Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Competition Show You're Probably Not Watching But Should Be


If you love scifi, fantasy, horror, blood, guts, and all around out of this world creatures as much as I do, you will love SyFy's Face Off.  Currently in it's 4th season, I have watched since season 1 and I just can't get enough.  If I had any artistic ability whatsoever I would have gone into special effects makeup, but, especially after watching this show, I think it would be wise for me to just stick to the makeup I put on my own face.

So what's this show about?  You may ask.  And why is it called SyFy channel now?  You may also ask.  Well, while I can answer both questions, even if the the second question is something that has caused me great annoyance 2009.  Science Fiction/Fantasy is not its own genre!!  SyFy my ass.  Anyway!  Face Off is a competition show where makeup artists go head to head (or face to face as it were).  Each week, the makeup artists are given a concept for a creature or character, they then have to design a makeup, fabricate it and apply it for the total effect.  They are given 2 days to put together designs that would take full scale movies months and many, MANY design meetings to come up with.  It's amazing to see what goes into these makeup effects!  Its not all paint and pre-made prosthetics like my Halloween costumes, OH NO!  It's hours of work sketching, sculpting, running latex or foam into your mold, then applying and painting.  Really it's unbelievable.

I will always be the first to critique makeup designs, and if I see CGI where makeup or puppets could be used, well, be prepared to hear a ton of complaining.  For days.  This show uses some of the greatest makeup artists in the world as judges, make artists that I admire greatly for creating designs I have tried to emulate myself.  Specifically the designs of Ve Neil as I was Lydia for Halloween once.  That's right, this BRILLIANT woman gave the world Beetlejuice!  Well I mean, it's Tim Burton's brainchild, but Ve brought him to life!  And, if we have to talk about brilliant make up, Ve Neil somehow turned Martin Landau into Bela Lugosi!  Look:

Also on the panel, we have a man who helped make my teenage years.  Without Glenn Hetrick's sculpting and painting, our vampires would have been boring pointy toothed monsters, not these demons:
Not only did he help shape the demon's of Buffy and Angel fame, he also made sculptures for one of my personal favoite b-movies, PUMPKINHEAD!  So awesome.  Hetrick also is responsible for effects on X-Files, Babylon 5 and some of the more interesting looks of Lady Gaga.  That's right, I said Lady Gaga.  

The final judge on the panel is Neville Page.  Now what's different about Page is that makeup isn't his specialty but character design is.  J.J. Abrams pretty much uses him for everything, he turned my love Alan Cumming into a really awesome Night Crawler and he gave the world some really famous blue guys.  No not The Smurfs, these guys:

Oh, and did I mention that the host of the show is not only hot, but is also the daughter of one of the most prolific makeup artists in American history.  That's right, Mackenzie Westmore is the daughter of Michael Westmore, the man who gave us Klingon foreheads and Volcan eyebrows.  Michael Westmore also plays a major role on the show, often mentoring the contestants as the sculpt their makeups.

This season proves to be a great one as we are only 2 episodes in and I am already blown away by the work.  I mean... LOOK:



And if anybody who is in charge of the show happens to somehow read this, please, PLEASE do a Doctor Who themed episode!  I have such a great idea, do a Doctor Who Main Baddie and ALSO a design for it's henchmen.  Doctor Who always has one main bad guy who has a bunch of henchmen who all look exactly the same.  Like the Daleks and Davross or the Silurians and their masked soldiers.  Come on!  You know it's a good idea!