Our long-time followers may or may not remember we used to be an entirely SoCal-based site. During that time, we met some really cool haunters and artists in the SoCal makeup FX and haunt scene. And, over those few years, we’ve always been inspired by seeing those local artists break into the big time, especially on the biggest makeup FX artist competition, SyFy’s Face Off.
This year, there are a handful of artists who call SoCal home, and we’re especially excited to see a few in what promises to be an incredible group of highly talented individuals, all of whom have great passion for the art of makeup effects.
Except, this twelfth season of Face Off promises to be something much different than anything they’ve done before. Instead of having each competing artists creating their looks individually, challenges will be conquered by dividing them into two competing FX design shops. This approach looks fantastic for the group that’s been put together because each contestant couldn’t have more hands-on experience in the FX world than just about any other group. (Unless you’re a returning Face Off competitor, of course.) You have individuals like Alan Tuskes who is a part of Robert Kurtzman’s Creature Corps and has worked on films like Kill Bill, It Follows, and Tusk. Laura McCormick who co-owns DeathRattle Studios and has worked on Army of Frankensteins (which is a very hard movie to watch, but has some really cool makeup effects), and is also an incredible cake artist. (Yeah, her wedding cakes make even my horror heart giddy.)
A very familiar name—or for some SoCal horror nerds, brand—Andrew Freeman, known for his high-quality monster and creatures produced by his large team at Immortal Masks will also appear this season.
The name I’m most excited about though, is Nelson Cooper. Myself and horror cohort, Troy, met him a few years ago when we thought we might check out a haunt that was really local to us, Dead Zone 805. The experience we had meeting Nelson’s family (and of course his wonderful horror family), was incredible and we not only made some cherished haunt memories, but have been more than happy to support the work Nelson and his crew have done, and hopefully bring readers a sliver of what happens when you pursue what you love doing.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Nelson, I highly encourage it (and you can check out his work in mini haunt form at this year’s Midsummer Scream in Long Beach). He’s incredibly humble about his work, and what I can’t emphasize enough is that he and his family embody where we’re coming from when we say: Scaring Together. When you check out their haunt during the Halloween season, just about every member is involved. For example, his wife, Kim, assists with makeup application and last looks (as well as managing logistics and supporting the whole DZ805 team). And, his eldest son can be found delivering creative scares that I’ve watched people screech and flee in terror from.
Recently, Nelson launched a campaign to fund a short film inspired by a drawing one of his younger sons drew, called, TIXIE.
I really can’t wait to see what this season has in store, and I think it’s going to be remarkable no matter what happens. Watching artists compete on this show, even though at times it gets tough and maybe sometimes, a little over-dramatic, but above all, it is inspiring to see artists create such intrigue and mystique before your eyes.
Even though I have my favorites, I’ll be rooting for them all and if you love FX makeup and horror, I think you should too.
You can catch Face Off’s new season tonight and every Tuesday night at 9/8c on SyFy.