Daily Horror Film Fest: Placebo

Every day during October, the Department of Tangents presents a different short film for the Daily Horror Film Fest. It can be flat-out scary, funny horror, or just plain creepy. And every Monday during the DHFF, we’ll be featuring the films of Andrew J.D. Robinson of WORKOBEY Films.

Today’s entry, Placebo, is the third in a four-part series. It gives us one more clue to the widening story, which breaks open a bit more in next week’s film, The Becky Carmichael Fan Club. Placebo is a surreal short about a woman undergoing plastic surgery. The imagery is menacing on its own, but we learn there is something more to the story than the depiction of a woman having herself mutilated because of some maligned self-image.

The film is a remake of one of Robinson’s earlier films, Beauty Marks. He feels he tackled this subject a bit too early in his career, before his skills could do it justice. By the time he got around to this remake, the wheels were already turning in the D’Arcadia universe. “There are many things I create and put down on paper that I don’t realize actually subconsciously do connect to my other ideas under an umbrella of themes,” he says. “So as Becky Carmichael formulated in its early drafts, I knew Placebo belonged with Becky. My notebooks are full of arrows and fill all the spaces like a messy galaxy of abstractions, so it’s not the first time a previous film clicks to me later before I knew where it really was going in the grand scheme of things.”

It is part of a larger story now, but it’s also a commentary on vanity and self-image. “It’s a theme I’m close to as an artist and just a person whose keeping a foot in a reality and filtering it through this ‘Hunter S. Thompson gonzo journalistic’ way of mine,” says Robinson. “Whether it’s people of both sexes in my circles or extended film family, the news, tragic stories I read from history and so on, it’s an elemental theme I feel a lot comes back to at the end of the day: our self-image– and I mean that in the most vague terms that a lot of dynamics can fall under that umbrella. Our shadow, our masks, our status, and especially how we identify or redefine ourselves in modern times.”

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