Face Off Subterranean Terror
The Face Off contestants get the subterranean homesick blues, Roy sculpts a squid in one hour, one rookie gets the “Halloween mask” kiss of death, and the producers mostly ignore the middle looks because hey we need half an hour of judges judging.
Really straightforward business this week. No foundation challenge, no teams, no twists. Everyone goes underground to find one of six scenes with evidence of a subterranean creature. Twelve artists, twelve original creatures, no film or video game tie-in. Jordu Schell is the guest judge, and there aren’t many people who’ve designed cooler creatures than he has.
So, Roy. Roy had a big concept for a weird creature with a truly inhuman silhouette. He made a big deal at the beginning of the season about how he was going to focus on really good make-ups and not so many huge projects. Right out the window. Then when his giant tentacle sculpt totally failed, he actually said, “I don’t just want a head with a robe underneath.” Which is, of course, exactly what the judges want from Roy. Instead he made a pretty cool squid creature face with a hilariously bad body and wobbly tentacle arms. It looked like a monster from early Dr. Who. That bad.
The best part about Michael Westmore’s advice segments is that there’s literally nothing he hasn’t done at some point in his career. You’re making a rat person? Better keep a sleek neck profile. Creating a huge piece? Lay some 2x4s on there to help turn it over. And he’s always right. That’s the voice of experience, that is.
Laney gets the, “Aaaaaahhhhhhhhh,” award for making me yell, “Aaaaaahhhhhhhhh,” when her roach woman with those horrible horrible bulging eyes appeared on screen. I was really skeptical of this concept but oh lord help me that was creepy. We barely saw it on screen though.
Adolfo had a pretty clichéd idea (Wes Craven’s Shocker?), but I thought his face sculpt was kind of interesting. Really distinctive and weird, the kind of character I want to know more about. It was way too static though. I immediately knew the judges would call it out for looking like a Halloween mask. That paint job was abysmal. Ah well. Fare thee well Adolfo.
Alana did a mermaid woman that we saw for maybe two seconds. It wasn’t her best work.
RJ started talking about glomming various animal bits onto each other and I was very skeptical of the concept. It turned out worse than I’d imagined, and RJ had a good laugh at himself when he called it, “A Ferengi mixed with an artichoke.”
Lyma’s creature had this cool mole-vampire vibe happening that, again, was shuffled off screen and never mentioned by the judges. This show is incredibly frustrating sometimes.
I have no idea how Tate’s crustacean wasn’t a top look. The level of detail and impeccable paint jobs Tate does week after week are blowing my mind. He’ll easily make the finals this year, even with the deck as stacked as it is.
Eddie surprised me with a nicely detailed insect thing. I guess that’s what it was? Didn’t really understand the military uniform, but the face had a good range of motion, and that shell/helmet on the head was a fun touch.
Scott’s octopus hybrid woman was just sort of uninspired. As the judges said, it didn’t make a ton of sense. How that asymmetrical head and mottled texture was supposed to read “octopus,” I have no idea.
Now the top looks: Laura’s rat woman was really well sculpted. At first I didn’t like it, but Laura’s model did an amazing job selling it. I think the color put me off a bit, but imagine that creature in a well-lit underground scene. It would look great there. I still think I’d have put Tate in the top looks instead. I just feel bad for Laura because, while I’m sure every contestant gets nervous when they get up in front of the judges, it’s just so palpable with Laura. She looks like she’s stepping in front of a firing line every time, even when she’s a top look.
You could have flipped a coin to choose a winner between Frank and Miranda this week. I was leaning toward Frank, because that tooth-faced monstrosity had such a pure, clean look. There was nothing amiss there. At the same time, Miranda nailed the naked mole rat/human hybrid with utter precision, and she did more work with the chest piece. I don’t know if she chose the outfit (typically a separate wardrobe crew handles the costumes after last looks, I believe, but I think the contestants get some say in the matter). In any case, it was a great choice for him to stand tall as this powerful Lord of the Molemen. I think the instinct with that kind of creature would be to go with the crouching, furtive movements, like Laura’s rat woman. But instead we got something altogether different and far more interesting.