News Horror Gothic Lifestyle Fiction Movies Books and Literature Dark TV VIP Horror Professionals Professional Writing Tips Links Gothic Forum

Face Off The Laughing Dead

| |

Face Off

Face Off draws on the rich tradition of horror comedies to bring to life six funny/scary ghosts. Hilarifying.

I was not excited about this episode of Face Off. The “whimsy” episode was marred by arbitrary judging based on incredibly subjective design criteria, and I didn’t expect much more from this one. Not that I hate horror comedies. My October horror film viewings this year have featured Gremlins, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, and Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. I just didn’t think it was going to be a very interesting challenge.
The artists, however, surprised me and made me laugh my ass off. This ended up feeling less subjective than whimsy because there’s a simple A/B test that determines if a design is funny or not: does it obviously make you (and the judges) laugh out loud? In that regard, Roy, Tate and to a lesser extent Laura nailed it.

But first there’s a foundation challenge to get to. Create to true face of the grim reaper in two hours. There was some mind blowing work done here. Literally every single piece was cool, anyone could have won. Laura’s repurposed face molds created an odd melting face look, and she took immunity. I actually thought Eddie’s design, with the roots sprouting from the face, was the most impressive, and wouldn’t that have changed things in interesting ways, if he’d won?

We got a dose of good old Face Off foreshadowing, with Roy talking about he’s been off his game trying to please judges by doing simpler make-ups. Time to get back to his old self and make some big, ridiculous fabrications that no one else could do.

I don’t see how Tate can lose this competition. His work is consistent and incredible. The only one who comes close is Laura, and sometimes she comes very close. But the level of detail Tate puts into his work defies comprehension. Watching him go from, “I need a horse skull,” to transforming a chunk of foam into a horse skull with glowing eyes was one of the most unbelievable sequences I’ve seen on Face Off. Think about what happened there. You have to visualize what a horse skull looks like (even if you have a reference, so have a specific purpose in mind), then be able to trim and carve foam into the right shapes, assemble them, paint it such that it looks like a real skull, then have the technical ability to install and operate the lights. On top of all that Tate had time to help Laney find the proper way to mold her character’s hair. Dude should have producers camped out on his front lawn trying to get him to work on their movies.

Roy’s success was evident early on when he tested out his double dwarf body suit and no one could stop laughing. A lot of the comedy stemmed from the weirdly realistic bottom face with the silly grimace and cigar…which was included, by the way, on Michael Westmore’s suggestion. The short little steps, the connected arms throwing the coat open, it all worked in a very Roy fashion. Neville said he was glad to see the old Roy back, which was equally hilarious since Neville was, you know, one of the judges who tries to crush the old Roy under a stream of constant criticism to “do less fabrication.”

Eddie was conceptually lost, and his ghostly baseball player wasn’t great. He really likes those flowing, abstract shapes. There was a spark of a good idea in there, but it wasn’t well thought out and the execution was mediocre. It was pretty clear this was the worst piece this week.

Tate’s skullcap cowboy, the host of a children’s show in hell (!) carried off a great mix of creepy and funny. Again, it was the detail that made it so creepy, like the bloody ragged tear where his scalp had been torn away. Most of the humor came from riding around on that broomstick horse, but it was genuinely humorous nonetheless. I’m surprised this was a middle look.

Laura created a goofy zombie scientist that was basically Beetlejuice (the horror comedy example used when the challenge was announced, because Ve helped create his look) as a zombie. He was silly and clumsy and nerdy looking with his poofy eyebrows, yet he was still a walking, rotting corpse. I’d have made this a middle look.

Miranda’s decapitating duchess was terrible. Miranda seemed to think so too. I just didn’t get the concept, why she was purple, why they had pointy noses, or anything about it, really. The sculpt was bland and uninteresting. Not show how this escaped bottom looks.

While I agree with some of the judges’ criticisms of Laney’s electrocuted rocker chick, it was nowhere near as bad as they thought it was. The face shape they hated looked to me like a skull, perfect for the intended effect. Also, Laney sculpted a set of boobs that would put any plastic surgeon to shame. Did you even realize those weren’t the model’s actual breasts? But worst of all was Neville complaining that Laney is always instilling her personality into her work. I’m sorry, run that by me again. An artist should not infuse her work with her own personality? I’ve heard the judges say a lot of dumb things on Face Off, but that’s the blue ribbon winner right there. Especially in the same episode where they lauded Roy for…say it with me now…infusing his personality into his art.

I have an idea for the next season of Face Off: no judges. It’s just a house full of awesome make up/SFX artists who get a crazy challenge each week, and they all work together to create something bizarre and horrifying and incredible. At the end of the episode, we get to see whatever they made. No judges. No judging. No elimination. No bullshit fake suspense with Glen saying, “The winner is…” right before a commercial. Every single time they do that I feel like the show is directly insulting my intelligence. Woops, I might have wandered off there but someone left a sentence incomplete so now I’m obligated to stay in front of the TV.

I guess it just feels like the talents of the artists are cheapened by the creaky old reality show format and arbitrary eliminations.

Related Posts:

Posted by on Tuesday, October 15th, 2013. Filed under Dark TV, Headline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Tags: ,