Blumhouse Productions

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Face Off Season 10 Episode 13: The Big Finale Part 1: “Sinister Showdown”

Published April 7, 2016 by vfdpixie

Season 10 would end with my kind of challenge!!  The 3 finalists found themselves in an oil field with a creepy looking house in the background.  It set the scene for the final challenge of the season.  McKenzie had special guest Jason Blum, creator of the production company Blumhouse that brought us all the latest horrors like The Purge and Insidious with her to bring them the challenge details.  They would have to create 2 characters to star in their own film. The film would be an adaptation of a short story taken from The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares: The Haunted City, a collection of short stories by writers, actors and directors like Eli Roth and Scott Derrickson.  The story, entitled “Hellhole” by Chris Denham, tells of a family that buys a house only to find that it’s a portal to Hell and that they have unleashed a demon.  The artists had to create a demon and a possessed family member according to a script from one of 3 new up-and-coming directors hand-picked for this challenge.  The artists would get a lighting and screen test, 2 helpers in the way of their former contestants, and  Jason Blum would also be a judge for the final looks in the film.  Another surprise was that Oscar-winning makeup artist Lois Burwell, one of the judges from season 7, would be there for the walk-through.

Rob picked Anna and Kaleb.  His script described a demon that came up from the oil fields.  The director, Bryce McGuire, wanted a molten, cracked and crusted skin on the demon.  Rob came up with a sun-baked demon and a possessed woman who would ooze oil.  He wanted to create a larger than life chest piece, face and cowl.  Anna would do the possession makeup and Rob would do the demon face. Lois warned him to avoid a leonine look to the nose and cheeks.  Rob was floundering a bit with the design of the face, but came up with a mole/rhino look that he was happy with.  He also wanted a unique horn shape that would add height.  Kaleb fabricated a back piece that looked like roots, and even though the mold stuck creating a huge split in the demon face, and the heavy cowl was making the demon face push forward, they came up with a great makeup.  During the screen test, Rob soon learned that his vision didn’t match the director’s.  Bryce wanted a paler, more powdery look, the horns placed further back on the head, and shovel-like hands.  He also wanted imbedded natural elements.  The possessed makeup was too extreme for him, and he wanted the possession to not manifest physically.  Um….sure.  Poor Rob had a tall order ahead of him and would have to do a whole new makeup.

Rob and his first demon draft,

Rob and his first demon draft.



Melissa had Yvonne and Johnny on her team.  Her script involved a cyclops-type demon so she wanted to make sure she didn’t recreate her last makeup and came up with a fleshy eye membrane instead of an actual eye.  She would be doing the face of the demon, Yvonne the demon cowl, and Johnny the possessed family member.  During the walk-through, they thought the possessed makeup was too subtle, and she had to shift his eye shape.  The demon needed a stronger jaw line, and they had to watch their time.  She let Johnny do the molds since that was his strength, and she created a diseased look emanating from the heart area for the possessed character.  She was stressed because they were running out of time. At the screen test, director John Wynn didn’t like the demon chest piece because it might look like he was lactating once the oil started to ooze.  He wanted oil oozing from the demon’s mouth and more redness in the eye area.  The possessed makeup needed more makeup on the shoulder and branches growing from his fingertips.  Melissa intended to step it up for a win.

Melissa and her demonic duo.

Melissa and her demonic duo.



Walter, Mel and Robert would avoid the typical demon look and create a simple possessed makeup.  Lois and Mr. Westmore suggested sculpting skin around the vines that would protrude from the possessed character’s face.  They loved the demon, but Lois advised him to pay attention to where the lighting would hit the makeup.  Walter went for an asymmetrical feel with vines on one side and a pumpkin like look on the other shoulder.  He created a set of teeth for his model and Robert used moss to cover edges and gave a great look to the demon.  Mel worked on the possessed makeup and although the edges were lifting on the face piece, they got the makeups to the soundstage.  Ryan Spindell seemed happy with the look but wanted the vines finished and Mr. Westmore suggested fixing spots on the nose and brow bone that reflected too much light.  Ryan also wanted to see more of the actor in the possessed makeup.  Walter was pleased that he didn’t have to redo the whole makeup.

Walter and his vined demons.

Walter and his vined demons.



All the artists had a lot of work to do before the final filming, and once again, Face Off left us hanging until the second part of the finale.  This is killing me!!

More Life Needed with The Lazarus Effect

Published March 1, 2015 by vfdpixie


The Lazarus Effect (2015, 83 mins.)

Life beyond death has fascinated us humans forever, but we also try to prolong life for as long as we can.  The two come together with the latest Blumhouse scarefest, The Lazarus Effect.

Engaged scientists Zoe (Olivia Wilde) and Frank (Mark Duplass), head a research team that has created a technique to bring people back from the brink of death with a serum and serious electrical charges.  It is a revolutionary breakthrough that they have not quite mastered yet, with their lab animal trials succeeding in only a second or two of life.

The experiment finally works with the reanimation of a euthanized dog Rocky, and he is revived to a fully functioning but unsettlingly weird and progressively aggressive pet.  The team is being watched by their university and a large pharmaceutical company, and once they hit pay dirt with Rocky, the entire operation is shut down, and their findings confiscated.

Zoe has saved some of the serum she created, and in order to prove the theory is theirs, they break into the lab before it is completely dismantled to recreated their hard work.  When Zoe hits the power she is electrocuted and dies.  Frank in his desperation, uses the technique on her, bringing her back as a changed and evil woman who will terrorize them in the secluded lab.

It’s a shame the script seemed rushed because this film had potential and was ultimately left unfinished.  There could have been so much more:  more discussion on what lies beyond death; more back story with Zoe and her childhood tragedy; more supernatural creatures; more budget, and more use of the talented supporting cast.  Duplass was decent as Zoe’s scientifically driven fiancé, showing his dramatic acting chops well here (if you haven’t seen his film Safety Not Guaranteed, do it now!).  Donald Glover as Niko and Evan Peters as Clay were smart additions to the cast and their motivations were clear, but Sarah Bolger’s Eva was far too ambiguous and wasn’t given time to grow.  This film does prove that Wilde can do something other than the pretty love interest though.  She sidesteps the predictably likeable Zoe by becoming a successfully menacing threat.  It is a meaty role that would have had better impact if there was, as said previously, more.

Without giving away spoilers, the film leaves plenty of room for a sequel, but I suspect if it gets made, it will probably get the same low-budget treatment and go straight to video, unless the original cast gets a dose of that serum and agrees to come back (sorry, couldn’t resist).

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burke –verb (used with object), burked, burk·ing. to murder, as by suffocation, so as to sell the corpse to medical science

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