5/28/2013

Where's the connection between psychic powers and nosebleeds? We're not sure, but it seems collectively that we've decided that using your brain too much will make your nose bleed. It's a good visual shorthand that something isn't right with someone's head. Yet in real life, lots of people suffer nosebleeds without psychic overload, and others suffer serious brain trauma with no nosebleeds at all. That's why it's kind of silly. Here are seven of the most ridiculous nosebleeds in movies and TV.

7. Chronicle - In this scifi found footage movie, three high-schoolers gain telekinetic abilities from an unknown object, and use their new abilities for mischief, personal gain, and murder. As far as their powers, it's all about the nosebleeds. In fact, the larger the object they try to move, the worse the nosebleeds get. At one point, a character moves a car, and has so much bleeding that he later describes it as a "face period."

6. Firestarter - In the sci-fi/thriller based on the novel by Stephen King, a young girl with pyrokinesis is on the run from a secret government agency. Her father has the power to control minds. In the original novel, the father suffered "tiny cerebral hemorrhages." That doesn't translate too well on screen, so they became nosebleeds whenever he used his powers. This is one of the earliest instances of the trope.

5. Deep Space Nine - Kira- In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Reckoning," an ancient tablet releases two alien entities on board the space station. Two crew members are possessed and engage in a psychic battle of wills. Of course, you know they're working hard by getting nosebleeds.
4. Heroes - In the landmark TV series about ordinary people who discover superhuman abilities, nosebleeds occur frequently whenever someone exerts their power too far or receives an overload of power. For example, when Matt Parkman tries to read the mind of another character named the Haitian. In another instance, Peter Patrelli gets a nosebleed when he telekinetically tears open a metal vault. Got it, Heroes. Nosebleed equals working hard.
3. Fantastic Four - In this comic book adaptation, four astronauts gain superpowers after a cosmic accident. At one point, the Fantastic Four are trying to stop the metallic Doctor Doom, and Johnny Storm uses his flame powers to engulf Doom in flames. Sue Storm creates a force field to contain the heat, and ends up with a nosebleed from her super-force-field efforts. Or something.
2. The 4400 - In this TV show about a group of 4400 people who disappear and return with enhanced powers, nosebleeds also showed up with psychic powers. In the pilot episode, former insurance broker Orson Bailey discovers that when he gets upset, his telekinetic powers destroy objects around him. This is also accompanied by nosebleeds.
1. Scanners - This sci-fi horror movie about "scanners" (people with unusual telepathic and telekinetic powers) is the grandfather of psychic nosebleeds. This movie not only featured one of the first psychic nosebleeds, but took it to the extreme with exploding heads as well.

Sources:
Polite Dissent
TV tropes.org

What did you think of the list? Any other psychic nosebleeds you can name?

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4 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Better when the heads just explode anyway.

jeremy [retro] said...

I have one not on the list... Modern Problems [1981] around 1:10 in trailer... http://youtu.be/YeK3jIoPuhY

Nigel Mitchell said...

Good one!

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