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.
- 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.
- Used in Zoolander, when Mugatu tries to brainwash the title character into assassinating the Prime Minister of Malaysia. "OBEY MY DOG!"
- This is a recurring theme in Canadian EDM producer Rezz's stage visuals, album artwork and music videos.
- 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.
- Max Headroom. Honorable Mention must go to the Max Headroom Pirating Incident.
- Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes: Harvey sends you into Mental World in cutscene looking in this way.
- 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 USA commercial for Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins has Wario featured in this fashion, enticing the viewer into rebelling against Mario.
- The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: In "One of Us" during The Happy Show Show, Gramma Taters is almost always shown as this, as she hypnotizes whoever watches it into a mindless zombie who's always happy.
- 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).
- Pinky and the Brain: The Brain during the bumpers in "You Will Buy This Video."
- In Futurama, the highest rated TV show is "Everybody Loves Hypnotoad", which features sitcom establishing shots alternating with shots of the title character showing off his hypnotic eyes. This, of course, results in the highest quality television entertainment imaginable.