Face Off Starts Its Demonic Finale
The designers do a lot of work so they can be told it's mostly terrible and will have to be redone next week.
Getting The Challenge
Because it's the first part of the finale, no expense is spared in sticking everyone in a van and dragging them out to some oil derricks.
Melissa claims that this is scary, which I don't understand. They're just derricks, Melissa. And they just walked past them to a fairly nondescript patch of dirt. That house on the hill will come into play next week, though.
McKenzie introduces the special guest judge for the finale, which is someone no one's ever heard of: Jason Blum. But it turns out he's the producer of Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and The Purge, so he seems pretty relevant. He also has credits that aren't mentioned, like Whiplash and The Jinx, so he's definitely legit. On the other hand, he's also the producer of that Jem And The Holograms movie, so maybe don't get too excited.
The deal is that Jason has "curated" a collection of horror short stories, and one of them is going to be made into three different short films, each with a different director. This seems great to me, because last season we had three different stories with the same director, and now we get to mix it up a little. Instead of having one story that's better suited to cool makeup, we can have one director that's better to work with.
To the surprise of literally no one, the finalists will be joined by eliminated contestants. Rob will be helped by Kaleb and Anna, and he's assigned the director Bryce McGuide, who did a short film that was apparently praised by Eli Roth. Melissa gets Yvonne and Johnny, and her director is John Wynn, who won a contest that was judged by Guillermo del Toro. Walter gets Mel and Robert, and they'll be working with Ryan Spindell, who apparently hasn't impressed any big-name horror directors because McKenzie has to call out Tribeca instead. I would like to take a moment to praise the Face Off editors for their decision not to let Robert have any talking head interviews tonight. He's here as a helper, not to pull focus from the finalists.
Talking To Directors
Each director has done his own adaptation of the original haunted house story. And they've taken some liberties, so these seem like they'll be very different movies. Or "movies," because they're usually not above five minutes. It's sort of interesting seeing brief shots of the storyboards and hearing the directors describe what they want in vague terms like "molting and cracking in that dry earth" and "half pumpkin, half tree," but since we don't really have context for what they're talking about, I recommend zooming past this and getting to the actual work. This isn't Project Greenlight here. You can tell because everybody seems relatively sane and competent.
Everyone's got two looks to create: a demon, and a victim of possession. The demon is supposed to look huge and crazy, and the victim is mostly human, but with some demonic elements. Next week, we will all be expected to look surprised when a third look is added to the mix.
All three finalists decide on the same basic division of labor, where they work on the demon face, one of their helpers works on the demon cowl, and the third person is sent off to do the victim. It seems like they've barely gotten started figuring out what "a scary, but non demonic, pumpkin-tree creature" means when it's time for the mentors to butt in.
One thing everyone agrees on is that giant demons like to wear furry leggings.
In addition to the wisdom of Michael Westmore and the comments of McKenzie Westmore, there's a bonus mentor: Lois Burwell! This continues this show's tradition of liking its old judges a lot. Ve didn't have a movie to work on this season, so Lois couldn't come in as a substitute. But she's here now, and she's got really good practical suggestions, like not necessarily having a bunch of bumps on the forehead of Walter's demon.
The problem is that Walter's director really wants a symbol to appear on both the demon and the victim, but Lois points out that putting too much stuff on the forehead can result in weird shadows on the face, depending on the kind of lighting you're using. So Walter takes this advice and decides to move the symbols down to his characters' chests.
This takes up most of the episode. It's cool to look at, although it's mostly devoid of dramatic incident.
On Day 2, Rob decides to ditch his demon face and start over, which is a thing he seems to do a lot.
He's not necessarily wrong, but wouldn't it be better to get it right the first time?
Melissa has decided to move the demonic symbols down to the chest of her demon and victim. She's not thrilled with it, but at least it will give her director something to see in the screen test, and she'll be able to get notes on how to change it.
In case you are engaged in a drinking game, please note that the team with molding problems is also Rob's. Their cowl has a terrible time coming out of the mold, and for once, that's actually reflected in the final piece.
That is a huge crack. Or tear. Or hole. Whatever it is, it will require work.
Did you remember that Robert was a dentist or something? It's not the most interesting thing about him. But it means that this plan to take molds of their model's teeth to make custom demon teeth is ideally suited to his skillset.
Sadly, the teeth won't be ready for today's screen test, but it seems like a good idea.
Just like last season, the looks are all going to be tried out on camera so everyone can see how they read. And the directors will get to try to impose their visions on things, which is both inconvenient and realistic. As I understand it, real-world directors tend to ask for changes kind of a lot.
Melissa's director has a lot of comments about the chest piece, which no one was all that happy with to begin with. He wants the demon oozing oil (Michael Westmore immediately suggests chocolate syrup) but doesn't want it to look like the demon is lactating. That's not unreasonable, I guess. Everything else looks fine to him.
He also has a lot of notes on her victim, all of which I agree with. It turns out that this pose hides all the work Melissa did, so maybe that symbol should be moved up on to the shoulder. And his hair is covering that neat eye!
Walter's director is very happy. He loves the demon, although he verifies that the vines are only temporary. Mr. Westmore notes a couple of spots that are a little too reflective, but that doesn't seem like too big a problem.
The possession victim is Megan, and I'm sorry I don't know all the models' names. If the show would like to produce a "Get To Know The Models" webseries, I'd be delighted. Anyway, the director's only note is that the victim doesn't need to be quite this obscured. So all Walter has to do is take some vines off her her face by resculpting. And presumably Robert's demon teeth will finish off that look nicely.
Rob's director has a lot to say. The demon is supposed to look like it clawed its way out of the ground, so maybe the hands should look like shovels. And he's not happy with the coloration. And the horns on the head could start farther back. Basically he wants Rob to redo everything. I do like his suggestion that they somehow work in natural elements from the shooting location, but I don't know that Rob has access to the dirt and rocks they'll be shooting in.
For the victim, he wants it scaled way back, because it's supposed to be someone who's just starting to turn demonic.
There are no judges at all, except for the delightful Ms. Burwell dispensing useful advice. And this is only the first half of the finale, so it's pretty much all sculpting and seeing the results. But there's nothing wrong with a show that's all process and no judging. We're allowed to watch talented people create things without always expecting someone's heart to be broken at the end.