aliens

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Face Off Season 11, Episode 1: Green Screen Aliens!

Published January 25, 2017 by rmpixie

 

And just like that, Face Off is back for season 11.

 

This time, it’s an all-star show, with artists from previous seasons coming together in teams of two to show their prosthetics prowess.

The gang waited by a seaside lighthouse as they waited on a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter that held the lovely host McKenzie Westmore. This season, she promised twists and turns, the first being that the contestants would win and lose as a team, meaning if they were eliminated, they would both go home. There would be plenty of chances to show their skill however, a team will be eliminated every other week. This means immunity for the winners and another chance for the bottom teams.

For the first Spotlight Challenge of the season, the teams would have to draw from The Abyss, War of the Worlds and unusual deep sea creatures to create their own alien beings. In order to give their creations that otherworldly look, they would incorporate green screen technology-a Face Off first-to remove any part of their model’s body in order to make a creature no one has seen before.

Michael Westmore would be back to mentor and advise. He looked amazing as ever, and seems to never age. Glenn Hetrick, Ve Neill and Neville Page were also back as the resident judges we know and love so much. Of course the grand prize would be a trip to one of Kryolan’s international locations, a spiffy new car and $100,000 cash.

Cig and George (Season 7). These self-professed “loveable goofballs” are friends and had a real bromance going. They used a Rough Back Batfish for their aristocratic alien.   They created extra skin with cling wrap to fill gaps that when the appliances didn’t match up and came out with a cool looking, whimsical alien that the judges liked. I thought the concept was great and loved the face along with the judges. They were safe.

Niko and Cat (Season 6): This cute couple are still together and going strong. They picked a Vampire Squid for their alien, and used George’s belly as a reference for their sculpt. As per usual, it was their turn for a mold got stuck, but they broke it to save time. The end result showed that they had a good concept but the judges thought the design could have been better. I liked the squid skirt they created, and the judges liked the paint. They were also safe.

Logan and Adam (Season 8): These guys created an alien from the Veined Octopus and worked really well together. Their great head sculpt got them a safe place too.

Ben and Evan (Season 9): Their alien Japanese Spider Crab would have a green screen effect to emphasize giant crab legs. The sculpt was so heavy with clay that it fell over, leaving them a bit of a mess and more time wasted fixing it. The alien looked cool but the giant legs put the judges off. Neville thought the creature was badly proportioned, and Ve thought the legs looked like totem poles painted by 3-year-old. Ouch! They were in the bottom.

Gage and Rachel (Season 1 and Season 7): Calling themselves Team Rage, these two picked a Skeleton Shrimp to build a bioluminescent alien from a water planet. They teamed up well with Rachel focusing on details for the sculpt and Gage good with large body work. Their design impressed the judges, leaving them thinking it was the best use of green screen to convey space and the fabricated claws were well done. Glenn thought the sculpt was a tad rough but it worked for the challenge. They were in the top looks.

Emily and Tyler (Season 8 and Season 6): Their Deep Sea Dragonfish was to become a seductive alien who lures her prey. Mr. Westmore told them to steer away from doing a beauty makeup as it would be too distracting. They ended up with a great paint job and I liked the face too. They were safe.

Jasmin and Stella (Season 9 and Season 7): Their alien would also have no legs and would be inspired by the Helmet Jellyfish. The final look was a little messy looking, and they also had proportion issues. Glenn didn’t like the way the arms kept crossing, taking away from the green screen effects. They were in the bottom looks.

Keaghlan and Melissa (Season 7 and Season 10): They wanted to take bold risks with the Flying Gurnard inspired alien. She would be a psychic alien queen with a large floating head. The judges loved the paint and face, graphic elements and design, and Ve just thought it was “bitchin”. They were in top looks.

 

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The winner was Keaghlan and Melissa for the gorgeous head and the background they chose to show their makeup. They have immunity for next week. Ben, Evan, Jasmine and Stella have another change to step up their game at the start of an interesting season!

Debunker’s Delight: Ghostly Goings-on

Published September 4, 2016 by rmpixie

 

Since I’ve mentally checked out the last few weeks, I thought I would do a post about more paranormal, weird stuff, and what better source to access that than good ol’ YouTube?

I’ve been a fan of paranormal investigative shows and re-enactments for a long time, due to the fact that I’ve been surrounded by believers all my life. Ghost stories from the old country, a family member who refuses to buy antiques, especially those made out of wood since natural materials are known to hold energy, and inklings that my childhood home had a tiny bit of activity has left me with a somewhat accepted view of the supernatural. While I’m not 100% sold, I’m certainly not putting myself in a position to deliberately and knowingly visit a haunted place. So I leave that to all the eager paranormal teams ready to put themselves in smelly, dank buildings in search of chatty ghosts. Most of the time I watch for the hopes of seeing a real ghost from the safety of my sofa, but often I just roll my eyes at the histrionics.   There have been a few things, however, I can’t quite explain that have been captured on film. The most recent comes from a new addition to the paranormal TV lineup, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

A lot of the shows are a lesson in frustration. From shrieking paranormal team members (see the long-running Most Haunted for some scares and giggles when host Yvette Fielding clutches her makeup artist and screams bloody murder when something, anything, happens), to shaky, grainy camera work, to pitch black shots that are impossible to decipher what’s going on.  I know these researchers put themselves in scary and sometimes dangerous positions, but the antics can make it less believable and more fodder for scoffing.

Some are better (or just more entertaining) than others, like Ghost Adventures. Led by Zak Bagans, this team of “ghost bros” travel the U.S. in the hopes of finding haunted activity in some of the most notorious locations. Aaron Goodwin, the team’s resident “Shaggy”, is often targeted by spirits, eliciting a “Duuuude!” and a “Whooooa!” when those spectres whisper his name. Nick Groff, who left the show in 2015, directed many episodes and was often the one that felt the physical effects of ghostly activity.

Groff now stars in his own paranormal sleuthing spectacular called Paranormal Lockdown, where he and Katrina Weidman (formerly of the TV show Paranormal State) stay locked in an allegedly haunted location to witness those on the other side. It’s here I saw something pretty hair-raising that I think will stump the staunchest skeptic. But before I get to the evidence, here are some YouTube videos of alleged paranormal activity caught on-you guessed it-blurry, shaky video! (add grains of salt here).

The U.K seems to corner the market with ghosts, so this fella who narrates for the U.K. site Top 5s not only has a nice accent, but has some cool historical info, and a piece on the Ghost Adventure dudes.

More “ghosts”…

 

…and this mysterious creatures video is interesting and hilarious at the same time, so it’s worth the 35 minutes. I believe in #20 because I worked for a cross between a  pterodactyl and Skeletor, so that ‘ish is real.  Also, #13, #12, #9, #8 (It’s a bear… or Black Phillip), #5 and #3 are just ridiculous.

 

 

I like this dude’s accent too.  Also, the ghosts…

 

And here’s another video from Top 5s:

 

Now for the pièce de resistance.  The full episode of Paranormal Lockdown that gave me the willies.  It’s the usual fare for most of the show, but I encourage you to watch the first bit for some interesting and disturbing history about this asylum.  If the suspense is killing you, head straight to the 36 minute mark to see the weirdness.

 

And here’s a bit of speculation about the actual sighting.  This dude actually gives you a good view of what they saw at the asylum, and he’s pretty stumped too!  What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

Hunters: A Strieber Portal to Alien Invasion

Published April 13, 2016 by rmpixie

hunters

 

A weirdo DJ playing a song by the 80’s band OMD, frenzied looking bunnies, and a terrified woman in a cage.  That was enough to keep me watching the new TV series Hunters based on Whitley Strieber’s book Alien Hunter.  His 2013 book series is summed up with an excerpt from the book’s website www.alienhunterbook.com below:

“In Alien Hunter, which is the first in what will be a series, I have created a character, Flynn Carroll, a cop who ends up working with alien cops to clean up alien criminals on Earth. Flynn has a powerful motive: they took his wife and never returned her.

He’s a man obsessed. He wants revenge, and he wants his beloved Abby back. When he’s recruited by the most secret police unit in the world–the Alien Hunters – he finds his true vocation and becomes the single most dangerous force any alien criminal could encounter on Earth. Bad news for them, good news for us. Dangerous news for Flynn.”

The Alien Hunter series is par for the course for Strieber, who is well-known for his accounts of alleged abductions by “visitors” in his earlier work Communion, as well as his classic horror contributions with The Wolfen and The Hunger which were made into feature films.  He has been a prolific writer over the decades, a believer in aliens and other-worldly beings, and a fixture in the sci-fi/horror world.

The first episode of Hunters is actually quite good.  What sounds like typical sci-fi fare translates well on the small screen.  We are introduced to main characters right away in an action-packed chase.  Secret agents hunt a sleeper cell of nasty aliens in the opening scenes, and we also meet Flynn Carroll (played by Wolf Creek’s Nathan Phillips), an FBI agent who searches for his missing wife.  He has PTSD from being a war veteran, a troubled charge in his dead partner’s daughter, and a slight drug problem.  He’s a mess, but already a likeable character, and is suddenly thrown into the secret anti-terrorist world.

Flynn (Nathan Phillips) and Regan (Britne Oldford)

Regan (Britne Oldford) and Flynn Carroll (Nathan Phillips)

 

The Exo-Terrorism Unit that we see in the show opening is led by Truss Jackson (Lewis Fitz-Gerald), a gruff no-nonsense agent who oversees Regan (Britne Oldford), Briggs (Mark Cole Smith), and Page (Stephen Anderton).  They are traumatized by the loss of Page within the first few minutes of the episode, and the relationship between the remaining agents become strained as the aliens elude them again and again.  The lead “terrorist” alien McCarthy (TV bad guy Julian McMahon) masquerades as a DJ who loops OMD’s Maid of New Orleans, is violently pesky, and McMahon plays him well.  There’s a juicy twist with agent Regan whose character I already love.  She’s a tough gal and I’m hoping her complexity is expanded in future episodes.  There’s also plenty of weird alien autopsy scenes and exploding alien faces.

Julian McMahon as McCarthy the evil DJ alien

Julian McMahon as McCarthy the evil DJ alien

 

I’ll forgive that the production is filmed in Melbourne, Australia and being passed off as the U.S. (although not very well masked), and that the Aussie cast can’t hide their accent for long, because it’s actually an engaging, gory and action-packed show right from the start.  With the show creator Natalie Chaidez, the brains behind Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Heros and executive producer for Syfy’s 12 Monkeys, as well as executive producer Gale Ann Hurd of The Walking Dead fame at the helm, there’s sure to be much more alien mayhem to come.  I love the guttural alien growling, the over all menacing feel to the story, and, well, there is a random kitten and a bunch of bunnies (that have yet to reveal their significance) running around after all!

I recommend checking this show out.  The reviews have been generally harsh, calling it generic Syfy series fare, but I can dig it and I’m giving it a chance.  I think it has potential and great cross-over for horror and sci-fi fans alike.

Hunters airs on Syfy Monday nights at 10 p.m. and on Showcase same night and time in Canada.

Face Off Season 10 Episode 1: Alien Bounty Hunters!

Published January 17, 2016 by rmpixie

Back for its 10th season, Face Off got the new set of artists going right away.  McKenzie presented the very first Spotlight Challenge of the season to the 14 eager contestants:  create a rogue alien bounty hunter, like that of Riddick or Guardians of the Galaxy.  Inspired by wanted posters with details of the alien’s ship and their last known whereabouts, the artists were split up into teams of two to work on the challenge.  Thankfully, Glenn Hetrick, Ve Neill and Neville Page would be back at the judges’ table to guide, critique and whip the artists into shape.

Melissa and Anna had Tolo Ezulon who lived a life of crime after his world dies. They worked well together and plotted out their game plan to save time.  Melissa sculpted some details for the alien’s armour that mimicked his ship, and even though they had issues in last looks with peeling lips, they were one of the top looks.  The judges liked the cohesive character and the nice profile.  They liked the subtle ship detail in the amour, and the “intricate and interesting” sculpting.

Katie and Robert didn’t work that well together.  Katie took charge after enduring Robert’s several ideas for their alien Honorin Fallador.  They came up with a decent character, but weren’t on the same page and didn’t really trust each other.  Njorobe and Rob worked on Sansar Ceptis, a bounty hunter who went after political targets.  Rob did some creative steaming and painting of feathers, and they worked well together.  The judges liked the profile even thought the beak looked stuck on.  Jennifer and Mel worked on Delta Indemna, an ex-military bounty hunter.  They created some sewn on dreads and although the judges were confused by the some details, they, along with the other two teams, were safe.

Yvonne and Greg picked Jinxx Bargess.  She was to be a bio-mechanical character.  They had trouble creating a cohesive design, and Mr. Westmore told them to make the jaw bigger and to make the character look more alien and less simian.  This put Greg into panic mode, and he re-sculpted parts of the face.  After molding, their edges were pretty bad, and they lost time fixing those.  The judges thought the look was unsophisticated and blocky.  This put them in the bottom.

Kaleb and Walter chose Maas Rossi, a reptilian alien who came from a dry planet.  Mr. Westmore told them to change the Jay Leno chin, and they wanted to have light-up horns, but it didn’t quite work, so they scrapped it in last looks.  The judges liked the decisions they made, from the paint to the eye cavity which looked very much like the Texan horned lizard they used as inspiration.  They were in top looks.

Ant and Johnny created a female bounty hunter called Yourek Jess.  They had to put their heads together after Mr. Westmore reworked their design.  Johnny switched up who did the sculpting as well because they were worried about the outcome.  They really didn’t work well together, and the judges saw it in the finished character.  The paint was flat, the sculpting didn’t reflect a proper biology, and the was no flow with the forms.  They were in the bottom looks.

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McKenzie revealed that there would be a one time immunity that the judges would grant if they thought the artist could redeem themselves after a bad makeup, but it would be used at their discretion.

The winning team was Anna and Melissa.  Their character was original, and Melissa won the challenge because of the great cowl she sculpted.

The bottom team was Yvonne and Greg.  They made bad choices, and Greg went home due to his poorly sculpted nose and chin.

This season looks like it will be great.  Every season I say “This will be my last recap season”, and then they go and bring people like Lance Henriksen and Paul Reuben on the show.  What can a gal do but watch, comment and recap?

See you next week!

 

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