Reality-TV fans, do you watch Fear Factor and daydream about degrading yourself by free-falling from high places, swimming in crawly critters and eating mushy atrocities just like the contestants on the television series? Well, you needn't relegate those lofty goals to your fantasies any longer. All you have to do is go down to Universal Studios theme parks in Hollywood, Calif. and Orlando, Fla., and participate in Fear Factor Live.
"We're 125 episodes into [the series], going into our sixth season. We're the first reality show to be syndicated. But for me, this is the icing on the cake, to become a theme park attraction," Fear Factor creator Matt Kunitz tells TVGuide.com. "It's a little boy's dream to come and see my baby there!
"This attraction reflects what the TV show is, from wild stunts to eating gross things," he adds. "But unlike our show, where you're competing to win $50,000, you do Fear Factor Live just for pride and your 15 minutes of fame in front of about 1800 people at the theme park."
Among the terrors Fear fans are enduring is "a stunt where we drop live scorpions on their heads," Kunitz says. "They're just nasty, big critters. They are actually poisonous. They're not deadly, but they do have some poison in them."
Yikes! Isn't that, well, dangerous? "We take many precautions and we're confident in the safety of the stunt. I always say it's Fear Factor, not Fun Factor, so I can't promise that someone won't get stung."
For the edible gross-out portion of the experience, Kunitz offers his guests the opportunity to consume a genuine, bona fide "Fear Factor shake," which consists of "rotten fish, worms, bugs, some surprise meat and other horrible ingredients. We worked on making it as nasty as possible."
No doubt Kunitz and his team have also worked with lawyers to keep disgruntled theme-park tourists from suing after having second thoughts about participating in these Fear-ful high jinks. "Yes, just like on our show, the contestants do have to sign a release," Kunitz chuckles. "Don't even complain! In Season 1, we had sympathy for people, but now, unless you've been living under a rock, you know what Fear Factor is.
"What's funny is, if The Amazing Race does stuff like this, it's quality, Emmy award-winning stuff," Kunitz adds. "If we do it, it's the end of Western civilization."