Tonight’s Episode (Airdate January 15, 2013): Make It Reign
Hello and welcome to my recaps of Season Four of SyFy Channel’s Face Off, the reality competition show where special effects makeup artists compete for a $100,000 prize! I’ve been watching Face Off since Season One, and I’m a huge fan, so this should be a lot of fun. Before we get to this season’s first challenges, let’s meet the players!
On the judges panel we have industry veterans Glenn Hetrick – Face Off’s Anthony Bourdain! – and Ve Neil (below) returning for their fourth season on the show.
Artist / creature designer Neville Page is back as permanent replacement for production designer / director Patrick Totopoulos, who left a few weeks into the third season to direct his 300 sequel. Welcome judges!
Former soap opera actress McKenzie Westmore returns as our charming host, with her famous father Michael Westmore (revered for his makeup work with the Star Trek franchise) joining this season as a mentor.
Season Four’s 14 Artist Contestants (with age and home city noted) are:
Alam Park, 25 – Seattle, WA
Alexandra (Alex) McCoy, 31 – Orlando, FL
Anthony Kosar, 26 – Lisle, IL
Recap Continues After The Jump!
Autumn Cook, 35 – Pittsburgh, PA
David “House” Greathouse, 41 – Cleveland, OH
Eric Fox, 37 – Riverside, CA
Eric Zapata, 22 – Victoria, TX
Jenna Green, 40 – Austin, TX
Katherine “Katie” Machaiek, 26 – Owls Head, ME
Kristian (Kris) Kobzina, 41 – El Segundo, CA
Meagan Hester, 29 – Ossining, NY
Michael Faust, 31 – Austin, TX
Troy Rivers, 34 – Indianapolis, IN
Wayne Anderson, 27 – Fort Myers, FL
You can read about each artist’s background at This Link.
Let’s get to the competition!
The Contestants are waiting to meet McKenzie on the deck of the Queen Mary for their first challenge and they spend time chatting and making introductions. Contestant Michael’s brother Matt Valentine was on Season 2 and he confesses that he wants to get out of brother’s shadow. What? Michael’s hair reminds me of Hugh Jackman’s in the X Men films.
The first foundation challenge has a Hollywood theme with contestants choosing from selection of various ornate crowns and using them to inspire an original Queen character that will show who they are as an artist. The winner gets immunity from elimination during the Spotlight Challenge. McKenzie then introduces her dad as not only the challenge judge, but also the season’s mentor! Tim Gunn! He says that the make up and the crown must compliment each other and tell a story. They have two hours to complete their looks and will have use of a large wardrobe selection.
As the artists bring their looks together a few of them seem to have created fairly elaborate back stories for these characters, so I am thinking we are going to see some good stuff that includes prosthetics. Jenna reveals that she is an ovarian cancer survivor whose husband left her during her illness, then she lost her job. She is creating a warrior queen with a feather headdress to represent her strength. Anthony owns his own special effects company and has been creating latex masks since he was 16. His creation looks like something out of Dr Suess. You can tell from the confessionals that there are a lot of interesting personalities in this group and so far no one seems like an obvious dick.
It’s time for judging and Michael Westmore likes Eric F’s look with its corpse make up and creepy lips-sewn together mouth topped by a conical, bejeweled crown, for its outside-the-box aesthetic. It showed who he really is as an artist. Anthony’s blue haired, Dr Suess looking queen with the woven lace headdress was the total package from head to toe. Jenna’s make up utilized her personal strength but was subtle and well applied. The winner is Anthony. He is immune from elimination, which he says is “huge.”
The contestants then get the rest of the day off to settle into their new living quarters, which is a huge modern house on a mountaintop! Day two sees our artists meet at St. John’s cathedral (built in 1925), one of the prime examples of gothic architecture in LA. Since churches are places not only of worship but also places where royalty are crowned, this challenge will take up where the last one left off.
The artists will be tasked with making a Mythical Goblin King that is physically influenced by the land (geographic area) that he rules. Whoa! Artists are put in randomly selected Teams of two, and they are asked to choose their geographic location: Desert, Swamp, Forest, Arctic etc – from a large map. As they get to work, they get time to sketch inside the cathedral, to take in the inspiration. Troy and partner Michael choose to do a volcanic dark king that takes over other kingdoms. I like their sketch of a creature with lava flowing down its face. Alam and Chris decide on a goblin king of the forest with a wooden face and pine tree beard. Alex and Wayne, both from Florida, are influenced by the swamp so they design an alligator king with scales and webbed appendages. There are lots of creative ideas.
Back in the lab, models are chosen and everyone has five hours to work on their creature. “House” turns out to be a quick sculptor with his ice goblin face and you can tell he knows his stuff. This is always a fun part of the show because you see the actual processes that go into making these casts, molds, prosthetics and props. It’s educational and totally cool. Also, sometimes people screw up, and that’s fun too. Anthony drops the cast of his model’s face and breaks off the nose, horrifying his partner Meagen, since Anthony has immunity. If they screw up it’s her that’s going home. Fortunately, Anthony does a quick fix but it puts them a half hour behind. Eric Z and Autumn are getting along great but maybe he’s a bit intimidated by Autumn, who is built like Rosie the Riveter. Eric F and Jenna are the farthest ahead at the end of day one.
On day two, Michael Westmore does a walk through to look at the contestant’s progress and give helpful critiques. He loves Meagan and Anthony’s Mountain Man sculpt and advises them that their paint job will make or break their creature. Westmore is such a Pro that he’s able to give very technical advice and really grasp the details of what will make each creature come to life. His favorite is Alex and Wayne’s alligator make up, though the detailing of their paint will be important in the final result. He is most concerned about House and Katie’s arctic region goblin king, as working with ice and snow themes cause problems with the texture and the need for adding sheen, which can be hard to achieve.
Once Westmore leaves, Autumn has a meltdown about her inability to find a latex bald cap and Katie’s paint job on her latex skin pieces are way too dark and look like mud. Everyone has one final panic attack of the day before retreating to their home in the hills to talk shop and talk shit. Day three includes four hours of applications before last looks – a final hour to finish up small details and paint – and judging. People run around like crazy finishing their paint jobs, working on their props and putting their finished looks together. It’s unbelievable how much work there is to do. It’s not like anyone is finishing early and taking a nap or going out for a smoke break.
Finally the hour of judgment has arrived and the contestants all step out before the judges, including this week’s guest judge, actor John Rhys Davis (Raiders of the Lost Ark). Everyone talks about how much they loved him in that movie even though there is no way you would ever recognize him for his role as “Indiana Jones’ Friend” unless you saw a still from the film with him in it.
As the Goblin Kings are revealed, here are some random thoughts on the final creatures:
Autumn and Eric’s Jungle King looks like a Tiki God crossed with a tree trunk. Man, is that paint job ever brown!
Jenna and Eric F’s Desert King looks like a desiccated cow skull with gold twigs coming out of his head and nipple rings! Very excellent!
The Swamp King from Alex and Wayne has a bit of a King Arthur vibe with a reptilian face.
Michael and Troy’s Volcanic King’s would-be cool lava face gets lost under his lava rock crown and overall shoddiness. It is a hot mess for sure.
House and Katie’s Arctic King looks very Arctic, which means they did a good job on bringing the cold and ice textures. He looks like an ice wizard!
Anthony and Meagan’s Mountain King looks like his head was a rock that burst into flames — a neat effect. They also really paid a lot of attention to the detail of his props, giving him a proper throne and scepter.
Lastly, Forest King from the team of Alam and Chris looks just like a live tree with lichen and twigs growing out of it – a top look for sure.
The judges take a closer look so they can find mistakes and check out the detail up close. They also ask the models if they can move or articulate mouths or limbs inside their make up. This is where the rubber meets the road in this challenge, because if an appliance of a costume is coming loose, or you can see a seam, that’s going to knock down your final score.
Chris and Alam, and Katie and House are safe and return to the make-up room. The remaining teams have the top and bottom looks and each team gets the chance to discuss its creation and answer questions from the judges. Anthony and Meagan’s Mountain King gets praise from Glenn for its “tonality” and Neville likes it for similar reasons. John Rhys Davis says he’d like to wear it. Eric F and Jenna’s Desert King is in top looks also for their ability to delineate the King’s features and also tie the look together with the gold paint, gold wire and gold nipple rings. Yes! Eric Z and Autumn’s Jungle King is a surprise top look, because I didn’t like it. Their guy really does look like a tree-man, but Forest King was a better tree-man, if you ask me.
Michael and Troy’s Volcano King is not surprisingly in the bottom. Ve compares the headpiece to a clown hat. John thinks it’s a mish mash that does not work. Wayne and Alex talk about their shared Florida backgrounds and their Alligator King’s swamp inspiration. John criticizes the King’s face for being grey and not green, like an alligator, and Glenn also slams them for an inconsistent paint job. Ve says the proportions are way off and Neville thinks the head looks like a rush job.
The judges announce this week’s top team as Anthony and Meagan for their Mountain King, which really looked like a Mountain, with Anthony taking the win, which is hilarious because he has immunity to begin with! And the bottom-most team ends up being team Volcano King, with Troy going home for his crappy facial sculpt! It really was pretty darn bad. Goodbye, Troy!
The episode recaps of SyFy’s Face Off Season 4 were originally written for the website, Redesign Revolution. As that site has gone offline, this article has been added into the historical archive of the Worley Gig for all of our readers to enjoy.
Official Website: https://www.syfy.com/
Official Series Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Face_Off_(TV_series)