Face Off Episodes

Season

11

Episode

9

Frightening Families

The artists are driving deeper and deeper into the mountains, and there’s not a soul in sight…until, out of the mist, appears the ghostly shell of a former town. At a dilapidated gas station, McKenzie is waiting with their next challenge — and some bombshells. In the style of horror films like The Hills Have Eyes and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the contestants will follow directions from this creepy gas station to an undisclosed, horrific location, and use that location as the environment for three murderous, freakish family members. Also in the style of these films, they’ll do so in groups.

Yes, instead of competing in teams of two, they’ll double up to form two supergroups, like The Avengers, or Wu Tang Clan. Also, because eliminating one supergroup would mean eliminating half of the contestants, the artists will be eliminated individually for the first time in the competition. And because their groups are so large, immunity will no longer be granted.

Emily and Tyler, paired up with Adam and Logan, start down the road with a couple bumps: Adam, against Emily’s wishes, chose the map without the signs and stuff. Turns out that would’ve led them to a freakin’ creepy circus (it’s like, the freak element is right there!). Instead, they have a burned-out military base. Ah, well. They imagine a family that’s nuclear both in the sense that it’s a mom, dad, and little girl, and also in the sense that radiation poisoning from nuclear testing circa WWII hideously deformed them.

Cig, George, Ben, and Evan come up with their concept pretty darn quick: former circus freaks Hu-Man-Zee and Strong Woman had a child with hydrocephalus (that disease that causes water to accumulate on the brain and stretch the skin over the head into a giant, misshapen form). They divide the work into even pieces, and rotate over each others’ work to make sure each dude is happy with its direction.

Supergroup #2 is also working hard, but they have the feeling that something’s off. Adam is especially needled by it, all the way through Day 2, and finally suggests they switch the models, so that the 6’2” man is the daughter in pigtails and a small dress, and the tiny woman is the paterfamilias. Glenn loves the former idea — putting a big guy in a little dress is automatically creepy, and when you add in the weird sores and boils, that character is all you need to jump out of your skin. The latter idea worked less well — the face prosthetic was sculpted for a big dude, after all — and the application doesn’t lay down with enough time for detail either in the edges or the paint job. Though Adam had a great idea that took his team forward, his individual misstep takes him out of the competition.

The judges have nary a critical word for supergroup #1, save the note that the shriveled-up strongwoman would’ve looked better bald than with a cheesy “Mama’s Place” wig on her head. The family absolutely look like they belong in the same production design world — and that world is scary AF. Top prize goes to Ben, who sculpted and painted the hydrocephalus child with incredible anatomical accuracy — especially considering the time they had. He’s thrilled to be the first individual winner in this competition! And considering the win was awarded when horror director Marcus Nispel was on the panel this week, the feelgoods feel extra good.