Star Trek

All posts tagged Star Trek

Face Off Season 9 Episode 6: Alien Landscapes and Evolutions

Published September 2, 2015 by vfdpixie

Things got rolling with another Foundation Challenge this week and the prize was the coveted immunity status.  This time McKenzie had a series of alien landscapes for the artists to use in order to create their own retro alien.  They had to think Lost in Space and Star Trek as references, and who better to advise them than their mentor Mr. Westmore, who has been Star Trek’s alien designer for decades.  He told them that in the 60’s, there was no time for intricate appliances so the artists of days gone by used patterns and stencils.  He wanted them to be imaginative to find that retro vibe.

They came up with some interesting aliens, and Mr. Westmore liked Evan’s Avatar inspired makeup as well as Jordan for his use of green and orange which mimicked the era.  Evan won immunity because of his clean, camera-ready application.


Evan’s retro alien


This makeup would be the first step.  The Spotlight Challenge would incorporate the Foundation Challenge aliens they created, but this time they would have to evolve the retro alien into a modern aesthetic for today’s movies.  They had the evolution of Klingons as their reference this time,  and since Ve, Neville, and Mr. Westmore have all created versions of the Klingon over the years, they would be consulting on the evolved concepts.  Neville also reminded them that today’s audiences are savvy and they would have to turn up the volume with the realism to create a successful makeup.  Oh, and on the walkthrough, Jonathan Frakes from STNG showed up to give a critical eye.  And wait a minute!  Michael Dorn, Mr. Klingon himself, would be a judge on the reveal stage.  It was Star Trek old home day on Face Off!

To make her alien more badass, Meg changed veins into hair and was advised to bring colour up the alien’s body.  She had trouble as she was the last one in the mold room, and was scared as she had to use polyfoam for the first time since she was behind.  She ran out of time trying to put dreads on the cowl, and had no paint just before last looks.  She was terrified and named herself “Queen of the Bottom”.  She went into “beast mode” to get her makeup painted, and lucky for her it came together.  She created an interesting rebel alien that put her in the safe zone.

Meg's retro alien

Meg’s retro alien


Meg’s evolved alien



Kevon recreated the mountain range of his landscape on the alien’s brow. He wanted to exaggerate them on the evolved alien, and Neville advised him to make sure his forms had a purpose.  Jonathan Frakes loved his sculpt, and Kevon went so far as to make prosthetic eyelids that were tricky to apply, but he got them on.  His alien was very red, and he noticed how big his head was on the reveal stage, but he was safe.


Kevon’s retro alien



Kevon’s evolved alien



Jordan decided to go with what he knew, and fabricate most of his space bandit’s makeup.  He had just a few face appliances and relied on the paint and costume.  Although he was pleased with the fabrication, he noticed on the reveal stage that it looked a little too costume-y.  Ve was disappointed with it because it was not cohesive.  The judges also thought there was too much fabrication this time and no evident evolution.  He was in the bottom.

Jordan's retro alien

Jordan’s retro alien


Jordan’s evolved alien



With his immunity, Evan was on easy street.  His bright blue alien would evolve with a sloped cowl and venting at the back of the head.  Mr. Westmore and Jonathan Frakes wanted more obvious venting, and he created a great evolution and a nice beauty makeup to boot!


Evan’s evolved alien


Nora’s alien was brightly coloured and she decided to tone the colour down.  Ve told her to be careful of the nose, and Mr. Westmore told her to change the neck of the character.  She didn’t really have any problems until the reveal stage, where the cowl slipped and created a large wrinkle that looked odd.  The judges noticed this made the eyes look heavy, but despite the technical difficulty she was safe.


Nora’s retro alien


Nora’s evolved alien



Ricky’s blue alien had tentacles that were incorporated into the skull, giving it an asymmetrical look.  I liked the colours he used and he was also safe this week.


Ricky’s retro alien


Ricky’s evolved alien



Ve thought Stevie should cover any modifications on her alien’s prominent brow with hair.  Jonathan Frakes and Mr. Westmore had a lot to say about tweaking her sculpt, which meant she had a lot of work do to.  She did an intricate paint job that included yellow, purple and plenty of paint splatter.  The end result got huge praise from Glenn with the paint job and her technique with her sculpt.  Neville thought the forms were alien and authentic and Michael Dorn thought bringing the makeup into the neck was a good choice.  She was in top looks.

Stevie's retro alien

Stevie’s retro alien


Stevie’s evolved alien



Ben had a spot of trouble in the first challenge.  He tried to mimic the cracked earth of his landscape, and ended up doing a stencil.  He didn’t like what he created, so he was glad he had a chance to change it, even though he felt he was “polishing a turd”.  Neville advised him to avoid getting too literal with his landscape.  The cracks became a membrane that was a filter for the alien, and he scaled back the paint so that it had more humanoid.  He felt better with the changes, and the judges loved it.  Ve liked the textures on the head, and Michael thought it was a great transition as he got rid of the unnecessary stuff.  Neville thought it looked like a big screen makeup.  This put Ben in the top looks.

Ben's retro alien

Ben’s retro alien


Ben’s evolved alien



Scott’s alien would become an underground water-dwelling creature.  He wanted to make it more feminine with a beautiful profile.  Mr. Westmore told him to make the lips less glam, and even though he seemed to run out of time, he gave the judges an alien they gushed over.  They loved the symmetry of the cheekbones, and the colours.  He was in top looks.

Scott's retro alien

Scott’s retro alien


Scott’s evolved alien



Jason’s bright alien would evolve with more horns to signify status and age.  He ran into trouble when his appliances wouldn’t stick to his model and had to move on to paint before he ran out of time.  The chin was also coming off, so he camouflaged as best he could with jewels.  The judges saw lots of technical errors and what was called a catastrophic sculpt (ouch!).  Neville liked the concept and evolution but not the execution.  He was in the bottom.

Jason's retro alien

Jason’s retro alien


Jason’s evolved alien


Jasmine’s alien had flat spikes on his face, so she decided to create a 3D look for him.  She was stuck with her design, but carried on.  She realized in last looks that the sculpt looked worse in the center of the alien’s face.  The judges thought the forms were flawed, especially the nose and lips.  Surprisingly, she was in the bottom this week.

Jasmine's retro alien

Jasmine’s retro alien


Jasmine’s evolved alien


The winner was Ben!  They loved his believable, minimal makeup and convincing transformation.

Jason would be going home.  There were too many things that went wrong to overlook, but Neville was confident he would go far.

As always, the challenges can knock even the most talented artists out of the running, or give them a scare as they end up in bottom looks.  Hopefully everyone’s A game is on point next week!

A Beacon in the Darkness

Published May 20, 2013 by vfdpixie

into the darkness

Star Trek Into the Darkness (2013, 2 hrs 12 mins)

Where do I start?  This movie was incredible from the first frame to the last.   I am rarely so enthusiastic about big budget films, but director J.J. Abrams had me from the opening credits.

The Enterprise gang is in full mission mode, trying to deactivate a volcano that threatens a primitive world.  Going against strict orders, Captain Kirk saves these beings and Mr. Spock, but at the cost of the mission directive.  As a disciplinary action, Kirk is demoted to first officer under his mentor and friend Admiral Pike, and sternly reprimanded.  Unfortunately, Starfleet has a new threat within their very corridors.  Kirk is catapulted into a search and destroy mission to avenge a merciless attack against Starfleet, and he takes his team of Uhura, Sulu, Bones, Chekov, Scotty, and of course Mr. Spock on a journey fueled by courage and peppered with deceit and non-stop action.

Abrams knocked it out of the park with Star Trek Into the Darkness.  I think I liked it better than the first film!  The script was so witty and snappy, the set design was stunningly beautiful, and the costumes (down to Uhura’s earrings) was on point.  Since there are rabid Trekkies/Trekkers all over the world, I felt the attention to detail was so painstaking that this was a film to please fans.  While I am not a die-hard Trekkie, I did appreciate the campy goodness of the original series, especially the aesthetics.  I was also smitten with Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart) in Star Trek: TNG.  I felt Into the Darkness really respected all the series, and from the reviews, fans approved. Even though I read that Abrams was not a huge fan of the franchise, I think he stayed true to Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a multicultural, interplanetary future, from the people of colour, to the alopecia universalis Science Officer 0718 (Joseph Gatt), to the aliens.  Maybe directors should take a cue from this vision and cast people (and aliens if need be) on their ability and not because they look like the status quo.

And speaking of the cast- they were amazing!  Zachary Quinto as Spock, Chris Pine as Kirk and Zoe Saldana as Uhura kept up the chemistry, and I saw a few familiar faces here and there, like Aisha Hinds as Officer Darwin who most recently appeared as the baddie detective Rosalind Sakelik on Cult, and Noel Clarke as Thomas Harewood who was in Heartless and a season of Dr. Who.  Of course I have to mention Simon Pegg as Scotty and Karl Urban as Bones, who provided great comic relief.  Benedict Cumberbatch (better known for his lead role in Sherlock) played a formidable and fitting menace as Khan, and that voice!  Creepy and enticing all at once.  And one of my favourite actors, Peter Weller, was great as the stern and steely Admiral Marcus. The casting directors got it right for sure.

I have been a fan of Abrams since Lost.  He blew my mind with one of the most original T.V. shows that kept you watching because you had no clue what was going to happen next.  He also brought us Cloverfield, which to me, revived the monster movie that I felt we were missing for many years.  I will stand by my statement that Cloverfield has one of THE best monsters ever created by creature designer Neville Page.  A key visionary in the Abrams team, Page is behind all the weird and wonderful aliens that you will see throughout Star Trek Into the Darkness, as well as a redesigned “sexy” Klingon for all those crazed Trekkies/Trekkers out there!

Star Trek Into the Darkness is an entertaining, beautiful spectacle that you must see this summer.  So do it.  Now!!

Most Memorable Line:  Probably the entire script.  So many zingers that I couldn’t keep up.  A lot of them came from Bones.  I especially liked when he called Captain Kirk’s mind “corn-fed”.  I loved his crankiness.

Favourite Scene:  Has to be when Spock gets gangster.  So Awesome.  So. Awesome. I don’t want to give too much away, so you’ll have to go see the movie.


Vogue in Space…Thank you Mr. Theiss!

Published December 13, 2012 by vfdpixie

This morning on the Space Channel I caught an episode of the original Star Trek series, “By Any Other Name” (1968), where the Enterprise is hijacked by humanoid aliens called Kelvans so they can go home.  I was kind of half watching when this gorgeous alien babe comes out of nowhere, wearing a hot backless jumpsuit with groovy boots and an intricate beehive.  Her name was Kelinda and she had one of those familiar faces.  Looking her up, I found out her name is Barbara Bouchet and she is actually one of Italy’s top actresses, mostly because of her sexy “giallo” roles in the 70’s.  She is still going strong and living in Italy, acting and running a few business ventures.

Gorgeous Barbara Bouchet in baby blue!

Gorgeous Barbara Bouchet in baby blue!

And that jumpsuit!!!  Wowzers!  This pixie would love to wear that somewhere, if I went out at all.  Of course I had to look up the costume designer and of course, he was fantastic.  William Ware Theiss (1931-1992), a seasoned, award-winning costume designer for film and T.V., was known for creating the sexy Star Trek costumes, and is the namesake of the  “Theiss Titillation Theory”.  It states that  “the degree to which a costume is considered sexy is directly proportional to how accident-prone it appears to be”.  I can imagine all the male Trekkers waiting with bated breath, hoping in vain that a boob might slip out unexpectedly as a hot alien chick grappled with Captain Kirk.  His designs usually consisted of strips of fabric precariously holding a whole outfit together, or the weight of the fabric itself.

The infamous dress from the episode "Who Mourns for Adonis"

The infamous dress from the episode “Who Mourns for Adonis”

Another showstopper from the episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?".  Indeed!

Another showstopper from the episode “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”. Indeed!

I am so glad that costume designers get the recognition they deserve.  The talent, vision and imagination needed to realize characters, especially in sci-fi and horror, takes a special person born with a unique creative energy.  Theiss gave us innovative designs and pushed the envelope, which is why it’s so fitting that he designed for Star Trek, which was a show that was light years ahead of the times.

Barbara Bouchet on imdb:

Check out for some interesting info on sets and costumes.

So far, the only bio available on Theiss is on Wikipedia.  There are many fan sites with tidbits on him if you google his name.

View From the Dark

Reviews and essays on genre film from a WOC perspective

Professor Chireau's Academic Hoodoo

a research blog on Africana Religions

Cinema Axis

Where All Things Film Converge


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

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

grotesque ground

Promoting the grotesque in cinema and literature.


Movies, thoughts, thoughts about movies.


A ranting woman's mind

The Tyranny of Tradition

Lamentations and Jeremiads 25 Years After The End Of History

What Are You Doing Here?

A Black Woman's Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal

The Blog

The latest news on and the WordPress community.