Any special effects makeup artist worth their salt wants to create the ultimate zombie makeup and this week’s Face Off challenge gave the remaining six that chance to create something new and different based on a real-life viral infection caused by the fungus Cordyceps. Cordyceps generally attack insects that zombiefies the bug from the inside out. This week’s challenge required the two teams to choose one type of Cordycep and translate the effects to a human host. Everyone’s eyes lit up!
But then it all came down to the type of fungus each team selected. Ethereal Effects, coming off of their first loss of the season, took the showier one that looked like a bright red starfish while Twisted Six chose one that looked like a brain. The parameters of the challenge also required there to be three stages of infection: one day, one week and one month.
Ethereal’s artists chose to find a disturbing way to have the fungus emerging from inside the victim, but for some reason all they could come up with was something protruding from the eye. Kierstin’s Day One infection was the result of blood spatter across a nurses face, with the infected area matching the trail of blood. During the sculpting phase, Mr. Westmore liked the concept but told her that what she had at that point did not look like it was bursting out of the eye so she had to sculpt more skin around the fungus. The addition of some other boils about to erupt completed her look.
Faina also went for the eye for her seven day look, but ended up with a ridiculous rubber starfish stuck to her model’s face with a terrible paint job to boot. She did manage to add a few pieces, like the neck and leg protrusions, that matched what Kierstin did with her eye appliance, but the judges were otherwise underwhelmed with her work this week. Nelson went all out with his 30 day sculpt, having the fungus both under the skin and outside, wrapping around the model’s face. When I saw it, I predicted that the judges would comment on how dry the thing looked and they did. A little more goo would have brought his work to life, but even without that the judges were still impressed with his work. Overall, Etheral was in the plus column with two good pieces of work.
Over at Twisted Six, Phil took on the one day look, a result of his victim eating the brain fungus. Phil wanted his makeup to look like the brain fungus was just under the skin about to burst out, but when Mr. Westmore saw it, he told Phil it looked more like a burn victim. Phil knew he had to rework his sculpt, but on the reveal stage it looked pretty much the same, and the judges also said it looked more like a burn than a brain, and the pimple-like additions nor the paint job did him any favors, especially as the face paint was not incorporated anywhere else on the exposed parts of his model’s body.
KC took on the day seven look with the brain-like fungus starting to protrude from the scalp, the side of the face and even on the neck and back of the head. She went all out to impress the judges, and while they also loved her paint job, including the bright red at the bottom of the eyes, to me it looked a bit unfinished. It was just a bit too pale for my taste.
Andrew proved yet again that he is a force to be reckoned with, sculpting a massive growth splitting the face and scalp open with a large mass of brain fungus protruding out, as well as adding a chest piece with more of the growth. His zombie had a jaundiced look, and it really had a classic The Walking Dead vibe. As with Ethereal, Twisted Six also scored with two winning looks to one poor performance. So what would the judges do? Was Phil’s look worse than Faina’s, causing Twisted Six to lose again? Or would Faina’s be the nail in her and Ethereal’s coffin this week? Or with the finale approaching, would there be a double elimination?
It seemed like that just might have been the scenario when McKenzie dropped a bomb on the teams … except it wasn’t. Nope, without really knowing it, the artists were actually working as individuals this week so there was no winning and losing team. The judges were simply choosing the Top Five and sending one person home. The best of the lot were no surprise with KC actually winning the challenge (perhaps they felt they’d given Andrew too many wins already?) and moving on. Andrew, Kierstin and Nelson are also in the semi-finals.
That meant it came down to the two worst looks of the week: Phil’s mismatched burn victim and Faina’s silly starfish and terrible paint job. Luckily for Faina, the little extra bits on the neck and leg made up for what was on the face, helping her score the last spot in the Top Five. Phil, who had started off fairly well this season, just started to fall apart during the last couple of challenges and his uninspired work this week was his downfall. The question now is, will anyone be able to beat Andrew in the finale?
What did you think this week’s episode? Was it Phil’s time to go? Who do you want to win? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!