The Untold Truth Of Face Off

Face Off is one of the SyFy network's most popular unscripted reality shows. In it, a bunch of make-up artists and costume designers compete with each other — although way more civilly than in most reality shows; here the contestants are friends and even help each other out — to win the grand prize, fame, and glory. It's actually a pretty awesome show, which is why we felt it was time to tell you all about it.

It burned a woman's face

Even awesome shows have terrible underbellies, and he's one right now! See, Face Off has a lot of pyrotechnics, and a lot of paint (which is flammable, in case you didn't know). Do you see where we're going with this? A poor stunt woman's face (and other parts of her body) got consumed in a fireball of rage, horror and pain.

It was an accident, but the stunt woman insisted it could have been avoided, so she sued the show's, well, face off for creating an unsafe atmosphere. She's got a point — while we think this show should be filled with decaying flesh, burned bodies, and corpses, we don't really think any of that should be real.

They've gotten into trouble with unions

Surprisingly, this has no connection to the show attempting to make their burned face prosthetics as real as humanly possible. No, they got unions made merely by attempting to create a union.

Basically, the crew of the show was hoping to join the IATSE, a "union that represents film and TV crew members." Negotiations, however, were going slow, so the crew just walked off the set. Luckily for fans of creepy makeup and all thing latex, the Face Off strike only lasted one week before an agreement was made, allowing the crew joined the IATSE! Yay, congratulations to them! Union dues (are due on Friday) for all!

Being a model is really weird

Seriously. It's a super weird thing, and not just for the reasons you imagine (although, yes, getting paid to be covered in make-up on a reality show run by the Sharknado network is a bit weird). For instance, during their audition, the models had to pretend to be "a predator eating a body." There was actually a reason for this — since the models were going to be painted, or given costumes, to look like monsters, it was important that the models could do at least a somewhat passable impression of a monstrous beast. Hey, we never said it was a good reason, just a reason.

Although, the models aren't actually mean! In keeping with the jovial tone of the show, the models try to help out their artists any way they can, even putting on make-up and turning their bodies certain ways, so as to hide any small defects. All that's neat and stuff, but the best thing to visualize is them eating. See, when the models break for lunch, there's not enough time for them to take everything off. So the models eat in their costumes, but so to not mess up the make-up, they use mirrors. This means the models stare at themselves — designed to look like monstrous beings — while attempting to shove french fries in their mouths. And they get paid to do it! Meanwhile, minus the mirror and sometimes the costumes, we do that for free!

One of the models was on the Amazing Race

One of the show's models has the somewhat unique honor of previously having appeared on a reality show. Although there, she wasn't working as an assistant to the competitor — she was the competitor.

Model Isabelle Du competed on the 25th season of The Amazing Race with her boyfriend Dennis. The duo only lasted until the second week before being cut, their race ending early near the birthplace of Winston Churchill. Aw, sad. But again, she was a freaking working model who had travelled all over the world, so it's not like this was her only shot to see the rest of the Earth. And now she works bringing to life otherwordly creatures like aliens and, uhh ... underwater aliens? Look, there's a reason we just watch the show and don't star in it.

The judges are all awesome makeup and costumers

Face Off doesn't hire a group of people who have done approximately zero things of note and are simply there to harshly judge the contestants whose every mistake is better than anything the judge ever tried. Nope — these guys are all professional makeup and costume people, so they know damn well what they're talking about and what they're judging.

While you may not have heard of the judges, you've definitely heard of the awesome things they've worked on (all of which we're going to have to go watch again, because it's all awesome): X-Files. The Prestige. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Beetlejuice. Mrs. Doubtfire. Avatar. Planet of the Apes. Cloverfield. Pirates of the Caribbean. One of the judges has an Oscar and nine Emmys. One of them designed Lady Gaga's clothing! There are also guest judges who come from all over the place — The Walking Dead, for instance. Say what you will about that show's stagnant plot — there's nothing stagnant about how creepy they make those Walkers look.

A lot of them have been trained through a Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead) class

For those of you who don't know who Tom Savini is, our hearts are breaking. Go back to Halloween Horror School and rewatch all of the best horror movies ever made — Dawn of the Dead, Creepshow, From Dusk Til Dawn, Planet Terror. He's the one behind the make-up for all of them. He occasionally stars in the films too! He was one of the gang members that storm the mall in Dawn of the Dead. And, remember the dude who had a gun for a penis in From Dusk Til Dawn? Yeah, that was him! Who wouldn't want to play a character like that?

Savini is basically one of the best horror makeup designers alive. And because he's so awesome, he has an entire school where he teaches others how to do movie makeup and design. Guess where roughly a ton of the contestants on Face Off hail from? Yep! Tom Savini's school. It makes sense, as he's one of the best in the business, and the show is for the best of the best. But they still have to earn their way to penis-gun status — it's not just given out.

They have WAY less time than professionals

Obviously, Face Off has a somewhat compressed time-frame, being a reality show. But you might not realize how huge the difference is between the time the contestants have, and how long professional designers working on actual movies have.

For instance, in one episode the contestants had to design and create an entire cyborg creature, in around the amount of time it takes you to binge-watch the first season. One of the guest judges was Gale Anne Hurd, producer of The Terminator, who said that when they were first making that film, it took them about a month to design and make the creatures. Another judge commented that even on ultra low-budget films, the designers weren't done over two days.

Oh, and another thing that proves the contestants are basically the coolest and best at their jobs? Most production companies have multiple people applying the make-up, and then another group who designs it. However, on Face Off, the contestants do all of that, by themselves, in hours. Basically, see what they can do in a few hours, and then imagine what they could do with Terminator time.

Unlike other shows, the contestants actually go on to have success in their field

With many competition shows, the contestants — to put it lightly — probably won't amount to much because they're ultimately good at being judged and ... that's it. But the contestants on Face Off are different. They're actually skilled, and they know what they're doing. Of course, it helps that their skill is something actually needed, as opposed to American Ninja Warrior, whose only meaningful contribution to society might be to rescue cats from trees.

The contestants have gone on to dozens of awesome projects, like The Amazing Spider-Man movies, Oz the Great and Powerful, the Hunger Games movies, the Vampire Diaries, Thor, TRON, American Horror Story, Dallas, Hansel & Gretel, Jack Reacher, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit, Snow White & The Huntsman, Man of Steel, Sharknado (like, duh, it's SyFy) and even whatever Britney Spears is up to these days! We mant it when said if they could succeed with no time window, they could excel with all the time in the world.

It was accused of stealing its concept

SyFy apparently decided the idea behind Face off was so good, they had to have it for themselves, even if they didn't come up with it. That is, according to a lawsuit brought by Results Group production who accused them of stealing the show from a pitch meeting about a make-up reality show, anyway.

Supposedly the show — even its name — was ripped off from this pitch. The pitched show had challenges, a sales pitch, and even included a female host and three experienced judges. NBC (who owns SyFy) rejected it, saying this wasn't a direction they wanted to go in. In reality, they were apparently thinking, "Uh, nuh uh, we were going to do it before you said that, sooo ... nannie nannie poo poo," and then turned right around and made the show themselves.

Of course, if true, it's a little silly for SyFy to have stolen this idea from one group and then give it to another group and then pay the other group for the idea. Wouldn't they just pay the first group? We don't know, we're not lawyers.

The entire thing might be faked

The awesomely-named documentary Frankenface alleges that the show we love so very, very much is almost entirely bogus. Which if true, gives us such a sad face.

According to Frankenface, contracts involved signing over the rights to your work, that the winner is picked from the beginning, and that when the maker of the documentary attempted to come out about it, the show filed a restraining order against him. Of course, that's not quite as bad as literally chasing him for four miles, or withholding his medication. Like we said, such a :(

The story this documentary paints is a messed-up horror show that "proves" Face Off is more horrifying as the movie monsters it pretends to create. Now, we're not here to verify the veracity of the documentary — we'll let you decide. See, the documentary is available in its entirety, legally, online, right here. Watch it if you dare. If nothing else, it'll cure you of any weird inclination you might have to run anywhere.