Horror Grinder

Horror Movies Horror Books Horror News

Face Off – Mummy Mayhem

Posted by Ed Grabianowski on March 12, 2013

Face Off - Mummy Mayhem

Face Off gives us a very cool Evil Dead themed challenge, all five remaining contestants do killer mummy designs, and then I lose all faith in the judges completely and forever.

At the increasingly empty house, we find that Meagan left everyone notes scrawled on mirrors as a parting gift. That’s such a perfect combination of sweet and kind of creepy. I didn’t notice if any of the notes said, “CALL 911 OR YOU’LL DIE.” Can we get a kidney check, final five? Everyone have two? Ok. Good to go.

This week’s challenge is revealed at Grauman’s Egyptian Theater (different theater from the slightly more famous Chinese Theater, if you’re not hip to Hollywood landmarks). Five different tablets with five different Egyptian deities are on display. Everyone picks one, and they have to make a mummified version. But there’s a tie-in to the upcoming Evil Dead remake (there’s a Book of the Dead in Evil Dead, so they drew a connection between that and the Egyptian Book of the Dead – I’ll buy it), so the mummies should have that Evil Dead zombie aesthetic. Bruce Campbell even appears for a pre-recorded message: “Keep it creepy, this remake isn’t as much of a laugher as the original.”

Foxy is giddy, being a huge Evil Dead fan. So I’m pretty sure all of us here at Gothic.net are on Team Foxy by now, right? Foxy also explains that he’s feeling down due to the long-term separation from his family, with no contact whatsoever. I remember when this was brought up last year, and I made fun of the contestants for getting so mopey, assuming they were at least getting to call their wives and kids on the phone. But Laura told me later that, no, in fact they had no contact with their families the whole time.

To which I say: wha? Is there some reason they’re not allowed to call home at night? Is that part of the challenge, to make them work under some kind of weird emotional pressure? Weird.

Anyway, Foxy gets right to heart of the Evil Dead theme, creating what he calls an 80s-style zombie, with an arched brow and long chin. Right from his initial sketch, I was pretty sure he was drawing inspiration from Eddie, Iron Maiden’s undead mascot (and something of an icon among 80s-style zombies). He carried that idea through to the final look, and all I can say is, hell yes. I loved the toasted red paint scheme and even the open mouth. That mummy would fit right in on the Powerslave album cover.

Wayne’s crocodile-headed mummy was an unexpected hit with the judges. Wayne did his whole, “I’m doing all my paint and half my application in the one hour of last looks” thing, and still somehow pulled off a top look. The paint job was a little monochromatic, and one of those Egyptian collar pieces would have hidden the human body to croc head transition a lot better. Those empty eye sockets did look incomplete, and I’m pretty sure Wayne just pulled that whole, “I figured the eyes would have rotted away,” explanation out of thin air, but hey, whatever works. It was damn impressive getting the texture and proportion of the croc head correct.

Then there’s Kris’ goat-headed god, which was on a whole other level from every other design. And to be sure, all five contestants are incredibly talented and did great work this week. But that goat mummy…that was perfect. It went all the way. Head, face, chest, arms, back. Perfect texture. Perfect paint. The goat face looked rotted and crumbly, dry and dusty. The use of that stiff hair to shape the face was brilliant. Kris managed to capture a feeling ancientness that no one else quite nailed down this week. Kris deservedly won.

House had a great concept, designing the god Thoth as an ancient scribe who has engraved his own flesh. And I thought he executed it very well. Sure, the gold paint was a little questionable, but I loved the removable mask. The underlying face had an evil presence, with the strips of bandage across the eyes and mouth. This design was the runner up in terms of “ancientness.” I would have rated this a top look above Wayne’s crocodile.

Anthony inexplicably fell short this week. I liked the angular face that Glenn kept complaining about, but the headdress was too small, and the paint was a total misfire. At one point, Anthony’s paint looked fine, then we said it felt a little flat to him, so he splattered a bunch of other colors on there and completely ruined it, which I believe is exactly how Ve described it. It was pretty clearly the worst make up of the night, which is no slight to Anthony, since at this point, everyone is doing killer work.

So they eliminated House.

Sorry Face Off, I don’t even know what to say about this. Can we clarify if eliminations are based on that one specific design or on a contestant’s cumulative work on the show? Because that’s the only possible justification for what happened tonight, and even that’s a stretch, since Anthony has had a couple of bottom looks. House was robbed.

I’ve loved Face Off since I started watching it in season two, and there’s a lot to love. This season has featured some really cool and innovative design challenges and very talented contestants. But the show has some deep flaws that I really hope the producers can fix before season five. Arbitrary eliminations. Nearly half the show devoted to judging. This week there was a lingering shot of the judges walking across the room. I’m not an expert in film editing, but I’m thinking we probably could have skipped that. The stupid cliffhanger commercial break when they announce each week’s winner. “The winner is…” Hey guys, we’re already watching the show. You don’t need to trick us into watching through the commercial break.

Face Off, I complain because I care. I just want you to be the best damn creature and make up FX design show you can be. You’re so much better than this.

Face Off — Two Heads Are Better Than One

Posted by Ed Grabianowski on February 13, 2013

Face Off 405, Two Heads Are Better Than One

On Face Off, the contestants create multi-headed giants out of foam and paint to promote a movie that’s so packed with CGI it looks like a cartoon.

Everyone heads off to the Magic Mountain theme park (promotion!) where they run around, have fun, then run into McKenzie near a giant fake redwood tree. Bryan Singer shows up. He’s not my favorite director, but he’s a pretty big name, so I wonder how they roped him into this…oh, he’s got a movie coming out with giants in it. I guess guesting on Face Off is a lot more fun than talking to Jay Leno. So the contestants have to make giants, and they have to have more than one head.

Since we have an even number of contestants left, it’s a team competition, with everyone paired off at random. Anthony gets stuck with Autumn, and the success or failure of their design seems less like it will depend on actual sculpting and painting skills, and more on Anthony’s Autumn-management skills. “I have to make her think she has more control than she actually does,” he says. Mild-mannered Anthony is quite the Machiavellian!

Meagan gets stuck with Jenna, who still has hand problems. I’ve already addressed this before, so I’ll just say, rough week for Meagan, but what can you do? They have problems all along, and very few of them seem directly related to Jenna’s hand. There just seems to be a general ineptitude throughout the process. The design was somewhat boring (stacked heads is kind of cool, if not totally original), and they didn’t really run their molds correctly or build the top head so that it would be able to stay in place on top of the model.

It was very nice that the producers subbed in some giant-size models this week. Some of the teams didn’t really increase the size of their models at all, yet they still came across as giants. Michael Westmore’s mentoring visit was exceptional as always. He offers solid, practical advice, but he isn’t afraid to express skepticism at a design. He was very worried that Fox and Chris would be unable to finish their massively ambitious design.

And what a design! I loved it from the start, that they were swinging for the fences with a crazy design featuring the model as a tiny guy being held in place by a two-headed giant. The two foam heads towered above the model, and the whole thing was ten feet tall. While the finished product was not as polished as some of the other work this week, and the costuming was clearly hurried and rough, that thing just made me grin every time it was on screen. I can’t believe they pulled it off, and deservedly won top looks.

House and Wayne did a giant based on a tree, with the second head acting as a puppet controlled by the model. It was very cool, with a realistic paint job so skillfull you didn’t even notice it at first. It just looked natural, not like a “paint job” at all. The puppet head also worked very well and didn’t have the “sock puppet” vibe that’s been a problem on Face Off before.

The malformed giant that Autumn and Anthony ended up creating was interesting. Not great from far away, partly due to a somewhat bland costume, but up close, it was the most emotive giant. The main head looked a bit sad, and reminded me of Young Frankenstein. The demonic head poking out the back was awesome, and the head bursting out of the chest looked like it was in agony. Anthony’s wet eyes and mouth paint job looked very realistic and creepy.

I was skeptical of Alam and Eric’s idea at first – a giant that stuck other giant’s heads on his feet. They were going for a slightly cartoonish, folklore inspired look, and I think they captured it. Even though the main face sculpt was a little primitive, I ended up liking this design quite a bit. The atypical blue paint scheme helped, too. The judges hated it, though, and stuck it in bottom looks.

In the end, Meagan and Jenna turned in a total mess. I’m not going to pile on (although, missing one boot and one glove was hilarious and a perfect symbol of how inept this team was). The judges were clearly trying to be somewhat kind to Jenna. But Jenna was also feeling terrible about holding back her teammates each week, and Glenn pointed out that she hasn’t shown any signs of getting better (either from her injury or in terms of raw ability and technique). It was a painful send-off, but one that needed to happen.

We’re still at the point in the season where there are contestants on the show who simply aren’t very good at this stuff. People who make terrible (or just boring) design choices, people who don’t have the experience to create successful molds and apply pieces, and poor sculptors. Face Off really shines when everyone’s been paired down until you’ve got the best facing off against the best. So we need a few more eliminations before things really get good.