Face Off Season 13 - Battle Royale

Obligatory episode thread, with aired episode spoilers.

Face Off is back for Season 13, and once again they have [dun dun dun] changed the rules. This season, they brought back previous contestants and the challenges each week will be head-to-head. The assigned characters will be given to two contestants each week, to see how each takes the challenge and which does better. Finally, we get to see a direct comparison of ideas and skills! As with most recent seasons, since the competition is in pairs, they will eliminate 2 every other week. Also, winning the off week challenge gives you the advantage of getting “an industry insider” to assist you on the next week’s challenge.

Okay, let the fun begin!

Spotlight Challenge this week - take a fairy tale character chosen blind and remake the character in Guillermo del Toro style of creepy and dark. Have to break up the human form. Horror and Fantasy. Make a terrifying creature.

Derek (season 3) vs. Kevon (season 9), Captain Hook: Derek wants the captain’s head to be in the shape of the captain’s hat, and the hand curled into a hook shape. Kevon envisions a Captain who grafts crocodile skin to his face. He forgets the pants at the lab, and has to be rescued at Last Looks by some black cloth and careful application.

Mel (season 10) vs. Jordan (season 9), Gingerbread Man: Mel takes a riff straight from del Toro and removes the eyes and puts them on the palms of the hands, a la the Pale Monster from Pan’s Labyrinth. I’m not sure that’s smart. It’s certainly not original. She decorates the teeth and eyes like gumdrops, and her technique is interesting. Jordan goes for a fat gingerbread man who is partially eaten and starting to decay and rot.

Graham (season 6) vs. Sasha (season 7), The Little Mermaid: Sasha goes for a mermaid with gills so she can give del Toro style swirls and her mermaid has a tail so she’s in a wheelchair. She struggles a bit with paint scheme, getting a bit lost with the direction. Graham decides to invert the mermaid and make the top the fish and the bottom legs.

Damien (season 7) vs. Jo (season 1), Mr. Toad: He goes for a snooty car driving toad (Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride?), so he sketches out a toad. Jo decides Mr. Toad is a prisoner for always getting into trouble, and she decides to break up the face by rearranging the eyes low and the nostrils above the eyes. Uh huh. At least she’s trying.

Yvonne (season 10) vs Matt (season 2), Tinkerbell: Wait, that’s some of the least convincing hair work I’ve seen on the show. And that beard reads fake. Oh, that’s a competitor, not the creature, okay. Matt goes for a form with lots of del Toro swirls and removes the eyes and gives her head appendages. Yvonne’s concept is that Peter Pan forgot about Tinkerbell and so she cried her eyes out and is all sad. Right away one reads del Toro and the other not, but we’ll see how the execution goes.

Walter (season 10) vs. Kelly (season 8), Humpty Dumpty: Kelly creates a story where Humpty Dumpty was given to the gods, but Chaos shattered him. Where the gods could not fix him, evil could and brought a misshapen pile of egg parts to life. That’s a creative take. Walter thinks of him as a noble knight with fragile bones, so he’s always getting put back together.

Judging: Regulars Glen Hetrick, Ve Neill, and Neville Page. Guest Judge: actor and creature suit performer Doug Jones

Yvonne (season 10) vs Matt (season 2), Tinkerbell: First read - it’s Matt’s all the way. His is creepy and the big cranial extensions break up the human form, very del Toro. Yvonne’s doesn’t have any form break up, it’s just sad. Also, the face is very frozen in emotion, and the texture doesn’t read as skin, but rather more like wood. Matt’s is very much on point, with the swirl designs, the missing eyes, the extended head. I think his reads the most del Toro from my limited exposure.

Damien (season 7) vs. Jo (season 1), Mr. Toad: First read - I like Damien’s Mr. Toad better than Jo’s. She attempted to break up the face, but it doesn’t read toad to me, and the jail outfit is just weak. But Damien’s is a full on toad in a suit with driving gloves. I like the safety monocles. I just think he missed the mark for the challenge to be dark and sinister, and to break up the human form. His is a good makeup for a different challenge, a more conventional Mr. Toad. Neville says the eyes are less eye-like than the nostril slits. I think that’s a result of our innate read for faces.

Graham (season 6) vs. Sasha (season 7), The Little Mermaid: First read - I’m not sure either fits the challenge, but Graham’s being inverted at least has that as a twist. While Sasha has a mermaid stuck in a wheelchair, the result is just weak. Also, the texture on Sasha’s face doesn’t read as skin or scales, so that’s off.

Walter (season 10) vs. Kelly (season 8), Humpty Dumpty: First read - Kelly’s comes off better. Her’s is muddy, and the robe is odd, but the head sculpt is well done, and I noticed he’s holding the second eye in his hands (thus the cyclops). It is creepy and dark and sinister. Walter’s doesn’t read like a knight, the costume is amateur hour. I give him better marks on his appliance work and paint, but the concept doesn’t fit the challenge well IMO. Ve feels the same way, though Neville does say he looks authentically patched together. Whereas Doug Jones feels Kelly’s is very del Toro. And the back is more elaborate than the front.

Derek (season 3) vs. Kevon (season 9), Captain Hook: First read - it’s a Hook-off. I like what Derek did with his, the flared skin and bone to form the hat. It certainly feels more del Toro. Kevon’s crocodile skin as armor look is creepy, but it’s a bit cluttered and the eyes don’t read well. I wasn’t sure how to call this one.

Mel (season 10) vs. Jordan (season 9), Gingerbread Man: First read - Jordan’s all the way. Mel’s is just a gingerbread man with the eyes on the hands. I like her gumdrops, but that’s about it. Jordan’s is definitely creepy and sick. The head shape is not human, and the partially eaten state helps sell the creepy.

It turns out I called it the same as the judges. They picked Derek’s Captain Hook, which was the only one I was iffy on.

As for Highs and Lows…

Matt’s Tinkerbell was a High. “…knocking something out of the park”. “Nice feminine quality across her face.” “The elements of nature with the forestlike bits on her - very del Toro.” “Has the capacity to be an homage without being a direct rip off.”

Kevon’s Hook was a Low. “It’s an overall concept issue… I don’t know if his thumbprint is on this particular piece.” “This is just a cacophony of ideas, shapes, textures … we’ve seen everything you can do in one dish”. “Too much stuff.” “You couldn’t focus on a face to find personality.”

Kelly’s Humpty Dumpty was a High. “Sculpted a beautiful and eerie all at the same time.” “It’s something that is extraordinarily unique.” “She had a strong story, and the consequenting result was a very harmonious character design.”

Yvonne’s Tinkerbell was a low. “[her face] almost looks like she’s made out of clay… it’s a very bizarre concept.” “Very Halloween mask”.

Overall Winner: Kelly.
Note contestants - no, they don’t “share a world”. (At least two people said something similar.) They have the same starting point, but the looks are sufficiently different that they don’t look like they belong together.

It seemed like they must have filmed this a very long time ago, as they didn’t mention “The Shape of Water” in reference to either Del Toro or Doug Jones, which I found odd.

I really disliked the gingerbread man with the eye hands. It was such a straight cribbing of Del Toro that it felt like a cheap knock-off, not a homage. I was surprised no one said anything like that.

Damn. I was 2/3 through my post and lost it to the ether. Take 2.

Episode 2

This week’s challenge: pick an object representing an ordinary job, and depict the lighthearted monster (a la hiding under the bed or in the closet) that performs that job in the monster world. Added twist: include a physical gag that transforms the monster from whimsical to terrifying.

Kelly vs. Kevon, diner waitress: Kelly won the challenge, and gets help from an Emmy-winning monster expert, Jamie Kelman. He spends a couple hours helping her concept and sculpting, but then leaves. That’s good, as it gives the competitor a chance to overcome the help. Her concept is a batlike monster lady that has a gravelly voice and wears a beard that she removes to show a second, large gaping mouth. My only thought is “Why a beard?” Kevon thinks of a four-armed squid waitress, and the gag will involve a terrifying face on the back of the head. Four arms seems a challenge to pull off well. Kevon struggles with time management to get everything done.

Graham vs. Damien, judge: These two are friends who deliberately picked each other for fun competition, and they bounce ideas off each other. That’s cool. Graham decides to make the “wig” judges wear out of brains, and the gag is the eyes bulge out of their sockets. Except I notice the sketch by the show artist depicts something different, so I suspect he has problems during fabrication. I gotta give him points for not going with the big gaping mouth everyone else is picking. He does make small bladders to put behind the eyeballs to make them bulge, and it seems to be working. They don’t describe Damien’s concept or give us much preview, so that’s going to be more of a surprise.

Jo vs. Derek, firefighter: Jo thinks of a fire hydrant, and metal, and so she comes up with a monster made of metal that is painted red, and the gag is a reveal of a big gaping mouth full of jagged metal teeth. She tries to devise a slide mechanism for the reveal, but can’t get it to work, so she ends up using magnets. Also, when she’s trying to apply teeth to the upper lip she runs into difficulty getting them to stick. I would have inserted them through the mask before application so they had better grip to the material. Derek wants a blue grumpy guy whose chin opens up to reveal a giant gory mouth with jagged teeth.

Sasha vs. Yvonne, hairdresser: Sasha is lost for a concept for a while. Yvonne tries to help her, and Jo finally advises her to look at reference photos (of hairdressers?) to narrow to a concept. She finally arrives at an insectoid monster where she pulls back her hair to reveal a gaping mouth on top of the head. They also don’t give us Yvonne’s concept, so we’ll see what she has later.

Walter vs. Mel, police officer: Walter takes something similar to my thoughts as to what the challenge would involve, taking something from the room and making it terrifying. He imagines a friendly looking bunny rabbit cop that then takes off his hat to reveal a sinister side and gory mess. From cute to terrifying. Is that a monster? Maybe the result is a monster that looks like a rabbit. Mel is inspired by a rhino and wants her monster to be in that form, then peel down flaps on his face to reveal something scary. She doesn’t define what that will be yet. Again, points for not doing a gaping mouth.

Jordan vs. Matt, dentist: Jordan goes for a big, wacky creature with a giant smile who kidnapped the dentist and took his place. His gag involves a rolled up tongue that will unroll and flop around. I notice when he’s sculpting the tongue, he’s making something thick - if he wants it to roll up and be inflated by the actor blowing into it, that isn’t going to work. Party whistles work by being thin material that is slightly stiff that holds the coil shape until inflated. This seems to be going the wrong direction. Matt designs a guy with pink skin covered with teeth and big teeth on the head that come off to reveal a gory mess inside. The whimsical side will be manifest through blue toothpaste spattered on his outfit.

Now for Judging

Jordan vs. Matt, dentist: Both of these seem to have missed half the challenge, with each missing different halves. Jordan has a very whimsical monster that is original, and the teeth are prominent. But his tongue gag doesn’t work so he just has it flopping out of the mouth. That leaves him without a physical gag that transforms his character. Whereas Matt has a good gag in the form of pulling off the top of the head, but his monster doesn’t look lighthearted and whimsical. It looks like a standard demon form but in pink. It rather resembles G’car from Babylon 5. I think Jordan’s is a better result even without a physical gag. The judges pick Jordan.

Kevon vs. Kelly, diner waitress: Kevon’s isn’t that good. The fake arms are stiff and not well-attached to the body, the lighthearted face is a big angry, and the scary face on the back looks like bad play-dough art. Plus, he rigged a gag where the scary face has motion that requires the model to pull a cord from above her head, so she has to stand with one arm up in the air. Poor concept and not well-executed. Kelly’s monster is missing something in the paint job to make it vibrant and stand out. The scary mouth is well-done. I like Kelly’s over Kevon’s. The judges pick Kevon, I don’t know why.

Jo vs. Derek, firefighter: Jo chose a red that is too dark, then made the teeth dark instead of shiny. The paint job hides rather than highlights the work. The paint inside the mouth should be black to give the illusion of a larger mouth opening and better contrast for the teeth. Also, the face is a little rough for it to be metal. Derek has a grumpy looking blue monster with big folds of fat around the throat that open to reveal a large pink mouth with lots of pointy teeth. I’m not sure I like his lighthearted look, especially with the lips on the second mouth, but it’s a better result than Jo’s. The judges pick Derek.

Damien vs. Graham, judge: We finally see Damien’s concept, a green cartoony face in a funny judge wig. I like the face and think it reads lighthearted enough, and appreciate the skill to make the creases align between the face and the cowl. His reveal is definitely scary, pulling off the face to show underlying gore and huge teeth ready to gnash on you. I think he hit the challenge well. Ve loves the reveal but doesn’t like the green. Graham’s face is very odd, and the bulging eye gag didn’t work so he instead pulls the eyeballs out to dangle from their sockets. I don’t like anything about this one, even the paint job could be better, like contrasting the skin from the “wig” better. The judges pick Damien.

Yvonne vs. Sasha, hairdresser: We finally see Yvonne’s character, a pink fishish lady with dreadlocks pulled up on top of her head that she lets down to reveal a second sinister face. It looks pretty good. Sasha’s monster is a mess. It doesn’t read insectoid, and the mouth on top of the head doesn’t hide well and isn’t well executed. It also fails to read as anatomically possible as it doesn’t lead anywhere. The judges pick Yvonne.

Walter vs. Mel, police officer: Walter’s cute rabbit comes out and he’s got a kind of enigmatic grin on, then he removes the hat to reveal a furrowed brow, sinister look, and a gory scalped appearance. He hit whimsical to terrifying well. Mel’s rhino thing is a mess. It looks like bad noodle art. It doesn’t really read as a rhino in skin texture or shapes. Her gag is to peel down face flaps and reveal extra eyeballs in the forehead. It doesn’t really work. “It does go from bad to worse, I’ll give it that.” OUCH! The judges pick Walter.

Top Looks

Walter: Glen compliments the paint job and the transitions up the side of the head. Ve loves the reveal and how the had hides the eyebrows until the right time. Neville likes the grin.

Jordan: It is childish and cartoony, but that’s what they wanted. It is zonky and lighthearted like they wanted. The paint job is great. The only negative is the lack of a physical gag.

I think Damien should have been on this list.

Winner: Walter and the rabbit.

Bottom Looks
Jo: Difficult to read and not menacing. The face almost looks simian. The idea didn’t end up in the final product. Also bottom look last week with Mr. Toad. “Similar problems. I didn’t think he design was well-resolved.”

Sasha: The gag feels uninspired. Not well integrated into the design. Stay away from Tim Burton when you have to do light and breezy. The general shape of the head doesn’t convey “insect alien”. Last week with the mermaid the face was rough. “It’s not the concepts I’m worried about, it’s the technical execution.”

Mel: Looks scary to start with and no real change with the reveal. Yarn art technique not good quality. The kid’s aspect is missing. Also on bottom last week. The paint job was too dark, and she is capable of better.

Eliminated: Jo and Sasha.
Oh, and I saw a notice this is the final season for Face Off. Oh man.

I mostly agree with the judges, this week.

I didn’t really like either firefighter - Derek’s, although well-executed, just wasn’t all that inspired, IMO. Jo’s of course was the opposite - really good idea, complete botch on the execution.

I thought Mel’s cop had by far the better gag, but…yeah, everything else about it was a goddamn mess. I couldn’t even see the rhino in it. Thought Walter should have been a touch more subtle with the blood visible before the reveal - the very visible smears on the cheek and ear kind of dulled the ‘whimsical’ aspect (although they at least didn’t make the gag obvious) - but overall a great design.

The dentists - Matt, I think really missed the ‘whimsical-to-scary’ part - his dentist went from scary (and kind of gross) to gross (and a little scary) when he tripped the gag. Jordan, though, even without his gag working the way he wanted (yeah, he really could have designed it better) really hit it out of the park.

I hated Kelly’s waitress. The ‘whimsical’ face wasn’t very whimsical, the ‘scary’ mouth was too silly looking, and the beard was a really weird choice to hide the second mouth.

In the end, I’m glad that Mel survived…I like her…want her to get another chance.

I guess the ratings are down. Apparently there are only three of us watching.

I’m watching! I’m watching! Just been busy. I will comment more later.

I completely loved Jordan’s dentist — bizarre, original, colorful, a great concept and flawless execution … BUT … there was no gag. The instructions were: Make a whimsical monster and add a gag that makes it scary. As good as the makeup was, he didn’t complete the assignment.

This is something that makes me nuts about this show. Somebody will do half the assignment and make top looks, and then next week someone will be sent home because, “You only did half the assignment.”

That said, Walter’s rabbit was freakin’ awesome and totally deserved to win. Yes, I realize a rabbit isn’t a monster, but it was whimsical. (“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself.”)

I’m going to miss Sasha because I liked her. But I’m glad Mel got to stay because, IIRC, she’s did some incredible stuff during her season, and I assume she’ll step up this year. I have really bad season-to-season retention, but I remember being very impressed with Mel and Walter during their first go-rounds.

I am genuinely sad that this is the “Final Season!!!”

That said, for the most part, the challengers have been churning out a lot of same-y stuff for years. Every once in a while there will be something mind-blowing but it does feel like the concept is getting tired.

I miss the foundation challenges since at least they were something different.

I admit…I’m really only paying attention to about half of the show, this season - the challenge reveal, Mr Westmore’s advice, and the judging… Don’t know if the process/drama parts are getting predictable (‘oh no, my mold locked!’…one almost wonders if the producers randomly sabotage the molds), or if it’s just that I don’t find any of the contestants all that entertaining, personwise.

Usually there’s more wrong than just that.

Third Episode

Pick a scroll and take the Aztec god depicted on the scroll and create the ancient alien visitor that inspired the artwork.

Kelly vs. Walter - Quetzalcoatl, feathered serpent creator god: The battle of the previous winners. Kelly says her drawing depicts a beak and a Mohawk, but she doesn’t want to use feathers. Wait, her god is a feathered serpent, shouldn’t she use feathers? She decides her alien will have a sleek face with a harsh, pointy mask. She sculpts a face, then uses a latex pull as a base to sculpt the mask. When she goes to vacuform the mask, she has two issues. First, the heat from the machine softens the clay. Second, she forgets to use a release agent on the clay, so the clay gets stuck to the inside and scraping it out could damage the mask. Doh! Walter envisions a reptilian face with a Mohawk of feathers. That’s pretty straightforward interpretation, but how’s the execution?

Jordan vs. Kevon -Tezcatlipoca, god of war and conflict: Jordan wants to incorporate elements from the drawing, including circles and a gold face, so he makes some circular features to his alien to be membranes. The description mentions obsidian and black, but Mr. Westmore advises against going solid black as it will hide all the shapes. Instead, Jordan will start with a translucent white and then do dark washes over it that will fill the creases and let the high points be brighter. He also decides to vacuform a mask for his alien. When he tries it out, it looks goofy, so he ditches it. Good call. Kevon takes the stripes on the face and uses that as the base for his colors. He is hung up on the cowl so he asks Kelly for advice. She says not to get too lost in the details of the picture, focus on the character as a whole. He has issues applying the mask at the cowl and making them blend smoothly.

Matt vs. Derek - Tlaloc, god of rain and lightning: Matt seems to be a fan of Meso-american culture, he mentions the elongated Peruvian skulls. He opts to merge symbols of water and lightning with Meso-american symbols. He sculpts the shapes into the cowl to integrate them into the biology. He also sculpts a metallic chest piece to help bring in the symbology and Aztec form. Derek reads a description that Tlaloc had the features of a jaguar and jaguar teeth, so he’s giving his alien a jaguar exoskeleton. Does he mean armor, or biological feature? He wants to do a lot of pieces, which means a lot of work. And he’s worried if his creation will read more creature than alien. Given the structure he chooses for the chest to open and have “features of he exoskeleton protruding”, he’s definitely going more biology than armor. Bad call.

Yvonne vs. Mel - Xochipilli, god of fertility: Yvonne thinks of life and plants, and sees leaf-like shapes in the scroll, so she opts for a crown of leaves growing out of the head. Hmmm, this is an alien, not a manifestation of woodland creatures, but okay. Mel says the god is associated with butterflies and four suns and seven flowers, so she tries sculpting a butterfly into the face. But it doesn’t look like a butterfly, more like a fish. Mr. Westmore tells her to take out the wrinkles, and tone down the texture, and change the nose. For application, Mel decides to prepaint instead of applying first, so her model is sitting there while she paints away. When she finally applies the pieces, she realizes her color pattern makes the model look like a plucked chicken. Doh!

Damien vs. Graham - Tonatiuh, the Sun god: Damien decides to go with an alien with colors of reds and yellows and armor that emits rays of light and warmth. He then starts building a helmet using blocky pieces of clay to look Aztecy. Graham wants to surround the face with a sort of radial sun shape, and then he decides his alien is metallic and reflects light - thus appearing to shine. He makes the radial shape and vacuforms it to make a lightweight stiff structure.

Judging

Matt vs. Derek - Tlaloc, god of rain and lightning: Side by side, both look intimidating. However, Derek’s has no connection to rain or lightning. Matt chose a teal color and an aquatic look, blended with symbols for lightning in the cowl and chest piece. I don’t like Derek’s chest piece. It has a hole in it right where it should be most protective - the center. And the shapes are just ugly. He has a very good and scary mask, but no connection to rain and lightning or to Aztec artwork. Matt has done an excellent paint job to highlight and bring out the forms. I’m not sure I like the rough form to the chest plate, but it does read Aztec. I would envision something alien made that inspired those shapes and forms but better quality work. I like Matt and so do the judges.

Damien vs. Graham - Tonatiuh, the Sun god: I don’t like either one. Damien has a giant tree frog. He’s yellow and has some lights on his gear, but they are weak LED’s. His helmet is clunky and the forms don’t seem to have reason to them. Graham’s, however, reads very much like a mask. The particular shapes he put in the face look masky, not biological. And the gold feathers don’t look good, either. The judges are impressed with Damien’s. They like it up close better and notice design elements in the helmet like fasteners. That’s kinda cool. And the layers of blocky material could inspire the Aztec art style. For Graham, “This doesn’t feel functional, it feels like a ceremonial headdress.” “As a cohesive design, it feels clumsy.” The judges pick Damien.

Jordan vs. Kevon -Tezcatlipoca, god of war and conflict: Kevon’s - I don’t like the shapes, I don’t like the colors, I don’t like the dreadlocks, I don’t like the profile. The armor is okay, but he didn’t build that. Jordan has an alien and the paint job reads well. There doesn’t appear to be anything Aztec. The judges feel Kevon’s face and head are completely separate designs, no cohesiveness, and the paint job is wrong for the challenge. For Jordan, they think it feels unoriginal if well done. Glen thinks it looks incomplete. Winner: Jordan.

Yvonne vs. Mel - Xochipilli, god of fertility: I finally see a hint of butterfly in the facial shape - yay paint! Although less pink than before, I still don’t like the color. Yvonne’s reads more like a tree nymph than an alien goddess. The judges like Mel’s originality but doesn’t fit the Aztec culture. Yvonne’s is very well done but didn’t hit the challenge. Judges pick Mel.

Kelly vs. Walter - Quetzalcoatl, feathered serpent creator god: Kelly’s mask worked, and she’s got a mohawk, but I don’t see feathers or a serpent. The mask looks more catlike in shape than anything. And the underlying alien has no connection to the challenge. Walter, in contrast, has a very convincing reptilian alien with feathers for the mohawk. He put a ton of detail into the paint work. His is convincing and screen ready. The one element missing is how it connects to the Aztec artwork. Glen points out that Kelly’s alien’s shapes themselves don’t match the Aztec artwork style. Nothing to inspire the blocky forms of the artwork. Walter’s is gorgeous - they love the paint job. Winner is Walter.

Top Looks

Damien, Tonatiuh: Ve loves the paint job. He is colorful and fantastic. Neville “The sculpture on the face is really complex and sophisticated and interesting, and then you have the biomechanical helmet.” “It looks like a team challenge effort.” Nose design never seen before.

Matt, Tlaloc: The shapes integrated into the organic forms feel biomechanical. Paint job is amazing. “Breaking out and highlighting around the brow, the nose, and at the chin, it frames these ornamental moments and that is what graphic design is all about.”

Winner: Damien

Bottom Looks

Kelly, Quetzalcoatl: “It doesn’t feel like it fits into this challenge. You should be able to readily recognize in the alien some version of what becomes the art, their translation of that thing.” No serpent, no feathers, no Aztec.

Graham, Tonatiuh: “It feels masky. The way you chose to transition from face to the vacuform piece and then to the feathers, there’s no organic transition.” “This seems more like a man taken the guise of the alien rather than the alien himself.” “The feathers really just put it into the party-hat zone.”

Yeah…I definitely understand her urge to not be too literal, but she went way too far in the other direction. Nothing about the structures she sculpted would suggest feathers to primative peoples - horns, maybe. Also, the complete lack of any sort of Aztec styling, and only vaguely (to be generous) reptilian look to the base makeup was definitely a big mistake.

Definitely a good call. I’m surprised he got as far as trying it on his model before deciding it looked terrible, because…it looked terrible.

All of these issues aside, I think she ended up with a pretty good looking alien, in the end… On the other hand, I don’t think she managed to make it look Aztec, nor like it would inspire the god. Still, I’m glad it kept her out of bottom looks.

Graham’s cracked me up, because he ended up looking less like an Aztec sun god than like a dark redesign of the Silver Age version of Despero. Once again, I liked it, and I can see what he was TRYING to do, as it related to the challenge, but it was a failure as far as the challenge went. The feathers were also a bad choice since they don’t harmonize with the makeup, or fit into the theme he’s supposed to be running with.

While Walter’s was undeniably the better of the two, if it wasn’t a head-to-head, I would certainly have preferred to see him in the bottom half - while he did manage to be closer to the challenge than Kelly, I thought his was uninspired and too generically ‘reptilian humanoid’, not so much serpentine. A well-executed version of that weak-ass idea, though.

I mostly agree with them, but I disagree with them on one point - I thought the biomechanical bits weren’t well-incorporated. A transition from skin to inorganic material, or sculpting that looked more like skin stretched over implants, would have helped.

Yes, it was difficult to tell what the shapes and swirls were supposed to be. I think he was just going for interesting shapes and Glen interpreted them as biomechanical implants. Selling that as an idea would have been better with some distinction.

Derek —

“So he’s going to have a jaguar exoskeleton.”
“I opened up the chest and had elements of the exoskeleton protruding.”

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Sorry so late in posting.

I’m sad that this is going to be done but I also found myself not paying as much attention to it, except for the final reveal. That also means that in the beginning shows, when there are so many contestants, that I can’t tell them apart. That’s on me. I think the work of the contestants has become very similar and while it has raised my appreciation for make up FX, it’s also giving me high expectations.

On that note, I am finding that I’m very disappointed with the quality of work this season. They are all Face Off vets but still don’t seem to know what they need to do to get done in time. I get that it’s tough and it might not be how they normally work, but isn’t that part of bringing their A Game to this? Doing what needs to be done for the format? I’m also surprised that veterans of Face Off still have muddy painting or bad scuplts. No reason for it. Again, more reasons it’s probably good it’s ending, as I’m too familiar with it now.

I don’t like Derek. I think it’s because he has always come off as entitled and that he should win. This goes back to his own seasons as well.

I had to go back and look but Kelly was erratic in her own season. Maybe lack of experience? If she knows it, she generally does well but so many times she doesn’t know the subject at hand.

I really like Mel and keep wanting her to do better but she never quite gets there. Like Kelly, she is erratic, usually based on how well she knows the subject at hand. I should point out that when they don’t know the subject, instead of at least doing a good generic something, they completely miss, both in makeup and the challenge. It’s like it flummoxes them that much.

I’m hoping for a reboot in a few years, after they have more time to reset, get back to basics, like early seasons instead of going bigger, and hopefully a change in format.

Thanks again, Irishman, for the great summaries!

Well, well, well, this is interesting. The first time I’ve seen McKenzie dressed up in costume and make up for the intro. It’s time for a Haunted Hotel.

The challenge: pick a nametag and go “find” the missing employee on the tag. That employee may be a bit quirkier and ghostlier than before. This is a 2 day challenge.

Damien vs. Matt, Chef: Damien gets help from Mike Mekash. He works on “American Horror Story: Hotel”, so this is his forte. Damien wants a fat chef eating himself to death. He plans to put a bag of water in the neck to give it some weight. He also makes a fat suit of foam. Matt sees Damien as his biggest challenge, so he is excited by the chance to go head-to-head. He thinks of an emaciated chef who poisoned himself and is now damned to be infused with the food and silverware he served his guests. Ok. Extra fat vs extra thin - who will win? I note the sketch Matt does looks considerably different than the one the show artist presents, especially the attire. Why is the chef in an overcoat? Matt is doing something with the teeth that I don’t like, but let’s see how it turns out.

Graham vs. Walter, Concierge: Graham thinks his guy has been waiting so long he has started rotting. Walter decides on a bubbly, quirky, Harley-Quinn meets a zombie. Great, the cheek cut thing. Not original at all. Also, both of these guys seem to be going more zombie than ghost.

Kelly vs. Jordan, Bellhop: Kelly decides her bellhop was told repeatedly to smile, so he finally staples his mouth into a big smile. Well, at least it’s not mouth cuts, but more original way to make the big smile. Is it too creepy? Mr. Westmore gives her advice on the anatomy of the mouth stretching. She gets a big lost in sculpting the smile. However, she does have a good technique for the teeth - coat them in epoxy resin to make them shiny and stiff. Jordan thinks the quirkiness of the challenge he can really play to his own artistic style, the wackiness we saw in the dentist he did. His ghost apparently was scared to death by whatever she saw, and has her face permanently stuck in a very shocked expression. It looks to me he’s going a bit over the top.

Kevon vs. Mel, Maid: Kevon has the idea that his maid died cleaning, she spent her whole life cleaning so she’s going to spend her whole death cleaning. He decides on making her covered in cobwebs and dust to represent the cleaning and model her hair after the feather duster. Mel decides her maid walked in on someone having an affair, and the guest strangled her to silence her. So she has a handprint permanently embedded in her neck. She wants to make the ribcage and collarbones stand out, so she takes plastic wrap and uses Yvonne as a template to get the proportions right. That is good - using a model.

Derek vs. Yvonne, Handyman: Derek thinks of a handyman who lives in the basement, his nerves on his face are messed up on one side and drooping. Mr. Westmore advises him not to glue down that eyebrow, so it will lie dead on the actor’s face and not move. Good advice. Yvonne has a handyman who is clumsy and electrocutes himself. She’s done the ghostly handyman before, so she has to be careful not to repeat to close and to try to up her game. She is trying to sculpt veins on the neck, so Mr. Westmore gives her the practical advice to smooth the edges of the veins into the skin.

Judging

Graham vs. Walter, Concierge: Graham’s aged and rotting skin is a nice effect, but is it right for this challenge? Walter has definitely hit the purple for the Joker connection, but the skin tone is too warm and his beauty make up is poorly defined around the eyes. She’s quirky, but is she a ghost? Winner is Graham.

Derek vs. Yvonne, Handyman: Yvonne appears to have attempted an old age make up, but the character doesn’t read old. The wrinkles in the face are unusual, and the veins in the neck are haphazard. Derek has done a better job with the grumpy old caretaker look, but the drooping tissue is a little vague. Winner is Derek.

Damien vs. Matt, Chef: Matt’s - WTF? I HATE the teeth. They jut out from the upper lip. I guess he’s trying to look like the lip is missing and the teeth protrude from the skull, but it just looks like teeth glued onto his lip. Matt has also made silverware that protrudes from the body. I can’t get over the bad teeth to rate anything else. Damien, meanwhile, has a plausible grossly fat guy. The only problem is the color scheme is all too dark, it reads a bit muddy. He also has added silverware protruding from the body, so they both hit that gimmick. The judges say Matt’s looks like Disney imagineer work. Neville questions the colors, but Glen is okay with them for this challenge. Damien pulled off a neat gag with pulling out a fork from the body to reveal food to eat. Winner is Matt. I can’t get over the teeth, which somehow evades mention in this entire program.

Kevon vs. Mel, Maid: Mel’s maid has a good handprint and the chest worked out, but the overall execution is lacking something. Kevon’s maid’s face is a bit off around the cheekbones, but his overall concept and delivery is strong, with the dusty theme and connecting the hair to the feather duster. Glen thinks Mel’s color choice is too warm to feel dead. Ve also questions the quality of the beauty make up. Winner is Kevon.

Kelly vs. Jordan, Bellhop: Kelly’s face has wide jaw and wider cheekbones, but the challenge is to go quirky. The staples are lost in the muddy color scheme, and the only really well done part is the teeth. Jordan’s, on the other hand, is dreadfully over the top. If Kelly’s anatomy is off, Jordan’s is worse. I just don’t like the style and don’t like the look. Too far from reality for me. She’s supposed to be a human ghost, not an alien. The judges find Kelly’s work too confusing to interpret and the paint doesn’t hold up. Jordan’s looks like a pneumatic pop-up head at a theme park, but Glen is okay with that. He does question if Jordan can work in another style, since this is the second time he’s gone with that aesthetic. Winner is Jordan.

Top Looks

Kevon: “It’s so perfectly balanced.” “You’ve really tuned in to one singular vision.”

Matt: “This is exactly what I was looking for in this challenge.” “I do love the sculpture… some of the parts don’t add up for me.” That’s the closest to anything said about the tooth mustache.

Winner: Matt - Boo hiss. I think Neville was with me.

Bottom Looks

Mel: “She does not look dead at all.” “The sternum reads well, but from a distance there is just not much of a draw to this character.”

Kelly: “The lack of integrity in the anatomy of the face concerns me.” Except not with Kevon or Jordan.

Yvonne: “I don’t feel that this guy is very inspired.” “There’s moments, but it’s not a cohesive character.” “It ended up feeling very alive and very organic.”

Eliminated: Kelly - she had a Win early but two bottom looks in a row with bad makeups and bad designs. Just didn’t get concepts that worked and didn’t execute well.

Yvonne - She has a tied record with Mel for two bottom looks and number of pair wins. A bit of a toss up on who to send home.

Totally agree with you about Matt and the dumb teeth jutting out practically horizontally. Judges always make comments about weird anatomy but said nothing about these??

I was really happy with the performance of Mackenzie and now wish that had done that a bit more!

Hated those teeth as well. Yep, glued on the top and not reading as jutting out. I was surprised he won with that. I assume it was Damien’s muddy paint that cost him?

Yes on bell hop being more zombie than ghost and the harley quinn thing didn’t work for me.

Sadly, yes to Mel not doing well. I don’t know what it is with her this season but she has not done well at all.

On Kelly v Jordan, I didn’t like either of them.

However, I was disappointed that it was all women on the bottom. Jordan’s was muddy as was Damien but they got a pass? Mel’s may not have been as ghostly as they wanted, but wasn’t near as muddy as some. Further, as Irishman said, they don’t mention anatomy on someone else but do on Kelly? Maybe if I went back and relooked at previous comments on her, this season and her first, it would be a consistent thing they want to see improved on her? I still didn’t think it should have been all of them.

Really, this one was bad from all of the veterans, imo. Maybe they needed that extra day? I don’t know but none were great. I would put them at slightly above average.

Overall, I have been disappointed in this year from the veterans. I don’t know what else is going on with them but they should be doing much better work, imo.

Thanks again, Irishman, for the great summary!

I was ok with the winner of last night’s challenge but otherwise disagreed with the judges on pretty much everything else. I am really bored with semi-organic “crowns” growing out of heads, it’s such a cliche for this show.

For the second week in a row, Matt did something nonsensical with teeth and somehow got points for it.

Seriously, I hated that.

I also disagree with Ve and Glen about Damien’s guy looking like a metal mascot being a bad thing.