Why use your amazing powers of hypnotism merely to Hypnotize the Princess or make your hero's friend psychotic? Just steal some broadcasting equipment, record your message, and hypnotize the masses to do your bidding, build your weapons, and wipe out the hero. You could end up with a couple different possible results; the hypnotized people could become zombies, or could stay generally the same but still be compelled to follow you. Pretty soon, you'll have a cities worth of zombielike Brainwashed and Crazy minions that follow your every order and, best of all, the hero can't beat, since they're really just poor Innocent Bystanders. Compare Do Not Adjust Your Set. Often used to get rid of The Evils of Free Will. See also Glamour, which may be paired with this trope. Anyone who is Weak-Willed will likely remain hypnotized even after the emitter's destruction.
open/close all folders
- The former image was from the commercial for Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, which has Wario try to hypnotize the viewers into not beating the game. It is also a well-known meme from Youtube Poops.
- The commercial for the first Wario Land takes the hypnosis track again, having Wario try to hypnotize the audience into being greedy and stealing pirate treasure.
Anime & Manga
- Bleach: Subverted. Aizen does keep calling his power "complete hypnosis" but the way his power works doesn't have anything in common with hypnosis. He cannot directly control how people behave or what they think. Instead, his zanpakutou fools all of the senses and Aizen uses that in combination with completely normal methods of manipulation to trick people into doing what he wants them to do. He does not, however, hypnotise peoples minds.
- This happens in the One Piece special 'Dance Carnival' when Jango hypnotizes everyone on Mirrorball Island (including himself) to dance until they drop.
- In Sonic X, Eggman pulled a rather complicated Hypno Ploy which ends up being awesome through its sheer bizarreness. It went something like this:
Step 1: Create lightbulbs which broadcast subliminal messages for people to trust me.
Step 2: Reprogram my space station to block out the sun.
Step 3: Claim my space station is malfunctioning and sell lightbulbs as a sun substitute.
- In Naruto, Tobi/Madara's plan is to do this for the sake of his Assimilation Plot, where he'll bounce an incredibly powerful illusion Off The Moon!
- A couple of times in Code Geass, Lelouch controls large groups of people. When he first obtained the Geass, he ordered the squad of soldiers to kill themselves, which they did. With another group of people, he ordered them to kill anyone who would reveal his identity as Zero the Terrorist.
- Used humorously (are we surprised?) in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. The first time young Marik leaves the tomb, he sees Yami Marik on the TV repeating "kill your family, kill your family." You'd think it was just Marik seeing that, but then a street vendor voiced by Linkara says "What's the matter, kid? Haven't you ever seen the 'Kill Your Family' show before?"
- In Mahou Sensei Negima! Fate's group, Cosmo Entelachia, plan this by nullifying the magic keeping the Magic World intact and placing everyone into a weird pocket dimension where the people can individually live in their own personal dreams and hopes where everything is sunshine and gumdrops. All under the excuse that it's to save the populace of the Magic World from dying when it collapses from a lack of mana keeping the world stabilized on Mars.
- 10 or so volumes earlier, Chao Lingshen also attempts to used the forced recognition magic of the World Tree on the whole of Earth to make everyone accept the existence of magic and wizards whether they wanted to or not. It actually succeeds in its entirety, once.
- Sailor Moon: In the first Act/episode, the Monster of the Week achieves this by disguising herself as a jewelry merchant and selling enchanted Hypno Trinkets that both enslave and drain the Life Energy of the wearer. At her command, a crowd of women assemble and attack Sailor Moon.
- Marvel Comics had the Ringmaster, whose hat contains a spiral thing that people have to look at for it to work. He brainwashes his audiences all at once. Of course, if you happen to be a blind superhero...
- Gen13 had a villain named Cull who brainwashed to... well, not much. While he did get Our Heroes to live lives remarkably different than was normal.
- Lord Sovereign from Astro City can mentally control weak-willed people nearby and make them do his bidding.
- A similar premise is found in Baby Geniuses 2: Superbabies.
- They Live!. The aliens use a TV station to broadcast a signal that keeps human beings from seeing the truth. They also use actual TV broadcasts to send specific messages.
- This was used by the villain in the Josie and the Pussycats movie. He handed out cat-ear headbands that would submit subliminal messages during a televised concert of the band.
- In The Wizard of Gore, this was what Montag planned to do by getting onto a late night TV show. And possibly make every person watching kill themselves.
- Both The Shadow and Shiwan Khan can do so, having been trained by the same Far East master. Lamont uses it to hide himself from the others' eyes, thus becoming the titular hero. Shiwan Khan does one better and hides and entire building from prying eyes. Of course, nobody wonders why there is a seemingly empty lot in the middle of Downtown.
- The 1981 thriller Looker has a company create commercials with digitized actors that can hypnotize people.
- This was the titular bad guy's plan in The Demon Headmaster. He didn't actually manage it though (he got on TV and lots of people fell asleep, but he was interrupted by the meddling kids before he could give any commands).
- Dean Koontz novel Night Chills. A Mad Scientist develops a drug that lowers subconscious resistance to subliminal messages. He uses TV broadcasts to beam hidden control instructions into the minds of viewers that cause them to mindlessly obey anyone who says the correct code phrase.
- In The Thrawn Trilogy, Joruus C'baoth could do this using the Force, controlling swaths of the Imperial fleet to improve their efficiency and make their timing impossibly precise. At first he just used it at Grand Admiral Thrawn's orders, but eventually he decided to make a power grab and took control of every member of the Imperial fleet except for those handful in a ysalamiri bubble. Thrawn talked C'baoth down by reminding him that none of the people he was controlling knew what was planned, and C'baoth couldn't piece it together from a dozen or a hundred minds that had some inkling - it was all up to Thrawn - and how long could C'baoth hold the meld, anyway, before people started to collapse?
- The Rebel Force series has, at one point, a base stocked by people who were brainwashed on an individual, laborious basis. Luke Skywalker, unwilling to kill brainwashed enemies, actually manages to undo it en masse with a desperate Jedi Mind Trick; the people have no idea who they are or what they're doing, but they don't belong to the Big Bad anymore.
- The Tripods: The aliens (known as the Masters) take over humanity by hypnotizing them with television signals. Though while not universally effective, the Masters made sure the process was permanent by placing mind-controlled caps on the victims' heads - and the heads of everyone else, once the victims provide a sufficient foothold.
- Molly Moon does it too many times to count, through various means (going up on a stage to hypnotize a crowd, appearing on TV to hypnotize the audience). Her motives are usually less sinister than most people who use this trope, though sometimes (especially in the first book, Molly Moon's Incredible Book Of Hypnotism) she does it for purely selfish reasons. Her enemies occasionally do it as well, though usually with more sinister motives.
- In the Novelization of the first Gabriel Knight game, the voodoo villains do this to an entire police station and possibly an entire town.
- James H. Schmitz's 1962 short story "These Are The Arts". Twenty Minutes into the Future a global television audience is hooked on a succession of "TV crazes". The latest one appears to the cynical to be an advertising gimmick for something called Galcom. Believers, entranced by the attractive Galcom Teachers and their beautiful Symbols, are convinced it's First Contact. The Symbols are said to induce the development of telepathy in Earth's people so they can communicate with other members of the Galactic Community. Suffice it to say it is not an advertising gimmick, but the Teachers are only the servants of another alien race which controls its captive populations via telepathy...
Live Action TV
- In Smallville, Chloe/Brainiac hacks into the computers of Metropolis, putting his symbol on all the screens and hypnotizes any human who looks at them as he downloads all information from their brains.
- Babylon 5 had one of the scariest stand-offs ever using this. When Lyta Alexander (a telepath who has her powers increased by being Touched by Vorlons) is confronted by B5's new CO Lochley to move to smaller quarters or be evicted, she begins drumming her fingers on a tabletop while she talks to Lochley. Slowly, all conversation begins to die down and everyone in the place begins to drum there fingers in exactly the same pattern as Lyta. Lochley's forces have an Oh Crap! moment until IA President Sheridan shows us why we love him by putting a loaded gun next to Lyta's head, as his own being Touched by Vorlons made him immune to Lyta's control. Lyta, basically good at heart but pushed beyond her limits, backs down and everyone wakes up.
- In True Blood, Maryann uses her mind-controlling powers to take over the entire town of Bon Temps.
- In The Sarah Jane Adventures story "Secret Of The Stars" Martin Trueman hijacks a tv station and makes it broadcast on every channel so as to hypnotise the masses under one star sign at a time (though the victims don't actually need to be watching tv to be affected, that's just for relaying instructions).
- Jasmine spreads her delusional happiness throughout the world before the heroes manage to break her spell.
- In the episode "Smile Time", a mass energy-draining event via a popular children's TV program is planned. Hilarity Ensues, Angel is turned into a puppet, and, ultimately, the world is saved again. Hooray!
- In the Show Within a Show on The Famous Jett Jackson, one of the villains had some plushie toy, and the commercials for it had subliminal messages saying "Obey Me" in several different languages.
- Doctor Who:
- The Master becomes Prime Minister by hypnotising people through their mobile phones.
- The Sycorax hypnotize people by blood type in "The Christmas Invasion".
- The Master also hypnotized a bunch of Concorde crew and passengers into believing they were at Heathrow Airport rather than the mid-Jurassic back in "Time-Flight", but he had help.
- Tempus (nearly?) becomes President by hypnotising people through their telephones in an episode of Lois and Clark, which aired about ten or so years before the ''Doctor Who'' arc described above.
- Interestingly, he is able to give orders immediately after the election, something a Real Life President-Elect can't do.
- In Dollhouse, this is the true goal behind the creation of the imprinting technology. The Big Bad intends to use it to "imprint" the entire world.
- An episode of Painkiller Jane has a neuro mind-control an entire small town to be a perfect place to live using a local TV show.
- In a Sliders episode, the heroes finds themselves in a giant floating shopping center that uses subliminal advertising to get people to buy things until they need to get a loan (from the same corporation), essentially enslaving people.
- The series finale of V (2009) has Anna do it to the entire world.
- During the last arc of Choujuu Sentai Liveman, this is revealed to be one part of Bias's ultimate goal, along with immortality/eternal youth. And he succeeds.
- The specialty of Ophidian, with aid from his Osirian Portal partner Amasis. While mostly seen in Chikara and Kaiju Big Battel, not even the hardcore garbage wrestlers of CZW were immune. Electric weed whackers? Ha, The Osirian Portal is the most illegal thing to ever be seen in professional wrestling.
- Rocket Knight Adventures. According to the manual, the Big Bad controlled his armies through hypnosis. This could have led to some serious moral dissonance if the player killed them instead of merely making them run around in their underwear.
- In Mastermind World Conqueror, The Mastermind can send Mooks to go on brainwashing missions. They take over a T.V. studio and send a hypnotic recording of the Mastermind to everyone in a given country. The recording shows a hypnotic swirly spiral pattern superimposed on Mastermind's glaring face, complete with spooky hypno-sounds. The result is making the nation more vulnerable to criminal actions.
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 has one mission each in the Soviet/Allied campaigns where you try to do this / stop it. In the expansion, Yuri attempts this to the entire world.
- The whole plot of Sam & Max: Freelance Police Season 1: the Big Bad hypnotizes the populace with such things as self-help video tapes, teddy bears, TV broadcast, and the internet.
- The Elerians in Master of Orion 2 are telepathic Space Elves. As long as they have at least one cruiser-sized ship in their attacking fleet, they don't even need to invade enemy planets to capture them after eliminating any defenses during the space combat phase. They can also use ships captured in battle immediately, instead of having to wait until the battle is over like other races.
- Tears to Tiara 2: The villagers of the unnamed village are under one by the priest who's actually a Giant Spider.
- In Robopon, Miss Amron, the Legend6, uses a TV signal to hypnotize a town.
- Shows up in Professor Layton Vs Ace Attorney as the situation behind the entire city of Labyrinthia.
- In The Old Republic, this is the fate of the Imperial planet of Ziost — the lunatic shade of the former Sith Emperor shows up and begins mind-controlling people en masse to force them to slaughter others, all in a bid to increase his own power. Finally, when he's gathered enough, he unleashes a World-Wrecking Wave that kills everyone on the planet.
- Surprisingly averted at "The Erotic Mind Control Story Archive". There are no known hypno-orgies in the stories. They only feature one, two, or a small group of people being hypnotized.
- There are a handful of stories where a Mad Scientist unleashes a mass wave of mind takeovers that quickly devolve into hypno-orgies, but those stories still focus on only a small group - at most a family - being affected at a time.
- Doctor Steel uses mind control cookies and subliminal messages. And a particularly mesmerizing "hidden" Positive Affirmation track on a few of his CDs.
- Invader Zim jokes with this sometimes:
Ice Cream Truck: "You like ice cream. You like ice cream. You love it. You cannot resist ice cream. To resist is hopeless. Your existence is meaningless without ice cream."//
- The Joker does something like this in Justice League, but it's less "mass hypnosis" and more "mass insanity." Almost works, too.
- Every plan by Wordgirl's villain "Mr Big" is some variety of this.
- Happened to a mall in an episode of Ben 10.
- Pinky and the Brain: The Brain has tried this more than once, including in the Christmas Episode.
- In Garfield and Friends, "The Beast From Beyond", a Tyrannosaurus Rex gets his own TV show that hypnotizes people.
- All glory to the Hypnotoad!
- That's gone downhill since season three. The popular show now is The Mass Hypnosis Hour.
- Kim Possible had a pretty creative one. Dr. D's Brainwashing Shampoo. No wonder he went on an American Idol Parody to promote something that was well... Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- He once tried to hypnotize a spring-break teenage crowd via their MP3 players. It didn't quite work out — instead, he hypnotized the senior citizens at a retirement community via their hearing aids.
- The Seniors try it with a love ray.
- An episode of Family Guy has Stewie try this when he get put on the show "Kids Say the Darndest Things". This eventually backfires and has Bill Cosby accidentally hypnotize Stewie instead.
- In an episode of The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Robotnik did this in order to run for presidency.
- Ember used this in Danny Phantom with her rock music.
- An episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog has a character doing this in order to sell flan.
- The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon had Krang use this to enslave the population of New York, but Bebop and Rocksteady screwed up the program so they behaved like monkeys, and later children. Krang's reaction to the error: "Only a complete idiot could mess this up! Complete... idiot... BEBOP!!! ROCKSTEADY!!!"
- In The Spongebob Squarepants Movie Plankton finally takes over Bikini Bottom by giving away Chum Bucket Helmets that are actually mind control devices. There's a disturbingly intense scene when an army of zombies capture Squidward, the one citizen who doesn't wear them.
- On Phineas and Ferb, a few of Dr. Doofenshmirtz's evil plans involve mass hypnosis, such as his plan to brainwash people into coming to his birthday party in "Raging Bully" and his infectious Ear Worm in "Phineas and Ferb's Musical Clip-tastic Countdown".
- Quack Pack: In "Heavy Dental", an evil scientist working for the big bad accidently puts the bioremote mind control device in Huey's braces during his dentist appointment, giving him near-infinite mind control powers. He then uses them to become the emperor of the world, but becomes miserable after realizing he can't be happy if people are forced to love him.
- The Horn of Hypnos from W.I.T.C.H. is capable of this ability, as long as the victims are directly in front of the horn to become "trance-marchers".
- Justice League: In the two-part episode, "The Brave and The Bold", Gorilla Grodd controls the populace of Central City with his mind-control helmet so he launch a nuclear assault on Gorilla City.
- Winx Club's third season has the Trix and Valtar resorting to mind control to get the students from Cloud Tower on their side; it's partly because trying to bully them hasn't worked well in the past, and partly because they simply won't team up with the Trix willingly at this point.
- In Mr Meaty, the titular company makes a hypnotism device that is designed to drive customers into a meat addicted frenzy. Unfortunately, after finishing off all the meat in the restaurant, the zombie customers decide that human meat is just as good.