The Absolute Worst Challenges On Fear Factor

Fear Factor was, ostensibly, about facing your fears along with a partner in order to win cold, hard cash. In practice, the show was more about what kind of bizarre and horrifying things the show's producers could convince contestants to actually try.

For a total of nine seasons, across two separate reboot attempts, people sat in tubs full of snakes, climbed really tall things, or got stuck in enclosed spaces to try to conquer their personal fears. Watching from home, it's easy to say you'd totally do the stuff you saw others struggling to do, especially if money was on the line, but the fact of the matter is you don't know 100 percent unless you're there in the moment.

The following people went above and beyond, though, and participated in some truly horrible challenges. These are the people doing stuff you would say "no way" to, and we salute them.

Eating a blended rat on Fear Factor

It's something straight out of a nightmare episode of Will it Blend? In episode nine of season five, titled "100th Episode: New York," participants were given a series of New York-themed challenges. While you might think this meant standing on the edges of skyscrapers, licking any surface anywhere in the city, or possibly traipsing around with the mythical alligators in the sewer, one actual challenge was far worse than any of those.

What's more New York than anything? Rats. The show had already done challenges with rats at this point, though. What could they possibly do to top those? How about taking a rat, tossing it in a blender, and making the contestants drink the results? In the slightest possible bit of mercy, the rats were already dead, so at least there's that. However, they are completely uncooked, so it's not even just a blended rat, but a raw one to boot.

But not only did players willingly consume a liquefied rat, they seemed relatively unfazed about doing it, too. Maybe if you can't really tell it was originally a rat, it's not so bad? Of course, the loser of the challenge immediately turns around, grabs a trash can, and loses her lunch after the winner is announced, so maybe that isn't the case either.

Shoveling roadkill, then eating it

Shoveling animals off the road isn't glamorous, and is frankly gross enough on its own, but Fear Factor found a way to make it even worse. In season five, episode two, contestants needed to use a shovel to fling roadkill onto a target painted on the ground. Depending on how accurate they were, they then had to eat a large portion, small portion, or, if they hit the bullseye, no portion of the critter they just tossed.

One contestant immediately says no thanks and walks away after noting the large portion of shapeless, colorless goop she received is "cold," which is pretty understandable, honestly. It's not even completely clear what these animals actually are. The second contestant also receives a large portion and, eating it with her hands, is constantly gagging. That, too, is a completely understandable reaction to this challenge. She does actually manage to get it down, though, so good for her?

What's really striking about this one is it's not clear if the producers did anything whatsoever to ensure the animals were free of disease or parasites. The portions do have maggots and flies crawling on them, that much is visible. Even with a signed waiver from the contestants, eating roadkill seems like a horrible disease just waiting to happen.

Drinking the fluid of cow eyes

You know how your eye is full of fluid? For the record, that's called vitreous fluid, or vitreous humor, just in case you ever need that fact at a party. Also, it's more like a jelly instead of a liquid, as it contains bits of other substances like collagen, too, according to Healthline. But humans aren't the only ones who have it. Basically any animal that has eyes that work like ours do as well.

And that's where Fear Factor comes in. In season four, episode three, in a segment titled "Cow Eye Juice," players were tasked with picking up cow eyes with their teeth. That's pretty messed up. Then they had to pop the eye, still with their teeth, into a glass. That's really messed up. Finally, when the glass was full, contestants were required to drink it all down.

While that's horrible enough on its own, for some reason the cow vitreous fluid is black instead of clear like ours. It's not clear if this is normal or due to some sort of decay, but either way, yuck. A contestant describes the taste as "salty, like dirt water," and there's just no part of this whole challenge that isn't absolutely repulsive on every conceivable level.

Dunking your head in 50 gallons of cow's blood

In horror movies, the amount of fake blood used is sort of a badge of honor. The more fake blood you use, the more gruesome your movie is. Of course, once you get beyond so many gallons, it's hard to visualize and just becomes an arbitrary number. But how about 50 gallons? That's pretty easy to wrap your head around. Just imagine 50 milk jugs.

So imagine 50 gallons of blood in a clear tub. Except it's not fake blood, but actual cow's blood, and you have to dunk your head in it to bob for rings. In episode 18 of season three, appropriately titled "All Gross," this is exactly what Fear Factor challenged its players to do. Even looking at the tub full of blood is gross, but dunking your head in it? Blech. Keep in mind, since it's blood, contestants can't see anything through it, like they could with water.

You can even see some of the blood on top forming a kind of skin of coagulation. One of the contestants, frustrated he can't grab the rings, begins screaming and actually slams his fist into the blood, sending it flying everywhere. Even worse, he didn't get any rings at all, making the whole effort pointless.

Milking a goat... with your mouth

In "Semi Finals: Part 1," episode 25 of season three, players were given a challenge that, on the surface, doesn't even seem that bad. They have to milk a goat and drink the milk. People drink goat milk all over the world. It's maybe a little uncomfortable if you've never had it, but it's more $5 dare territory than something that would win you a $50,000 TV show prize.

But of course, that's not all. This is Fear Factor. Players can't milk the goats with their hands, that would be too easy. They must milk their goat by sucking it straight out of the goat, just like a little baby goat, and spitting it into a glass, then drinking it only once it's full.

This one is unusual even for Fear Factor, because each part of the challenge isn't horrible on its own. It's only when the three are added together the weird ick factor emerges. Baby goats drink straight from momma goats, so that part's not so weird. Spitting stuff into a glass and then drinking it is gross, but not dealbreaker gross. Drinking raw goat milk isn't even unheard of. But for some reason, all three of those things in a single challenge seems udder-ly disgusting.

Chewing on intestines for fun and profit on Fear Factor

Fear Factor regularly challenged contestants to do horrifying things for some sweet greenbacks, but on a very few occasions, the show truly went above and beyond and came up with a challenge so putrid, it's hard to believe anyone would actually do it for any amount of money.

This was the case in a segment called "Intestine Chew, Milk, and Chug" in episode 22 of season four. That name should clue you in to how gross this is going to get. First, players are covered with cow intestines. Already, this is foul, but it gets so much worse. Players then had to bite into the intestines with their teeth and squeeze the intestinal fluid into a glass. They were allowed to use their hands for this, thankfully.

Once the glass was full, the players then had to chug it down, which honestly sounds like a recipe for never eating or drinking anything ever again because drinking intestinal fluid would be so seared into your memory. It's obvious the intestines are rubbery and hard to chew through, and the resulting mess looks like a horrible glass of curdled eggnog. There's nothing good about this whatsoever, and if aliens ever met us, they would see this and immediately want us destroyed for our own good.

Chowing down on horse rectum

Horses are our friends. They're majestic and somehow okay with us riding them. In fact, most cultures throughout the world have tacitly agreed not to eat horse because horses are straight bros. In episode 12 of Fear Factor's third season, though, this taboo was broken when contestants participated in a stunt simply called "Horse Rectum."

In this challenge, contestants play a game of horseshoes. If you're not familiar with the game, basically there's a little pole in the ground and you toss horseshoes at it. Sort of like darts, the closer you get to the center, the better you do. In this case, though, it determines how much raw horse rectum the contestants must eat, measured in inches. The first contestant, Nicole, must eat 13 inches of digestive system, while the second, Holly, is burdened with 14 inches. Oh, and there are horses all around them, too, which ensures they can't forget just what they're eating.

Perhaps most depressing of all is when Holly is unable to finish her length of horse guts, she's very close to the end of her horrible nightmare, prompting host Joe Rogan to plainly state, "You ate 12 inches for nothing." Ouch. Eating a foot of horse rectum and not even winning anything must be one of the worst feelings ever.

The champagne of worms

When you think of traditional wine-making, you probably think of someone with a tub of grapes, stomping them with their bare feet to extract the juice which will eventually become delicious wine that someone pays way too much for at a fancy restaurant. In a highly automated world, it's nice some people still do things the old-fashioned way. 

So leave it to Fear Factor to make that disturbing. In season four, episode 20, contestants participated in a challenge called "Worm Wine," and yes, it's exactly what you think. Instead of a tub of grapes, it's filled with nightcrawlers, which they must stomp. And, of course, they then have to drink whatever comes out, but at least they get to be classy and drink it out of a lovely wine glass.

The stomping produces a thick, brackish liquid that could almost be mistaken for red wine except it's brown. Chunks of worm do end up in the glass as well, which sounds just plain awful. Contestant Molly is a trooper, though, and tips the whole thing back, chugging it quickly. Of course, opening the wine up and letting it breathe a little or whatever wine enthusiasts do would also mean having time to think about what you're drinking, so chugging it is a great strategy.

The sheep are watching on Fear Factor

There are few things more innocent than sheep. Throughout history, sheep have been used to symbolize purity and wholesomeness. They're beautiful fluff balls who can lend us said fluff so we can make coats and in return they get food, water, and the chance to star in viral internet videos.

So leave it to Fear Factor to make that terrible. In one of the show's early episodes, the seventh of the first season, contestants were presented with a pretty simple challenge, overall. You can tell it's early days for the show, because the players just sit around together on a set and are asked to do nothing more than eat three sheep eyeballs. In any other context that would be mortifying, but considering this show, that's way less complicated than it could have been. They have three minutes to eat the eyes, which is a whole minute per eyeball. Easy, right?

But there are two hitches. First, the eyes apparently taste and smell horrible. One player describes them as smelling like sewage, and none of them can eat one with a straight face. The second hitch is a more philosophical one. The set, modeled like a barn, also has a few sheep standing around, and the contestants note that the sheep are watching them perform this crime against sheepdom.

A zombie's delight

It seems at least one of Fear Factor's producers just really did not like cows. Sure, cow by-products are easy to come by due to the sheer number slaughtered every day, but like, there are other animals too. A hatred of cows is the only explanation for why so many of the show's challenges throughout the years featured contestants digging through bovine remains in order to progress.

Take, for instance, episode 18 of the show's fourth season, in a segment titled "Brain Surgery." In it, contestants must dig through a table covered in cow brains for 10 small, yellow discs. And they have to do it with only their mouths. And there's more cow brains and spinal fluid pouring onto them the whole time, as if the table full of brains weren't bad enough already.

Some sort of deep dislike of cows aside, this particular challenge is just over-the-top brutal. Fear Factor wasn't shy about making contestants do foul things in the name of cash, but this one piles misery on top of misery, both literally and metaphorically. Sorting through cow brains with your mouth would be bad enough, as would being covered in spinal fluid, but both of those together is just kinda cruel, both for the cows and for the players themselves.

Fun with leeches on Fear Factor

Leeches are like nature's confetti, said no one ever. Most people aren't fine with tiny worms stealing their blood, or having their blood stolen at all, for that matter. So a leech-related challenge on Fear Factor's season seven, episode seven, isn't all that shocking. It's pretty much a no-brainer for the show. Humans have a natural revulsion to them, for obvious reasons. Except for doctors in the Middle Ages, though. Those guys loved some leeches.

In the challenge, scantily-clad female teammates (gotta get that coveted single-dude-watching-TV-alone demographic) must lay in a bathtub full of leeches for 30 seconds. Then, they emerge from the tub, covered in the leeches, naturally, and a partner then must suck 30 of those leeches off their bodies and spit them out into a glass container. That's not all, though, because then both team members must eat 10 of the leeches apiece. Oh boy. Eating leeches is probably not recommended by, well, anyone, but least of all medical professionals.

Things take a sharper turn for the skin-crawling when one of the contestants complains of something stuck in his throat after passing the challenge. He grabs a bucket and coughs up one of the still living leeches, which stuck to the inside of his throat, along with a glob of blood. Eeesh.

It really wakes you up

You may be someone who is completely nonfunctional each day until you've had your coffee. That's fair; getting out of bed is hard work and we all need all the help we can get. Enjoy that roasted bean water. Describing it that way makes it sound a little gross, but not nearly as gross as Fear Factor's "Tall Crappaccino," seen in season seven, episode three.

Instead of fragrant, aromatic coffee beans and whatever add-ins you like to throw in there, the Tall Crappaccino is made primarily of one ingredient: bugs. There's no shortage of Fear Factor challenges that involve consuming bugs, but this one is unique because it's basically a bunch of bugs all in one. Stink bugs, flies, and tomato hornworms are combined into a blend that is presumably also aromatic, but probably not in a way that anyone would enjoy.

And of course, there's always another angle. On top of the insect puree, each contestant receives a randomly chosen topping of whole, non-blended, and still-living stink bugs, flies, or tomato hornworms. The resulting concoction is just as vile as you'd expect, and at the last second, host Joe Rogan informs them that it's "two-for-one day" — they have to drink two of them, back-to-back. This cafe has health code violation written all over it.

Just wanna fly

We've all had an annoying fly buzzing around. You swat them away, but they come right back. They might try to fly up your nose or into your mouth. Blech. But imagine being surrounded by flies. Oh, and you can't swat them away, because you're in a plexiglass box that only covers your head, and you have to try to grab marshmallows hanging by strings nearby with your mouth. This is what happened on season two, episode seven of Fear Factor's short-lived MTV reboot, hosted by Ludacris instead of Joe Rogan.

The segment, titled "House of Flies," involved contestants with their heads in a plexiglass box, marshmallows on strings, and a bunch of flies. All of that wasn't a hypothetical. According to Ludacris, it's precisely 300,000 flies. And while it doesn't necessarily make things grosser, it certainly does make things uncomfortable: Each of the teams is made up of a pair of exes, who now have to work together getting those fly-laden marshmallows.

Just in case there was any doubt, the contestants confirmed that the flies made their way into all of their facial orifices, including their mouths while they tried to chew. Just think of it as a really awful s'more. What do you mean that didn't help?