I command thee . . . name that book or movie!
October 13, 2019 8:19 AM   Subscribe

I read a book, maybe 5-10 years ago, probably a magical type fantasy book (or possibly movie or tv) where one of the characters had the ability to issue commands through some supernatural power when he or she was speaking. I remember it in my head like the person saying "Shut the door" in a normal voice, but a deep, magically reverberating, maybe slowed down version of his voice said the command at the same time, and other characters were compelled in a zombie-like way to shut the door. Ringing any bells? South Park? Harry Potter? Heroes?
posted by bluesky78987 to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Susan Sto Helit can, through the Discworld's unusal laws of genetics, do this - indicated in the text when rather than talking normally she TALKS LIKE THIS.
posted by Vortisaur at 8:24 AM on October 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This is the Voice in Dune by Frank Herbert, a power utilised by the Bene Gesserit sisterhood, and also by Paul Atreides / Muad'dib.
posted by el_presidente at 8:25 AM on October 13, 2019 [6 favorites]

The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold?
posted by zeptoweasel at 8:25 AM on October 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: DUNE! That must be it. Thanks so much!
posted by bluesky78987 at 8:39 AM on October 13, 2019

This is also a primary conceit in Preacher, btw.
posted by SaltySalticid at 9:02 AM on October 13, 2019 [5 favorites]

Does the movie version of Dune by Lynch have voice reverb? I haven't heard the movie in years and years. What about the miniseries from Sci Fi? I wonder because having read Dune in the last year, there's nothing in the text that indicated any kind of special effect when the Voice was used on a specific person.
posted by Fukiyama at 9:23 AM on October 13, 2019

Yes the movie has a weird reverb effect. I never liked that, because as you say the book implies it is an extremely subtle yet highly skilled technique, not just some magical effect.
posted by el_presidente at 9:58 AM on October 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Here's one example of the Voice from the Lynch movie, the animal-or-human test on Paul. (Contains images of a human hand burning.) Reverend Mother Helen Mohiam's first words to Paul are in the Voice, which Paul identifies for exposition purposes in his internal monologue.

Here's one from the SciFi Channel miniseries, where Lady Jessica commands Stilgar. He will refer to her as the Weirding Woman in that scene, but that refers to her invisibly-fast combat moves.

Here's Paul using the Voice for the first time, on two Harkonnen thugs (but I repeat myself) who have been charged with taking them to the desert and killing them; Jessica is gagged because as a Bene Gesserit she's known to have the Voice; but they can't imagine that a man has had the same training. (N.B. a Harkonnen is making moves to rape Jessica as well. Long reverb on this one. Once ungagged, Lady Jessica also uses the Voice, and instead of a explicit command, she gives the Harkonnen an irresistible suggestion. I think this scene has the most use of the Voice in that movie.

Here's Alia Atreides, Paul's sister (little Alicia Witt!) commanding the Reverend Mother, and also using a little psychic shove, to identify her to the Emperor. The reverb of her line can be heard clearly for several seconds after she speaks it, but it seems like Witt just made her voice really raspy instead of the effect, say, on Paul's voice where the voice track gets muddy and saturated.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:03 PM on October 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

There is a very similar conceit in the Ex Machina graphic novels—the main character develops the ability to talk to machines. (It also includes perhaps my favorite ever use of a superpower: The protagonist barks as he enters his home, "Air conditioner, quit fucking rattling!")
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 4:34 PM on October 13, 2019

This is also the villain’s power in Jessica Jones season 1 on Netflix.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 12:33 PM on October 14, 2019

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