Face Off Recap: Straight to Hell
The SyFy makeup show gets frosty
By Richard Whittaker, 11:39AM, Tue. Feb. 5
No Disco Wolverine? No bueno. Last week, SyFy's Face Off sacrificed Austin's own Michael Faust to the netherworld of relegation. Well, at least we've still got Jenna and Eric Z. from the 512 still in contention for redemption.
And, of course, this is a week when Mike would have excelled. C'mon, a haunted house guy designing and building a demon? Really?
Last episode, it was obvious that Anthony is leading the pack (three challenges, three wins). Eric F., Autumn and I want to say Kris. Kris? Kris. OK, Kris. Anyway, the two contenders and mister rounding-the-numbers-out are complaining that he is the one to beat. It seems the producers agree, because for this team challenge, they have him with Alam. How is she still here? Don't ask me. After last week's catastrophic fail (the back of her costume fell completely off) I can only presume the producers are trying to play some 'guilty by association' game with Saint Anthony.
And we know that this is going to be a rough episode for someone when, in the first tease, ol' happy pants judge Glenn Hetrick announces that one design this week "punches you in the face with how bad it sucks." Oh, Glenn, you tease, spare the diplomacy and tell us how you really feel.
Anyway, back to the makeup studio, and there's some chances for some an upset. The rebel spirit most likely to challenge Anthony's dominance is club goth Eric F. He is feeling in his element, and wants to break the human silhouette as much as possible. That's a smart move, because that's saved a few pieces that mangled by bad paint jobs. However, he's being really ambitious, with animatronics in the eyes.
Over through the local lens, it's a little worrying that Eric Z. didn't recognize the name of Pazuzu (an effects guy who doesn't know the African famine demon from The Exorcist? Dude). Then again, House is worried that Meagan doesn't even know what a snake looks like, which is worrying when they're building a snake demon. We're kinda rooting for Team Redhead (Jenna and Katie), but they face an uphill struggle when Jenna's hand becomes basically immobile and agonizing. Usually a show uses medical issues to elicit sympathy (or drama, like when that model in season two had a-hem overheating issues), but this time it's a real problem. She's pounding the Ibuprofen and struggling through, but the pain is obvious.
And then host McKenzie Westmore drops the script note from Hades: Hell has frozen over, and you better redesign your suit to fit. To quote Robot Chicken's M. Night Shyamalan, "What a twist!" That's pretty easy for Eric F. and Wayne, because they're already doing a Siberian ice-bound spirit, but the Afro-centric creators better work out a way to send their creations up Kilamanjiro.
It's all comes down to a choice: Do you redesign, or do you just do a different color palette. For those that just go for a new spray job, the tone shift makes the whole deal a lesson in blue.
What's clear yet again is that the teams have learned nothing from what sent Michael and Troy home: Time management. There's a lot of half- and ill-conceived going on here, and it's quickly revealed that the judges wanted a lot more than just some added ice crystals. They wanted sores, wind-blown wings and a real feeling that the demonic world has been turned upside-down.
Paint jobs were just not enough, especially when you were already lagging. It's the lesson of the day: You rush, you fail. Eric Z was lucky that it was only the animatronic eyelids that failed, and he could pull together an impressive enough face that the judges overlooked a broken piece.
Anthony and Alam turn the concept for the Hindu demon Deumus on its head. He extended face is beautiful and sinister, "an absolutely gor(e)gous fusion of the demonic and the cultural references." Yes, Anthony is so good that he can make Alam look good.
Eric F. and Wayne looked safe all along because of the Slavonic pig-faced Chort's three foot horns, but the judges pick up that they let themselves down with a last-minute paint job. Seriously, guys, the doomsday clock is always tick-tocking.
House and Meagan's Iranian storm demon Azi Dahaka (not to be confused with the Final Fantasy X-2 boss) is wrecked by a bad glove puppet but they somehow manage to mesh their paint styles.
Eric F and Kris give a leonine twist to demon king Abraxas. They add some nice touches, including the frost burn around the snout, but it's not extraordinary.
Autumn and Alex's Pazyzu waddles awkwardly. Autumn thinks the judges are raving, when really they're thinking it looks like a flying monkey fucked the cowardly lion. She still thinks he looks adorable, right until Ve Neill says that her facial sculpt looks like it was done with a wooden spoon. As Hetrick notes, if she can't see why that failed, "There's little hope for her."
No, not Team Redhead! Between the retool and Jenna's hand issues, carrion-eater Eurynome falls short of a great paper concept. His arm extensions (tough if that was all you were doing) just don't work, even if the rotted-down facial sculpt is simple and effective. However, it may be too simple, as the sores don't show up on camera. Nice idea to go with blackened, frost-bitten flesh tones, rather than an icy blue, though.
And the overall winner? Anthony is four for four. But of course. Seriously, is he just unstoppable?
And it's a little surprising that Katie, who was trying to carry an entire project and her team mate while she suffered, has to go home, when Autumn (who can't tell good from bad) gets to stick around be mean for another week.