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Face Off – Howl at the Moon

Posted by Ed Grabianowski on February 27, 2013

Face Off Howl at the Moon

There are only two words you need to know about this week’s Face Off: interplanetary werewolves.
Back at the house, everyone is doing the, “It’s so sad around here without Alam.” They say this every single week, no matter who’s been eliminated.

We meet at a farm house for an immunity challenge. This is a really cool challenge: each team of two contestants has to make like 20 people into zombies in two and a half hours. I am very happy to see Face Off change things up like this. Not every gig is a hero make up on a main character. Sometimes you have to churn out a lot of zombies as quickly and cheaply as possible. It seems like the east coast haunted house crew will have a better time at this than the Hollywood folks.

Autumn starts doing her Autumn thing right off the bat, yelling about her missing sponge and demanding that her teammate “be a team player” and stop whatever he’s doing to find one for her. Meagan did a really awesome job with some cotton and latex wounds, and made the most of the time running around smearing blood all over her team’s zombies. When the clock runs out, McKenzie says, “Time is up, put your blood down.” Meagan wins immunity. High five, Meagan! Good zombieing.

The main challenge is somehow even more awesome. Design a werewolf. Didn’t we do that last season? But wait! There’s a twist. Earth isn’t the only planet in our solar system with a moon. What kind of werewolf will you turn into when Enceladus rises into view among the rings of Saturn?
We get random teams of two, and Eric Z. gets Autumn. I’m not going to comment too much on Autumn, since her behavior was self-explanatory. I will point out that her werewolf face sculpt was almost identical to her gummi bear face from the candy episode. The judges really lambasted Autumn, too.

Glenn has fired off some vigorous invective as a matter of course, and Nigel has been getting into it lately too (he called their design “assinine”), but this week even Ve got in a solid shot when Autumn claimed she had no idea Eric was unhappy with her trampling him all week. “You were probably too busy being bossy to notice.”

So Autumn went home, cranky all the way, saying she felt let down by Eric. For his part, Eric seemed all too happy to let Autumn run herself into the ground. It might have been a smart play, but it also made him look like a milquetoast. Glenn: “In a studio situation, I’d probably fire them both.”

House and Meagan worked on an Earth astronaut that was bitten by an alien werewolf and transformed. Meagan kind of let House do his thing since she had immunity, but to be honest, she didn’t do anyone any favors. House did some great work on the face sculpt (although I thought the flesh tone and pig snout looked a little odd). Meagan worked on the back, which was a huge mass of fuchsia fur. The overall effect was cool – as the judges mentioned, it had the strongest backstory of any of the designs, and I’m always preaching backstory as the cornerstone of design.

Fox and Anthony had a crazy and ambitious plan to make a four-armed werewolf with reverse-jointed legs, accomplished by putting the costume on the model backwards. I love that they tried something so crazy, but it just didn’t work. Part of the problem was that the model didn’t sell it very well by moving the wings or crouching on his backwards legs, but then again, dude had to walk around backward with a wig over his face, so I’m not sure what he really could have accomplished. The fake arms and static face just looked really obviously fake. Glenn seemed worried that Fox’s constant risky designs would eventually doom him, but I’d rather see him fail spectacularly than churn out week after week of predictable demon faces.

Wayne and Kris created a Neptunian werewolf, based on the idea that the planet is very cold. They went with a blue color scheme and created a full body suit that totally kicked ass. This is why we watch Face Off. What an amazing monster. The sculpting showed off a weird and alien skeletal system, and placing the head on top of the model’s head gave it a gangly, stalking gait that worked so well. True, the face was very static and mask-like, but even at that it looked pretty damn scary with those beady yellow eyes glaring out at you. On a real film set, that monster would be used for long and medium shots (with lighting amping up its weirdness a lot), and they would create a separate animatronic face for close-ups.

What I’m saying is, that crazy blue werewolf was damn near perfect. The detailed folds on the snout, the impeccable paint, the skillful use of fur…nice job Kris and Wayne.

Imagine that Anthony, Kris, Wayne and Fox open their own FX studio and completely conquer the world with an army of bizarre space werewolves. There’s no logic to this thought experiment. Just imagine it because it’s awesome.