FACE OFF -- "Death's Doorstep" Episode 1006 -- Pictured: (l-r) Johnny Leftwich, Walter Welsh -- (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)
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Recap: FACE OFF Gets Inspiration from the Obituaries

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FACE OFF -- Pictured: "Face Off" Logo -- Syfy Photo
Season 10, Episode 6: “Death’s Doorstep”

 

The remaining contestants gathered at a newspaper printing facility to receive their next assignment from McKenzie Westmore, the show’s host.  Their challenge, which was the second individual trial of this season, was to create a whimsical person who exemplifies evidence of their demise based on clues found in some cleverly-worded obituaries.  The clues were fairly straightforward, and most of the characters’ demises had some great potential.  Unfortunately, a few missed the mark in either concept or design, and it was ultimately the undoing of one talented creator this week.

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McKenzie hands out obituaries to the contestants, with instructions to create a whimsical character who exemplifies their cause of death.  (Think Beetlejuice’s waiting room for the recently deceased.)  I’m surprised that no one thought to give their character a numbered waiting room ticket.  Based on their obituaries, some of these characters would make good candidates for the Darwin Awards; that is, if they were real people.

The contestants start to design their characters with their given clues, and soon discover that portraying death is not always as easy as it seems, especially when you have to keep it on the comical side.  Some of this week’s contestants struggled with balancing whimsy without becoming either too cartoony or too creepy, but they all seemed to keep their cool, even when things weren’t going as planned.

FACE OFF -- "Death's Doorstep" Episode 1006 -- Pictured: Robert Lindsay -- (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)
FACE OFF — “Death’s Doorstep” Episode 1006 — Pictured: Robert Lindsay — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)

Robert’s electrocuted guy was a little underwhelming, but he did create a great rubber duck, complete with a “shock” of hair.  He overlooked one major detail that Glenn picked up on right away: his model didn’t look wet, or overly electrified. Instead, we got a surprised gray guy in a bathrobe.  If he had spent as much time on his character’s hair as he did the duck’s, Robert could have capitalized on some big laughs.

Robert: “If I go home today, I still made an awesome duck!”

FACE OFF -- "Death's Doorstep" Episode 1006 -- Pictured: Anna Cali -- (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)
FACE OFF — “Death’s Doorstep” Episode 1006 — Pictured: Anna Cali — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)

Anna created a cooking disaster with a pasta-making grandma.  I was confused.  This was supposed to be a pasta explosion.  Where’s the wet look, or the noodles in her hair, or even hanging from her glasses?  I felt cheated when there was only a few noodles on her shoulder, and the only sign of explosion was her off-set glasses and blackened ends of her hair.  Anna seemed to be quite happy with the result, but the judges had a different opinion.

Neville: “this hair seems so…painted on.”

Glenn: “It lacks so much in terms of color and story.”

FACE OFF -- "Death's Doorstep" Episode 1006 -- Pictured: Rob Seal -- (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)
FACE OFF — “Death’s Doorstep” Episode 1006 — Pictured: Rob Seal — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)

Rob got the magician’s assistant.  His black-and-white monochrome character depicted an assistant from the 1920’s, and he incorporated some good decisions into this makeup, including a prosthetic to cover his model’s eyebrows that allowed him to pencil the skinny brows from that era.  Her demise was illustrated by slashes across her body and corresponding places on her arms, as if the magician had literally sawed her in half.  The saw mark was fairly subtle, as Neville mentioned, but well executed (no pun intended…well, maybe just a little).  The thing that slightly bothered me about this look were the model’s legs.  Her black panty hose allowed her flesh-colored legs to show through, which ruined the illusion of the superb monochromatic paint job.

Neville: “Go bigger.  You could have done a really massive offset of upper body to lower body….  Excellent job, just a bit too subtle.”

FACE OFF -- "Death's Doorstep" Episode 1006 -- Pictured: Melanie Licata -- (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)
FACE OFF — “Death’s Doorstep” Episode 1006 — Pictured: Melanie Licata — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)

Mel created a twisted skier.  This was a huge undertaking.  The “front butt” cast took a full day to complete and 3 people to split the mold open.  Mel was safe this week, but her design felt like it missed the mark, since the obituary mentioned a “chilling” end to her skiing accident character.  She spent so much time with the effect of the twisted body that she had very little time to focus on paint or to even add an icicle or two.

FACE OFF -- "Death's Doorstep" Episode 1006 -- Pictured: Kaleb Lewis -- (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)
FACE OFF — “Death’s Doorstep” Episode 1006 — Pictured: Kaleb Lewis — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)

Kaleb created a scuba diver who died under “fishy circumstances.” The concept was great; however, the bright blue skin of the diver and the proportions of the fish ended up looking like a strange Smurf with an orange feather-tipped hat.  I felt a little sorry for Kaleb when we got the judges’ comments — he looked like he might actually be sick on stage when he realized that his concept was possibly the best out there and he was still in bottom looks.

Ve: “It looks like Blue Man Group gone elfish.”

Glenn: “If you had slowed yourself and worked your concept a little bit further, this would have been the best makeup out there tonight.”

FACE OFF -- "Death's Doorstep" Episode 1006 -- Pictured: Melissa Ebbe -- (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)
FACE OFF — “Death’s Doorstep” Episode 1006 — Pictured: Melissa Ebbe — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)

Melissa’s assignment to create a woman depicting a sewing-related death.  This seemed to be the most challenging concept, as it wasn’t a terribly funny idea to begin with.  However, Melissa was able to create a human pincushion, fabricating some oversized pins that stuck out from the prosthetics on her model, and the effect, along with a patchwork outfit, was successful enough to keep her safe from elimination this week.

FACE OFF -- "Death's Doorstep" Episode 1006 -- Pictured: Walter Welsh -- (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)
FACE OFF — “Death’s Doorstep” Episode 1006 — Pictured: Walter Welsh — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)

Walter created an amateur juggler’s death.  With some direction from Michael Westmore to simplify his concept, Walter evolved his initial idea of featuring multiple types of juggled items to that of only knives, keeping the nature of the character’s death easier to spot at first glance.  During application, he had some issues with the weight of the knife handle sticking from the character’s cheek, but he fixed it so that the model could “break” the handle off, leaving the blade in his cheek.  My favorite moment on this character was when he first smiled and several teeth came tumbling from his mouth.  The effect worked, and kept Walter safe from elimination.

FACE OFF -- "Death's Doorstep" Episode 1006 -- Pictured: Yvonne Cox -- (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)
FACE OFF — “Death’s Doorstep” Episode 1006 — Pictured: Yvonne Cox — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)

Yvonne’s character, Jerry Rig, is a victim of his own drill…right in the kisser.

Ve: “He could be sitting in that Beetlejuice waiting room.”

This character turned out quite good, but there were a couple of things that bothered me about Yvonne’s design.  Perhaps I was over-thinking the details, but the drill bit was in his left cheek, while he held the drill in his right hand, making it almost impossible for him to have done this himself.  The other minor detail was that his face was twisted around the bit in a counter-clockwise direction… opposite the rotation I would have expected.  Maybe I’m just being picky.  Or maybe I’ve watched too many forensic police shows.  Or maybe it was a homicide….?  I was concerned when Yvonne selected primary yellow for the face color; I had flashbacks about the crayon guy from episode 1, but she added some tasteful shading in the creases and around the drill bit to give it depth and life, and the resulting character, who looked a little like a “crazy Jack Nicholson,” earned her the win this week.

FACE OFF -- "Death's Doorstep" Episode 1006 -- Pictured: Johnny Leftwich -- (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)
FACE OFF — “Death’s Doorstep” Episode 1006 — Pictured: Johnny Leftwich — (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/Syfy)

At the opposite end of the line-up was Johnny with his character who was trampled to death on safari.  His design was extremely subtle, and his attempt at whimsy was off the mark.  When he first mentioned his idea of adding porcupine quills to his stampede victim, I thought: “Why?”  The idea felt forced and out of place to me, and I couldn’t see how it supported the overall design.  I would have loved to have seen some obvious gag, like a flattened person, or someone covered with muddy hoof prints.  Instead, we got a pink woman wearing a pith helmet sporting marks that looked more like scars than hoof prints, with some oversized quills sticking out of her forehead.  The judges were underwhelmed, and Johnny was sent to pack up his kit.

Next week, they plan to crank up the stress levels to eleven as McKenzie throws down “The Gauntlet.”

 

FaceOff airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Syfy.

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