Mind Control

What is Mind Control?

Mind Control is the horror subgenre where the ultimate threat is mind control. This leaves the victim with an inability to think independently. Mind Control can be employed multiple ways. One technique is brain washing. Brain washing is a purely psychological technique that exists in reality and is often used. Religious cults and advertising agencies use brain washing. Mind control can also be used in a more abstract sense. The hero of a story could lose control of his thoughts and body by an antagonist using mind control on him using brain waves or a super computer or anything else.


Characteristics of Mind Control

Level of Characterization

Level of Plot Complexity

Level of Supernatural
Low OR High. If it's a Mind Control story about technology, then mind control is explained by way of technology (mind control by manipulating the brain -- i.e. the matrix). If mind control is psychic and not technological, then it veers into the supernatural (i.e. mind controlling vampires, humans with mind control abilities)

Level of Scary

Level of Violence 

Typical Setting
Usually set in a dystopian reality. Often shady pseudo governmental organizations involved or a futuristic science fiction technology that allows mind control. Sometimes, the setting might be historical or present with mind control being more psychic than technological.

Related Fantasy Sub-Genres

Sci-fi Horror, Bizarro, Supernatural, and Gothic.

Mind Control Isn’t For You If You Dislike

Characters that lose their freewill.


    1. A Clock Work Orange, Anthony Burgess. Alex volunteers in a program for early release that will "redeem" him.

    2. Time Out of Joint, Philip K. Dick. Ragle Gumm thinks it is 1959 and that he served in World War II. It is actually 1998.

    3. V for Vendetta, Alan Moore. Future England is in a totalitarian fascist state.

    4. The Bourne Identity, Robert Ludlum. Jason Bourne suffers from amnesia. He doesn't know who is he, just that he has 4 million dollars in a Swiss bank account and someone tried to kill him.

    5. The Orphan Trilogy, James Morcan. A young man, named Nine, finds himself wanting more from life than being a weapon for the cruel and powerful Omega Corporation.

    6. The Manchurian Candidate, Richard Condon. Sergeant Raymond Shaw and his fellow G.I.'s have been captured in Korea, where they have been brainwashed by the mysterious chinese doctor Yen Lo.

    7. Slated, Teri Terry. The government has erased Kyla's memory. They claim she was a terrorist and are willing to give her a second chance if she cooperates. Her past slowly starts to come back to her.

    8. Tool of the Trade, Joe Haldeman. A Soviet Russian spy in America isolates an ultrasonic frequency that causes anyone within earshot to bend to his will.

    9. A Plague of the Pythons, Frederik Pohl. A device has been invented which allows the user to assume control of other people's bodies at will.

    10. The Puppet Masters, Robert A. Heinlein. Slug-like aliens land on Earth and attach to people, taking over their minds.

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