still until he awakens and he will awaken and so he will. Awaken. My child. The word, you see, the word is the word is the word. The word is kill.'
- Subverted in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, where Sirius Black murmured "He's at Hogwarts" over and over while in prison. As it turns out, this mantra actually kept him sane.
- HP Lovecraft's novel At the Mountains of Madness:
- When the nameless Narrator and his colleague Danforth leave the city of the Elder Things in the mountains of Antarctica via airplane, one of them glances over the mountain range and sees... something, which causes him to scream like a madman and begin repeating the phrase "Tekeli-li" over and over again (in reference to the story Arthur Gordon Pym by Edgar Allan Poe, and also used to describe the whistling sound the Elder Things made and which the shoggoth are mimicking). What exactly he sees he never tells to the narrator, except in disjointed phrases such as "Yog-Sothoth", "The Black Pit", "The Elder Pharos", "Proto-Shoggoths" and "The First, the Last and the Immortal".
- Also, a bit earlier, when they see the multi-eyed amorphous mass of a Shoggoth and they are running for their lives, an insane Danforth starts singing "South Station Under - Washington Under - Park Street Under - Kendall - Central - Harvard -" and so on, reciting the familiar underground stations between Boston and Cambridge as a monstrous analogy to how the shoggoth emerged from the mists towards them like an underground train emerging from the darkness of a tunnel.
- Stephen King:
- The Tommyknockers features "Late last night and the night before... Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door..."
- IT features a mental patient repeatedly singing just one line from a Doors song. "Try to set the night on fire, try to set the night on fire, try to set the night on fire...".
- The Stand:
- One of the prisoners left to starve in Phoenix Jail adopts "MOTHER!" as his madness mantra, and doesn't stop shouting it until Lloyd Henreid screams back "Your mother's in charge of blowjobs at a whorehouse in Asshole, Indiana!" (Sadly, the "Mother" shouter starts back up again not too long after.)
- Lloyd has his own Madness mantra a little later, when he's still locked up and so hungry he's contemplating cannibalism. As he's trying to reach for the arm of the guy the next cell over, he has the song "Camptown Races" stuck in his head, and keeps idly singing the one nonsense bit of the chorus, and nothing else, over and over: "Doo-dah...doo-dah..."
- Donald Elbert, a mentally-unstable pyromaniac better known as the "Trashcan Man", is a nigh-religious follower of Randall Flagg, often shouting "My life for you!" in the television series.
- There's also the case of what Larry calls "the monster-shouter," someone he hears repeatedly screaming in the streets of an empty New York City, "Monsters coming! Monsters on the way! Monsters coming now!" Later, Larry and Rita find him stabbed to death. (He's memorably played in the miniseries by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.)
- In Pet Sematary, Lou Creed becomes fixated on the line "Hey! Ho! Let's Go!" from the Ramones' Blitzkrieg Bop as he becomes more and more unhinged. Stephen King seems to really like this trope.
- He included it near the end of his short story "Crouch End", too: after losing (in a very literal sense of that word) her husband to something that lives in Crouch End, the central character takes to crawling to the back of her closet and writing, over and over, "Beware the Goat with a Thousand Young".
- In "And Cain Rose Up", a school sniper repeats "GOOD GOD LET'S EAT".
- In Rose Madder, as Norman chases Rosie and Bill into the painting and his Ferdinand the Bull Mask fuses to his head, he takes to repeating "Viva ze bull".
- The Shining again, which featured "redrum" backwards for "murder".
- The most unnerving King example may be from his short story "The Jaunt". "Longer than you think, Dad! Longer than you think!"
- The Giant, Longwrath of the Third Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: "Slay her! Are you fools!"
- And in the Second Chronicles, Covenant himself with "Don't touch me." But he wasn't really insane, just catatonic, and quoting himself from First Chronicles. This mantra underscored how, as a leper, he was cut off from all human contact. The other mantra from this book was "It isn't catching," to ram home that there was no real reason for everyone to avoid him.
- Then, when she temporarily takes the spell causing his coma into herself, Linden Avery comes out with her own mantra, "You never loved me anyway". This refers to her rather dysfunctional relationship with her parents (culminating with her father suiciding in front of her, and her later Mercy Killing her sick and useless mother) and her subsequent lack of emotional connection.
- In The Westing Game, a story is told about two boys who went into Westing's mansion. It is mentioned that one boy ran out and he kept repeating "purple waves, purple waves".
- At the start of the Anthony Trollope novel An Eye for an Eye, we are introduced to a madwoman who incessantly repeats "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. Is that not the law?" The rest of the book is a flashback that explains what made the woman go mad.
- In Elantris, this is how residents of the eponymous city can tell when one of them is insane beyond recovery.
- Charles Dickens used these.
- In A Tale of Two Cities, an old letter relates the story of a woman who has gone mad with grief and stress, and can only repeat, "My husband, my father, and my brother!... One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, hush!"
- There is also the little old lady in Bleak House who has been driven mad by the Chancery Court's failure to settle her case: "I am expecting a judgment shortly...on the Day of Judgment."
- In House of Leaves, Johnny Truant's mother is in a mental hospital. Her correspondence to her son reflects this clearly, as she starts repeating certain phrases over and over in her letters. In the Holloway tapes, we hear Holloway chanting, "I'm Holloway Roberts. Born in Menomonie, Wisconsin..."
- Although he doesn't say it out loud, Grand Moff Tarkin has one of these for about two seconds at the end of Death Star during a Villainous Breakdown. It went "Unthinkable. Unthinkable - boom." (Since it's the end of a book called Death Star, you can guess where the boom came from).
- In Alex Cross novel Cat and Mouse by James Patterson when Thomas Pierce is exposed as Mr. Smith, he starts repeating: I MURDERED ISABELLA CALAIS AND I CAN'T STOP THE KILLING. The first sentence is spelled out in his victims' initials. The second would have been.
- A pseudo-example in Perelandra, the second book in The Space Trilogy, the Un-Man taunts the hero, Ransom, by saying his name over and over to annoy him.
- "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" has AM: "Hate. Hate."
- Discworld: "Millennium hand and shrimp!"
- Admittedly, usually as part of a longer, fairly random rant. Still occasionally repeated, though.
- Making Money: Vetinari Vetinari Vetinari Vetinari... (A written example, but still!)
- The villain of Men at Arms, driven mad by the power of the Gonne to extinguish lives, has "It was like being a god" as his internal monologue Madness Mantra.
- The Death Gate Cycle: "In order to free the dead, all of the living must die."
- In John Ajvide Lindqvist's first novel Let the Right One In, one boy who gets locked in a basement with the monster (well, one of them) is found hiding in a corner, reciting the Swedish equivalent of "One Elephant Went Out to Play". By the time people find him, the number of elephants on that spider web is somewhere in the hundreds.
- In "The Happening", people affected with the neurotoxin will shout some arbitrary phrase while their brains are being reprogrammed.
- In The Wheel of Time Rand al'Thor keeps itemizing all the women for whose deaths he makes himself responsible for. Seeing as he makes himself responsible for the death of everyone even remotely connected to him, commanding hundreds of thousands and fighting a war for the further existence of creation it becomes quite long.
- In The Good Soldier, Nancy goes insane because of Leonora's treatment of her and Edward's suicide and can say nothing but a Latin phrase meaning "I believe in an omnipotent God" and the word "shuttlecocks."
- In The Great Divorce, two of the souls in Hell have tracked down Napoleon Bonaparte, who can do nothing anymore but pace around chanting "It was Soult's fault. It was Ney's fault. It was Josephine's fault. It was the fault of the English. It was the fault of the Russians."
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- Theon Greyjoy has: "Reek, Reek, it rhymes with..."
- Also from Theon Greyjoy is "(S)He needs to know (her)his name."
- Arya's prayer might fit: "Ser Gregor, Dunsen, Raff the Sweetling. Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, Queen Cersei." She's not insane, but it seems to have become a compulsive behavior by the end of the last book.
- Mad King's last words:Burn them all. Burn them all. Burn them all. Burn them all. Burn them all. Burn them all. Burn them all.
- "No one is who they say they are." Tokyo Year Zero by David Peace is a 400-page Madness Mantra.
- In The Name of the Wind Master Elodin leads Kvothe through the University's insane asylum; he tries to demonstrate how in over his head Kvothe is by opening one of the soundproof doors. Immediately the hallway fills with incessant screams of "THEY'RE IN ME THEY'RE IN ME THEY'RE IN ME!"
- From Watership Down: "There's a dog loose in the wood."
- Legends of Lone Wolf: "Tick, tick, tick, tick, You're touched by the colours and the colours stick."
- The Ray Bradbury short story "The Long Rain" is about a group of men on the perpetually rainy planet Venus, searching for one of the dry "sun domes" that have been built there. One man recalls that an old friend of his snapped after being on Venus too long, and was found wandering around repeating, "Don't know enough, to come in, outta the rain. Don't know enough, to come in, outta the rain. Don't know enough—"
- George RR Martin's "The Skin Trade" has a minor example, after P.I. Randi insists (despite strong recommendations against it) on examining the body of a murder suspect who died similarly to her own father. For the rest of the day, the only thing she can say is repetitions of "It was Roy Helander, and he was wearing Joanie's skin."
- In Fate/Zero, after having her right hand cut off by Maiya to remove the Command Spells she forcibly got from Kayneth, Sola-Ui starts repeating "My right hand... my hand..." all over. These are also part of her Famous Last Words.
- A minor character in the Collegium Chronicles is driven insane by Valdemar's vrondi-powered antimagic shield.note During his last on-page appearance, he's repeating a verse over and over in an apparent attempt to keep the vrondi away from him.
...and all the things that are not there, they flock and fly and stare and stare, and all their eyes are big and bright and burn away the dark of night, and there is nowhere left to hide, they're everywhere, they get inside, and even though they are not there, they're watching watching everywhere, and more and more come every day, oh gods I wish they'd go away, and all the things that are not there, they flock and fly and stare and stare ...
- GONE Caine Soren has the mantra:Hungry in the dark...This is lamshded by Diana:
Caine: Hungry in the dark...HUNGRY IN THE DARK!!!Diana: not this again.Caine: *Snaps out of it* What?Diana: It's one of your greatest hits.
- There is one at the end of Alexander Pushkin's short story The Queen of Spades. Herman thought he gained a secret magic combination of winning cards, but he lost his property in his gamble. He was confined to a mental asylum, constantly murmuring: "Tray, seven, ace! Tray, seven — queen!"
- In A Shadow Girl's Summer of Love and Madness Nomie is unable to comprehend that Richard is not a good person and repeats it automatically whenever it is pointed out.
- In Doom, some of the zombies can speak but all that comes out is ominous gibberish about the Gates, "Great Ones", and death.
- In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ruckly, one of the Chronics, responds to everything by mumbling "Fffffuuck da wife".
Live Action TV
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Mayor suffers through a brief one when he finds Faith in a coma.
Mayor: "She's going to be all right. She'll be all right. She'll be all right."
- Scandal "7:52, 7:52, 7:52, 7:52..."
- Oz: Beecher's nursery rhymes in Season 2.
- Leonard is a minor character in Lost, a mental patient who keeps chanting the show's Arc Numbers.
- Then there's "Theresa falls up the stairs, Theresa falls down the stairs..."
- Stark on Farscape has a tendency to start chanting "My side! Your side! My side! Your side! MY SIDE! YOUR SIDE!" whenever his grip on sanity starts degrading.
- Gilligans Island: In "The Hunter", the ending reveals that the Villain of the Week, who had tried and failed to shoot the young first mate, snapped and was packed off to the mental ward muttering, "Gilligan...Gilligan...Gilligan."
- Monk, the title character is occasionally prone to this (such as when he was stuck in a powered out elevator).
- Firefly's River Tam may have a very good reason for repeating the phrase "Two by two, hands of blue" when she's upset.
- Topher in Dollhouse does this too: "I know what I know."
- Certainly puts that Paul Simon song in a new perspective.
- Shawn from Psych, assigned to hire Da Chief a nanny, rejected a candidate out of hand because she was writing a single phrase in her notes repeatedly. Neither he nor the audience can tell what the phrase was, but Shawn states that "There's no combination of words that makes that acceptable".
- In The Pretender episode "Crazy" Jarod poses as a psychiatric patient and repeats the phrase "Cree craw toad's foot, geese walk barefoot." In a later episode, this is revealed to be a mantra spoken by Edna Raines, a legitimate psychiatric patient. This also qualifies as Arc Words, as Jarod was saying the phrase when he was first brought into the Centre as a little boy in the very first episode.
- Half the insane babble of the Cylon Basestar Hybrids in Battlestar Galactica seems to fall halfway between Madness Mantra and Arc Words.
- Badger: "Tear the roof off the sucker! Tear the roof off the sucker!" is the mantra of Clarence Cornice, a six-foot six architect whose short partner Frank Lloyd Wrong insisted on building houses with a six foot ceiling until Cornice became homicidally deranged.
- Badger used the phrase in a later episode when feeling homicidal himself.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Gul Dukat: "It's all right, Ziyal... I forgive you..."
- In American Gothic, Merlyn's Madness Mantra was "Someone's at the door". These were her last words as a sane individual. Someone was at the door, and when he came in, he raped Merlyn's mother in front of her.
- This same mantra is then used many times over as a Catch Phrase for the series, but is especially delicious when employed by Merlyn's ghost to haunt the coroner who lies about her cause of death to protect his family from Buck (complete with the disturbing tape-recording that alternates between extremely fast and high-pitched, and extremely slow and garbled), and later to taunt Buck himself.
- Night Visions featured an episode titled "Now He's Coming Up the Stairs," which starred Luke Perry as a psychiatrist named Dr. Sears with the ability to absorb his patients' mental illnesses, taking them on himself. A worried mother approaches him and explains that she and her young son were in a car accident during which a man crashed through the windshield; the boy went into shock and repeatedly chants "Now he's coming through the woods, now he's coming through the yard, now he's coming in the house, now he's coming up the stairs," thinking that the man is coming to kill him. Dr. Sears heals the boy, and is temporarily plagued with the same nightmarish visions of the man entering the house and attacking the family, but recovers... except that he doesn't actually do so—he overextended himself healing the child and has now gone completely insane. The family's maid finds Dr. Sears in the boy's bedroom, rocking back and forth and endlessly repeating, "Now he's coming through the woods, now he's coming through the yard..."
- One episode of Law & Order had a psychiatrist whose peace mantra became his then ex-patient, now wife, now killer's Madness Mantra: "I am a rock in a sea of chaos, I am a rock in a sea of chaos..." after she learned that the underaged girl he lusted after was actually her under a different name.
- In Season 7 of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, when the "Miniature Killer" is finally brought in for questioning, she begins rocking back and forth, reciting "I Have a Pain in My Sawdust"
- Earlier Nick Stokes's stalker Nigel Crane from the aptly titled episode "Stalker" is reduced to repeating "I am one, who am I? I am one, who am I?" after being caught.
- A Season 1 episode of CSI: NY shows Mac laboriously recovering a document from a damaged hard drive that simply says "Three generations are enough" over and over again.
- The Kids in the Hall does a pretty good job using this for comedy. "Can't wash the car without a whole lotta milka..."
- "Never put salt in your eyes. Never put salt in your eyes. Never never never put salt in your eyes. Your eyes. PUT SALT IN YOUR EYES."
- "Yes, dear."
- "Never put salt in your eyes. Never put salt in your eyes. Never never never put salt in your eyes. Your eyes. PUT SALT IN YOUR EYES."
- Seinfeld: "SERENITY NOW!"
- "...Insanity later!"
- Wiseguy. "Only the toes, knows." Favourite saying of mad international Arms Dealer Mel Profitt, who shot up drugs between his toes.
- In The Drew Carey Show, the show regulars read through the day planner of an insane ex-coworker who has started emulating Drew.
"Be more like Drew. Be more like Drew. Be more like Drew. Be Drew."
- One interesting episode of Criminal Minds had the star played by Frankie Muniz (of Malcolm in the Middle fame), whose Madness Mantra was his now-deceased girlfriend's voicemail message, which included "I'm out living my life. Leave a message!" At the end of the episode he's in a padded room with his cell phone just listening to that over and over again, as it was all he had left of her.
- Er, not quite. He was still calling her, because he had once again forgotten she had died. Throughout the episode he was trying to get a hold of her, even though he was with her when she was murdered. The FBI reminding him of that didn't change the fact that he was still suffering a psychotic break.
- Doctor Who:
- The Master has his own musical Madness Mantra, the sound of drums (tap tap tap tap, tap tap tap tap, tap tap tap tap, tap tap tap tap)
- The episode "Silence in the Library" is full of these. All who have been killed by the shadows repeat their last phrases over and over again, "Hey, who turned out the lights? Hey, who turned out the lights?" And then there's the terrifying " Donna Noble has left the library. Donna Noble has been saved."
- "Are you my mummy?" from "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances". At one point the Creepy Child possesses a typewriter and types it over and over; in the podcast for the episode, Steven Moffat claims not to remember any similar scene from The Shining.
- "I did my duty for Queen and country." Though somewhat inverted because Yvonne Hartman's Heroic BSOD actually helped her retain some of her personality and she ended up killing a patrol of fellow Cybermen.
- In "The Doctor's Wife", the Rory illusion created by House to mess with Amy's head seems to have acquired a madness mantra after spending millennia separated from Amy in the corridors of the TARDIS. Initially, Amy encounters a version of Rory who has aged two thousand years, and he keeps repeating "Every night, they come for me. They hurt me..." Later, Amy discovers a corridor containing Rory's decayed corpse. The walls of the corridor are covered in graffiti in black and red: "Hate Amy, Kill Amy, Die Amy, Hate Amy, Kill Amy, Die Amy..." It's chilling.
- Again (only real this time) with Rory in "The Girl Who Waited". While Older!Amy is telling him not to let her in, he can only whisper "I'm so so sorry" over and over again.
- In "The God Complex", people who find their rooms (and therefore their greatest fears) eventually begin to pray to the monster stalking the halls. Praise him. Praise him. Praise him!
- One from the audios: the Eighth Doctor, having spent two and a half episodes on the edge of sanity, falls off it. "Zagreus sits inside your head," BANG! "Zagreus lives among the dead!" BANG! "Zagreus sees you in your bed—" BANG! Then later in "Zagreus": "Kill me, kill me, kill me, kill me, kill me..."
- Also the audio Minuet in Hell starts with the Doctor repeating: "The... legends of Gallifrey... speak of a world where everything is horror... horror and pain. A world...from which there is no escape. And the creatures who crawl on the crust of the land are the lost... and the hopeless... and the broken and the doomed.The legends of Gallifrey speak of a world... and the name of the world they speak of is Hell. Hell is where I have come at last.... And there can be no escape.
- Near the end of "Midnight", the Doctor is so rattled by what just happened that he can't do anything but gasp "It's gone. It's gone." for several lines, and is silent for some time after he manages to stop.
- It's faintly implied in some episodes that the Daleks' Catchphrase of "EXTERMINATE!" is this.
- Red Dwarf: During one of his fourteen failed attempts to pass the astro-navigation exam necessary to become an officer of the Space Corps, Rimmer suffered a nervous breakdown and ended up writing "I am a fish" 400 times, then did a funny little dance and fainted.
- Babylon 5:
- In a nonverbal example at the end of season 4, President Clarke commits suicide, leaving behind a note that just read "THE ASCENSION OF THE ORDINARY MAN THE ASCENSION OF THE ORDINARY MAN THE ASCENSION OF THE ORDINARY MAN...". There's a twist in this example, each line has a letter circled, and the circled letters spell "scorched earth"—Clarke had activated the Global Orbital Defense satellites and set them to fire on the Earth and wipe out every man, woman, and child on the entire planet. The Army of Light's fleet took them all out just in time.
- "The Corps is the Mother. The Corps is the Father. The Corps is the Mother. The Corps is the Father..."
- In Thirdspace after the artifact is found Lyta Alexander writes "There is Danger, Remember" on all available surfaces in her quarters and constantly repeats it under her breath going to the control room.
- A scene in Screenwipe has an office worker who keeps typing "I am a flower in a dustbin I am a flower in a dustbin I am a flower in a dustbin I am a flower in a dustbin I am a flower in a dustbin I in a dustbin" on his computer while "In The Air Tonight" plays hauntingly in the background.
- Particularly in the album version, during Monty Python's sketch of "The Travel Agent", a customer endlessly rambles about his past trips around the world. This gets to be so unbearable that the travel agent just keeps screaming "SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!"
- "...bleedin' Watney's Red Barrel..."
- In the Smallville episode "Gemini", a hospitalized woman continually mutters in gibberish. Bizarro listens to her and explains that she is speaking in Kryptonian. He translates it, and says she is just saying ones and zeros, and it becomes binary code. When the binary code is translated, it becomes "Error: Reboot" over and over again. Brainiac had jacked the woman's brain.
- Twin Peaks: "How's Annie? How's Annie? How's Annie?..."
- Also, "Oh, mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy. A kid'll eat ivy too. Wouldn't you?"
- Gahh! Earworm!
- Also, "Oh, mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy. A kid'll eat ivy too. Wouldn't you?"
- Mantrid: I'VE DESTROYED AN UNIVERSE! I'VE DESTROYED AN UNIVERSE! I'VE DESTROYED AN UNIVERSE!!!
- In Angel the psychotic vampire slayer Dana had several of these, one of which consisted of information on vampire killing she'd never been told.
- On Dexter, Angel is hospitalized and has to spend the night next to a patient who was brought over from a mental institution who keeps repeating the words "She knows". He finally snaps and yells that if 'she' knows, then the guy's yapping about it isn't gonna fix anything.
- In an early Mash episode, the storyline revolves around Henry being stalked by a rather unstable, wounded soldier. The soldier desperately wants to return home, worried that his wife had been cheating on him, but was furious at being denied leave on account of the extent of his injuries. Eventually, it gets to the point where a running, unmanned jeep comes crashing through Henry's tent, leaving him so shocked that he repeats over and over "Jeep. Tent. Boom."
- In Dads Army, when Jones is overcome by terror he starts shouting 'DON'T PANIC!', in increasingly panicked tones.
- Chuck vs. the Suburbs had the agent who kept saying "Salamander" after he was driven mad by FULCRUM's Intersect.
- The Mad King from Game of Thrones died chanting 'burn them all.' The man who killed him said he had been mumbling it for hours.
Varys: (sigh) I'm not sure how many new ways I can find of saying this...
- In fact, he apparent continued a couple times more as he was dying.
- In a moment of Dramatic Irony, Joffrey shrieks a similar "KILL THEM ALL!".
- Suffering from Cabin Fever and Heroic BSOD in Season 5, Tyrion starts chanting, "I have to get out of this wheelhouse" despite Varys repeatedly pointing out how suicidal it would be for the most wanted man in Westeros to walk about in public.
- Happens twice in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Changeling". Once with Spock saying "Sterilize" over and over again after a mind meld gone wrong with the probe NOMAD, the second with NOMAD after Kirk gives it a Logic Bomb, causing the probe to repeatedly shout "Error!".
- From the Mad Hatter, naturally, in Once Upon a Time, who kept saying "Get it to work! Get it to work!" as he's making thousands of hats in Wonderland in a hopeless effort to try to get back home to his daughter and thus revealing how he got his name and how he ended up a permanent character in Wonderland.
- The Governor's notebook on The Walking Dead. Apparently when he lost his daughter he went a little nuts and stopped taking careful notes about his settlement and started filling the notebook with page after page of slash marks.
- Orphan Black has Helena, who is prone to all sorts of psychopath tropes as it is. After finding out in an intense scuffle that Sarah has assumed the identity of one of the other clones in the series, we get the lovely image of her removing a piece of rebar from her liver, all while repeating what Sarah told her: "I'm not Beth..... I'm not Beth..... I'm not Beth....."
- In Hollyoaks, intellectually disabled Spencer Gray was prone to chanting the lyrics of Johnny Cash's A Boy Named Sue over and over again during his regular breakdowns. It turned out his foster brother Warren had taught him this as a Survival Mantra ... unfortunately, a lot of the time Warren was the one responsible for pushing Spencer over the edge.
- Subverted in Agents Of SHIELD: Fitz, who is suffering from severely reduced functioning after the events of the Season 1 finale, continually repeats the phrase "I didn't solve this today" after the team has failed to take down Carl Creel (a superhuman with the ability to turn his body into any substance he touches). It sounds like a Madness Mantra born out of guilt, but it turns out that he's actually trying to say "Something I designed before can solve this", but because of his aphasia, the words aren't coming out right. He only keeps repeating it because no one is getting the message.
- The vocaloid song Full Moon Laboratory by mothy has this chant: "La la la la la la la lu lu lu..."
- "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "Dare to be Stupid". Where he incites the audience to "Dare to be stupid dare to be stupid dare to be stupid", citing ridiculous examples such as microwaving your head, to define "stupid".
- Kylie Minogue's Love at first sight.... it was love at it was love it was love it was love it was love at first sight. etc etc. A song about a love struck light headed Kylie as she staggers back and forth in a love struck delirium on another planet, complete with futuristic dancers (aliens, clones, robotic men). Kylie's song "Wow" composed mainly of chanting "wow. wow. wow. wow. wow. wow. wow. wow. wow.* infinity).
- Napoleon XIV, from side to side and straight down the middle.
- "They're coming to take me away - ha-ha, hee-hee, ho-ho..."
- They're trying to drive me sane...hee-hee...they're trying to drive me sane...ho-ho...they're trying to drive me sane...ha-haa...they're trying to drive me sane!...hee-hee!...they're trying to drive me sane!...ho-ho!...THEY'RE TRYING TO DRIVE ME SANE!...HA-HAAAA!...THEY'RE TRYING TO DRIVE ME SANE!!!"
- Emilie Autumn:
- "Are you suffering?"
- "God help me!" sung 48 times! Clearly she was keeping herself sane while what happens in that song happens to her....
- "I want my innocence back, I want my innocence back, I want my innocence back..."
- "4'Clock" definitely..
- "Bodies" by Drowning Pool: "Let the bodies hit the floor, let the bodies hit the floor..." "One - nothing wrong with me, two - nothing wrong with me, three - ..." "One - something's got to give, two - something's got to give, three - ..."
- "All Over Me": "All over me! ALL OVER ME! All over me! All over me. All over me! ALL OVER ME! All over me! All over me."
- "Psycho Killer", by Talking Heads: "Psycho Killer! Qu'est-ce que c'est? Fa-fa-fa-FAH-fa-fa-fa-fa-FA-FA better, run, run; run, run, runaway."
- The song "Flee!" by The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets gives us "Pain! Death! Insanity! Death!"
- "AKA Driver" by They Might Be Giants. "It just a full day's drive awaaaaaay. It's just a full day's drive awaaaaaaaaaaay..."
- Though there are many examples in the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, the quartet from The Gondoliers featuring the Duke and his entourage's entry stands out. "And... if... ever ever ever they get back to Spain, they will never never never cross the sea again; they will never never never never never never never never never never never cross the sea again - they will never never never never never never never never never never never cross the sea again!" - And they sing that chorus twice!
- Tool's "Rosetta Stoned" features the (maybe) insane narrator repeatedly saying "Don't know, won't know" at the end of the song.
- The song "He Knows, You Know" by Marillion has the word "problems" repeated many times, with the last one shouted - "Problems,problems,problems,problems,PROOOBLEEEEEMS!!". This might have something to do with the lyrics being about a man going insane, and committing suicide in a bathroom. The song also ends with a phone call, with the man shouting to a woman at the other end "Don't give me your problems!" and slamming the phone down.
- "Three Evils (Embodied in Love and Shadow)" by Coheed and Cambria. "Pull the trigger and the nightmare stooooops! Pull the trigger and the nightmare stooooops!"
- The song "Echoplex" by Nine Inch Nails ends with Trent Reznor repeating "You will never, ever, ever, ever, get to me in here. You will never, ever, ever, ever, get to me in here...."
- "The Becoming" also qualifies: "It won't give up. It wants me dead. Goddamn this noise inside my head..."
- "Piggy": "Nothing can stop me now!". Not exactly a conventional example, but it is an example of the narrator losing his grip on reality. A variation on this one also shows up in "Ruiner".
- "Big Man With A Gun" qualifies as well: "Me and my fucking gun, me and my fucking gun, me and my fucking gun..."
- "Satellite (so very high), I know you're up there somewhere".
- His remix of David Bowie's song "I'm Afraid of Americans" fades out with Bowie repeating the line "God is an American" over and over.
- The ending of Motel of the White Locust by Glassjaw: "Pack your shit and leave and take my memories of her with you..." It then concludes with the variation: "Pack your shit and leave and take her fucking with you."
- "She won't stop me/ Put it down!" in "Hang 'Em High" by My Chemical Romance.
- Also "I'm noooot oookay, I'm not okay, well I'm not okay I'm not o-fucking-kay..."
- Alice in Chains' "Love Song" is one long stream of these:
My gums are bleeding! My gums are bleeding!Rae Dong Chung, Rae Dong Chung, Rae Dong Chung...Get the midget! Get the midget! Get the fucking midget!!!
- Gorillaz's "Feel Good Inc". The music video shows the band apparently trapped in a creepy tower, 2D staring out the window with an expression of complete hopelessness and chanting "feel good, feel good, feel good" through the instrumentals.
- After being kidnapped by Murdoc and forced to work on a new Gorillaz album with both Murdoc and a chilling cybernetic replica of his long-missing friend, Noodle, 2D can be seen in the Stylo music video chanting "Overload, overload, overload, coming up to the overload, overload, overload..."
- The last minute of Clint Eastwood is filled with the just the line "My future is coming on, is coming on, is coming on, is coming on, is coming on, my future…" repeated over and over.
- "Blunt" by Canadian industrial band Econoline Crush begins with the repeated shouting: "Nothing...Nothing...Nothing...Nothing...Nothing...NOTHING!!!"
- Alice Cooper's Ballad of Dwight Fry (though it could possibly be more of a Survival Mantra):
"I gotta get out of here. I gotta get out of here. I gotta get out of here."
- In Cooper's song, Vengeance is Mine, he repeats the song title a lot. And at one point in the song he starts repeating (getting louder each time), "What I want, what I need, what I want, what I need."
- "I just can't live without it, I don't wanna think about it" from Cooper's song Some Folks.
- In Cooper's song, Vengeance is Mine, he repeats the song title a lot. And at one point in the song he starts repeating (getting louder each time), "What I want, what I need, what I want, what I need."
- "Traffic Lights" off of Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album.
- Malcolm McLaren has a song on Fans where he starts saying 'All work and no play makes Mac a dull boy', but it's more light-hearted than in The Shining, and he varies it a bit.
- Steely Dan's "The Fez": No, I ain't gonna do it without the fez on, oh no, I ain't gonna do it without the fez on...
- Number nine... Number nine... Number nine... Number nine... Number nine... Number nine...
- Memetic Mutation gives us the likes of "THE BEST! THE BEST! THE BEST! THE BEST!" and "Fran-TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK".
- In The Decemberists's "The Mariner's Revenge," a man constantly hears his mother's final words, begging him to take vengeance on the man who left them destitute: "Find him! Bind him! Tie him to a pole and break his fingers to splinters! Drag him to a hole until he wakes up, naked, clawing at the ceiling of his grave!" In the end, it's implied that the man whispers the mantra into his prey's ear, but the song only plays an increasingly manic, instrumental version of the mantra's tune, implying that he's doing some pretty unspeakable things.
- Pet Shop Boys' "I Want To Wake Up" has the title line repeated increasingly desperately through the song as it becomes clearer the narrator is going crazy from unrequited love: "Now, I want to wake up. How I want to wake up. I, I want to wake up, I want to wake up, wake up, wake up with you..."
- Vocaloid Miku's "Wide Knowledge of the Late, Madness": Watashi watashi watashi watashi watashi watashi watashi watashi watashi...
- "I'm Sorry, I'm Sorry" could fit as well, going by her staring expression at the end of the video.
- American Music Club's "In My Role as The Most Hated Singer in the Local Underground Music Scene":
Oh God I love youOh God I love youI should have killed you when I had the chance
- Radiohead has a lot of repeated phrases that can be interpreted this way.
- From Kid A, special mention goes to "How to Disappear Completely" ("I'm not here, this isn't happening... I'm not here...") because the line comes from a way Thom Yorke coped with the pressures of touring (so it overlaps with Survival Mantra). And "Everything in Its Right Place" is practically built out of them, and also inspired by breaking down on tour.
- Also "Karma Police": "For a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself..."
- "2+2=5": "You have not been paying attention, paying attention, paying attention, paying attention..."
- "Sit Down Stand Up" is a far more clear-cut example: "The raindrops. The raindrops. The raindrops. The raindrops. The raindrops. The raindrops. The raindrops..." As the music gets ever more frantic.
- "Separator", possibly: "wake me up, wake me up"
- "Where I End and You Begin also definitely qualifies, in fact it's one of the creepiest of these that Radiohead has done: "I will eat you alive/I will eat you alive/I will eat you alive/and I will eat you alive/then there'll be no more lies/there'll be no more lies/there'll be no more lies/I will eat you alive..."
- Linkin Park does this a lot. In "given up" we have Put me out of my mis-er-y! Put me out of my mis-er-y! Put me out of my! Put me out of my fu-cking mis-eryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy and in "one step closer" we have SHUT UP WHEN I'M TALKING TO YOU!!! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up when I'm talking to you! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! SHUT! UP!
- In "A Place For My Head", we get "You. Try to take the best of me. Go away." repeated until an eventual Metal Scream breakdown.
- "In between of where only edges can be seen from the spaces in between..."
- Neutral Milk Hotel indulges in this trope fairly often, often to very different effects. A few examples:
- "Three Peaches": I'm so happy, I'm so happy that you didn't die...
- "Rubby Bulbs": Beautiful babies / Are filled with angels!
- "Sailing Through": You are a liar, you are a liar, you are a liar, you are a liar and YOU ARE A LIE!!!
- Nick Cave knows this trope well. "How much longer?" from Loverman is one example.
- The World/Inferno Friendship Society turns the end of "Canonize Philip K Dick, OK?" into one of these, sung as a round: "You can't change the system from within the system changes you, you can't change the system from within the system changes you, you can't change the system from within the system changes you ... and that should make you PANIC!"
- Kate Nash's "Mariella": "Yeah, I'm never ever ever ever ever ever ever evereverevereverevereverevereverevergonna unglue my lips! From bein'! Together! Ha ha ha ha..."
- Mercury Rev's "Very Sleepy Rivers". "Very sleepy rivers a very sleepy place very sleepy rivers a very sleepy place VERY SLEEPY RIVERS A VERY SLEEPY PLACE!"
- VNV Nation's "Fearless": "I am not alone. I am not afraid. I am not unhappy." Could also be a Survival Mantra, but it sounds more like denial.
- PJ Harvey's "Down by the Water" from To Bring You My Love: "Little fish, big fish, swimming in the water. Come back here and give me daughter."
- The Residents: "Smelly tongues look just as they felt. Smelly tongues look just as they felt. Smelly tongues look just as they felt. Smelly tongues look just as they felt. Smelly tongues look just as they felt."
- Ling Tosite Sigure's "am3:45" is just one line repeated throughout: "Sekai kiete, wasurete, mujuuryoku no yue."
- Refused's "New Noise": "The new beat! The new beat! The new beat! The new beat! The new beat! The new beat! The new beat! The new beat! Thank you."
- Invoked in King Crimson's "Indiscipline": "I REPEAT MYSELF WHEN I'M UNDER STRESS! I REPEAT MYSELF WHEN I'M UNDER STRESS! I REPEAT MYSELF WHEN I'M UNDER STRESS!"
- Pre-Crimson group Giles, Giles & Fripp also did one with "Just George", where, in between the songs in the second half of the album, the band would repeat "I know a man and his name is George" in various ways.
- In "Thela Hun Jinjeet" Adrian Belew, who had just been assaulted by gang members on his way to the studio, repeats "This is a dangerous place" several times.
- A good chunk of Frank Zappa's "Help, I'm A Rock" has the band chanting the title. Helps that the title of its parent album is Freak Out!.
- Nirvana's Lithium: "I like it, I'm not gonna crack. I miss you, I'm not gonna crack. I love you, I'm not gonna crack. I killed you, I'm not gonna crack!"
- Also Breed: 'I don't care I don't care I don't care I don't care I don't care, I don't care, care, care if it's old, I don't mind I don't mind I don't mind I don't mind, mind, don't have a mind...
- In Radical Face's "Kin", after Virgil gets a blood transfusion he starts to hear ghosts and slowly loses his mind: "I hear them al the time, I hear them all the time, I hear them all the time".
- Disturbed does this in Perfect Insanity. I've Lost My Mind I've Lost My Mind I've Lost My Mind I've Lost My Mind I've Lost My Mind...
- And again in Get Psycho- I mean Meaning of Life
- Swans' 2012 album The Seer contains a few excellent examples of this.
- To paraphrase a review, in the opener "Lunacy" the word "LU-NA-CY" is repeated just enough times to convince you that the speaker is an utter lunatic.
- In the title track the phrase "i see it all i see it all i see it all" amounts to the only words spoken for a solid 28 minutes. The monotone, practically robotic delivery only reinforces the madness.
- Closing track "The Apostate" throws a few more into the mix, including variations on "get out of my mind", "ladder to god", and "we are blessed."
- Edge of Dawn - Falling: "Destroy as much as you can, you're not an angry man / You're lost, you're lost, you're simply lost / You're lost, you're lost, you're lost [...] But you're lost, you're only lost"
- Doo right, yoo doo right, doo right, yoo doo right, Doo right, yoo doo right, doo right, yoo doo right, Doo right, yoo doo right, doo right, yoo doo right, Doo right, yoo doo right, doo right, yoo doo right. from their debut "Monster Movie" (1968).
- Rage Against the Machine gives us a protest variation in "Killing In The Name Of" from Rage Against The Machine Album Rage Against The Machine]]: "FUCK YOU, I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME! FUCK YOU, I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!..."
- In "Din-Torah" from Leonard Bernstein's "Kaddish," after the Speaker rebels against the Covenant, the orchestra explodes in a barbaric frenzy punctuated by choral exclamations of "Amen." This culminates with the chorus breaking up into sections chanting "Amen, amen, amen" without regard to each other. As this chanting dies down, the Speaker pleads: "Forgive me, Father. I was mad with fever. Have I hurt You?"
- This may be the year that I disappear...This may be the year that I disappear...This may be the year that I disappear...This may be the year that I disappear...
- Project Pitchfork's "Timekiller" video has Peter repeatedly typing "My confusion creates your universe!" on a typewriter. The mantra also appears as a lyric in "Solitude", the single's B-side.
- ASP's "Coming Home" has nigh unto endless repetitions of "The tiles the tiles the tiles the tiles the tiles."
- Canadian metal band Structures have one in their song "Tunnel Vision" that repeats until the song fades away and only the drums remain:
We're not the only living thing in the world (OPEN YOUR EYES)We're not the only living thing in the world (OPEN YOUR EYES)We're not the only living thing in the world (OPEN YOUR EYES)
- Battlefleet Gothic: +++KILLFRENZY KILLFRENZY KILLFRENZY+++ note
- In a similar vein, Warhammer 40,000 has "KILL! MAIM! BURN! KILL! MAIM! BURN!" Good ol' Kharn the Betrayer. He's one heck of a guy.
- From the fluff book Xenology, containing autopsies and analysis of various xeno species and artifacts: "The Metal Lives. The Metal Lives. The Metal Lives. The Metal Lives. The Metal Lives The Metal Lives The Metal Lives The Metal Lives..."
- BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD! SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!
- ATTAAAACK! BREAK THEM IN HALF! ATTAAAACK! BREAK THEM IN HALF! SPLIT THEM OPEN! Servants of Khorne are not known for their subtlety.
- Transience of flesh; purity of form...Transience of flesh; purity of form...Transience of flesh; purity of form... (from a certain mutation cult)
- Chaos does this a lot (it's all in the name, really). Other examples include "SANITY IS FOR THE WEAK!" and "IT IS AS THOUGH A THOUSAND MOUTHS CRY OUT IN PAIN!" and the above-mentioned BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!!. And yes, upper case and exclamation marks are necessary in all examples.
- The Apocalyptic Log that opens All Flesh Must Be Eaten has a scientist, undergoing transformation into a zombie, muttering in his last log before complete zombification "God, why" about a dozen times.
Theater & Stage
- Sweeney Todd has an example which actually takes place in an asylum, with the inmates singing "Sweeney" over and over again, until Johanna kills the owner of the asylum, when they screech and stop the chanting.
- Oofty Goofty, a sideshow performer from the 19th century American West, started out his career as a costumed "Wild Man of Borneo" act, in which he constantly babbled the nonsense-phrase that became his stage name.
- Next To Normal has the song It's Gonna Be Good (reprise), where Diana repeats the phrase "what was his name?" in wanting to know her dead son's name, and Dan repeating "gonna be good" to convince Diana going back for therapy sessions.
- At the conclusion of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts, Oswald, who was infected with syphilis in utero by his philandering father, succumbs to dementia and stares blankly into space repeating the words "The sun"
- In Le Roi Jones' play Dutchman, the lead woman, Lula, starts repeating the conclusion of a story told by her co-star: "And that's how the blues were born" several times before completely flipping out, stabbing him, and pushing him out of the subway car they're both riding.
- The Merchant of Venice: Shylock's speech pattern is very repetitive, even at the beginning. This becomes nightmarish later when he becomes intent on killing Antonio:
I'll have my bond, speak not against my bond:I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond...I'll have my bond; I will not hear thee speak:I'll have my bond, and therefore speak no more...I'll have no speaking: I will have my bond.
- Older Than Steam: Macbeth: Lady Macbeth chants "Out out, damned spot". It is stated that she has been doing this for some days.
- A weird one in Chicago; the "Cell Block Tango" has a madness mantra that consists of multiple words sung by six different women.
- In Shrek The Musical, Fiona's lament in "I Know It's Today":
Fiona: And the waiting, the waiting, the waiting, the waiting,
- In Wario World, Wario's taunting on the pause screen speaks for itself. Though, if you wait long enough, he WILL apologize.
- System Shock 2. The Hybrids, when not attacking, piteously ponder "We are? We are?" and "What... happened to me?", and when they attack, they either apologetically shout "I'm sorry! Run! RUN!" or growl "You are not one of us!" or "You cannot see!" The Cyborg Midwives are even creepier, walking around talking about caring for "the little ones".
- In Fable II in the Terry's Cotta area, when you find Terry's Final Diary, the last words were "They watch over me. They watch me. They watch me. They watch me...", which indicates that Terry had gotten insane from the unending stare from the Knights.
- Lux-Pain is full of these- the Shinen of those infected with Silent tend to repeat phrases like "I'll kill you" and "This is fun" over... and over... and over...
- If left idle, Arakune from BlazBlue will start babbling "I'm different, I'm different, I'm different" in the middle of a battle.
- Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem could, potentially, develop a Madness Mantra. Let the true magnitude of what they're fighting take hold, and the various characters will begin to assert that "This... isn't... really... happening!" (Sadly, that was optimistic.)
- Usually. Sometimes, they weren't just surrounded by horrifying things; they were surrounded and hallucinating on top of it.
- Then there's "May the rats eat your eyes! The darkness comes..."
- Treasure of the Rudra. You can use a Mantra (Custom Made spell based on how it is typed; inscribed) to actually invoke madness status on your characters or enemies.
- The Chzo Mythos series: It hurts.
- Alternatively: "Father, why?"
- EarthBound: NESS NESS NESS NESS NESS NESS NESS NESS...
- Half-Life 2. "...they're always departing but they never arrive... and the ones that do arrive, they-they never leave... you never see them go... they're always full... no one ever gets on... but they're always... they're always departing but they never arrive..."
- The real Overlord Zenon from Disgaea 2: "I am a being of solitude..."
- Max Payne: The Arc Words of the first game, "the flesh of fallen angels," are repeated by certain V-crazed junkies as well as the psychotic Act I boss Jack Lupino. The phrase is also used by "the pink flamingo" in the in-game TV show "Address Unknown", although it's stated in a creepy distorted voice that's hard to make out (a tribute to the backwards talking in Twin Peaks).
- Also in the "Address Unknown" show: Mirrors are more fun than television.
- The World Ends with You: "To right the countless wrongs of our day, we shine this light of true redemption, that this place may become as paradise. What a wonderful world such would be." Repeated by anyone wearing a red skull pin, except Neku. By the end of the game, it's affected everyone (including the reapers) in Shibuya except for Kitaniji, Neku, Beat, Joshua, Konishi and Sho... and that one reaper who missed the emergency meeting.
- If you replay and seek out all the hidden item boxes, Neku finds out that the decals allowing the players to interact with living people in shops also blocks the effects of the Red Skull pin, heavily implying that it's the Composer's power (which is behind the Player Pin and the decals) that blocks the madness.
- A possible subconscious example in Dishonored: during the dream in which he encounters The Outsider, Corvo finds a note next to the body of the the Empress. The note says: YOU CANNOT SAVE HER YOU CANNOT SAVE HER YOU CANNOT SAVE HER YOU CANNOT SAVE HER over and over. In The Knife of Dunwall, where you play as her assassin, the note says "YOU KILLED HER".
- In the city of Theramore in World of Warcraft, there's an NPC, James Hyal (or Smiling Jim). He was the owner of the Shady Rest Inn, before it was burned down by the Grimtotem Tauren, and constantly recites a song written in his honor: "He'll bring you mead, he'll bring you beer; A grinning face from ear to ear; He's served us all from year to year; We call him Smiling Jim." Besides the occasional laugh, that's all he ever says.
- Portal: The cake is a lie
- Portal 2: SPACESPACESPACESPACESPACE spacespacespacespace
- In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The Dark Brotherhood traitor's Diary, a Book Full of Crazy where all that's written is "killhimkillhimkillhimkillhimkillhim"
- When he is listing the colours he thinks of in the book, he lists various colours with RED being the only one capitalized, than you flip to the next page to be greeted with: BLACKBLACKBLACKBLACKBLACKBLACKBLACKBLACKBLACKBLACK!!!!
- Another diary in Oblivion is written by a vampire who's slowly going crazy from bloodthirst. The last page goes "Food blood blood blood blood I need it I need blood need blood"
- Wabbajack wabbajack wabbajack wabbajack wabbajack......!
- In Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, Joker uses the word "voices" in this manner — some of his battle taunts are just shouting "voices", and during the point of his most intense breakdown, he just repeats "voices" over and over again for nearly a dialogue box's worth of speech. This is because he's Tatsuya Sudou, a.k.a. King Leo from the previous Persona 2: Innocent Sin, and the leader of the previous Joker's Masquerade Executives. He hears voices — actually Nyarlathotep — that tell him of the previous world and his role in it, causing him to take up the mantle of Joker and try to push events to repeat themselves... with the side effect of making the already deranged Sudou even crazier.
- Baldur's Gate: "TIAX RULES ALL!", "Back! Bad dog! Play dead!", and "Many, many pretties... piled high beyond the sky!"
- There's also a minor character named Mad Arcand who peppers his speech with "(wertle wertle woo)" and asks you to go and get something from a pirate ship, admonishing you not to wear it or "you'll wertle too." It's a cursed Ring of Folly.
- There's also the Elven Wizard one originally met on the Wolfwere island, but now held in Spellhold. Almost everything he says ends in, or gets interrupted by him shouting "BAD DOGGIE WEREWOLVES"
- Baroque gets extra irony points for having the Absolute God chant "Don't go crazy Don't go crazy Don't go crazy Don't go crazy". For added effect, the subtitle for each instance was placed at a random point on the screen. Turns out she was actually telling the protagonist not to go crazy like her.
- A mental hospital patient although they might have been a hallucination in Phantasmagoria 2 had a habit of chanting "Disco dance! Disco dance! Disco dance!". The result was... less than terrifying.
- He says several more when clicked on repeatedly, such as "Pizza, pizza! PIZZA!" "There's my taco salad!" "Froot Loops and Cheerios!" "Harry Belafonte went to..." or "Everybody in the POOOOOOOOOOOL!"
- And the girl repeatedly chanting "Sick and wrong...sick and wrong!"
- On Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory after a certain dominatrix rapes her for 2 hours, Noire comes out of the room babbling:
Noire: "I AM GOING TO LOWEE. I AM GOING TO LOWEE. THEY WILL HEAR ME COMPLAIN DIRECTLY. IN LOWEE. TO LOWEE... I AM GOING... COMPLAIN DIRECTLY...GOING AND GOING AND GOING AND GOING AND GOING AND GOING AND..."Noire: "I WILL GO TO LOWEE. I WILL SAY MY COMPLAINTS DIRECTLY TO HER. GO TO LOWEE. GO TO. GO. TO. GO... GO TO. GO. TO. GO..."
- It actually continues onto the CPU Hotel and Basilicom maps if you try to talk with her there, your save files for that portion of the story, and finally ends shortly into the next story event involving her.
- One of Left 4 Dead's Zombie Infectees has "Better safe than sorry. Better safe than sorry. BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY!" DING DONG! DING DONG! DINNER'S SERVED! COME AND GET IT!"
- Practically every NPC in BioShock that is capable of speech does this, from the Splicers' "Father! Why have you forsaken me?" and "What more can I give you, Mr. Ryan?" to the Little Sisters' "Look, Mr. B, an angel!" to the more unique ones like "Aesthetics are a moral imperative" and "I CAN'T TAKE THE EARS OFF!" The Splicers and Little Sisters have dozens of them.
- Silent Hill 2 has a written one early on: the phrase "Run away!" written over and over again on a sheet of notepaper left on the ground.
- In the horror/adventure/drama game Fragile Dreams, the player character Seto enters a trashed room filled with boxes and other post-apocalyptic junk towards the end of the game. For those using one of the regular flashlights, there is nothing remotely disconcerting about this room. However, if, like this troper, you were using the flashlight that allows you to see hidden messages written on the wall, you will suddenly enter a room where every surface has "I don't want to die! I don't want to die! I don't want to die!" scribbled over it in an increasingly desperate hand. If you scare easily, do yourself a favor and don't enter the room with that flashlight.
- Dot Hack GU's'' Haseo has "Come on, come on! I'm right here!" It's usually chanted when he's summoning Skeith, the Terror Of Death, into himself.
- Through the games, we see the Awakening - the first summoning - of four of the eight avatars. Each one is accompanied by the summoner's total mental collapse and their own distinctive mantra, whether it's Atoli yelling Sakaki's name, or Yata just screaming "No!"
- Though the real significance of it isn't revealed until the game's end, Travis Touchdown has a nice inner monologue during the first boss fight of No More Heroes which ends with the repetition of the phrase "Can't find the exit" a good twenty times.
- Myst III: Exile. If you trap Saavedro behind the shields in Narayan (which you have to do to finish the game with the Good Plus Ending), he first looks up at you, mumbles to himself about how stupid it was to trust you, then starts screaming "NO" over and over and over and over... And then later, if you try to get the MacGuffin from him, he pleads for his release and starts doing it again.
- Rule of Rose has, right at the end, one of these. Stray Dog's "I'm sorry, Joshua," line during the last boss fight seems to fit, at least.
- Final Fantasy VI: Kefka, in the Bowdlerized version during the flying continent Sequence when Celes opts to stab him rather than join him: "Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate"
- In the Fan Translation replace Hate with Bitch
- The translation in the GBA version subverts this, as it turns out to be more along the lines of Angrish.
- And in Dissidia: Final Fantasy his madness mantra seems to have become "Destroy" and "Destruction". This is more or less stated outright and explained during Kefka's final moments where it is revealed that he is unable to find any meaning in life due to, and beyond, all things' inevitable destruction.
- Dissidia012 brings back the "I hatehatehatehatehate" line.
- In the Fan Translation replace Hate with Bitch
- In Final Fantasy VIII, what appears to be random letters that's been overpowering the television airwaves for the last eighteen years is actually a Bilingual Bonus mantra in English if you look carefully: "BRING ME BACK THERE I AM ALIVE HERE" and "I'LL NEVER LET YOU FORGET ABOUT ME." The interference is caused by a powerful magic-jamming device in orbit, imprisoning the evil sorceress Adel for these last eighteen years.
- Final Fantasy XIII: "Pinhead! Pinhead! McCall is a PINHEAD!"
- In Final Fantasy IX Black Waltz no. 3's chant "I exist only to kill, I exist only to kill, I exist only to kill, I exist only to kill"
- Dead Space: 'Make us whole again'. Whether the madness belongs to the player, the NPCs or both is disconcertingly ambiguous. Additionally, the Ishimura's crew leave behind a nice ship full of crazy.
- Subverted by "Cut off their limbs" which seems like one given that it's written in blood, but it's actually just sound advice.
- Played straight in the audio log of the engineer who cuts off his own limbs so he can't kill people as a necromorph. It didn't work.
- Dead Space 3: Awakened has this charming little gem: "They are hungry. They are coming."
- Subverted by "Cut off their limbs" which seems like one given that it's written in blood, but it's actually just sound advice.
- Insane Marines in Quake II had several, including "Make it stop!" and "Kill me now."
- Batman: Arkham Asylum: Victor Zsasz: "...cutting and cutting and cutting..."
- In Batman: Arkham City, he gets a new mantra when calling Batman on the phone booths: "Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring."
- Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. Kano's Arcade ending. "Death to Shang Tsung... Death to Shang Tsung... DEATH TO SHANG TSUNG!"
- Thief: Deadly Shadows:
Stone Golem: A noise... And FIND... A noise... And FIND... And KILL AND CRUSH AND CRUSH AND KILL AND KILL AND CRUSH AND KILL!!!!!!!!!!
- The KamuiDrome chapter of The Silver Case features one in text that a character types out just after they've contracted a virus through the computer.
- In Dragon Age: Origins, Hespith, a dwarf woman in the Deep Roads, driven insane by having watched her family and loved ones be slaughtered, devoured, cannibalized, and mutated, all with the explicit approval of her leader who is also the woman she loves, repeats an incredibly creepy and detailed poem about how, exactly, the whole thing happened.
- It is actually rather long example of this trope, but she will repeat it endlessly assuming you never make any effort to advance the plot/proceed through the dungeon.
- True Crime: New York City. All the inmates of the mental asylum chant the same sing-song nonsense after the hero, um...beats them down.
- Tsukihime: Help me.
- Melty Blood: "Katto! katto katto katto kattokattokattokattokattokatto KATTO~~~!!!"
- Also by the same character "Mawase mawase mawase mawase mawasemawasemawasemawasemawasemawase MAWASE~~~!"
- This Chair. This Chair. This Chair. This Chair. This Chair. This Chair. This Chair. This Chair. This Chair. This Chair. This Chair.
- Melty Blood: "Katto! katto katto katto kattokattokattokattokattokatto KATTO~~~!!!"
- Muv-Luv Alternative: "He witnessed Jinguuji-san eating out with another man." "He witnessed Jinguuji-san eating out with another man." "He witnessed Jinguuji-san eating out with another man." "He witnessed Jinguuji-san eating out with another man." "He witnessed Jinguuji-san eating out with another man." "He witnessed Jinguuji-san eating out with another man." The manga has this from Marimo's stalker: It's not my fault. It's not my fault. It's not my fault. It's not my fault. It's not my fault. It's not my fault. It's not my fault. It's not my fault.
- Steins;Gate: FAILED. FAILED. FAILED. FAILED. FAILED. FAILED. FAILED. FAILED. FAILED. FAILED. I HAVE FAILED. FAILED. FAILED. FAILED. The character in question commits suicide shortly after.
- Amnesia: The Dark Descent: Paint the man, cut the lines, paint the man, cut the lines...
- Fatal Frame II: WHY KILL, WHY KILL, WHY KILL, WHY KILL, WHY KILL!
- Fatal Frame 4: "It hurts!!! So much fun!!/It hurts, the fun much hurts/The surgery is fun, it hurts/The surgery fun/Fun nn, it hurts ss/Hate fun nnn/Hurts ss/Ssss..."
- From the Halo novelization and the terminals in Anniversary: Keys, Jacob, Captain,Service number 01928-19912-JK. Although this could also be considered "anti-madness mantra" in that repeated this to keep the flood from assimilating his memories of Earth's location.
- In Halo 3, after Guilty Spark finally completely loses it, all he can do (aside from firing his Frickin' Laser Beams) is repeat "UNACCEPTABLE!!"
Keyes/Gravemind: "Keyes, Jacob... Captain. Service number...01928 dash 19912 dash JK"
- One of the terminals in Halo Anniversary Edition shows a record of Captain Keyes being absorbed into the the Flood Gravemind Protoform from Keyes's point of view. Believing that he's being tortured by the Covenant and attempting to fight back as he begins to forget who he is, he begins chanting the information on his dog tag (which, consequentially, is both his identity and the only information soldiers are allowed to reveal when being interrogated by the enemy). Its pretty disturbing, especially since it is not what you expect from the terminals.
- Psychonauts: I am the milkman. My milk is delicious.
- Blaze Union: LET'S FIGHT MORE~! MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE!!
- Some of the Taken in Alan Wake are prone to this, relentlessly shouting phrases from their everyday lives before the Dark Presence enslaved them.
"Carrrrl Stucky. Pleased... to meet you!"
- Mass Effect 2: "The square root of 912.04 is 30.2 ...it all seemed harmless..."
- Silent Hill: Shattered Memories: "I love my daddy! I love my daddy! I love my daddy! I love my daddy!"
- The numbers of Call of Duty: Black Ops, which can be heard playing incessantly at several points in the game. Except that the person doing it isn't insane and he's not saying them, He's been brainwashed into becoming a Soviet sleeper agent, and the numbers are a Chekhov's Gun.
- Dragon Quest IX: A crime... Their very existence is an insult...an abomination...a crime...
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All:
Matt Engarde: "NOOOO! GUiltyguiltyguILtyguiltyGUILTYgUiLty...."
- Legacy of Kain: Kain refused the sacrifice!
- Mega Man X7: "BURN! BURN! BURN TO THE GROUND! BURN! BURN! BURN TO THE GROUND! BURN! BURN! BURN TO THE GROUND!" (All of the mavericks in the game call your attacks, but Flame Hyenard is considered the most annoying because he has an ear-grating voice and he generates clones, all of whom will chant "BURN TO THE GROUND" over and over again, interrupting each other so that it sounds like he's stuttering and repeating himself.)
- Ashton from Star Ocean: The Second Story has an unusual obsession with barrels and is frequently seen near them, remarking on their qualities. On one occasion, the sight of a colorful checkered barrel seems to make him have a brief lapse of sanity...
Ashton: ...Barrel. ...Colorful barrel. Barrel BARREL Barrel BARREL Barrel BARREL Barrel BARREL Barrel BARREL Barrel BARREL BARREL.
- cat planet Cat Planet Cat Planet Planet of the Cats Cat Planet Planet Cat Cat Planet!
- In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, should you attempt to cheat at Lucky the Bob-omb's once-a-day lottery drawing by changing your system's clock, he'll be so disturbed by the fact that he'll go through about six different madness mantras and almost blow himself up in the process before expressing his irritation in a coherent fashion and requiring you to purchase a new lottery number for five times the original price.
- The Big Bad of I Miss the Sunrise has one:
"The emitters made us immortal...EROS makes us all-knowing...Typelog makes our thoughts omnipresent... Immortal, all-knowing, omnipresent...immortal, all-knowing, omnipresent...immortal, all-knowing, omnipresent..."
- Dangan Ronpa
- "RETARDEDRETARDEDRETARDEDRETARDEDRETARDEDRETARDEDRETARDED!" Damn it, Leon! The anime even repeated that.
- From chapter 2: "Strongstrongstrongstrongstrongstrongstrongstrongstrongstrongstrongstrongstrongstrong. I'm stronger that you! STRONGER THAN BROTHER EVER WAS!"
- One of Krieg's idle quotes in Borderlands 2:
"Why aren't my fingers in someone's eye sockets right now...""Why aren't my fingers in someone's eye sockets right now...""Why aren't my fingers in someone's eye sockets right now...""Why aren't my fingers in someone's eye sockets right now...""Why aren't my fingers in someone's eye sockets right now...""Why aren't my fingers in someone's eye sockets right now..."
- Also, while all of his Raving Retribution quotes count, this fits the profile much better.
"The voices said 'empty, hollow and thud'. The voices said 'empty, hollow and thud'. THE VOICES SAID 'EMPTY, HOLLOW AND THUD'!!"
- What makes that particularly clever is that it's based on a real Madness Mantra (see Real Life below).
- Also, while all of his Raving Retribution quotes count, this fits the profile much better.
- A couple from Outlast, such as the asylum inmate who keeps saying "Down the drain" over and over, and wrote it on the wall in blood.
- The Last Story:
Jirall: She's always treated me with such scorn! Always... Always... Always... Always... Always! Always! Always! Always! AlwaysalwaysalwaysalwaysalwaysalwaysALWAYSALWAYSALWAYSALUUUGH!
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni:
- SUMI DESU. SUMI DESU. SUMI SUMI SUMI DESU DESU DESU. SUMISUMISUMISUMISUMISUMISUMISUMIDESUDESUDESUDESUDESUDESUDESU
- In Nier, after Devola is killed, Popola is reduced to screaming "NO ONE STOPS" at the heroes after they beg her to stop fighting.
- In Vampire Legends 2: The Untold Story of Elizabeth Bathory, when the main character returns to consciousness after witnessing part of a dark ritual conducted by the title character, a local monk states that when he found her she was repeating over and over "The Countess...the girls, it ate them alive…"
- Five Nights at Freddy's 2: During the mini-games, you'll hear a creepy robotic voice spelling out "Save Them", "Save Him" and "Help Them" over and over.
- In The Evil Within, Leslie, a character the protagonists chase throughout the game, tends to repeat what anyone says like a parrot. Every now and then he will repeat a few original phrases: "No, no, not there." and a phrase repeated in one of the trailers "Losing my mind. Losing my mind. Losing my mind..."
- Sunless Sea: THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN. The Dawn Machine does strange things to one's mind.
- In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures , impersonator incubi must not fear, in a reference to Dune 's Survival Mantra.
- In Sluggy Freelance, when Oasis (who qualifies as Ax-Crazy even in the best of mental states) finds out about what Zoe looks like, she goes into a frightening Yandere persona that repeats her Pretentious Latin Motto, "Nosce te ipsum". The irony of her situation ("Know thyself" is the translation, when Oasis has no idea what she is) finally halts her rampage when she realizes it.
- BlackLillian's final round entry of the "Law of Talos" tournament... specifically, this page. That blank stare and repeated phrase during the monologue...
- Girl Genius: Lars often suffers panic attacks: "HORSE! HORSEHORSEHORSEHORSE!", or later "HORSE! PIE! HORSE! PIE!"
- Irregular Webcomic!: "I will not link to TV Tropes. I will not link to TV Tropes."
- Poor Murai has a few in Digger:
- Black Mother, pass us by, turn your face away from us, we are not here, we are not here, pass us by...
- The Good Man is dead. Who killed the Good Man?
- Questionable Content: "I must not laugh. Laughter is the Marten-killer. Laughter is the little death that brings total obliteration by an enraged Faye."
- A Dune reference, for those who didn't get it.
- VG Cats: "Hey, listen!"
- Eight Bit Theater's Red Mage: Don't be crazy, don't be crazy, don't be crazy... And he obviously can't be crazy, because if he was crazy, he wouldn't worry about being crazy all the time... right?
- In Narbonic, most mad characters have a whole bunch of personality sprites. Mell W Kelly has only this one◊ though... guess what it says.
- Homestuck: PLEASE TELL ME THAT'S JUST GRUB SAUCE. PLEASE JUST BE GRUB SAUCE PLEASE JUST BE GRUB SAUCE PLEASE JUST BE GRUB SAUCE. HAHA, OK, MAKE-BELIEVE TIME IS OVER! OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD
- honk. HONK. honk. :o)
- DO IT YO8 COW8RD KILL M8 KILL M8 KILL M8 KILL M8 KILL M8 KILL M8 KILL M8 KILL M8 KILL M8
- Let's Destroy the Shagohod!:
US President: Congratulations, Mr. Big Boss, you sure showed that traitorous whore a thing or two!Big Boss/Naked Snake: (thinking) Do Not Punch. Do Not Punch. Do Not Punch. Do Not Punch.
- In Dominic Deegan, we have this:
Celesto: I am Celesto Morgan. I am me. I am I. Repeat the mantra. Reassert and reflect upon your self. Establish your identity. Protect the sanctity of your being and make your mind a fortress.
- Parodied in Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, when Jonesy keeps typing "all work and no play makes Jones a dull girl" in a parody of The Shining. Jared fears it's this but Commander Badass says no, she's just trying to boost her NaNoWriMo count.
- The inmates at Islington Asylum for the Criminally Insane in Autumn Bay are heard chanting "They don't remember...never remember."
- After an encounter with the demonic IT Guy from Bloody Urban, Murray is left with one word on his mind.
"TROJAN. TROJAN. TROJAN."
- Ruby Quest gives a written version: NEVER CATCH ME NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER
- Homestar Runner: I'm a long pants man, long pants long pants!
- Atop the Fourth Wall: Linkara's "Anti-life justifies my hate! Anti-life justifies my ha-ha-hate..."
- And one that is a might bit creepier from the Entity Saga, taking up a full page in the book Linkara finds: "Iamnevershould."
- The Nostalgia Chick: Everybody's got AIDS and shit!
- The Dionaea House: The door is open.
- IM HAVING FUN IM HAVING FUN IM HAVING FUN
- Fuck The Pain Away Fuck The Pain Away Fuck The Pain Away Fuck The Pain Away FUCK THE PAIN AWAY FUCK THE PAIN AWAY FUCK THE PAIN AWAY. Harry's a little...off.
- One hentai series online has a demon-domination-fetish-incarnate called Talon Talonov, who enslaves his thralls by either having one of his slaves bugger them up the ass while chanting "Talon Dominus, Talon Dominus" or by doing this himself with his four-foot-long flexible penis-tail. Yeah, it's that kind of series, sorry.
- Survival of the Fittest v4 character Kris Hartmann has, with variation, "Voice. Jump. Spin. Squeeze. Bang. Dead." She never actually says it, but it comes up in her thoughts frequently, starting from her Accidental Murder of Reika Ishida.
- The Nostalgia Critic says NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NO!!
- Occasionally crops up in The Slender Man Mythos, an example being in the blog Vivere Disce: "We gave him a name. We gave him a name."
- Protectors of the Plot Continuum: "I must not shirk the Duty. I must not shirk the Duty ..."
- Nan Quest has one (potentially a few) of these in the journal found in the chapel area.
- "for the love of god"
- "into the fire into the fire into the fire into the fire"
- FUCK YOU BEN I'M NOT TALKING TO YOU
- Episode 40 of Dragon Ball Z Abridged shows Popo in a bonafide Out-of-Character Moment, staring down at the floor of Kami's lookout and repeatedly going, "All these squares make a circle...all these squares make a circle..." When Piccolo asked about his unusual behavior, Kami tells him that Mr. Popo had just gotten down dropping a gallon of LSD. "A literal gallon. Out of a milk jug."
- In episode 7 of Sex House, Tara gets one while under the influence of the "cloudy drink": "Cloudy drink kills frog!" Creepily enough, she's even seen writing and rewriting it obsessively on a piece of paper as she struggles to remember to tell her fellow housemates.
- In one video from Jacksfilms, he has, "THEY'RE ALL PEWDIEPIE, THEY'RE ALL PEWDIEPIE..."
- The Music Video Show: "I am the Paper Bag Princess. I am the Paper Bag Princess." This only happened a couple of times.
- Everything is fine...
- Avatar The Last Airbender: " Azula always lies... Azula always lies..."
- The Legend of Korra: In the Fog of Lost Souls humans lose track of themselves and get caught in terrible memories. Most stand in place. Some wander aimlessly, repeating their names, who they are, and what they want in an attempt to stay themselves.
- "I am Zhao the Conqueror. I am the Moon Slayer. I will capture the Avatar. I am Zhao the Conqueror. I am the Moon Slayer. I will capture the Avatar..."
- "You are the son of Aang. You are the hope for future generations of Airbenders." It decays quickly, in that case.
- What Trope would be complete if The Simpsons hadn't done something with it? Examples:
- "Lisa's First Word": The classic mantra, "Can't sleep, clown will eat me," which a shaken 3-year-old Bart says over and over after the first night in his new "clown" bed. Bart had coveted a Krusty the Clown bed, but Homer – unable to afford one – decides to make one himself. Homer's poor handicraft skills result in a deformed, looming, Monster Clown, which scares Bart to the point he is unable to fall asleep.
- They also had to parody the Shining example too.
Homer: No TV and no beer make Homer... something something...
Marge: Go crazy?
Homer: Don't mind if I do! A-woolagoolawoola!
- Just prior to this the trope has already been subverted ("Feelin' fine.") and then twisted right back around on itself like a twisty-tie.
- And a Continuity Nod when they go through an actual mental ward and see a certain film critic in the background...
Jay Sherman: "It STINKS! It STINKS! It STINKS! It STINKS!"
- "Moe, Moe, Moe, Moe..."
- One of Bart's earlier babysitters never quite recovered from the encounter.
Sitter: [while sitting blank-faced in a rocking chair] Put it down, Bart. Bart, put it down. Put it down, Bart.
- In "Kamp Krusty", when Bart has suffered at Kamp Krusty without any appearance of Krusty the Clown:
Bart: Don't worry, Krusty will come, Krusty is coming, Krusty is coming...
- "Kill the Alligator and Run" episode began with Homer having a breakdown when he realized he will die in 3 years. He is reduced to saying "CAN'T SLEEP, GONNA DIE" over and over.
- After Homer breaks out of jail on a book cart:
Homer Must kill Moe... Whee! Must kill Moe... Whee!
- In South Park, when Butters' mother discovered that his father was having sex with random men, she repeatedly repainted the house while muttering "Paint... everything clean... everything new..."
- When Stan's mother started finding dead people in her son's room, she blamed him, although it was really his evil goldfish. Eager to cover up for her murderous but still beloved boy she dragged the corpses to bury them in the backyard while chanting "You're such a good boy...mommy will protect you..."
- "Second verse same as the first, dreidel dreidel dreidel, I made you out of clay..."
- "KILL John Lennon!"
- Doctor Destiny in the Justice League TV show was stuck humming Frčre Jacques while catatonic after injecting himself with a sedative while fighting Batman, who was humming the song to keep Doctor Destiny from influencing his mind.
- G.I. Joe: Four words: WAS ONCE A MAN!
- The occasional repeated phrase can be found among the manifold delights of Ren Hoek's extended ravings.
- DuckTales: A sillier example (and one that's eventually snapped out of) is the Overly Long Gag "A SEA MONSTER ATE MY ICE CREAM!"
- Futurama: "Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! Fix it!... Fix it! Fix it! Fix it!"
- Robot Chicken: "Mars is amazing..."
- The Tick: "I'M THE EVIL MIDNIGHT BOMBER, WHAT BOMBS AT MIDNIGHT! YEAH BABY, YEAH!"
- CatDog: "I will obey the rules. I will obey the rules. I will obey the rules..."
- Sponge Bob Square Pants:
"BALD! BALD! BALD! BALD!"
- BACKING UP! BACKING UP! BACKING UP!
- I'M A CHEATER, I CHEATED, I CHEATED, I CHEATED, I CHEATED...
- And the NEXT day. And the NEXT day. And the NEXT day. And the NEXT day...
- SOILED IT. SOILED IT. SOILED IT. SOILED IT.
- Are you finished with those errands? Are you finished with those errands? Are you finished with those errands?
- Errands, errands, errands, errands, errands....
- You're Good, You're Good, You're Good...
- CHOCOLATE!!!!! CHOCOLATE!!!!!
- FUTUUUUURRE! ...... FUTUUUUURRE!
- ALOOOOOOOONE. Alone. Alone. Alone.
- "Darn it...darn it...darn it...darn it..."
- "I don't need it... I don't need it... I DEFINITELY don't need it... I don't need it... I don't need it..."
- From The Movie:
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: "DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL!"
- "I'll take the chicken. DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL! DESTROY US ALL!"
- At the end of the Metalocalypse episode "Snakes n' Barrels", it's revealed that Pickles' old bandmates create the most brutal album ever with their psychotic rantings, one of which includes the constant "I'm a chicken! I'm a chicken! I think I'm a chicken! I'm a chicken! I'm a chicken! I'm a chicken! I believe I'm a chicken!"
- Dr. Rockso will say "I'm Dr. Rockso, the rock n' roll clown. I do cocaine!!" or just "I do cocaine!" regardless of his situation. Due to his drug use, Rockso is obviously a few songs short of a metal album.
- Mission Hill: Bling-blong-bling-bling-blong-bling...
- In much-loved animated series Recess, TJ is subjected to Ms. Finster's newest punishment: The Box. At first, he laughs at it. It is just four chalk lines on the ground. No big deal. As he spends more time in "The Box", he begins pacing angrily, starts shouting and "banging" on the nonexistent walls, and then starts to hallucinate that The Box is sinking into the ground. It goes From Bad to Worse when Ms. Finster eventually finds TJ in the fetal position, whispering to himself "This old man...he played two...he played knick-knack on my shoe..."
- Winnie-the-Pooh: I will not be brave I will not be brave I will not be brave...
- Courage the Cowardly Dog, "Human Habitrail": "It's Doc Gerbil's world! It's Doc Gerbil's world!"
- The Powerpuff Girls: "It was me. It was me. It was me."
"Haaaaaat...Haaaaaat...Haaaaaat...""My property. My-My-My-My property.""I...I remember...PINK!"
- "I just stood there, waving goodbye. I just stood there, waving goodbye. I just stood there, waving goodbye, and they raced off. Just stood there."
- "I am a good fighter... I am a good fighter..."
- In "Fuzzy Logic", Fuzzy goes on an animalistic rampage through Townsville, attacking everyone he claims to be touching his "property". When the girls try to ask the townspeople who did it, they are so traumatized, they can only do this.
- Bubbles: "I'm not a chubby crybaby. I'm not a chubby crybaby."
- Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends: In "The Trouble with Scribbles", Bloo constantly asked every other imaginary friend about what's behind the secret door.
Bloo: Secret door, secret door, secret door, secret door...
- This sequence was later reused in the credits sequence for a later episode, despite Bloo already knowing what was behind the door.
- "Gotta go. Gotta go. Gotta go."
- Looney Tunes:
- "The Daffy Doc": "Where's a patient? Where's a patient? I gotta find a patient. I gotta find a patient."
- "The Henpecked Duck": "Yes, m'love. Yes, m'love. Yes, m'love! HOO HOO! YEEEEEESSSSS M'LOVE!"
- Danger Mouse: The episode "Ants, Tress And Whoops-A-Daisy" had DM falling into a temple looking for Penfold and running into a group of snakes who have adapted a cult of the 1960s, chanting "Peace and love" over and over. When DM gives an off-handed "Good grief," the snakes adapt "Good grief" as their new mantra.
- In the Rugrats episode "Pickles vs. Pickles", Angelica files a lawsuit against her parents for punishing her for refusing to eat her vegetables. Not only does the suit go through, but the court finds in favor of Angelica and she is awarded all of her parents' possessions. Stunned, Drew can only shout over and over "I'm a good father! I'm a good father! I'm a good father!" It's later revealed to be All Just a Dream.
- Green Lantern: The Animated Series: "But...I came back for you. I came back for you. I came back for you. I came back...I CAME BACK FOR YOU!!"
- The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: In "Fastest Man Alive", K'nuckles goes crazy after being constantly arrested by a constable on a bicycle. He curls up in a ball and is only able to impersonate the bike's bell, going "Ching. Ching. Ching".
- The Transformers has Galvatron, Scourge, the Sweeps and Cyclonus go to Torkulon where they interrogate the inmates there for the location of the Autobots (Galvatron was duped into travelling to the planet by Cyclonus in order to help cure him of his insanity). Cyclonus peers in one of the cages that has a three headed inmate tied up in purple webbing repeating in monotone "I have no head...I have no head...I have no head." This makes a disturbed Cyclonus step backwards from the cell.
- Moral Orel: After Orel is grounded from going to church, it's . . . well . . .
Orel: Church, church . . . churchy church!
- Adventure Time: Finn's tower song counts as somewhat of a Madness Mantra.
Finn: Baby's building a tower into space
Space is where he's gonna find his dad
Daddy's got an arm, and baby's going to harm
His arm by ripping it off his dad.
- In Dexters Laboratory, after Dexter throws DeeDee's favorite teddy bear Foozeems away accidentally when putting Foozeems into astronaut training, DeeDee went into an Angst Coma that had her saying "Foozeems, Foozeems, Foozeems..." all over and non-stop.
- In Total Drama, after Courtney discovers that Duncan cheated on her with Gwen, she becomes obsessed with eliminating Gwen to the point when she is making a list, chanting "Gothie's going down, Gothie's going down, Gothie is going down". Heather even lampshades her "madness".
Heather: Izzy, you have been replaced.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Tup's mantra when affected by Order 66.
Good soldiers follow orders. Good soldiers follow orders. Good soldiers follow orders. Good soldiers follow orders...
- CBS anchorman Dan Rather was attacked on Park Avenue in Manhattan by William Tager and an unknown accomplice. Tager kept repeating (according to Rather's own account) "Kenneth, what is the frequency?" Through Memetic Mutation and a certain R.E.M. song, everyone remembers the phrase as "What's the frequency, Kenneth?"
- When Rather resigned, the incident resulted in a parody news story reporting the frequency.
- According to America: The Book 104.3 is The Frequency (source: Kenneth).
- There is a novel by Spider Robinson that has this as its punchline. It actually makes a certain sense in context. It's "Lady Slings the Booze" Kenneth is a Rather lookalike; the frequency will trigger nuclear devices hidden in major cities, and the two assailants are Soviet agents.
- For clarification, the attacker was later discovered to be a paranoid schizophrenic, who thought the media were beaming signals into his mind and that if he found the right frequency he could block the signals.
- Discussed in this Dane Cook routine on crying:
Dane: ...and then as you're crying, what happens is that it starts to feel good... and what you do is that you latch on to one phrase that you just repeat over and over again; just something that means something to you, like, "I DID MY BEST! I DID MY BEST!"
- Lewis Black had one of these inflicted on him due to overhearing an Orphaned Punchline - "If it weren't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college."
- "Herzensschatzi komm komm, komm, komm, komm, komm, komm, komm, komm, komm, komm, komm, komm, komm, komm, komm, komm...
- TV Tropes: STOP SOPA STOP SOPA STOP SOPA STOP SOPA STOP SOPA STOP SOPA STOP SOPA STOP SOPA STOP SOPA note
- Sirhan Sirhan, Robert F. Kennedy's assassin, filled his diary with these. "RFK must die. RFK must be killed. Robert F. Kennedy must be assassinated."
- "We live underground. We talk with our hands. We wear the earplugs all our lives." note
- Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, after learning about her beloved husband Louis's death: "He is dead. He is dead. It is to me as if the whole world died today! He's dead, he's dead, he's dead..."
- From the documentary Bellevue: Inside Out:
- Deliberately invoked in the Rosenhan Experiment from the early 1970s. Psychologist David Rosenhan wanted to reveal the poor conditions of some mental hospitals and developed a test: eight perfectly healthy individuals (including himself) from different backgrounds went to psychiatrists and explained that they had been hearing voices repeat the words "Empty," "Hollow," and "Thud" non-stop in their heads (the words were apparently chosen because they sounded vaguely nihilistic). All eight were admitted to mental hospitals, where they proceeded to act normal and say that the voices had stopped—and all eight ended up having to admit to having mental disorders and take antipsychotic drugs.
- A computer science researcher was getting very, very sick of being repeatedly spammed by a bogus computer science journal, so he submitted a 10-page paper (originally authored by an antispam group who had been similarly spammed) consisting entirely of a Not Safe For Work version of this trope. note
- Aforementioned spammy bogus journal then proceeded to state that the ten pages of MadnessMantra were "excellent" and they'd publish it for $150...despite the fact that the paper was nothing but a deliberately copied and somewhat profane Madness Mantra.
Must trope. Must trope. Must trope. Must trope. Must trope. Must trope.