Go Behind the Scenes of ‘Floor Is Lava’

Screenshot: Netflix
Screenshot: Netflix

If you haven’t spent your summer watching people bounce off volcanic rocks and disappear into boiling pits of lava, you have been missing out on one of life’s few pleasures these days. Floor Is Lava is the big budget version of the game every kid inexplicably makes up in their own living room, jumping from footstool to couch to end table to avoid the floor full of imaginary lava. And now we get to learn some of its secrets.

The game show’s first season was released on Netflix in June and quickly became an obsession of kids (and grown-ups) everywhere. Contestants on the show are constantly face-planting (they seem fine!), slipping and sliding over lava-drenched surfaces and often — but not always — vanishing into a bubbling pit of “lava.” As Christina Marfice writes for Scary Mummy:

One big question we had while watching was whether the obstacles were actually designed to be soft — watching people on the show jump from great distances only to slam into objects with their faces had us worried. They weren’t soft, but everything was designed with safety in mind, and there were safety and first-aid crews on site at all times. Apparently, no one was seriously injured while the first season of The Floor Is Lava was filmed.

We learn lots of other tidbits about the show from this behind-the-scenes look at Floor Is Lava, including:

  • The Floor Is Lava “production village” is housed in a former IKEA store.
  • The stunt team tests out the props in an outdoor pool and is made up of people of different physical abilities so that the course will be accessible to most people.
  • The production team was inspired by video game design to create a variety of ways to move through each course.
  • Almost 2,000 towels were used each day for cleanup.
  • The lava was made by the same chemistry lab that made the venom dripping from the Xenomorph’s mouth in Alien and the ghosts’ ectoplasm in Ghostbusters.

A non-spoiler spoiler for you: They don’t tell you where the contestants who fall into the 302,833 l of lava actually go — some things are better left unknown. But don’t worry: My 9-year-old son says he’s, “pretty sure they don’t actually die.”

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