Imagine the challenge that we faced when we decided to do an All-Star Fear Factor featuring all the winners from the previous season. These contestants were the best of the best, the ones who had proved that fear was obviously not a factor for them. How the hell were we ever going to shock them?
Well, it just so happened that we had one particular stunt on the backburner that was sure to scare the living daylight out of anybody: Swimming with Alligators. Just the thought of it scared the living daylight out of us, and we've seen just about everything there is to see while working on this show.
We tracked down one of the top gator wranglers in the country, a cigar-chomping tough guy who has worked with scary reptiles for more than 30 years. We kicked around a bunch of wild ideas with him and finally came up with a stunt that would put the contestants face-to-face with three live alligators in a 120 sq. ft. tank.
"In my 30 years of working with gators, I've never seen anybody do anything
like this!," said the wrangler. "And I can't imagine what it would be like
for someone who has never been near a gator before."
We couldn't imagine it either. This was going to be crazy. Without a doubt, this was the most stressful "B" stunt we've ever produced. Period.
You have to understand that this gator stunt ¬ like all of our Fear Factor stunts ¬ was not "fixed" in any way. These weren't movie gators with tape or wire wrapped around their mouths to keep their powerful choppers shut. These were real gators with mouthfuls of razor sharp teeth. And keep in mind that a typical gator has 80 teeth!
The day before the stunt, our wrangler lowered himself into the tank with the alligators to test the waters. Despite his decades of experience with gators, he couldn't believe how tough it was. His depth perception was really thrown off under the water and it was easy for a gator to sneak up behind him while he was focusing on another one in front of him.
When it came time for the contestants to try the stunt, our wrangler warned them of the dangers. He explained to them that if a gator came near them, they would have to try to tap down on its snout to send it away (with their thumbs tucked safely into their hands). If a gator chomped down on them, they were instructed to wait for rescue divers to come to their rescue. And here's the really freaky part: the rescue divers would have to bring the person out with the gator still attached and try to pry it off outside of the water.
Now do you kind of get the idea why we saved this stunt for our champions?
But that's not all. Since this is Fear Factor's grand season finale, we decided to also roll out some of those gross foods you've grown to love. The All-Star Fear Factor Buffet features one of the most disgusting line-ups of food we've ever assembled, ranging from buffalo testicles to pig rectums.
Contestants making it past the gators and the buffet finally get to take a
wild ride on top of and inside of a speeding tanker truck. You gotta see
this episode to believe it.
by Rich Brown