Even though I am not a fan of reality TV in general, I find this to be one of the most enjoyable programs on the air because it gives me the chance to watch something I love: people making monsters! This isn’t exactly a Halloween themed review, but since Face Off is about practical effects, there end up being a lot of horror themed episodes. I just spent the last chunk of time watching episodes from the newest season, and I wanted to take a second to highlight some of my favorite horror themed makeups over the years.
1. Miranda and Alana’s Pixie, Season 5
I love makeups that are both beautiful and scary, and this one is an absolute perfect balance. This may even be my favorite make up in the history of the show. There are also a lot of nice, simple details here, like the stacked ears, the shapes moving up the nose, and the bloody fingers.
2. Anthony and Alam’s demon, Season 4
Anthony is probably the strongest contestant this show has ever seen. I don’t think anybody has won as many challenges as he did, and that’s because he is an absolute beast of a sculptor. This collaboration with Alam, who I appreciate for her love of pretty things, really shows off those sculpting skills. The angles in this demon’s face are so sharp and symmetrical, and I love the Indian theme.
3. Tate’s Skeleton, Season 5
Tate knows creepy. He made a lot of good creepy pieces in his time on Face Off, but this simple Trick or Treat challenge resulted in my favorite of his work: the skeleton. The fragmented bone and earthy color of this character are really striking. The sculpting around the cheek and jaw bones is especially impressive, and he did a good job of using the actor’s face underneath the prosthetics to his advantage around the eyes. Spooky!
4. Laura’s depiction of Wrath, Season 5
Laura is one of my favorite competitors also. It’s really hard to decide which of her work is the best, because she pretty consistently makes good stuff. This challenge charged each artist to create a character that embodied a deadly sin, and Laura’s take on Wrath is one of the most inventive ideas I have seen in the seven seasons of the show. Not only is the character ripping its own flesh off, it still manages to be a little sexy while it’s doing it. And those finger indentions on the face draw attention to Laura’s understanding of anatomy in the exposed skull (except the nose, which is of course exaggerated for effect).
5. Dina and Stella’s Flying Monkey in Wonderland, Season 7
Look at this damn thing. That’s the most disturbing monkey face I have ever seen. I just watched this episode, so I can clearly remember how the facial details were probably the most difficult and important part of this make up. The girls who made it really toiled over getting it just right. You can’t tell from the photos of course, but this creature had a wide range of expression, which keeps the make up from looking too much like a mask. And the fact that its skin turns into a jester hat and collar…gross and wonderful.
6. Ian’s Cave Dwelling Bat Woman, Season 2
This challenge was supposed to show the effects of living in the dark for a long period of time. So this hybrid drew on the cave bat for inspiration. The funny thing is that the wings on this creature were supposed to be more elaborate, but the simple, thin, skin like wings ended up being a huge advantage. This is also a good example of how a paint job can be so important in these make ups. This is the perfect flesh tone for this creature, and it comes off as sort of sickly and see through; much like a cave critter would look. Healthy hues won’t do for a creation like this, and the wilty wings and broken ear work so well together with this coloring.
7. Frank’s Scarecrow, Season 5
There have been SO MANY scarecrows on this show, and they almost always have to be scary. So often, the artists are totally uninventive with this character, creating boring, sack faced scarecrows with no imagination. Even though Frank’s scarecrow is not crazy, and does not reinvent the wheel, I think he did the best job of creating something truly new and disturbing. Instead of a sack face, he sculpted the face to look shapely and demonic, but to still have a burlap texture. This was a smart move, and I have to say that I just really dig the deep eye sockets with those tiny little light bulb eyes. This might be the only thing that Frank did that I truly liked. (note: I did not include Miranda Jory’s scarecrow in this list, but it’s really cool too, and uses a jack o lantern face).
I feel sort of bad, because I am sure that I left a really good character out of this list. These were just some of the make ups that stuck out in my mind, that had a Halloween or horror theme. If you like movies with practical effects though, you should definitely check out this show. If you can get past Glenn Hetrick’s awful personality and style, you will thoroughly enjoy it!