Face Analysis Face-Off, Part the Second...
Chilean werewolves... Argentinian space aliens... and a Swedish Dracula.
In our last episode, I (in partnership with my pals Aaron and Amber) discovered how to meticulously drain the validity out of an online personality test by bombarding it for days with images of various movie monster faces. The results were mostly hilarious, but they really got me to thinking about exactly how this particular Nametests.com game – titled "Which Nationality Do You Resemble Most?" – was designed in order to determine its various outcomes.
Did the test, as hinted at in both its cover and results images, use three pinpointed target areas on a candidate's Facebook profile picture to capture the necessary information? Or was the whole thing really just a hit or miss affair, especially when none of the results made a lick of sense, except in what I would offer up as circumstances of pure coincidence. An example of this would be when Aaron's picture of Godzilla came out as Japanese, which made sense factually. But then my picture of the aliens from Invasion of the Saucer Men also came out as Japanese. The only similarity between the two photos? Both pictures seemed to have slanted eyes. So was the test also extremely racist as well?
[To read Face Analysis Face-Off, Part the First, go to https://cinema4pylon.blogspot.com/2017/05/face-analysis-face-off-part-first.html.]
Often in the full ten days or so that I goofed around with this silly test, I noticed one factor that kept getting repeated. Even though I was swapping out profile photos every single day (and sometimes even faster) while also deleting the previous photo so that it couldn't be picked up by the test again, after the fifth picture was posted and deleted, that picture kept returning from the dead. The fifth picture was of Lon Chaney, Jr. from Universal's The Wolf Man (1941). I kept swapping photos but that stubborn Wolf Man would get picked up by my next iteration of the same test even when I had moved on to other creatures, like Dracula and the Saucer Men. The Wolf Man, who was named as Italian in his original test, began to get new nationalities each time, like Chilean and Russian.
On the fourth time that the Wolf Man reappeared as the selection inside the nationality test (though still Russian that time), I began to wonder, "What if I skipped Facebook at first and went directly to the Nametests website and tried to take this test there?" And so I did a search for "face analysis nametests" to find a direct link. To a small bit of astonishment on my part (but just small), up came a list on Google of numerous tests on the Nametests site which were mostly built around facial photo analysis. The nationality test was sitting in the middle of those results, and I was moved to go in a different direction. "Hey! Let's see if I get either the Wolf Man or the Saucer Men if I click into one of those other links!"
Seriously, that was all I was thinking going forward, and I was really considering how much more of my time this little spur of the moment research was going to cost me. So, having cast aside all good judgment on my part, I clicked on the second test titled "Let's Analyze Your Face!" (which, on a different website might have a whole other meaning and pronunciation, disgusting or otherwise, depending on your particular needs).
And the result?
Sadly, it doesn't say "Wolf Man's Face Analysis" instead of my name, and I am going to dock them extra points for leaving "analysis" without a capital in the title and for dropping the apostrophe for the possessive at the beginning too. (Then again, a quick glance at the entire graphic shows that they are all over the place with capitalization.)
As to the five details in their results of "my" face analysis, it goes without saying that the Wolf Man (since it is actually his face being analyzed) often does think only of love, given his penchant for carrying off the occasional female. (You can make doggy style jokes on your own.) This might tie into his "passionate" eyes as well; even if his passion is not necessarily about love, he is certainly wound up about nearly everything in his movies. Next, it says his nose is "pretty small," but are they just counting his snout-like tip or the entire bridge as well? Taken as a whole, his nose doesn't really seem all that tiny, unless they were basing it on the itty-bitty version of his profile pic they dropped into their graphic. Fourth, if you count his ability to howl crazily like nobody's business, then you could say the Wolf Man "yells very loudly". Finally, he is the Wolf Man. He has stamina and power like few other monsters, and since he is chased by villagers quite often, he does need to be ahead of everyone else.
While I was at first disappointed that the Wolf Man was still coming up as my profile pic after having been deleted nearly a week earlier, I could not argue with the results that I got from this other random testing. The success of this test then made me wonder just how many different face analysis tests the Nametests site had on hand. And so I started to take all of the tests that had shown up on my Google search page.
Up third was a test called "What does your face analysis reveal about you?" If I worried about what would happen if my latest profile pic of the Saucer Men showed up instead on one of these tests, simply by accident but thereby negating this latest fun chain, I needn't have. When the swirly dial stopped spinning after I connected the test to Facebook, ol' Wolfie was back yet again, and here is what I saw...
Once more basing my reading of the results against the monster's known personality traits and not mine (though I am -- ahem -- all of the quite noble things listed above), we are told that Wolfie is "honest and sincere". I suppose that one could mostly say that at first about the Lawrence Talbot character before the first film's transformative bite by Bela Lugosi's gypsy character (who, by the way, looks like a normal wolf and not like a man with wolf makeup on his face and hands), but after that bite, Talbot is really not to be trusted ever again. Even in his final appearance in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, where he is pretty heroic both as man and monster from the start, he still lies to the boys (or, rather, hides the fact) about his actual identity at first (though mainly to protect himself while he attempts to save everyone from Count Dracula).
To the second point of his being "a brother and a friend," Talbot certainly serves in the Abbott and Costello film as a friend, and he returns to his ancestral home in both the original 1941 film and the 2010 version due to the death of his brother (though in the second film, he arrives home just as his missing brother's body has been discovered). As far as sensitivity goes, certainly the Talbot character is overly prone to letting his mood – whether sad or angry – affect his behavior, and while he may not have a will strong enough to prevent his transformations, he is certainly adept at fighting in any situation. The fourth point, that he is "a born guardian," is the outlier here. You could use his appearance in the Abbott and Costello film to make the case, since he is mostly attempting to protect other people from Dracula and the Frankenstein monster that the vampire wishes to revive. But his actions in the other films are all over the place, and often in increasingly evil ways, and so he really doesn't have the sort of reputation where you could say he is a consistent guardian of anything except for himself.
The fourth test on the search list was titled "Have Your Face Analyzed! Click Here!" You might think that I am being a little too OCD when pulling the title off the list, but really, when you see the graphic, it still says "Click Here!" at the top of it, even though there is no longer anything on which to click. (This proves once more how fly-by-night these operations really are.) This one drew an immediate loud fit of laughter from me when I saw the results...
Boy, these guys sure can sweet talk a wolfman! My (his) eyes are deep and my (his) smile is beautiful. Somehow, via the application of a heavy Jack Pierce makeup design which clearly show numerous lines and pockmarks, my "age by appearance" has been mysteriously halved to a youthful 26. The overall impression line at the end says that "Rik is meant for great things," which announces boldly to me that these guys really haven't got the memo about me, have they?
The next test is one called "What does your face analysis reveal?"...
Hey, everybody! I've got a pretty face! Well, pretty is as pretty does, and this is pretty damn ridiculous. It says in the text section below the graphic box that "one glance is enough to take your wonderful personality in and that's why everyone loves to be your friend". I'm sorry... isn't that called "judging a book by its cover"? And isn't that something you are usually taught not to do?
It does strike me that absolutely anyone could take these tests and not be told they look like a bucket of shit. I guess they don't want to incur a possible lawsuit if people took a face analysis test on their website and were so depressed that they killed themselves over the result. I guess they've never considered those of us who still might do the same because we are ultra-sensitive and sick to death about being lied to like this.
Of course, these tests are meant and built to be nothing but positive in their results. It's a feel good test to take on a shitty day where you need a lovely pick-me-up. Even a white supremacist asshole like Richard Spencer could come home after a hard day of inciting violence against other races and spewing his Nazi-like hatred, and maybe he has had a rough time because he got punched in the face again for just being a dick, and he feels he needs a release from the day's pressure. So, he jumps on Facebook – because he knows he will spend the next few hours on Grindr edging along to femboys with Nazi-inspired haircuts, so he wants to get the light stuff out of the way first – and he runs across the test titled "What does your face analysis reveal?"
Just for the sake of argument, let's put aside the notion that Spencer probably has a flag or symbol representing whatever his stupid ass, neolithic organization is as his profile pic, and just assume that he put up a 320 pixel squared image of his own mug. (Because, while I am hardcore about doing research, I am not about to look up Richard Spencer on Facebook.) Now, any personality test worth its salt in credibility would take a look at his face and go, "Obviously, you are a racist shit-heel with reprehensible, outmoded, and severely dangerous thoughts, and you have a perfectly vile personality to match." Arguably, the line could go on with "But your eyes are so, so pretty"; just as long as it got the racist call-out in place first. Nope, even Richard Spencer gets to have his load lightened by having it tell him exactly what came up above for the Wolf Man. And while the Wolf Man may have been a vicious, out of control killer, he was no racist. He would have bitten anybody... anybody! That is, if Universal Studios in the 1940s would have given any of those parts to anybody that wasn't white.
The sixth test reverted back to a previous title – "Let's Analyze Your Face!" – but with a far different angle to it...
Man, my eyes (or rather, the Wolf Man's eyes) do a whole lot of things. They have been variously pretty, deep, and passionate; here, they are not just "108% flirty" (like that's possible), but they also "radiate power and virtue"! Hold on there! I have a hard enough time just maintaining the flirtiness... how the hell am I supposed to radiate at the same time? That's some Cyclops-level shit there. (Though he did win Jean Grey over even though his ruby quartz sunglasses are definitely not of the flirty variety... or his optic battle visor for that matter. I guess, hanging around mutants her whole life, Jean just got into some weird dudes.) My smile is also "105% funny," which is a good deal more than TBS (who are just rated as "very" in that regard). So, I guess that I need to start my own basic cable channel.
Next up is "What does your profile picture reveal about your personality?"...
So very wordy! No bullet points this time. The second sentence reads, "You are a very goal-oriented person." Since his goal in most of the films is primarily "Get this werewolf curse removed," Talbot never really accomplishes much. It also says that "others admire you because you know well how the wind blows," which is not saying much to someone with fur all over his arms. All he has to do is hold one up in the air and figure that out pretty quickly. Finally, as for rising "like a star in the heavens," this guy already has a complex regarding the full moon; don't get him started on constellations as well.
Lastly, we have "Analyze Your Face!" Yeah, damn it! Analyze your stupid face already! You've been wasting your time with all of these other dopey face analysis tests that you totally forgot to analyze your face!
I know it is only coincidence, but the combination of my usage of a monster picture and the words at the bottom of the resulting graphic tying into Lady Gaga (who calls her fans "little monsters") was just too much for me. Regarding the information above, anyone that knows me will automatically discount the mental age of 34 years (but then again, this is based on dear Wolfie Talbot), and once more, the photo of a monster who looks considerably aged in comparison but still shears my real age by more than half is suspect. The two best points close the action. While I know that one can cut an athletic figure, and also know a great many athletes who are charismatic, I have never known charisma itself to be identified as directly athletic. "He had a charisma that was, for complete lack of a far better term, athletic." Yeah, doesn't work. Finally, there is the complete assessment at the end: "Only angels look like this." Well, maybe in dog heaven.
This was by no means an exhaustive look at the variety of utterly stupid, time-wasting tests to be found on Facebook, along with the companies that are mainly looking to capture your personal information to most likely sell to marketing firms, advertisers, etc. There are likely so many more tests to be tried, but I just kind of wore myself out doing the ones that I did, though I was delighted by the results. I will probably need to scrub my computer history pretty well after this, and will need to dig into my Facebook settings to shut down further permissions for Nametests and whoever else has hooked up to my information in this span.
Looking back on all of this fluff, especially after riffing on Richard Spencer back there, it reminds me that I had at one point considered putting up a snap of Spencer's favorite president, Agent Orange, as my profile pic. But then I really didn't want to taint my Facebook page with his mug any more than I already had after tearing him apart in my posts, nor did I want that "haven't showered for a fortnight" feeling one might get in having to pretend that Trump's picture is relatable to your own. Certainly, the results would have been possibly even more ridiculous than using swamp creatures and sea monsters instead, but those are noble cryptids that deserve our love and understanding.
I wouldn't never even apply the term "cryptid" to a demagogue anyway, so there is no comparison. Demagogues are a known lot who have been studied non-stop for decade after decade, and their worthless habits are completely known even if a massive proportion of the world still falls for their bullshit without pause every time. The only real word for their kind is simply... douchebag. And sadly, more than ever it seems they are a species that will never go extinct; they just disappear into the wild for a spell. You can't even test for it.