Dickinson, Kay. "Troubling Synthesis: The Horrific Sights and Incompatible Sounds of Video Nasties." Sleaze Artists: Cinema at the Margins of Taste, Style, and Politics. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007. 167-188.
Dickinson reflects on the role that musical scores played in a hand full of horror films dubbed ‘video nasties.’ She explores how the music created a kind of ambivalence that, coupled with brutally visceral acts of violence horrified audiences. These films were so horrific that they were denounced by The British Board of Censors and made illegal. The disjunction of image and sound is said to be largely under researched in film academia and it is for this reason that Dickinson explores the use of synthesizers within these ‘video nasties’.
First the author explores the term ‘ambivalence’ and marks how it is commonly rejected by the modern world which tends to be attracted to that which is more definitive. This ambivalence is manifested in these films by a soundtrack that refuses to locate itself within the setting of the film, unsettling and unnerving the audience. A Clockwork Orange (1971) (which was not censored by the British Board, but removed from circulation by Kubrick himself, after isolated incidents of violence at screenings) is said to exemplify the use of soundtrack to unnerve the audience and the most horrific scenes within this film are those in which the soundtrack contrasts an upbeat song (“Singin' in the Rain”) to brutal acts of violence.
The use of the synthesizer is explored and its popularity within the decade is alluded to. The fact that the synthesizer is associated with the rational and the robotic makes its presence in a violent scene that much more bewildering to the audience. Dickinson’s article concludes by reflecting on taste and the rejection of these films by the mainstream. True to the paracinema form, her article reveals that an analysis of that which is said to be obscene reveals a great deal from an academic standpoint.