Bane Haunted House is an entertaining, at times disturbing yet oddly fun haunted attraction built for those who are tired of the generic haunted house scene.
Location: 630 W Mt Pleasant Ave, Livingston, NJ 07039
Bane Haunted House is a one-of-a-kind experience that embraces a philosophy of using psychology, and pure aggression to produce fear. We have planned on visiting this attraction over the past few seasons and finally had the chance to experience what is best described as a show that places the guest at the center of the haunt experience. Some haunt fans dislike isolation, some dislike physical or psychological horror, and if you fall into this category, then Bane may not be the haunt for you.
Haunted attractions typically fall into the same predefined categories, usually embracing a “traditional” model or “immersive” in design. Unique haunted attractions are rarely found, and even those of the highest quality tend to rely on a classical foundation. Bane Haunted House is unlike any other haunt and is an all-out-sensory blitz. Bane is perhaps defined as an “assembly line” or factory of fear, the sinister fusion between a “funhouse” and “haunted house” guaranteed to leave guests in a state of shock. Bane is an onslaught of constant action, and is almost completely interactive, challenging guests to complete a variety of both physical and psychological challenges. No other haunted attraction is designed like Bane, which operates akin to a well-oiled machine, pumping guests through a barrage of scenes aimed at inspiring sanity. Now it is important to preface if you attend Bane looking for a generic haunted walk-through you will be sadly disappointed. Bane is gritty, it is mature, and it does not relent in its effort to generate genuine reactions. Bane each season adds new structural changes to create an action-packed experience, featuring a barrage of scare actors that are focused on two aspects of the show, keeping guests moving, and creating fear. Each scene is dark, is not heavily decorated with the traditional props and animatronics but instead relies on sensory-based designs. From the moment each guest steps into the darkness, they quickly realize that the “attraction” itself is in control of their fate.
Bane is uniquely designed to challenge guests to confront a variety of phobias and places guests in situations that are atypical of haunted attractions. While visiting Bane, you will be separated multiple times (briefly), situated in boxes, forced to crawl and climb to escape each interactive scene. Physical challenges augmented by the endless hordes of scare actors that are both physically and psychologically aggressive create a constant sense of panic. At times we were manhandled by a variety of imposing characters while forced to be submerged into a dark, dismal world.
As mentioned previously, Bane succeeds in creating its nightmarish design without massive props or theatrical set designs, as the focus is visceral fear. There is no line-backup or bottlenecking that occurs throughout the long journey as scare actors work tirelessly to focus on everyone’s reactions adjusting the show based on personal responses. Those unfortunate is enough to show fear are then forced into the most uncomfortable of situations as they depart from their respective parties. Bane is not the haunted attraction for those who look to experience an enjoyable time with their friends, as periods of complete isolation create a constant sense of paranoia. One cannot understate the architectural design of Bane is the show’s centerpiece, its star and its scare actors are accessories to the assault. If you are not physically able or do not want to accept a borderline adult/mature themed haunt, then Bane is not for you. For those looking for a unique, interactive and at times genuinely terrifying experience, Bane is an attraction that does not disappoint.
Bane is a mature attraction, one that relies on themes that cater to serious horror fans. Guests who dare to enter Bane’s imposing attraction will be forced to “bark” like a dog, thrown down a well, attend a demonic “mass,” and climb over a “bed” while escaping a nightmare. Bane does not use “chainsaws,” generally does not rely on jump or startle scares and instead focuses on delving deep into the minds of each visitor. Overall, set and scene design is gritty, and for those who enjoy the “artistic” side of haunting, they may be expecting are a more visual experience. However, Bane does feature several innovative scenes that use visuals to disorientate and overwhelm. One specific scene that stands out is a twisted take on a dark carnival, featuring clowns that seemingly appear out of thin air as psychedelic paint and unique set lighting blind each guest. Periods of isolation and separation sometimes turn off those who like to visit haunts in larger groups, but Bane does a wonderful job at balancing this specific scare strategy.
From a performance standpoint, it is important to stress again that the “attraction” itself is the “star” so to speak and that scare actor typically does not go beyond the generic “groan” or “snarl.” Those performers who do “act’ shine in their physicality and creative yet disturbing personalities that make guests feel uncomfortable. One of the most memorable actor-driven scenes involves a visit to a “demonic” church, in which a slew of religious zealots interacts with each guest in a manner that would make one kills crawl. As one sits in “Satan’s Chair,” deep thought is placed into what will come next, and that is directly related to the quality of scare acting. Additional theatrical or character driven scenes can bring Bane to another level. Furthermore, while we appreciate the physicality of the attraction, some of the interactions felt more like cheap shots. For example, in one scene guests are spun around, then when dizzy, “pushed,” creating the illusion that they are running in fear.
Bane is a strong enough attraction on its own that it should stick to its core strengths of using physicality as a strategy to augment psychological terror. Bane at its best, excels in creating a sense of deprived hopelessness, a sense that one is at the mercy of this grim attraction.
Bane also is focused on the future, exploring innovative technologies including “Virtual Reality” based attractions that add to the guest experience. As Bane explores innovative ways to create fear, they offer a variety of off-season events, starting off with a “Purge” themed haunt this November. Innovation in attraction design ensures that each guest experiences a uniquely personal, interactive show focused solely on targeting and exploiting their innermost fears and we look forward to Bane’s continued growth and commitment to horror innovation.
Bane’s sinister design not only creates a funhouse-like atmosphere that challenges guess to “escape” the nightmares created but also uses its menacing structure to manage crowds. We have never visited a haunt that uses separation not only to create fear but to manage line back-up within the attraction itself. The attraction is structurally designed to build anticipation and use interactive challenges in a meaningful manner to generate feelings of fear, and constant paranoia. You will not see bright rooms, or fancy animatronics in this attraction, as the design is focused on creating a realistic, visceral experience. Set designs feature unique pathways through the haunt’s maze, creates a sense of helplessness and uses isolation to build from scene to scene. Bane Haunted House is psychologically exhausting, embraces physicality as a tool for generating fear and creates and uses a sensory assault to create a dark, yet fun haunted attraction experience.
If you have a specific phobia, or if you do not like an aggressive touch-based haunted attraction than it is wise to look elsewhere. For those haunt fans that want a hellacious experience that injects a dark energy into a nerve-racking, jarring funhouse, visit Bane and support their innovative attraction that still is in its relative infancy, and is growing each year by leaps and bounds.