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Face Off S2-1: Return to Oz Recap

Updated on January 26, 2012

Syfy's Face Off

SyFy’s Face Off returns for a second season of special effects makeup madness. We start off with 14 artists who are all vying for the money, car, makeup and the title of Face Off Champion.

If you’re not interested in spoilers, then you should result and try again!

The Judges

Glen Hetrick , Ve Neill and Patrick Tatopoulos
Glen Hetrick , Ve Neill and Patrick Tatopoulos

The show is hosted by McKenzie Westmore, daughter of Academy Award winning makeup artist Michael Westmore. She was a regular on the soap opera Passions and guest starred on several episodes of Star Trek.

There are 3 regular judges who know their stuff about feature film special effects makeup. Ve Neill is an Academy Award winning (Ed Wood, Beetlejuice and Mrs. Doubtfire) makeup artist and is also the head judge.

Glen Hetrick has won Emmys for doing the makeup work on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, X-Files and Babylon 5.

The last permanent judge is Patrick Tatopoulos who directed Underworld: Rise of the Lycans as well doing the makeup work for the movies I, Robot, Independence Day and the not yet released Total Recall.

Check it out!

The Competitors

There are 14 special effects artists who all want the cash, prizes and title.

Nix is a body paint guy and has apparently ripped the mustache of one of those old Ringling Brothers Circus posters and slapped it on his face.

Brea owns her own business providing simulated injuries for the police and fire departments.

RJ worked as a makeup artist in Hollywood until his father got sick and returned home where he teaches special effects. He wont he internet vote to get on the show and even was the eventual Comicon winner.

Sue pronounces her name like you’d call a pig for chow: Sue-E. She just graduated from special effects school.

Rayce is a tattoo artist with a bunch of kids. Beki is an artist and Greg has been a makeup artist since 2007. Heather has been in the business for 9 years and may look sweet, but she’s a gore type of girl.

Jerry has 20 years of experience, is sure that he’s going to be the old guy, but is even more sure he’s going to win. Well, he’s right on one thing, he is the oldest in this group, but at the ripe old age of 43, his age isn’t that far off from several others there.

Tara’s been working as a special effects artist for 4 ½ years and wants to win so that she doesn’t have to work from her kitchen anymore.

Ian just got out of school. Athena is a Ukrainian body artist who wants to grow.

Matt has been working in the biz for years, but he is self taught. He loves horror and wants to show them gore.

Miranda just graduated from special effects school and at the age of 21 is the youngest of the group. She does have some chops, especially after winning a couple of competitions.

The Foundation Challenge

The artists meet at the Universal Studios back lot where McKenzie explains how the show is work. First is the Foundation Challenge where the winner will get an advantage in the Spotlight Challenge.

McKenzie is joined by head judge Ve and last year’s winner Connor McCullough. The challenge is simple: create an entire character from head to toe. They have to use items from each trailer: wardrobe, makeup and props. This character must show who they are as artist. Sound easy? Not so fast, they must accomplish this in only 2 ½ hours. It’s not for nothing, because the winner gets immunity and bragging rights.

The editors are nice enough to give you a glimpse of everyone’s work, but the audience only shows Ve and Connor’s comments to 4 artists.

The foulest cretins were from…

Brea who attempted to create a ‘human skin’ with flesh being zipped out of the human body. Connor says that she bit off more than she could chew. Also horrifically bad is Circus boy Nix who created an avant-garde dessert circus that Ve thought was no cohesive.

The top creatures are from…

RJ who creates a ghoulish version of Sandy from Grease. Ve thought it had a great application. The best freakish design goes to Jerry who creates a pink fairy that Ve applauds since his work is clean.

They also seem to like Heather’s leopard humanoid warrior, but since she wasn’t in the top of bottom…we’ll just move along.

Jerry keeps bragging that he’s the best and so far, he hasn’t been wrong. Let’s just hope he doesn’t keep up the egotistical behavior with a dash of ‘and he would have gotten away with too if weren't for those darn kids'. Jinkees. Have a little fun, why don’t ya?

McKenzie with an original copy of The Wizard of Oz
McKenzie with an original copy of The Wizard of Oz

The Spotlight Challenge

The artists are taken to Hollywood Blvd and the famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre. They’re all so excited, but I hope they sterilized their shoes, because that area…yikes.

McKenzie reveals an original copy of The Wizard of Oz and tells that they must re-imagine and modernize 4 characters from the story: The Tin Man, The Scarecrow, The Cowardly Lion and The Wicked Witch of the West.

They will be split into 2 teams of 7 and this season will start with a battle of boys versus girls. The challenge will be judged on originality of the characters, continuity between all four characters and how clean the work is.

Tara's Scarecrow.  Click for a larger picture
Tara's Scarecrow. Click for a larger picture

The Women’s Team

The ladies quickly brainstorm ideas. Some want tribal while others want post apocalyptic, so they compromise and do a tribal/post apocalyptic theme.

Beki and Brea are working on the Wicked Witch together and though others are hesitant since Brea was on the bottom for the Foundation Challenge, Beki is determined to help boost her up, so she can be successful.

Athena’s casting her own feet and hands for the Cowardly Lion, unfortunately, they are supposed to be worn by a man. Sue’s finding out that although she has just graduated from special effects school, Athena’s real behind on her knowledge and common sense.

Then you have Tara who’s working on the Scarecrow all by herself. She seems a bit overwhelmed and in need of help, but her sculpting alone is putting fear into the guy’s team.

Glen and McKenzie do an ‘interrogate and sneer’ where they both ask questions about the teamwork, processes and decision making. Glen is impressed by the team’s main concepts, which allow them to work together yet be creative on their own.

The Men’s Team

They guys decide to do sketches first. They work on a theme, but end up going in circles while the women are already sculpting. All they can decide on is a horror tone for their characters.

Instead of picking a leader or delegating a character for a team, they decide to make every decision by committee.

Jerry, who apparently has too much time on his hands, goes over to the women’s side to get a peek at their work and is impressed. They decide to rework their own characters to try and compete.

Glen and McKenzie interrogate the men’s team and wonders who the leader is. It could be Jerry or it could be no one. And why is someone working on one character when he did the sketch for another. It’s all so confusing. He thinks the men need a battle plan.

Apparently, so do the men. Jerry gets the group together and the group assigns characters, instead of everyone working on everything. That was a hot mess.

Click for a larger picture
Click for a larger picture

The Curtain Call

The Women’s team presents their characters first. Tara’s scarecrow comes out first. Every judge thought it was impressive, especially since she worked on it alone.

Heather and Miranda worked on the Tin Woodman and out of all the others on the team, they had Glen’s least favorite makeup.

Sue and Athena’s lion comes out and the judges are impressed with the head’s sculpting. They have issues with the body since there was little painting done and they wonder why the lion’s paws have no claws.

Beki and Brea’s Wicked Witch comes at the end and glamorizes. Not only is it aesthetically pleasure, the witch’s hat was beautiful, the moles were a nice touch and perfectly placed, but Ve thinks she steals the show and is spectacular.

Click for a larger picture
Click for a larger picture

The Men’s team is excited about their chances. Matt and RJ’s scarecrow comes out first. Patrick thinks the designs are so familiar. Glen thinks the proportions are good and he really likes the fingers.

Greg and Nix’s Tin Man had a funky chest. Ve was left asking where the metal was. Even worse, the Tin Man’s arms were painted, but no one bothered to shave the model’s arms, so he ended up with hairy metal. It’s not the same as Heavy Metal, because it contains 99% less cleavage. In short, the application was bad and it just looked odd.

The judges felt that Ian and Rayce’s Cowardly Lion was the best design of the group. The concept of an emancipated lion was great and the paws were great. Note to Athena, they had claws on theirs.

Jerry did the Wicked Witch by himself and though Glen thought there were good shapes on her face, Ve didn’t care for the teeth being on the outside of the face or the paint job. Jerry explained that they decided that since she didn’t like water, her lips would dry and eventually recede, which is why her teeth stick out. I don’t know if it helped him, but his explanation seemed reasonable and it appeared if Ve might have thought so too. Not sure though.

Exit, Stage Left

The judges chat about which ones they liked and didn’t like. On the Women’s Team, they thought the scarecrow by Tara and the Wicked Witch by Beki and Brea were the best. While Heather and Miranda’s Tin Woodman was their least favorite.

On the Men’s Team, they thought that Ian and Rayce’s Cowardly Lion was the best overall. On the other hand, Greg and Nix’s Tin Man was the worst.

In this battle of the sexes, The Women’s Team win and the individual win is given to Brea for making the Wicked Witch’s hat, which they loved.

Jerry is excused for having immunity. Then, Matt, RJ, Ian and Rayce are told their work was good enough to get them to the next challenge. Greg and Nix are left to ponder what would they change on their funky Tin Man. Nix, his questionable name and his circus mustache will be back to sculpt another day. Greg is sent home heartbroken and in tears.

Stay tuned folks, this year’s going to be good!

Which team should have won?

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    • vmartinezwilson profile image

      Vanessa Martinez Wilson 6 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      You should watch the show if you can. They really go through how special effects makeup comes to life. In fact you get to see a model transform from a girl into a fish, it really is a informative spotlight on a creative competitive show. They've done a great job!


    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 6 years ago from Thailand

      Interesting, I had not heard of this. It is amazing what they can do with makeup now!

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • vmartinezwilson profile image

      Vanessa Martinez Wilson 6 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      I love that they can have these fantastic ideas and then be able to realize them in real life. I'd love to be able to have the things from my imagination walk around, that would be insane! Thank you, Michele.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 6 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      I was going to say it is amazing how they do this, but you got to the word first. I cannot even imagine how the come up with the ideas. This is a wonderful hub.

    • vmartinezwilson profile image

      Vanessa Martinez Wilson 6 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      Me too! The creativity, skill and imagination these artists have are really wonderful to watch. My favorite is how they show the model's transformation. Some are amazing.

      Thanks Lisa!

    • profile image 6 years ago

      I love this show. It is amazing!