The Manchurian Candidate was such an intriguing film, I read the book (1959, by Richard Condon). Louis Menand summed it up in his 2003 introduction: it has the splendid badness of an overripe banana. Menand also explains brainwashing, which uses the "traditional methods of psychological coercion: repetition and humiliation."
Sounds like childhood.
Mine wasn't severe but I sure remember that combo, and I know people whose childhoods resembled North Korean POW camps. What I wonder is, how reversible is it, at this late date? Is repetition and encouragement any antidote?
Actually, I don't care what the psychologists say. I insist on believing in the possibility of transformation.