A stock visual effect that is usually used to indicate someone is being hypnotized (or trying to hypnotize someone). It does get used for all sorts of hallucinations and visualized breakdowns but it's primarily associated with hypnosis for some reason.
The common version tends to include:
- A floating head
- The head itself is spinning or moving
- A (usually) multicolored swirl as the background
- A humming '50s sci-fi sound effect or increased echo if the head is speaking.
- Used in Zoolander, when Mugatu tries to brainwash the title character into assassinating the Prime Minister of Malaysia. "OBEY MY DOG!"
- The Joker in the 1989 Batman film, just after his "Smilex" "commercial".
- The Trope Maker is probably the Dream Sequence from Vertigo, where Jimmy Stewart's head floats over crazy geometric animation.
- This is a recurring theme in Canadian EDM producer Rezz's stage visuals, album artwork and music videos.
- Max Headroom. Honorable Mention must go to the Max Headroom Pirating Incident.
- Doctor Who:
- Played for Drama (it was the 60s) in the Hartnell-era story "The War Machines", in which WOTAN's manipulation of people's minds is depicted using a very faintly super-imposed spiral, usually over a closeup of the victim's struggling face. The Radiophonic Workshop musique concrete score makes it quite disturbing.
- The Second Doctor, (first) Third Doctor and (first) Fourth Doctor title sequences both display a closeup of the Doctor's face in front of a whirling, spiralling psychedelic vortex of light.
- Sam & Max: Freelance Police: Culture Shock'' has this happen to Sam when he gets hypnotized by Brady Culture. "Do my evil bidding, and so forth."
- The villain Vertigo in Batman: The Animated Series episode "Off Balance".
- Apu in The Simpsons episode "Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood", during Bart's and Milhouse's squishee hallucinations.
- In Phineas and Ferb, Dr. Doofenshmirtz invents a Musical-Video-Mind-Control-Inator, and a Hypnotic Head of him was shown (see featured image above).
- Mr. Mental in The Tick.
- Pinky and the Brain: The Brain during the bumpers in "You Will Buy This Video."