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MTV's Fear
A contestant crying in the dark
Format Reality Show
Created by Martin Kunert
Eric Manes
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 16
Running time 43 minutes
Original channel MTV
Picture format 480i (SDTV)

MTV's Fear was an MTV reality show in 2000, that placed a group of 5 or more contestants in an allegedly haunted location and led them on a series of dares over two nights to explore whether or not the place was haunted. The show was created by Martin Kunert and Eric Manes. The series aired the first two episodes in a pilot run, which received outstanding reviews and a full season was ordered. After eight more episodes, another season was ordered. The second season ended after 6 episodes aired. The series was not cancelled due to a lack of interest (the show was the second most popular on MTV at the time of its cancellation), but due to the high cost of producing each episode. A DVD, MTV's Inside Fear, was released in 2001.

MTV's Fear was named #6 on Entertainment Weekly's 15 Taboo Breaking TV Moments.[1]

The show brought several innovations to the reality show genre, including having contestants film their own experience as no video crew followed them into the 'haunted' locations, use of night vision cameras, and use of body mounted cameras to have contestants film their own close-ups.



Contestants were led by guides to the haunted area. They were then instructed to remove their blindfolds after a predetermined amount of time, allowing the guides to slip out unseen. The area where they are taken is known as the 'safe house', which is usually a large room somewhere within the haunted location where no hauntings are reported to have taken place. This location serves as the group's base and is the only part of the haunted location with lighting. Every member of group chooses a color at random from a predefined list. During daylight hours, the group is allowed to sleep and eat, as dares only take place at night. Once night arrives, a computer terminal will usually pick one or two colors and assign a dare. This computer also provides the group with background information about the area. A member of the group, not assigned to the current dare, provides instructions from the computer via two-way radios.

Each contestant is given the option, at any time during the dare, to abort. However, doing so will cause the contestant to forfeit their share of the winnings, and they will be required to leave the group. Another contestant will then be chosen by the computer to complete the dare. After two nights, any contestants remaining in the game will be directed to the location of their monetary prize, and each would collect $5,000 (in the pilot episode, the survivors only received $3,000 each).

The dares themselves ranged in difficulty, often starting out easy and close to the safe house, eventually getting more difficult and further from the group's base. While most relied on simple observation (radio silence, EMF Detector), some of the dares relied on specific re-enactments of haunting events, and a few even dabbled in occult or paranormal possession (Séance, Auto-Drawing, Spirit Channeling). For a complete list of dares, see Dares of MTV's Fear.


The locations shown in the show usually had their name changed to protect their location from vandals and show fanatics. However, some of the places allowed their name to be used, and some of the fans of the show used the Internet to piece together potential matches for the locations used in the show. The locations used in the show were:

Season 1

Season 2

  • Episode 1 – Mina Dos Estrellas: Pt.1
  • Episode 2 – Mina Dos Estrellas: Pt.2
  • Episode 3 – Hacienda Tabi
  • Episode 4 – Ki Sugar Mill*
  • Episode 5 – Serenity Lake Sanitorium* (Real location King Edward Sanatorium/Padova City, Tranquille, B.C., Canada)
  • Episode 6 – Boettger Brewery* (Real Location: Lemp Brewery, St. Louis, MO)

(* denotes locations where names are not the actual names of the location)


  • America's Next Top Model runner-up Mercedes Scelba-Shorte appeared on the Hopkins Military Academy episode.
  • The storytelling and camera techniques which Kunert and Manes innovated for this series became the basis for their film Voices of Iraq.
  • The reason for the two "Mina Dos Estrellas" episodes was because the entire group of contestants did not complete their dares. This was the only time fewer than two contestants managed to finish all the dares. The "Mina Dos Estrellas Part 1" episode was the only episode where every team member quit. The investigation was later completed by another group of investigators in Part 2. The "Two Stars Mine" (which is "Mina Dos Estrellas" in Spanish) in Tlalpujahua, where the episode was filmed, was the actual site of the deaths of 400 people as a result of a massive flood; the crew decided to put more emphasis on the possibility of the "nahual" than on the very powerful spiritual energy that could exist there. This is also one of the only episodes of the series in which all of what the cast is told is historically correct.
  • The St. Agnes Hospital episode, was the only episode in which the cast members were given a choice to complete a bonus dare for more money ($3,000 more). Only one cast member completed the dare.
  • Comedian and Actor J.Son Dinant appeared on the Duggan Brothers Cement Factory episode and can also be seen on the Inside FEAR DVD special.
  • Model/Singer/Dancer, Victoria Leigh was on the Mina Dos Estrellas episode.
  • "Camp Spirit Lake" is actually Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, a Boy Scout camp in New Jersey. It was also the filming location of the original Friday the 13th. The history of the site, as stated by the show, is completely fictional. The location remains an active campground, and there have been no reports of any occult activities occurring there. The stories themselves are more a collection of New Jersey urban legends than events that occurred at any one location. The closest report of any actual event happening there was around ten miles away from the site.
  • Hopkins Military Academy is actually Augusta Military Academy, and, much like "Camp Spirit Lake," all of the incidents reported in the program have no correspondence to reality. There were no reports of rituals, murders, or anything else there. Currently, it is owned and operated by a local church.
  • At West Virginia State Penitentiary, the housing of the restrooms outside in the yard near the "safe house" were partially removed because a couple of inmates were killed by having their heads smashed into the walls (as stated in a tour given on the grounds).
  • The show has been recreated in almost every aspect in VH1's Celebrity Paranormal Project.
  • The hard rock band Godsmack's song "Voodoo" was used as the theme song. For much of the second season, the song "First Day of Nowhere" by Sinisstar was used in the end credits.
  • BET's 106 & Park Host Rocsi (Raquel) appeared on the St. Agnes Hospital episode.
  • Not all of the locations are abandoned. Some of them still remain in use.
  • Holly, the Red team member in the Hopkins Military Academy episode, was later a contestant on CBS's Big Brother 5: Project DNA.
  • Andrew, the Green team member in the Buck Hills Inn episode, was later a contestant on ABC's 2008 summer reality competition I Survived a Japanese Gameshow.
  • A popular urban legend states that the series was canceled because of the death of a participant.
  • Scout and Mark from the Boettger Brewery episode were married on September 12, 2009. They began dating shortly after filming the episode.


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See also

External links



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