Syfy

Face Off Makes Spooky Witches

If there's one thing a designer should know how to do, it's make something spooky. Right?

Getting The Challenge

The challenge takes place at a castle. Well, not a real castle, since the show is shot in Los Angeles. It's not even the Magic Castle, so I suspect it's just a local house that happens to have towers and crenellations. Which, let me be clear, is a terrific architectural choice.

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The designers are presented with seven "evil sorceresses," who are all young and beautiful. The challenge is to create the old, ugly version that they must clearly have transformed from. There are a lot of weird assumptions going on here. Do you have to be old in order to be a sorceress? Do old and evil automatically go together? And how come all the old, evil sorceresses made themselves look young and sexy? Why pander to the male gaze (not that I don't appreciate it) when you could transform into a dinosaur or a monster truck or something? I guess those options would also pander to the male gaze. We can workshop it later.

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The sketching process is fun to look at, because it's in front of a castle (...sort of) and the designers get to explain their concepts to the sorceresses themselves. So it's scenic, although not terribly productive.

Sculpting

Rob kicks things off with his Dragon Queen. He's got a very ambitious plan involving a face, a cowl, and a back piece that might or might not include wings. In the end, it is wingless, which is probably a good idea. Wings don't have a great track record. Unlike Rob, who's kind of dominating this season. He does have a problem with his face sculpt, which is a bit too masculine to read as a woman, even one that's evil and old.

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The suggestion from the room is to soften the features a bit, which seems pretty straightforward. But it seemed to help him. This is a great episode for watching people help each other out even though they're competitors. Mel was having trouble sculpting something that looked like fire and Yvonne was happy to share her technique for melting vac-u-form plastic. In return, Mel helped Yvonne decide which bones to sculpt onto her throat. It's fun to see, especially if you've just watched an episode of Project Runway: All-Stars in which people get snippy at the very idea of taking advice, even from their teammates.

At this stage, Anna and Melissa seem to be in trouble. Anna's so far behind while molding her cowl that she says she'll have to really rush her face sculpt. She never seems to consider the idea of not doing a whole sculpted face, which I'm starting to think is not something the judges actually require. Melissa is more openly in trouble, uttering one of my favorite recurring phrases on this show: "It can be a little rough and I'll correct it in the paint job."

Hanging On The Patio

There's a segment of people hanging out on the patio and chatting. It's very low-pressure, but it's kind of fun to see everyone get a break from the stress. And even though I find Robert kind of tiring, I'm glad to see that the people who have actually gotten to know him seem to enjoy being around him.

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Application Stage

Everybody's very late, which mostly results in frantic rushing around. Melissa is doing a weird tree monster and she's pleased with her decision to rip up an extra facial prosthetic and apply it to her model's hands. Aside from that, it's mostly panic.

Reveal Stage

Rob's Dragon Queen came out recognizably feminine. The horns were a problem for him and he ended up using premade ones, but they fit in pretty well. His back piece is neat, and you don't really notice that there were going to be wings at some point.

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Yvonne had "Corpse Conjuror," which she has envisioned as someone who gets closer to death every time they summon a corpse. It's a little like a Sleestak, but it's more like a skull with skin pulled very tight around it.

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After two good looks, we have to cover Anna's Shadow Enchantress. The face, which was sculpted very quickly, looks like it was sculpted very quickly. The application was even worse, because Anna ran out of time and couldn't fix the edges around the mouth. And the whole thing looks weirdly off-center. It's a bad job.

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Melissa's Wiccan of the Woods has really focused on the "woods" part. She was very pleased with the vines, which I personally find distracting. It's very busy, and it's asymmetrical in a way that's obviously on purpose, but also weird.

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Mel's Temptress of the Flame has great face makeup. Unfortunately, those horns do not really look like fire. In my experience, it's hard to take something that's immobile and create the illusion of movement and energy.

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Robet had Sea Witch and decided to portray her in the middle of transforming. That's a weird choice, because after she's been on the stage five seconds, it becomes clear that she's not actually going through any kind of magical metamorphosis. It just comes off as half a makeup.

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Finally, Walter's Emerald Empress was covered in emeralds. I think it would be a great look for a drag queen, and I do not mean that as an insult.

Judging

This is a "watch" solely because of the way Ve looks at Robert's fish-lady and says, "Wow, this is kooky-lookin'." The actual results are devoid of drama.

The top two looks are Rob and Yvonne, with Rob taking down the win to continue his good showings. The bottom looks are Robert and Anna, and Anna is the inevitable loser. She gets a very nice send-off speech where she's reminded that this show is a great showcase so people will have seen what she can do.

Verdict

It's not outstanding, but it's a perfectly acceptable episode of Face Off with some fun instances of people helping each other.

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