Follow TV Tropes


Hypno Ray

Go To
The iris deformation ray is working!

"She looks hypnotized! He must have used that joy buzzer on her!"
Paul, Dinosaucers

A standard gadget in the Mad Scientist grab bag. The Hypno Ray allows the user to instantly hypnotize an unsuspecting target and make that person do their evil bidding.

Often a Ray Gun, but the magical version usually takes the form of Eye Beams.

The sequence follows a standard progression:

The victim later hears the trigger and takes the action, no matter how inappropriate it may be at the time.

This can often be combined with a mass media event to Take Over the World.

Such ray guns in fiction these days are reserved just for comedic works, as it's pretty hard to take it seriously anymore. Hypnotism in general has been getting a lot of scrutiny as a technique since the turn of the millennium. For one, you can only be hypnotized if you want to be hypnotized. And that's if you're not one of the people who can't be hypnotized at all (even if they want to be). Also, hypnotism can't make people do things that they wouldn't normally do, so telling a hypnotized person to (for instance) attack someone they love would just snap them out of it. Finally, the various methods to induce hypnotism usually involve deep relaxation or intense eye focus, things that a ray gun simply wouldn't be able to do. While Mind Control and its various tropes are still around, using a beam from a Mad Scientist to do it has gradually fallen out of style in favor of being parodied, subverted or deconstructed.

A Sub-Trope of Mind-Control Device.

See Also: Hypno Fool, Charm Person, Jedi Mind Trick, Weak-Willed, Hypno Trinket.

Not to be confused with Hypnotic Eyes.


    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • Mickey Mouse Comic Universe:
    • The first villains to appear in the comics were a trinity of Mad Scientist apes named Professors Ecks, Doublex (or Duplex), and Triplex who wanted to use one hyptonic beam to Take Over the World. They appeared in the "Blaggard Castle" storyline of daily strips, published in 1933.
    • A more modern story had the Phantom Blot pretend to be one of the Professors come back to try and rebuild & reuse the hypno-ray, after the castle had been rebuilt as an honor for Mickey.
  • In the story "The Town That Went Crazy", in issue #92 of Tales of the Unexpected, these two Nazi scientists with stereotypical accents had a hypno-ray mounted in the side of a large truck and were testing it on an entire town. The main character discovered that its effects were blocked by steel while trying on his old WWII army helmet during a fit of wishful nostalgia.
  • Superman:
  • Spirou & Fantasio: The Zorglonde (Zorglwave) allows the whole range from paralysing people at lower settings to making them highly suggestible, or completely brainwashing them and turn them into obedient automatons.

    Film — Animated 
  • Jafar's cobra headed staff in Aladdin, which he uses on the Sultan repeatedly until Aladdin breaks it. It was used twice on Mickey Mouse, tricking him to give up the House of Mouse, thus turning the night club into a House of Villains. He was foiled by that exact same protagonist who often defeats him with assistance from Aladdin and Jasmine.
  • Used for laughs in Meet the Robinsons, when Bowler Hat Guy attempts radio control of a frog. And later, a T-Rex. Bowler Hat Guy has trouble picking useful thralls.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Grey Aliens blast Roy Neary at close range and sunburn half of his face. Sanity Slippage ensues.
  • The Neuralizer from Men in Black.
  • In the second Fantômas movie, the eponymous villain abducts a number of scientists and has them construct a Hypno Ray gun. After the heroes thwart his plans and free the scientists, they use the gun to placate a pair of mooks he threw at them, but Fantômas himself escaped before they have a chance to subdue him.
  • Used in The Return of Captain Invincible. Mr Midnight (Christopher Lee) steals it and uses it on ethnic minorities in America to force them to move to a particular town so that he can kill them off in one move.
  • The L.O.O.K.E.R. gun from the 1981 film Looker poses as a strobe-light gun, but really hypnotizes its victims so that they would lose all sense of time.

  • The 3-D Hypno Ring from Captain Underpants.
  • Not so much a ray as it is an audible tone, the main character of The Chronicles of Professor Jack Baling is on the receiving end of one of these at the beginning of Episode 2.
  • In the earliest issues of Perry Rhodan, handheld "psycho-ray" weapons of Arkonide manufacture make for convenient plot devices in helping the protagonist set up his own small but powerful new nation-state on an Earth involved in a three-sided Cold War at the time. As amusing as some of the results may be, the abuse potential becomes obvious early on (an attacking fighter pilot that the user didn't mean to kill nonetheless dies from not snapping out of his trance after a hurried command to "pull up!" in time, causing his plane to stall out and crash with him still in it) and so it's perhaps unsurprising that this particular bit of phlebotinum later quietly drops out of sight.
  • The Harry Potter books have the Imperius Curse.

    Live-Action Television 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer season six episode "Dead Things" features a dramatic subversion, at least as far as the comedic setting goes. Nerd supervillain Warren invents a mind control device and uses it on his ex-girlfriend, allowing the geek trio to dress her up as a French maid and generally be laughably adolescent about the whole thing. Then the story makes a swift plunge into darkness when Warren commands his ex to give him oral sex; she comes out of the trance and accuses the trio of attempted rape, and is brutally killed by Warren when she tries to escape.
  • The Mad Hatter from Batman (1966) had one in his top hat, customized to look like a pair of eyes.
  • In The Outer Limits (1963) episode "The Brain of Colonel Barham", a terminally ill astronaut agrees to become a Brain in a Jar as part of an experiment. Once Barham's brain is freed from its failing body, it somehow develops the power to shoot hypno rays at the people around it, temporarily turning them into Brainwashed and Crazy mental slaves.
  • In one episode of Power Rangers Time Force, a Monster of the Week used a bracelet shaped like a snake to make the male rangers fall in love with her. She later uses it to make them fight each other. The spell was broke when the girl rangers broke the bracelet.

    Other Sites 

    Video Games 
  • Much used in Telltale Games' Sam & Max: Freelance Police Season 1. After all, the story is about Mass Hypnosis.
  • De Blob 2 features the Hypno Ray, a planetary-sized hypnotic device under the control of Comrade Black powered by the color energy gathered by De Blob throughout the game. It's used once to take control of the residents of Prisma City. Apparently it also bleaches buildings.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando has one that works on robots only. Don't even think about using it on Clank.
  • Fallout 3 has the Mesmertron, a Pre-War device that confuses and disorients anyone the beams hit. The problem is that it has a 50% chance to confuse them, a 30% chance to throw them into a berserk rage, and a 20% chance of causing "spontaneous cranial eruption".
  • Transistor: The Switch() Function fires a projectile in a straight line, that does Charm Person, and one of two phrases that describes the Function is "Hypnotic".

  • Used in Concession when the sub-plot villains use mind control for villainy, although they state the possible real-life applications, to the chagrin of the mind-control wielder.

    Western Animation 
  • Stewie Griffin on Family Guy once tried to get on Kids Say the Darndest Things to use one on the audience, but was defeated when Bill Cosby grabbed it and unknowingly used it on Stewie.
  • Used at least twice on The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius. Once used by Beautiful Gorgeous to control Secret Agent Man Jet Fusion, but it failed when hundreds of people said the trigger words at the same time. Jimmy also used one to force his parents to think it was his birthday, but they tricked him to teach him a lesson.
  • DuckTales (1987): Subverted in "Home Sweet Homer" as Scrooge McDuck is hypnotized by a huge monster with each head resembling a duck. He was later rescued by his nephews.
  • The Hypnotoad on Futurama is the biological equiva- all glory to the Hypnotoad!
    • Subverted in "The Lesser of Two Evils".
      Fry: He must've used a sleep ray on me! Sleep rays exist in the future, right?
      Leela: No.
      Fry: Oh. Then I must've fallen asleep.
  • The Hypnoturban from Ed, Edd n Eddy is often used by Eddy who turns the neighborhood children into certain people or animals. But when the Kanker Sisters got a hold of it, they turn the Eds into dogs at the end of the episode.
  • On WordGirl, Mr. Big has a mind control ray which is used for farcical reasons - one of which was making everyone in town use huge words in order to occupy the heroine. Even the title character is not immune to this trope, but usually snaps out of it within seconds.
  • In Dinosaucers, Quackpot's "Joy Buzzer" is actually a ray gun with many uses. One of them is this, like when he hypnotized Sarah.
  • In the Birdman (1967) episode "Empress of Evil", the title character's serpent-shaped head piece gives off one of these.
  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law
    • Parodied in the "Turner Classic Birdman" episode.
      Mentok: You're no longer in control of your mind, and your wings are missing too.
      Harvey: I am no longer in control of my mind, and my wings are missing too.
      Mentok: Uh, you don't have to repeat what I'm saying.
      Harvey: I don't have to repeat what you're saying.
    • Come to think of it, Mentok (and Francis X. Shado) both do this several times over the course of the series.
      Potamus: Must... give... wallet... to... evil leprechaun...
  • Happened once in Thunder Cats. The cast was saved by Snarf. Snarf.
  • Parodied in the South Park episode "The Return of Chef" where Chef is brainwashed by the Super Adventure Club to want to molest children. While the club leader explains the purpose of their group, they ask if the boys want to accompany them on their next trip. When they say no, he says maybe he should ask again and points a hypnotizer at them. When that attempt fails, he admits it doesn't work on everyone. They later explain to a psychiatrist that the Super Adventure Club convinced Chef that having sex with children was okay with a little thing that goes whrrrrrr.
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: Zurg's Zurgatronic Mega-Ray from the Pilot Movie, which, thanks to utilizing the LGM's Uni-Mind, is powerful enough to put the entire populace of a planet under at once.
  • Young Samson and Goliath episode "The Colossal Coral Creature". After the villain Darvo releases the title monster, he uses a "hypnotic ray" to control it.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) episode "Corporate Raiders From Dimension X", Shredder uses one to control Casey "C.J: Jones during a raid on Octopus, Inc. Fortunately, the Turtles save Casey by squiring him in the face with water, undoing the control.
  • In one episode of Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, Fat Cat and his cronies use a hypnotic device to capture sturgeons and make them think they're chickens so they'd lay eggs every daynote  and allow Fat Cat to corner the market on caviar. Chip and Dale turn the tables on them by using the device to make Fat Cat's men think they were dogs.


Video Example(s):


Hypno Beam

Jimmy hypnotizes his parents with an invention of his, into thinking it's his birthday.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / HypnoRay

Media sources: