Pica TV Bots and the Tower of Terror

Intrigue! TV-for-a-face bible-toting robot gets stabbed trying to deliver the good news! Irony! He was trying to escape from one murderer into the arms of another!

Ominous, macabre shorts with cartoonish, steampunk bots, each Pica Towers film demonstrates the power of storytelling through showing, rather than telling, as there is no dialogue or text of any kind. The audience has to learn the story from various suggestions in each shot, and Pica Towers is packed with details in each frame.

The tile of the first short film, “The Good News” is both clever and ironic, as it plays on the idea of Christians who go door to door to spread the “good news,” except in this case, the little TV bot holding a bible is clearly scared and disturbed about something when antennae bot opens the door. Yet, what from what the audience has seen, the bot (we’ll call him antennae bot) who opens the door, seems sinister as well as he is shown raising a chained smaller bot at the beginning of the film. Ironically he too falls victim to the unseen murderer.

Twist! Blind TV bot stumbles upon three dead bots featured in first film!

The beginning of the second film, which also has a great tongue-in-cheek title “Hound of Flesh,” shows a blind TV bot trying to get back his cane from a dog. The shots that peer around the corner, especially those that feature flickering lights in the background, are particularly effective for setting the mood– it’s almost as if he’s being followed. The shaking of the camera and stumbling sounds shown after cutting away from him stepping out over a set of stairs is a clever way of showing the audience that he fell. It’s the next scene however, that the audience finally sees the connection. There is the TV bot, face-down, and still bleeding, and then we see the two bots from before, both hanging from the ceiling, dead. It’s a fantastic shot, and all the more powerful because the blind TV bot has no idea what’s sitting in front of him (and I’m guessing he can’t smell, since he’s a TV?). The audience then hears the gunshot from final film, (which took another play through for me to notice). I have no doubt that as I continue to watch them over and over, I will notice more correlations amongst the three films.



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