Pop Culture | 90s

How One Game Show Basically Tried To Kill Its Contestants

I get it, okay? We all love money. Money is great. Money buys pretty, pretty things.

But how far would you REALLY go for $100,000? Would you risk your life to win some cash and be on TV?

Fox network thought you would, so they created an insanely dangerous game show called The Chamber.

Not surprisingly, the show only lasted THREE EPISODES before getting the axe. But it's still fun to look back on and see how ridiculous the challenges were.

The Premise

Contestants who wanted to submit themselves to outrageous torture in return for cash. The person playing would be strapped in a chair in a literal chamber, with their arms raised over their heads. They were adorned with medical equipment and muscle contractors and had to sign a waiver saying they're not only willing to play, but also that if they die it's not the studio's fault. Yikes.

A computer would randomly select if the contestant would be playing in the "hot" chamber or the "cold chamber." Each chamber had its own set of challenges which we'll go over in a minute.

So how exactly do you play? Great question.

Each round is one minute long. The player is asked questions while enduring the extreme measures and for every correct answer, you got $1,000. If you survive the entire minute, you get a 10 second break. If you don't last a minute, you lose half your money. Each round featured more intense conditions and the longer you lasted, the more money you won. Pretty simple.

There were medics on staff in case people needed help, if you were wondering. So REALLY, it's safe, right?

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Click through to see what each chamber's conditions consisted of!

Hot Chamber

If you were randomly selected to endure the hot chamber, this is what you had to look forward to:

  • The inside temperature would begin at 110 °F (43 °C) and increase toward a maximum of 170 °F (66 °C).
  • Flames begin to appear more furiously than the last level.
  • Muscle contractors would work at progressively greater intervals as the contest proceeded.
  • A simulated earthquake would shake the player (Richter scale 5.0 to begin, going all the way up to 9.0)
  • The chair would begin to rotate back and forth (level two), then up and down, through 270 degrees, and finally it would spin in complete circles.
  • On the last episode, foul odors would be piped in after the fourth round.
  • Wind gusts of 40 mph (64.3 k/h) joined in at level two.
  • The oxygen level in the chamber would drop each level (90% down to 70%).
  • Air cannons would blast at up to 140 mph.

Cold Chamber

  • The inside temperature would begin at 30 °F (-1 °C) and decrease toward a minimum of -20 °F (-29 °C).
  • Muscle contractors would work at progressively greater intervals as the contest proceeded (Level 4 starts its maximum interval "HIGH").
  • A simulated earthquake would shake the player (Richter scale 5.0 to begin, going all the way up to 9.5)
  • Instead of rotating, water jets would squirt the player, causing ice to form on the player. In level 2, Jets would squirt more furiously (50%), then at its maximum in Level 3.
  • Ice Storm begins at Level three (Begins at Stage 4 through 8).
  • Wind gusts of 40 mph (64.3 k/h) joined in at level three.
  • The oxygen level in the chamber would drop each level (95% down to 70%).
  • Air cannons would blast at up to 140 mph.

Lawsuit

Even though you signed a waiver, contestants obviously were't thrilled about getting tortured (though I'm not sure what they expected?) The contestants were hooked up to heart monitors and if they were deemed unfit to continue, the game was stopped. You could also stop it by yelling "STOP THE CHAMBER" but no one ever did.

One contestant, Scott Brown, won $20,000 on his episode but afterwards he was hospitalized. Brown sued Fox even though he had signed his release. It was settled out of court, and Brown received another $100,000.

Do you remember this show?

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