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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Roy Wooley, Netherworld’s lead makeup/FX man, could win Syfy’s ‘Face Off’


Roy Wooley of Tucker has a solid shot to win "Face Off," on Syfy. CREDIT: Syfy

Roy Wooley, with his cowboy hat and no-nonsense demeanor, is breezing through Syfy’s “Face Off” after four episodes, winning the last challenge. (The fifth episode airs tonight.)

Only three of the remaining eight contestants vying for the $100,000 and a Toyota Prius have stayed out of the bottom tier so far. Wooley, an FX/makeup specialist for Netherworld Haunted House, is one of them.

In fact, he won the fourth challenge last week: create a character from “Alice in Wonderland” who is becoming a mutating zombie from the “Resident Evil” films. The judges praised Wooley’s craft work for his demented Queen of Hearts, especially the way he crafted the peeling skin on her head into a crown.

Wooley, 46, said as a teenager, the film that hooked him on special effects was the 1981 horror-comedy film “An American Werewolf in London.” The image of actor David Naughton in the living room turning into a werewolf stuck with him.

After working at an embroidery company for 12 years in Jasper, he got involved with a video production company in Lilburn in the mid-1990s. Soon after, Netherworld started. Wooley began building props for them and working makeup during the busy season in the fall. The Norcross Halloween mainstay has since become one of the top rated haunted houses in the country.

After season one of “Face Off,” he put in a video submission “on a whim,” he says, for season two. But he didn’t get a call. So for this current season, he traveled to Orlando for an in-person audition, figuring he’d make more of impact face to face. It worked. He was in.

A private person who seems to shy away from drama, Wooley says to go in front of camera was “a big leap, completely getting out of my comfort zone.” But he says he focused on his work and would often forget the camera folks were there. (Yes, he bumped into them a couple of times.)

As a sci-fi geek, he says he has relished the challenges that have aired so far. The themes of the first two challenges were “Star Wars” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Wooley says his strength is his ability to do a little bit of everything, be it sculpting, fabrication, prosthetics, painting or makeup. He also works fast, a key skill in a competition like “Face Off.”  And he says he doesn’t mind taking risks. “I’m not afraid of losing. I’m willing to go out and go all out.” His philosophy: “If I get sent home, so be it. I want to show every facet of my abilities.”

Netherworld prepared him for a show like this. “Sometimes, we need a monster made overnight,” he says. “I’m used to time constraints, to knock something out.”

Billy Messina, one of the founders of Netherworld and a makeup expert in his own right, marvels at Roy’s speed and dexterity. In the early years, he’d airbrush 50 or 60 employees in an hour. “Whatever you need, you tell him and he’ll do it. It could be 6 in the morning or midnight,” he says. And Wooley’s calm, confident demeanor, he says, contrasts sharply with many creative types who have a flare for the dramatic. “He’s not judgmental or harsh,” Messina says.

Wooley, who is now in charge of about a dozen other FX workers at Netherworld, can quickly transform existing monsters into something completely new. “We love throwing stuff at Roy,” he says. “He’ll rip the head off an old monster and make a new head and turn it into an absolutely different creature.”

If Wooley wins the $100,000, he’d like to open his own FX shop. With Atlanta growing as a home for film and TV, he figures he has an opportunity to carve out a niche. As for the Prius? “I’m not really a Prius guy,” he says. (My guess: he’ll sell it.)

Already, during DragonCon a couple weeks ago, he was surprised so many fans approached him for fans and autographs. “It’s fun for the moment,” he says, of the fame of being on TV. “But I’m ready to go back to a normal life.”


“Face Off”

9 p.m. Tuesdays, Syfy

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By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

11 comments Add your comment


September 18th, 2012
10:58 am

I love this show and he seems like such a genuine guy! Was rooting for him from day 1. Go Roy!

Udder Muder

September 18th, 2012
11:44 am

All I got to say,is a big fat WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


September 18th, 2012
1:28 pm

Great article as always, Rodney! Roy is an extremely talented guy, and he is very genuinely nice! He’s gonna go far!

Team Roy Kim

September 18th, 2012
1:47 pm

Roy is an amazing person. He could be pulled every way but will still take the time to let you know you matter while you are sitting in his make up chair. Roy is a wizard with make up. He can turn you from pretty to creepy within just a few minutes. Roy always has the greatest ideas and he is a pro. He will win. Each and every week we gather around him and applaud his victories. He is loved, treasured and adored by those who have the pleasure of knowing and working with him


September 18th, 2012
7:27 pm

We are proud of Roy!!! He is what’s good about Atlanta and he represents the horror community in such a great way. We are with you Roy, all the way!!!

Team Roy Kathy

September 18th, 2012
7:30 pm

I can’t wait to see tonights episode! Go team Roy

Chris M

September 19th, 2012
10:30 am

I’m really proud of him, and he’s doing great work. Haunted attraction make up artists tend to not get as much respect as the movie guys since their work is pumped out quickly and usually seen in darkness. However, he’s showing he can hang with the big boys. I think he’ll go all the way based on what I’ve seen so far.


September 19th, 2012
11:08 am

I definitely think Roy will win, with the blonde girl in close second. Nit-pick moment: He doesn’t transform into a werewolf in the bathtub, he’s in the living room. I don’t know where that came from…!

Rodney Ho

September 19th, 2012
11:18 am

@Jenn Just a fuzzy memory!

Leah Y

September 19th, 2012
3:37 pm

omg yes he will win!!!! go roy!!! go netherworld!!!!!!!!! ^_^

[...] in action on “Face-Off,” the Syfy channel’s reality show for makeup artists. Details on that here. This is Wooley’s 15th year at Netherworld, which is celebrating its 16th year and predicts [...]