Since the sneak peaks of upcoming episodes of Face Off premiered I have been waiting to see what the artists came up with for “Alice in Zombieland”. I love zombies, I love Alice in Wonderland,, and I really thought it was an amazing concept and opportunity for the contestants to allow their imaginations to really shine through. Who doesn’t want to turn a classic story into an apocalyptic world? It was hit or miss for me on a lot of the looks, and here are my full thoughts on the episode.
In this spotlight challenge, the designers are tasked with choosing from the following Alice in Wonderland characters and infecting them with a Resident Evil style “T-Virus”. On the character list is The Mad Hatter, The Queen of Hearts, The White Rabbit, The Cheshire Cat, and Alice herself. Surprisingly, Nicole is the only person that chooses the heroine of the story. Alice would have been my first choice to make over as a zombie, but apparently I was in the minority with that train of thought. Jason and Laura choose the Hatter, Sarah and Derek the Cat, The White Rabbit goes to Tommy and Alana, and Roy and Rod get to transform The Queen.
Right off the bat Jason earns immunity from the trauma foundation challenge. Knowing that he can’t be voted off for anything that he does wrong, Jason starts to take risks with his make up and tries out some techniques that he isn’t the most comfortable with. Unlike most people that have immunity, Jason didn’t just slack off with his design knowing that he would be safe. His hatter was pretty creepy, with his sagging skin, and wide open mouth. The only issue was that the mouth piece didn’t open and close at all. From an actor standpoint, that doesn’t leave a lot to work with in terms of any sort of expression!
Poor Sarah has never worked on a zombie make up before, and choosing the Cheshire Cat may not have been the best choice for her. She takes on the massive challenge of creating a full body suit costume, which in itself would normally take a long period of time for a costume designer to create well. However, Sarah and the rest of the gang only have three days to sketch, sculpt, and fully finish their zombie pieces. Amazingly, Sarah finishes her fur suit and while it doesn’t look like a mascot or a pretty kitty cat, it resembles more of a roadkill possum than the actual Cheshire Cat. That said, the amount of work that went into the costume and make up was phenomenal, and the fact that she was actually able to pull it off was amazing.
Tommy runs into some issues with his White Rabbit arm mold breaking at the wrist. I gasped like I was the one working on the freaking cast when it hit the work table, but it’s nothing that a few coats of latex and a roll of duct tape won’t fix. The arm piece doesn’t turn out perfectly, but lucky for Tommy the concept of his rabbit focuses a lot on the rabbit’s watch. He’s able to cover up some of the rather horrible looking prosthetic with several wrist watches. Then he goes and tops off his design with some ratty rabbit ears, a flannel shirt, and what appear to be white sweat pants and tennis shoes. The rabbit didn’t look like he was transforming into a zombie so much as he looked like he’d been gnawed on by a few of the walking dead.
Laura’s Mad Hatter was astounding. From the creepy tea cups and saucers that were embedded into his costume, to the intestine tape measure; this Hatter was something that I would love to see a movie based on.
Once again, Alana struggles with a piece of her makeup. Working on The White Rabbit, her cowl obviously needs ears. However, Alana has no idea how to connect said ears to her head piece. She still hasn’t learned time management and is struggling with attaching these ears when she runs over to Roy who is the sweetest man ever, and helps her attach the ears. Her rabbit turns out actually pretty creepy, but nothing that really jumped out at me.
Nicole works on zombie Alice and take the “drink me” bottle and incorporates this as the virus that causes Alice to turn. Initially my biggest complaint was that she made Alice with black hair, but once that split second was over and I concentrated on the rest of her make up… well, the dark hair was the least of Nicole’s issues. She ran into some major make up problems. There was no blending, no dimension, nothing that made this make up look like anything other than a face painted in dark gray. It was truly a bad make up job, and like the judges told Nicole, there were a million ways (other than painting her entire face) to save the make up.
Roy just might pull out a win on this season of Face Off, and if that is the case I will seriously owe him an apology. When the season first premiered I was positive that Roy was out the door within the first two episodes. Now his designs have come to be some of the ones that I look forward to the most, and this Queen of Hearts was no exception. She was sleek, she was elegant, she had dimension, and even with a severed head in her hands she looked stunning. The layering of paint and latex skin were incredible, and the concept of her muscle and tissue forming the crown and molding to her body was such a different take on the zombie virus that Roy deserved all the recognition that he received this week.
On the other hand, Rod lacked any sort of Alice in Wonderland or Resident Evil/zombie look to his Queen. Instead of going with an undead matriarch, Rod created what looked like bad old age makeup with a decent prop. I was not impressed.
Neither were the judges. Rod, Nicole, and Tommy were all in the bottom three. Tommy got blasted (rightly so) by Ve for his costume choice, and Glenn confirmed that the design just got lost in all of the fur and blood.
Rod’s concept was so far off the mark that it was like he was absent when the challenge was described to him. Guest judge Paul W.S. Anderson (writer, producer, and director of the Resident Evil films) pretty much said the same thing that I did – you could not see zombie or Alice in this design at all.
Then we come to Nicole. Poor thing just bit off more than she could chew. Paul said that she was too ambitious with her moving brain piece (That was painted horribly. It was far too red and the black was just off putting), and Neville, Ve, and Glenn all hated her paint job. Because of this Nicole was sent home this week.
The top looks that the judges loved were Roy, Laura, and Derek. Derek’s rabbit up close was beautifully done. The detail was amazing, and like Paul said, the asymmetrical look was brilliant. Ve was a little hesitant with the coloring (which is one of the main notes that I jotted down as well), but we have to remember that The Chesire Cat was indeed purple, so color is okay. Laura’s Hatter really struck Glenn with the humanity that she managed to pull through in a truly horrible looking creation. And everyone just raved about Roy’s Queen. Paul even said he’d put it in one of his movies if he could. Needless to say, Roy went home with the well deserved win this week.
It amazes me every time that I watch Face Off the sheer amount of work that these artists are expected to do in such a minuscule amount of time. I don’t know if the average viewer realizes that these effects would take weeks to create on an actual movie set, and these contestants are given a mere three days (sometimes two!) to create solo what an entire team would work on in a feature film.
Regardless as to who wins and who goes home, each and every person on this episode of Face Off and through to the end should be remarkably proud of themselves for the drive and determination that they’ve proven they possess. That does not include the amount of talent that oozes from each and every person in the work room. While winning is obviously wonderful, this season the talent that these contestants show is just astounding. I dare say the best out of all three Face Off seasons yet! I can’t wait to see what else they have in store for us.
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