Location: 2 Brighton Ave, Passaic, NJ 07055
Brighton Asylum is a museum of horror, a work of “haunt art” that is so intricately detailed it is almost easy to get lost in the moment, as set designs, interactive scenes, and special effects go above and beyond what is expected in traditional haunted attractions. Every single hallway, corridor, and scene is a work of art, creating environments that are transformative in nature, placing guests in the center of movie-quality environments and at the mercy at talented scare-actors who act within the context of each scene. Over the past three years, Brighton Asylum has poured countless resources into developing a world-class destination haunt that has scenes and sets, unlike any other attraction.
Brighton Asylum is home to three attractions; “The Tunnel,” and the core haunt “Brighton Asylum.” Upstairs is a brand-new attraction “The Bleeding Grounds” and Brighton Asylum hosts a variety of “escape rooms”. Each attraction is stylistically unique yet boasts incredible scene and set designs that transform the grim warehouse into interactive horror theater. Brighton Asylum is an intense, creative show that does not cut corners regarding scene development and use of budget intensive special effects as well as interactive scenes. Each season the attraction reinvents itself, growing each season, and finding innovative ways to target the fears of a diverse customer base. Mainstream media exposure on the “Today Show,” “Cake Boss” and visits from celebrities such as James Franco, has put Brighton Asylum on the map and each season commitment to excellence ensures a new exciting show.
Brighton Asylum is an artistic masterpiece which each season has moved in a direction defined as a surreal tribute to horror. While maintaining a core “asylum” themed focus, Brighton Asylum focuses on creating imagery that encompasses a variety of horror themes. Brighton Asylum features two full length haunted attractions boasting fantastic budget busting scene designs that transform the entire atmosphere. It is easy to become lost in the visual experience that is the Brighton Asylum as the attractions have evolved into living breathing horror-inspired art. Many haunted attractions feature professionally done press images that typically not representative of the actual show. However, at Brighton Asylum this is far from the case as the intense detail of each scene brings photogenic realism that defies expectations. Each scene, from the immersive set designs to fantastic scare acting is representative of the often-overused cliché’ “a horror movie come to life,” a genuinely impressive attraction that has achieved excellence in artistic design. In fact, the photographs featured in this review were taken during the actual operation of the show, again indicating the high-quality presentation and artistic excellence of this attraction.
Despite a massive crowd, Brighton Asylum has focused efforts on keeping groups small, and for the most part preventing line-backup within the attraction. It is easy to become lost in a merely watching the talented scare actors play out their horrific roles upon some of the most detailed backdrops one will ever see in a haunted attraction. Every single season, Brighton Asylum raises the bar regarding creative scene design and innovative use of technology, finding innovative ways to surprise and entertain each guest.
While Brighton Asylum’s design and artistic design exceeds most haunted attractions, it is important to note that extensive effort is placed into developing talented “scare-actors,” and maintaining a professional staff. Scare acting is an art mastered by few haunted attractions and in most of the attractions visited, very rarely do we encounter actual “actor.” Brighton Asylum’s actors are genuinely talented, and each actor immerses themselves in their respective “characters.” First-class make-up and costume designs coupled with an ability to modify performances based on personal reactions is a hallmark of quality scare-acting, and another reason why Brighton Asylum is a must visit entertainment event!
“The Tunnel” attraction is a journey “below” the asylum, featuring endless catacombs and steampunk inspired scenes of horror. “The Tunnel” is an isolated experience and a journey which builds anticipation and invoke a sense of paranoia. Fear of the unknown is a powerful tool employed by this attraction and “The Tunnel” is more cerebral regarding fear than its counterpart the “Brighton Asylum.” “The Tunnel” typically always felt almost like an unnecessary addition to “Brighton Asylum” and despite its detailed set designs lacked in energy. This season “The Tunnel” has received extensive upgrades with a mind-blowing start that injects a renewed sense of life into this attraction. Without spoiling the experience, “The Tunnel” features an opening, interactive simulation, a trip through the “decontamination” unit, that is breathtaking. Following this experience, a trip down the “elevator” shaft features a scare-actress that is genuinely creepy, creating an up close and personal experience set the tone for a revamped “Tunnel” attraction. Once in the actual “Tunnel “system, most of the attraction is similar in design to last year’s show, but actor pacing has vastly improved. Despite the massive crowd we never encountered any other group along the journey. Scare actors roam and create insanity around each corner, and a variety of different thematic scenes featured cover a wide array of horror genres.
“Brighton Asylum” is the centerpiece attraction, an extensive journey that has grown each season to become one of the strongest theatrical, and interactive haunts ever visited. Extensive upgrades to the entire attraction have been undertaken to create an experience that is photogenic, a tribute to the horror genre. “Brighton Asylum’s” design is above and beyond most haunted attractions, and the meticulous attention to detail reflects in an adventure that is truly a spectacle. “Brighton Asylum” creates a theatrical presentation, and scare actors are at their best during this attraction. Perhaps the strongest “scare-actors” are featured in “Brighton Asylum” from a disturbing monster guarding a bridge to a hillbilly shack to an insane yet hilarious escaped intimate who entertained the crowd prior to entry, each actor develops into defined characters who interact with their scenes and each guest that passes through the asylum in unique ways.
Authenticity and a budget intensive show is the best way to describe the incredible scenes and designs, with nonstop special effects enhanced by interactive scenes and lighting which creates an environment of artistic horror excellence. “Brighton Asylum” features rooms that become a part of the show themselves, forcing guests to interact with the talented scare actors and high impact animatronics. Careful planning and construction of each set ensure that the attraction never has a moment to disappoint and aggressive scare actors use their scenes to depict unique characters. Extreme attention is placed into managing lines within the attraction and even on the most crowded of nights, it is rare to encounter another group.
The Bleeding Grounds
“The Bleeding Grounds” is the newest attraction featured at Brighton Asylum and a stark departure from its downstairs counterparts, embracing an unexpected yet welcome theme of a “Victorian” era haunted house bathed in a sinister tone. Entering down a long hallway a very “hands-on” twisted “Doctor” creates a sense of anticipation as the name “The Bleeding Grounds” at first thought conveys a gory, violent experience. Now of course “gore” is present in heaps, in this attraction but “The Bleeding Grounds” goes beyond expectations and is far more intelligent in its design than we anticipated. As we cautiously explored the attraction, our initial thought that this would be an all-out blood show, was mistaken and we immediately felt was a sense that this was a “haunted mansion” like experience. “The Bleeding Grounds” is a mature, gritty at times a mature take on the “classical” haunted house style attraction boasting mind-blowing special effects, maze-like rooms, and interactive scare-actors that each tells a chilling story. Scenes of violence and the macabre (such as a scare-actor-who takes great pleasure in ripping the teeth out of a helpless victim) are enhanced by rooms that have traditional jump scares, libraries, haunted bedrooms among others that inject a bit of fantasy into the experience. “The Bleeding Grounds” features numerous special effects enhanced rooms, for example using 3D video to simulate a stormy night, and a variety of hidden props allowing actors to appear out of nowhere. Taking inspiration from perhaps Disney’s Haunted Mansion, the Victorian style accentuates the moments of sheer violence and gore. It was completely unsettling to watch a demented killer ask us to help him dismember a helpless victim all set upon the backdrop of a chilling yet strangely engaging experience.
Brighton Asylum’s photogenic realism is a selling point on why you should visit an attraction that genuinely strives to outdo itself each season. Promotional imagery and videos often you see online are on display, and Brighton Asylum strives for excellence. False advertisement and hype images are the norms in the haunt industry, and one cannot stress the level of detail and creativity placed into each scene and how talented each actor is at performing their specific characters. “The Bleeding Grounds” adds a whole new dimension to the entire experience, by incorporating a mature take on a “classical” haunted house, and left us not only surprised but thoroughly impressed by its style and substance.
Brighton Asylum is a spectacle haunt that hosts a variety of themed events and off-season attractions throughout the year each which warrant a visit. Events such as “Santa’s Slay” and “Dark Valentine” allow haunt lovers the chance to celebrate their passion for fear throughout the year. Furthermore, for those who are looking for a more “extreme” or immersive show, Brighton Asylum hosts a variety of “ Slasher Thursday Events” throughout the season.
Brighton Asylum pushes the boundaries in terms of scenic and special effect design. One of the more unique effects utilized in both “Brighton Asylum” and “Bleeding Grounds” attractions is the use of “floor sets”, that place actors beneath your feet. Adding an additional level of surprise and at times a sense of insanity, guests are bombarded by action from above and below their frame of view. An emphasis on “scenic” quality can also be felt throughout the attraction as each set is designed to generate genuine emotions and reactions. Many haunted attractions have professional photo-shoots and press-kits generated that in the end fall way short of reality. However, when you see a scene at Brighton Asylum it is exactly what is advertised. An insane intention to detail and constant emphasis on ensuring actors “reset” and are in their proper sets ensures each guest receives the best show possible. Visually striking, interactive and at times unsettling and horrifying, we look forward to visiting Brighton Asylum again for “Santa’s Slay!” Whether you are terrified or left in awe, Brighton Asylum spares no expense at providing a world-class show, focusing on professionalism, and production excellence.