Beastly Effects: Soundscapes in Nigel Kneale's Beasts (1976)

O'BRIEN, Shelley (2011). Beastly Effects: Soundscapes in Nigel Kneale's Beasts (1976). In: Alien Nation: A Conference on British Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Television, Newcastle upon Tyne, 20th and 21st July 2011. (Unpublished)

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Nigel Kneale's Beasts is an overlooked telefantasy series broadcast in 1976. It consisted of only six episodes shot on video, featuring limited cast and locations. Finally available on DVD, these limitations are evident, but they are transcended by the strength of the performances, the downright weirdness of the stories, and their unsettling ambience. Notably, it is the use of sound which is integral to creating the genuine sense of menace which is present in Beasts. Each episode is heavily reliant on sound effects rather than music score in order to generate disquiet - none more so than the impressive, During Barty's Party. Apparently inspired by Hitchcock's The Birds (1963), it features a couple whose rural home is invaded by rats. However, the threat is created entirely through sound effects - not one rat is ever seen. The gradual layering up of sound details to create dynamics and timbre ensures that the tension is built up to fever pitch. This paper then will focus closely on the importance of sound in Beasts, but it will also situate the series within the wider context of British telefantasy in the 1970s, and consider its position in relation to Kneale's other TV work.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Humanities Research Centre
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities > Department of Humanities
Depositing User: Shelley O'Brien
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2018 16:01
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 15:31

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