Back in 2013, my episode recaps of SyFy’s Face Off Season 4 were originally written for the website Redesign Revolution. As that site has gone offline, these articles have been added into the historical archive of the Worley Gig for all of our readers to enjoy. The can be easily located under the tag Face Off at This Link!
Defiance Producer / Co-Creator Kevin Murphy with McKenzie Westmore
Tonight’s Episode (Airdate March 19, 2013): Alien Apocalypse
Ah, we’re down to the Final Four at last, and what a handsome lot they are: Anthony, Eric, Kris and Wayne. Anthony really thought he was going home last week, but House threw himself on his sword so that Anthony could live to sketch, sculpt, mold and paint another day. The remaining contestants all know one more person goes home before the finale. Who will get chopped tonight?
The guys meet the lovely McKenzie – and she really is looking super hot tonight, I must say – in the lab, where four monitors are set up to display scenes from an upcoming, new original SyFy series called Defiance. It’s a show about Aliens! More specifically, Defiance takes place 35 years in the future, in a post-war America where humans and half a dozen alien species are forced to coexist on Earth. Because all of the other planets were full. Of course, multiple races of aliens interacting with humans create a crazy new genetic melting pot. In tonight’s penultimate Spotlight Challenge, the artists will draw their inspiration by focusing on breeding two of the Alien races to create their offspring. Here are their choices:
There are two selections of each type alien available to choose.
Anthony picks Liberata and the Mutant.
Kris picks Bioman for his buffness and the Mutant for his deformed body.
Wayne picks Liberata and Bioman.
Eric, who really wanted to choose the Mutant — and definitely wanted to “avoid any fuzzy things” — is forced to select the hairy Sensoth and the Steam Punk-esque 99er. He’s not happy.
To help them get inspired and provide them with some back-story on the series, the guys are being sent to the actual town of Defiance in Toronto, where they can tour the set, and spend some time among the actual aliens. However, due to mysterious “Family Reasons,” about which we are given no details, Eric cannot travel with them and must stay behind. WTF? It is unclear whether Eric will be separated from them for the entire episode or if this offsite is just a brief field trip. It turns out to be the latter, thank goodness.
Being on the set is really cool for the guys. They first meet actress Stephanie Leonida who briefs them on some of the characteristics of the breed of alien she plays. They get to meet Alan Cook, the make up artist for the show and he demonstrates for them the specifics of how he applies certain prosthetics. This has to be good insight for how they will approach their challenge. They also get to watch Stephanie and another actor film a scene. This show looks like it will be pretty cool and reminds me a bit of Alien Nation, if you’re old enough to remember that.
Tonight’s Episode (Airdate March 12, 2013): Mummy Mayhem
After what has been eight weeks of separating the wheat from the chaff, is anyone really surprised to see Anthony, Kris, Wayne and Eric Fox in the top five? I’m not. House, who’s had a few good ideas but basically avoided winning a challenge or being eliminated by treading the middle ground, could sneak into the Top Four if these other guys with Top Looks and Wins under their belts slack off at all. It’s anyone’s game to lose at this point.
McKenzie meets the guys at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theater, where six stone tablets, each embossed with a different Egyptian figure, are displayed on pedestals. And hey, guess what? There’s a new installment about to be released in the popular Evil Dead film franchise – one of the most successful franchises in Hollywood history! This one spins off from a variation of the Cabin in the Woods theme, where unsuspecting friends inadvertently summon demons from beyond the grave when they start fooling around with the Book of the Dead; an ancient Egyptian Spell Book filled with images of the gods they worshipped. For tonight’s Spotlight Challenge – and it’s a doozy – the artists must choose one of the Gods on the stone tablets in front of them and bring that God to life. The catch (because of course there is one) is that they need to also make their Egyptian God a Mummy that is rising from the tomb after thousands of years of decay.
In a brilliant statement of the obvious, Wayne surmises, “it’s a lot to incorporate.”
Each guy is called up to choose his God, as follows:
Kris chooses Kunum
Anthony picks Anubis
Eric gets Ra (The Sun God!)
Wayne goes for Sobek
House gets Thoth
On a large monitor next to MacKenzie, the handsome face of veteran B-Horror film actor, Bruce Campbell, who is one of the stars of the Evil Dead movies, appears to give the guys some advice before they head off to work on their sketches. He notes that the new movie has a ‘more serious tone’ than the original, so they need to make sure their make ups are very haunting, creepy and scary. Have fun and be original! Bruce Campbell! Woo!
Everyone gets thirty minutes to sketch while being inspired by the drawings and architecture in Egyptian Theater courtyard. There is a small informative paragraph about each God inside of the sketchbooks they’ve chosen. Kunum, chosen by Kris, is a God of Water and Creation and he has a Ram’s head. Anthony’s Anubis is the God of Embalmers and “death and everything.” Wayne’s Sobek is the God of the Crocodiles. Eric explains that Ra is the Sun God, and he plans to make him “very stylized.” Eric enthusiastically confesses to also being a long time fan of the Evil Dead – since childhood! – so he’s “got this.” Thoth is the Egyptian Moon God who is also known as “the Scribe.” House will make his body a kind of tablet that has etchings all over it. He knows he has to redeem himself from last week.
Tonight’s Episode (Airdate March 5th, 2013: It’s Better In the Dark
Seven Artists remain to compete in this week’s ‘Illuminating’ Double Elimination challenge. Eric Z calls last week’s Werewolf Alien challenge “the most stressful one of his life.” He is relieved that his partner, Autumn, got eliminated and not him. “If I can survive two team challenges with Autumn,” he declares, I can survive anything!” We’ll see about that…
On what looks to be a day of glorious beach weather, McKenzie meets the group at Leo Carrillo State Park, where many movies have been filmed. She starts talking about undiscovered species, which has to be a hint at what their challenge will be about, right? Yes! This week’s Spotlight Challenge calls for the artists to create a new species that might live in any of Earth’s Eco systems; sea, mountains, dessert, what have you. But wait, there’s more. They must also incorporate an element of bioluminescence! The final creation must contain two distinct characteristics, one that looks good under normal light and a second that becomes visible only under ultra violet light.
She leaves them to sketch on the beach, where the gorgeous ocean waves and hidden sea caves can inspire them. House immediately gets the idea for a prehistoric fish woman. She’ll be sexy and the bioluminescence will let her take on a whole different level of beauty. Kris creates a story about a fish-person character that has been observing human life from afar and now the time has come to make contact. Anthony sketches an underwater warrior creature. The bioluminescent factor will be hidden, but will also flow along with the striping on its chest. Wayne also goes with an aquatic theme, sketching a crab-humanoid hybrid. He’s not sure yet where the luminescence will come in, but his sketch is very cool.
Everyone is excited to head back to the lab, where McKenzie has promised them a ‘surprise’ is waiting. They should know that on this show, a surprise is never a good thing. In the lab, they walk into a lovely and lush jungle scene, in front of which where is a large button on top of a pedestal. Of course, someone gets the urge to press that button, and when Eric Z does the honors, the jungle glows under a UV light revealing a message that this wil be a Double Elimination Challenge! Oh no! Nice Surprise, McKenzie!
Tonight’s Episode (Airdate February 26th, 2013) : Howl at the Moon
Tonight on Face Off, the eight remaining artists will be faced with two monstrous challenges! Coming off of last week’s elimination, everyone is sad that Alam – who was so normal and easy to get along with – had to be the one to go. Anthony and Meagan voice concerns about their status in the bottom last week, as they know they are now under close scrutiny. In other news, Eric F is rocking a lovely new spiky Mohawk hairstyle! Punk Rock!
As the contestants approach a country house with an attached barn, McKenzie announces she has brought them out here for tonight’s Foundation Challenge, which will be to create one of the most popular creatures ever: a Zombie. Producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead) is the guest judge for the zombie challenge; which, appropriate. Her advice for the group is to think of how your particular zombie died, inspiring ideas to create a convincing make up. Appropriately, the models are locked up in the barn, from which they burst forth just like in that iconic scene on Hershel’s farm from The Walking Dead, season two. Everyone loves this feeling of being in the middle of the zombie apocalypse!
But there are so any zombies…too many to have just one model for each contestant, so working in teams of two they will create a horde of flesh eating zombies, applying make up to as many actors as possible. Zombie Horde!
Eric F and Wayne
House and Eric Z
Kris and Autumn (Kris is so not happy about this)
Anthony and Meagan
Teams will work in the farm house using the bare essentials only, and only one team member will get immunity. They have two and one half hours to work.
Anthony’s strategy for him and Meagan is to get as many faces built up as possible so that in the last hour they can just add the paint. Meagan says they have worked it out to “eight minutes per zombie.” Anthony says his objective is that they just need to look “gross and bloody.”
House admits to having done “hundreds and hundreds” of zombie make-ups, so he is ‘in the zone’ with this challenge.
Tonight’s Episode (Airdate February 19th, 2013): Bugging Out
This week, the contestants struggle with lab mishaps and time-management issues to create a metamorphosis that makes everyone get a little Bug-gy.
McKenzie introduces a Special Guest Judge for tonight’s Foundation Challenge, Lija Stewart, who works for Make Up Forever. In tonight’s Challenge, the artists must recreate an iconic female storybook character. The winner will receive immunity plus a special prize. Dany Sanz, Creator and Artistic Director of Make Up Forever appears on a monitor and announces that the winner will also receive a make-up case filled with all of her favorite products – a prize worth thousands of dollars! This news gets everyone excited, because make up is expensive!
Each model comes out holding a different fairy tale from which the character will be pulled. Wayne chooses Little Miss Muffet. Eric Z gets Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Eric F gets Little Red Riding Hood. Autumn chooses Snow White. Anthony takes Cinderella. Kris selects Gretel from Hansel and Gretel. Alam gets Sleeping Beauty. House gets Rapunzel and Megan gets Little Bo Peep. But…there is catch: the contestants must take the classic good girls and turn them into bad girls. Lija advises them to find something in the story to drive the transformation.
They have two hours to complete the challenge. Eric is looking through the generic prosthetics pile from which to ‘Frankenstein’ his character together. Eric Z looks forward to making Belle into a bad ass. House takes long white eyelashes to use as the base of his Rapunzel make up, and will make her face a ghostly white. Kris is using straight Beauty make up to make his Gretel a beautiful bad ass. Anthony decides that Cinderella has had her skin burned off from too much work in the cinders. He is using silicone to build up third-degree burns on her skin’s surface.
Alam is going to age her Sleeping Beauty to give the full on ‘Sleeping for 100 Years’ look. Meagan confesses that she does not know much about Bo Peep’s backstory so her vision will be to make her evil and mysterious. Wayne will turn Miss Muffet into a Spider with fangs. Autumn’s Snow White has a heart of ice so she now searches the land to devour the warm heart of a Prince. Time’s up!
Lija thinks the aging Snow White could have had her aging prosthetics blended better. Eric’s Red Riding Hood has been attacked by the big bad wolf and is mid-transformation into becoming a werewolf. Lija likes it. Lija calls Wayne’s Miss Muffet “Beautifully Evil” but maybe she could have had more make-up on.
Fave looks are Eric F’s Red Riding Hood for the makeshift prosthetics and the overall character he created. She also likes Wayne’s character’s fangs. The winner is Eric F, who is ecstatic not only to win immunity but also to get his hands on that priceless make-up kit. He is happy that for the next Spotlight Challenge he can get as crazy as he wants and have no fear.
Tonight’s Episode (Airdate February 12th, 2013): Two Heads Are Better Than One
I think anyone who’s followed this season of Syfy’s Face Off since episode one would agree that nearly all the contestants achieved their best mix of skill and creativity with the Goblin King challenge, with most failing to reach that same skill level each week since. This week’s challenge may be one the one that provides them with a much needed creative kick in the ass.
At Magic Mountain theme park in Los Angeles, the contestants get to have some fun before hooking up with McKenzie. Why are they there? It has something to do with the giant redwood tree behind her, meaning this week’s theme is all about Giants (of course!). Producer / Director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men, and the upcoming Jack the Giant Slayer) is introduced as this episode’s Guest Judge. His presence also relates to this week’s Spotlight Challenge being a tie-in for the new Jack the Giant Slayer film– of course! For this challenge, the catch is that the Giants must have at least two heads! Bryan offers some advice that creating a compelling character comes from infusing the actor’s personality into the character.
This is another team challenge with randomly selected teams being:
Alam and Eric Z
Kris and Eric F
Meagan and Jenna
Wayne and House
Autumn and Anthony
McKenzie advises the artists that when Bryan joins the judges on the Reveal stage, he will be looking for something original; something never seen before, but also something that brings out the personality in the models they choose and that makes the character come to life.
In the Design Phase, they have a few hours to sketch inside the theme park. Eric F and Kris decide to incorporate Jack into their Giant character. House and Wayne are going to do three heads, because two heads are easy! Also, their Giant’s feet will be like tree roots, since he lives out in the woods. Meagan and Jenna try to keep things minimal. They sketch their design with a head stacked on top of a head, rather than the heads being side by side. Anthony and Autumn conceive a contorted giant with heads growing out of the twisted body as a kind of genetic mutation – ambitious!