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.