My thoughts on Pica Towers by Marc Craste

I must admit it took me a while to understand what was going on in the three short videos Pica Towers, but one thing that was immediately clear was the spooky, ominous, foreboding tones throughout all the videos.  What Marc Craste does brilliantly in the short digital films is tell a horror story without any dialogue.  He successful conveys the story with the use of music and sound effects, illustrations of robotic characters or whatever they are, and brilliant camera techniques.  These videos are seriously a must see if you love film and suspense.  It’s like a dark twisted Pixar movie.

Pica Towers Illustration

Pica Towers Illustration

In the first scene, two glowing circles slowly come into focus, which we soon find out are the eyes of a captured character hanging upside down (S&M style), coupled with torture mechanisms hanging on the wall (very reminiscent of the horror movie Hostel).  There is a second character with similar composition as the one (metal robotic thingies) hanging upside down, however, elements such as spikes on his body, a zipper for a mouth, and small beady eyes add to the villainous look of the character. Kind of reminds you of S&M. The sound effects in the background are ominous, and the clattering of chains rattling as the captured character is hoisted further in the air adds to the scary nature of the scene.  At the end of the video, the writer uses classical horror music typical of the moment when a character comes face to face with the villain and realizes he is in trouble. However, we can’t see who he sees which adds to the suspense. This happens to the second character mentioned earlier, which is ironic because he was initially the one inflicting torture on someone else. It made me wonder “Who’s the real villain here?”  These types of thoughts are present throughout each video, which encourages viewers to figure out the story by piecing together the details.

In the second video, we see a cute little robotic dog, which adds a little playfulness to the scene, but not for long.  This time the viewer is invited to see more of “Pica Towers.” My first thought upon looking at the scene reminded me of an insane asylum.  The long dimly lit hallways with several doors and rooms added to the chilling effect.  There is one seen in which a blind character (after losing his cane to the dog) is feeling his way down the hallway, and there is a simple digital illustration of flickering light which added extra spook.  But besides all the eerie elements in the video (such as blood on the wall) there is a cleverly crafted scene in which the blind man falls down the stairs.  This is not physically shown, but the picture is painted quite well through sound (a grunting person), a simple shake of the camera (portraying the rumbling effect of falling down the stairs), and a shot of the blind man readjustment his glasses as he walks out the door.  This is an excellent example of how to tell a story without showing every single detail.

The plot continues in the third video.  We see a happy-go-lucky pizza guy driving up to Pica Towers.  In the background there is the sound of high squealing winds which ignite a feeling of desolation and eerie.  Unfortunately, the poor little pizza man is shot with a shotgun, by what appears to be a character in Pica Towers.  We then see the character in the tower being “chastised” by a female character, as a mother would scold her child as he cowers down like a little lost kid.  The scene reminded me of the movie Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

After watching the three videos, I had several questions swarming around in my head: is the young character with the gun the killer? Is his ‘mom’ the killer? Or are their several killers? Why would a blind man be walking through Pica Towers? Who ordered the pizza and why? And why would a pizza man drive to a place that clearly looks like an insane asylum? I decided to draw my own conclusion…Pica Towers is an asylum in which the insane have somehow unleashed themselves (I guess by killing the staff), and have begun releasing terror upon each other. This is just my interpretation. Who knows what the real story is behind Marc Craste’s creation.  I guess that is the beauty of interpretation of art, or in this case, digital art.  But I’m sure everyone can agree the story was successful executed journey to the dark side.

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