I've had the pleasure of working with makeup and special effects artist Darla Edin on a couple of projects recently; it's been a lot of fun making her creations audible on the anthology horror feature Solitude and the macabre Roomba-gone-rogue short film Clean Cut.
Everyone who's worked with Darla knows her craft, attitude and collaborative skills are first rate. What a thrill, then, not only to cheer her on as a contestant on SyFy's creature makeup reality show Face Off, but to see her quite deservedly emerge as champion of Season 8!
The show pits contestants against each other to conceive humanoid creatures at home in the realms of horror, sci fi or fantasy. Luminaries in the field make up (as it were) a core team of judges-- augmented by guests that even I've heard of, like Rick Baker. (Holy crap, Rick Baker!) One contestant is eliminated each week; in the finale, the three remaining participants duke it out to win $100,000, a Fiat, and I believe a bunch of free high-end makeup.
Through it all, Darla worked meticulously to craft an aesthetic that eschewed "big" statements in favor of an understated, elegant simplicity. Closer examination revealed an abundance of detail and nuance, earning no end of admiration from the judges. Here's a gallery of her designs on the show:
Reality shows, of course, thrive on conflict and melodrama. But there was none of this to be had from Darla, who evinced a quiet and measured determination as she worked her way through design after design. The "Deadly Doll" challenge yielded one of her most celebrated creations of the season, an apparition I think you'll agree can be described as nothing less than chilling:
Despite the estimable talent of her competitors, Darla eventually became one of the three remaining participants slated to compete in the final round. In a surprise twist, all the previous contestants were brought back to help the remaining artists generate four characters apiece. Genres were assigned randomly. Darla was fortunate to receive Fantasy, which played to her strengths. Not surprisingly, then, her team's evocation of the "four elements" as fantasy characters made a good showing indeed. (I was especially impressed with the mushroom being representing Earth.) The judges found her team's work the strongest, and that was that. Victory!
It's always a treat to see a talented colleague rewarded for great work. It's even better when that person embodies the sort of kindness and consideration that Darla does. For the run of the series, she gathered friends and family for viewings of each episode. She was a very gracious host, and it's been a blast to share the experience and to celebrate her triumph. Here's to her further achievement and prosperity-- she's earned it. Hooray for Darla Edin!