You might find it surprising to hear that no one has ever actually died in the making of the ridiculously disgusting reality tv show Fear Factor. This was back before Joe Rogan was really cool. But that doesn’t mean the show didn’t have some issues. I mean besides from it being totally nauseating.
There were more than a few close calls because of the show, but not all of them were from people in the show. Of course, contestants had their close ones, but that’s hardly surprising. There have been rumours about an unaired episode for years now (all because people assumed someone died on set). Even the crew have had their moments.
The most hilarious though has to do with the people who watch the show. It’s amazing what some of them good ‘ol blue-blooded Americans will do to try and make a few bucks. Either way, here are some stories of close calls that happened not only under the watch of Joe Rogan but also just by watching the show from the comfort of a couch.
15. Rat Smoothie Lawsuit
This particular close call might seem a little ridiculous. Especially when you discover that the person in question was never anywhere near the set of Fear Factor. Nope. There was an episode of the show where the contestants were given dead rats which they had to shove into blenders in order to make smoothies out of them. Then, of course, the contestants had to drink the smoothie.
A guy watching this episode said his blood pressure skyrocketed, he became ill, faint, and threw up all over. The guy then sued the show for 2.5 million dollars, alleging that they had gone too far and made him so ill that he feared for his safety. Well, of course, both the network and the judge just laughed in this guy’s face. And what did he get out of the whole thing? Nothing at all!
14. Driving Into A Parked Car
There have always been stories of people walking or riding their bikes into parked cars. It’s hilarious to watch on YouTube. But it’s a bit more of an issue when it happens on a show like Fear Factor. To be fair here the driver was only going about 20mph. But the contestant who was riding on top of the vehicle is the reason for concern. The driver claims his vision was obscured for a short time, and in that time he slammed into the back of a parked car. Amazingly the girl on top of the truck wasn’t thrown. She was in a harness but “She was transported to the hospital by an on-set EMT. We’re told she suffered no major injuries and was released from the hospital after a few hours,” says TMZ. If she had been thrown though, chances are she would’ve been released from the hospital in a body bag.
13. Babe’s Head In The Sand
This is a stunt that was done in the American version of Fear Factor but it went terribly wrong on the South African version of the show. Thankfully, this version of the show was never internationally aired. Contestants were dragged behind 4×4’s across sand dunes. The one who could stay on the longest won. Well, Lebo Babe held on a little longer than she needed to. She was to let go if she got injured, but held on to win the $42,000 for that round. According to Variety “A decision was made not to use helmets, as this could unbalance contestants and make them more vulnerable to neck injuries.” This ended up severely injuring Babe. Her head hitting the sand ended up leaving her intensely bruised, scarred, and with only half her hair left on her head.
12. A Shocking Experience
It’s pretty sad when companies who have nothing to do with Fear Factor have to start issuing warnings to the general population in order to keep them from doing completely stupid things. It’s no wonder that the Darwin Awards exist. There was an episode of the show that featured a maze covered in live electrical wires which contestants had to make their way through.
Several electrical companies began sending warnings to their customers after the show aired. Apparently, a lot of people out there are very stupid and began playing with electricity in ways that they definitely should not have. The scary thing here is that I can’t actually say for certain that no one was killed before the warnings were issued. The truth is that people die every year because of electricity. But it’s hard to pinpoint the ones who decided to try those stunts at home.
11. Joe Rogan Loses It
Now you might not take this as a close call for a fatal incident but I certainly would never want to get into a fight with Joe Rogan. In one episode, Rogan gets a little mouthy with one of the female contestants. To be fair, she did just punch another contest with full force.
So he says “Look, if you and your husband hit each other, that’s one thing. You don’t run up and hit other contestants.” In typical Rogan fashion, that line was a little testy. So, naturally, her husband got in Rogan’s face. Which was a mistake. Joe did not hesitate trying to take him down, and I think things would have turned out pretty awful for the contestant if WWE‘s The Miz wasn’t also a contestant at the time. He got in there and broke up the brawl.
10. Allergies Can Be A Bit Fishy
This incident could have been overwhelmingly severe if it wasn’t caught right away. There was a particular challenge on the show that called for contestants to dig through a dead fish to find a plastic chip. Well, one of the girls on the show started getting a burning sensation on her arms, followed by a rash. It turns out that she was allergic to the fish they were using. What makes this a close call? The very next part of the challenge was to start chomping down on some of the same seafood. If she didn’t get that initial reaction on her arms, it’s most likely the case that she would have had a massive reaction that would cause her throat to swell shut when she started eating the fish. This might seem pretty tame, but allergic reactions can hit hard and fast and can kill in a matter of minutes.
9. Internet Assumptions
There’s a member of the dvdtalk forum who goes by the name of RoQuEr. I have a feeling that if this person ever managed to land a spot on the show, they’d be toast. Why? Because of some pretty stupid assumptions, “I’m not a big fan of the show, but for even the scary stunts, I know I wouldn’t be afraid, because there is no way I’d get hurt. The same goes for all the foods. They may be gross, but I know it’s safe, otherwise, it wouldn’t be on TV.” While it is true that the specific foods chosen for the show are screened to make sure they’re safe. And there is a ton of safety equipment on set for every challenge. However, allergies can kill quickly and easily, and safety gear can fail. Assuming that because it’s on TV it’s safe is a very, very stupid assumption to make. This could certainly lead to death.
8. Near Drowning Spin-Off
There was a show that was basically a spin-off of Fear Factor (or at least a rip-off); Brooke Burns’ show Dog Eat Dog. Essentially it was a game show where contestants did incredibly stupid things. It just didn’t have Joe Rogan in it. There was a stunt on the show where contestants were held underwater to see who could hold their breath the longest. The thing is, one of the contestants didn’t give up…he just passed out. So when they were brought back to the surface he was “like a spaghetti noodle. Limp as could be,” according to Michael Corvin. It turns out that the guy suffered a certain degree of brain damage. The degree to which he suffered is uncertain, but needless to say, the show didn’t last very long on the air. It only ran one year.
7. The Bangkok Barrel Stunt
“Pop singer Vaikoon Boonthanom, 22, died from massive brain injuries on Sunday, after being hit on the head by a 20kg barrel,” reported IOL. The pop singer was an up-and-comer in the Thailand music scene. In fact, the company that was holding the Fear Factor event was the very company that signed Boonthanom in the first place. Essentially, this was the classic man rides rope to the ground while heavy barrel goes up. In cartoons, this usually ends up with the character being hit with the barrel when he lets go of the rope. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened in this case as well. Except for the fact that there was a crane operator who could have saved the singer. This same crane operator didn’t show up for questioning with police once the investigation was opened. I smell foul play.
6. Clipped By A Car
Unlike the woman who was harnessed to a truck that ran into a parked vehicle, this woman was clipped by a speeding car. She survived, but not without an intense amount of pain and some thankfully non-threatening injuries. The stunt car comes motoring down a snowy hill, and as the crew runs out of the way of the out-of-control driver, one unlucky crew member is hit in the lower back by the front left corner of the car. There may not have been an incredible amount of instant damage, but I’m willing to bet that there will be some permanent back issues for the rest of her life. And if she was only a few inches closer to the car, she could have very well ended up underneath the engine block and the wheels. Not a lot of people come back from that kind of incident.
5. This Is Why Stunt Workers Are Needed
It turns out that, no matter how safe the stunts are made for the contestants, they still have to be run by stunt performers time and again to make sure that they’re safe. Unfortunately, that means that there are stunt workers out there who really get the short end of the stick. There was a Fear Factor stunt that involved the fear of heights. And when I say heights, I mean six storeys high. Some safety equipment failed during a run of the stunt and the stunt performer running it fell from six storeys up and broke both of his ankles. You might not consider that a close call, but how many people do you know who have survived a fall from six storeys up? I’ve known people who have died falling from less than one. Lucky guy.
4. Ludacris And The New Run Of The Show
It’s great that a man named Ludacris is the new host of the new run of Fear Factor. Because the show certainly is ludicrous. Just in the first episode alone, there are a bunch of close calls. They pretty well all have to do with contestants not being able to breathe. I know that the show hones in on people’s fears but forcing contestants to go without breath is not something that should really be played around with. And that first episode was a sibling episode where brothers and sisters were given challenges to face together. Imagine if one of those siblings didn’t start breathing again after being shoved into freezing cold water under a sheet or ice, or while their head is held fast in a tank made to drown people. When you have to “struggle to find air in a tank of water in the hopes of winning $50,000” like TV Guide says…there’s a problem.
3. No Close Calls For The Animals In The Show
It’s probably not something you spend much time thinking about when you’re watching contestants submerged in 30 gallons of cow’s blood, but there were a ton of animals who were severely injured and/or killed in the making of Fear Factor. Sure, not all of you will care about this, but I’m sure PETA members really do. After all, spending all that time chowing down on live scorpions is kind of a form of animal cruelty, I’d say. It might be a bit of a cheap ploy to say that cruelty to animals makes a close call (or a serious death), but we are all animals. And just about every challenge that didn’t have to do with drowning or heights had to do with wading in the blood of animals, eating their body parts, or chomping on them whole and living. When you really think about it…Fear Factor is really a horrible show…in more ways than one.
2. Buried Alive!
Alright, so there wasn’t necessarily a close call that was focused on in this specific segment, but there is every reason why this challenge shouldn’t have been done. If anyone here has ever watched the Mythbusters episode where Jamie is buried alive, you’ll know that the weight of the dirt on the casket is enough to compromise the casket which could end up actually burying contestants in the dirt. Add to the mix the rats that were running all over them, and I’d say the showrunners were pretty lucky that no one was crushed or diseased. No matter how many safety precautions you take, physically being buried in the dirt and being covered in rats are just two things that you can’t make safe. The moment the rats were poured into the caskets, there was a prospective close call.
1. The Rotten Squid
There was a gross challenge that had to do with eating sausages. But they weren’t normal sausages by any means. One of them was filled with several types of worms and nightcrawlers. The other one was filled with fish guts and rotten squid. Now, it’s probably a shock to no one that vomit happens a lot on Fear Factor. But that’s not the point here. Sure, the guy was clearly not allergic to seafood (else they wouldn’t have had him do the challenge), but that doesn’t change the fact that he was eating rotten squid. Vomiting too much is already dangerous enough as it can cause damage to the heart and to the esophagus and mouth. But then adding to that rotten squid…who knows what sort of bacterial issues the guy could have had. Sure he threw up because it was gross…but also because he was poisoned.
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