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.
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Anime & Manga
- Marvel Comics had the Ringmaster, whose hat contains a spiral thing much like the page image. 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.
- 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, as shown in the page image.
- 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.
- SCP Foundation, SCP-252 ("Humboldt Squid"). SCP-252 is a squid up to 1 meter long. It can rapidly change the colors of its skin, hypnotizing anyone looking at it and causing them to think it's a giant monster up to 75 meters long.
- 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.
- 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.