Gale Anne Hurd

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Hunters: A Strieber Portal to Alien Invasion

Published April 13, 2016 by vfdpixie



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 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 4: Secret Agent Time!

Published February 4, 2016 by vfdpixie

After Yvonne’s confidence boosting win, and Walter champing at the bit for his own win, the gang headed back to the lab where it was transformed into Command Central.  McKenzie briefed them on their “mission” disguised as a Focus Challenge.  In honour of a new show called Hunters where agents must hunt supernatural terrorists by wearing undetectable disguises, the artists were assigned their own agents and had to create disguises for them.  Mr. Westmore was their advisor for this one since he worked on robbers, the L.A.P.D. and Michael Jackson alike to keep them incognito.  He stressed that they pay attention to face shape and details like freckles which could make all the difference.  Since this was a Focus Challenge on the face, precision and beautiful edges were key, and guest judge Gale Anne Hurd, producer of Hunters, would be on the reveal stage.  I must say, this was the toughest challenge in some time.  Some of the artists really struggled with the concept of a disguise, as well as skin tones (don’t get me started…).

Njoroge’s agent was a blonde woman and he chose to disguise her as an Asian man.  This was risky, but he went for it.  Mr. Westmore told him to tweak the eyes.  Njoroge was pleased with his work, and lay down hair for a beard and moustache which was way too dense, and looked borderline offensive when he applied it.  He realized his appliance edges weren’t great, but was happy with it anyway.  Gale still saw a girl under the makeup and a racial stereotype, and the judges hated the edges.  the hair was also too stiff, and too many appliances made for too many edges.  He was in the bottom looks.

Anna turned her agent from a clean-shaven man into a chubby hipster.  It was ok, but the judges thought it was bizarre looking and heavy.  Walter took his darker-skinned model and made him a fair-skinned biker.  That worked after he fixed the cartoony jaw, and the judges liked his edges.  Yvonne turned her agent into a heavy metal musician with a full facial appliance.  Johnny created an “African descent” person, which was just terrible, and Mel changed her agent into an elderly old man.  She spent a lot of time sculpting, and did a great paint job.  These artists were safe.

Katie turned her agent into a darker, older man.  Her troubles started with the paint job.  It looked like what she called a spray tan, and got progressively worse as she tried to fix it.  She ended up with shiny, red-toned finish.  The judges thought the eyebrows and moustache were good, but the paint was too plastic looking and too dark.  The whole makeup called attention to the agent instead of disguise him.  She was in bottom looks.

Rob decided to turn his dark-haired agent into a ginger hillbilly type dude.  He used texture stamps to create realistic skin, taking his time.  He applied a seamlessly blended baldcap, and impressed the judges with his nondescript character.  He fulfilled the challenge by creating a person who blended in.  Gale thought it didn’t read as a makeup.  He was in top looks.

Robert turned his female agent into a dorky “Bulgarian electronics man”.  He was the first in the mold room, and used tape to lay hair on backwards so it would look natural.  His makeup looked great, and the judges thought it looked better without glasses.  Ve loved the hair, Gale thought it looked like a guy, and this clean makeup put him in top looks.

Kaleb turned his agent into and East Indian woman, and it did not go well.  He had trouble with the skin tone and the edges of his appliances.  It looked rough.  His edges peeled, the paint was too dark, and the judges were unimpressed with the mild racial stereotyping.  He was bottom looks.

Melissa turned her young female agent into an older one.  She was familiar with disguises since she dresses up as Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  She used plastic sheets to put texture on the skin, and punched in the eyebrows but they were a little wonky.  The judges liked the neck, but felt the makeup was confusing overall.  She was safe this week.

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This winner was Rob for his intelligent approach, smart decisions and ability to change his model’s most prominent features.

Njoroge would be going home.  His makeup was flawed technically and creatively.  He wasn’t discouraged, and vowed to keep working in makeup.

If you can take anything away from this episode, it’s to learn how to mimic skin tone.  It’s so basic and so, so important as a makeup artist.  I’ve ranted about this before, so I’ll spare you, but it is really key to have an eye for matching a person’s natural skin tone, and if you’re changing a skin colour completely, watch the undertone or else you’ll end up with a ruddy mess.


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