A “museum of horror and terror,” a must see, genuine spectacle Brighton Asylum (Passaic, New Jersey) has evolved into multiple attractions and events that transform an industrial complex into the closest “scream-park” you can find inside an urban setting. One of the most richly detailed haunted attractions one can imagine, every single scene of horror is brought to life with interactive props, world-class sound, lighting, and special effects, and performers that are not only talented but again receive the “big-budget” glitz that allows them to shine. An interactive experience, Brighton Asylum is designed for guests to be “involved” in the show, challenging guests to confront disturbing moments where you have to move dead bodies, the entrails of those slaughtered, and escape from “padded” rooms that move and disorientate. Not enough can be said about the level of detail and creativity placed into each scene. Quality acting performances that embrace dark humor, aggression, and madness add depth to an attraction that heavily relies on atmosphere and thematic excellence.
While many haunts make minor upgrades or tweaks to their attractions, Brighton Asylum goes all out in its effort to create a new, upgraded show every season (this year improving its “subway” scene and adding an entirely new “biocontainment area” to the asylum for example). Perhaps no other haunted attraction has poured its resources, passion, and heart into creating a “move quality” experience that transcends one’s expectations of typical haunted attractions.
The production values of Brighton Asylum are breathtaking, as the design team and management have taken scene creation to a new level. Set within the confines of a large industrial complex, Brighton Asylum transforms each corridor and room into a nightmarish scene, with incredible special effects, intricately detailed rooms, professional lighting, and sound effects that create an immersive experience of the highest quality. Very few attractions have a level of detail that causes us to completely stop and want to explore each room. Obsessive attention to detail makes this attraction stand out. Even the most minor details in each room tell a different story, from “crayon” drawings created by the “insane” on the walls to some of the most lifelike gory props in the industry; each element is carefully planned and implemented to stun the senses and bring to life realistic scenes that transform the entire environment.
An intense level of detail and appreciation for the artistic design is clearly visible in all attractions and extra events such as “ax-throwing” and various photo opportunities. Innovation and commitment to building a better show is the primary goal each season. A “museum of horror” while many haunts rely on pitch darkness and blinding lights to create fear, Brighton Asylum is designed so guests can see and feel the gruesome details of every single scene, and rooms themselves are often “interactive.” Scare performers, while not as interactive as previous seasons due to pandemic safety operations, engage guests with energy, feature impressive make-up and costume designs, and ensures guests “believe” in the chaos they are immersed in
Brighton Asylum, set in an industrial complex in Passaic, New Jersey, is an indoor walk-through attraction featuring three separate haunts completed sequentially. The first two attractions are separated into two “haunts”; guests start their adventure in the innovative underground “PORT9L” attraction before entering the “Brighton Asylum.” On the second floor is a Victorian-inspired slaughterhouse known as “The Bleeding Grounds.”
Brighton Asylum features numerous additional “Escape Rooms,” a variety of popular “off-season events,” “ax throwing,” a “museum,” “VR Experience,” and a new “paranormal investigation experience,” giving fans numerous options to enjoy their evenings throughout the season and during off-season shows.
“PORT9L” might quite possibly be one of the most unique and innovative attractions in the industry today and a stark departure from the traditional themes found in haunted attractions. A desolate, urban nightmare, where survival is emphasized, and a demonic presence can be felt amongst scenes of decay, graffiti-covered walls, and numerous “survivors.” An “alternate” universe of a significant city gone to “hell” perhaps best describes what has been created in this one-of-a-kind attraction that shines in its second year of operation. Giant sewer rats pop out of nowhere, survivors are out for blood, and the undead homeless roam subways and escape routes created by a twisted universe that may be classified as post-apocalyptic in spirit. Brighton Asylum has somehow built an actual “moving” subway simulator into this unique haunted attraction.
Guests feel as though they are passing through an abandoned, desolate subway, having to move on through the attraction while being stalked by a variety of strange characters that represent the lost souls of this industrial horror show. “PORT9L” is post-apocalyptic; it is gritty, it features a “Satanic” presence and monsters that have arisen because of mutations, pollution, and a society that has lost its soul. A city of evil rises in “”PORT9L,” and in an industry where similar themes are the norm, nothing else compares to this nightmarish representation of the “end of times” in which only those demented and violent enough can survive!
“Brighton Asylum” features some of the very best set designs, special effects, and unique interactive rooms in any haunted attraction. From a movie quality representation (not an exaggeration) of “Stephen King’s It” to a hallway of containment units bursting at the seams, each scene is unique, diverse, and heavily detailed. The quality of set designs, lighting, and audio effects are top-notch and disorientate guests as they transverse the halls of the “Brighton Asylum.” The unique, innovative set designs of the attraction add to the scares, and the actors become shockingly aggressive in their dedicated efforts to “scare.” We witnessed numerous scare-actors work tirelessly to stalk hapless victims, chasing even some into the stairwells and out of the attraction itself. These actors are insane; they hang from sets, jump from planks, make off-color jokes with guests, and play their roles phenomenally. Constant aggression and the use of scare acting to manage the attraction’s flow are a tribute to the level of detail placed into the haunt’s design. The quality of acting, coupled with high-tech, detailed set designs, make this attraction something special.
The detail and quality of each set design and corridor are impressive and cannot be understated. We often found ourselves admiring each room, each hallway, and every little detail breathes life into this haunted attraction. Animatronics and props are lifelike, feature disturbing imagery such as tortured half-dead hanging bodies and depictions of gruesome surgery. Corridors feature interactive doors that move and jolt, leaving little downtime. Favorite scenes include an incredibly disturbing “moving” padded room that utilizes creepy scare actors mixed, lit by slow strobe lights in a room that moves, creating a sense of panic. Guests must duck, walk across “unstable” bridges, crawl, dodge massive props that “reach” out for their victims and avoid at all costs the twisted characters who seem focused on trapping each guest within the asylum. “Brighton Asylum” is longer and improved in every way and a spectacle to see. For the most part, pacing prevents “bottlenecking,” but we did run into another group due at some points, but overall, this was not a major show-impacting issue. It is easy to become “immersed” in each scene and focused on each horrific detail. You will want to experience each set in its entirety, and each corridor features action and surprises that scare and challenge guests to escape the “Brighton Asylum.”
“The Bleeding Grounds”
“The Bleeding Grounds” is best described as a fast-paced Victorian-era-inspired haunted house- a nightmare that starts off as a traditional haunted house and quickly evolves into a dungeon of pure gore and horror. The “Bleeding Grounds” brings to life a period long in the past, with the perfect combination of scare-acting, use of technology to create scenes such as massive “thunderstorms,” and interactive rooms that move and force you to duck at times to generate a period-authentic experience. After an upstairs visit through an abandoned library, a rather gruesome “dining room,” and “living room,” the experience becomes even more intense.
Hanging bodies, mutilations galore, and insane actors seem to pop out of the most unexpected places and have such character designs and engage in performances that make one’s skin crawl. “The Bleeding Grounds” starts off somewhat “traditional” but quickly divulges into pure violence, which fits the unique theme of a period-piece human slaughterhouse, torture, and sinister intentions. Guests are always kept off guard, as unique designs feature action “below” and sometimes “above” each group, creating a chaotic, action-packed pace in the “finale” attraction featured at Brighton Asylum
The Final Word
Brighton Asylum is one of the few haunted attractions that not only outdoes itself every single season; it goes overboard in terms of implementing the latest in haunted attraction technology, set design, sound, and show performance. Each of the three attractions is rich in detail and has some of the most interactive set and room design; it is unfathomable how much effort and resources are poured into making massive changes each season. We have never visited an attraction that undergoes an almost complete redesign and improvement process as intense as Brighton Asylum, and this season, once again, the attraction exceeded expectations. Each attraction feels distinctly different from both a design and performance perspective. For example, “The Bleeding Grounds” featured some of the most “theatrical” performances (with some excellent opening banter with the “butler” for example), and the characters in “PORT9L” were far more aggressive and conveyed a sense of danger in their performances, performers work tirelessly to engage guests. Diversity in performance associated with the attraction theme is another highlight amongst many at this ever-evolving attraction.
Many haunted attractions lack change or fail to capitalize on the “hype” created by their branding. We have visited numerous haunted attractions with fantastic web pages, unique press packages, and images that convey a sense of Hollywood-quality special effects. By and large, these attractions fail to meet the high expectations, which in some cases are self-defined. Brighton Asylum does not fall into this trap as the creative team and management work tirelessly. It invests heavily in ensuring that every season truly outdoes itself in attraction design and overall performance. A celebration of horror and a constant spirit of innovation drives the continued success of this popular urban attraction. One of the finest designed haunted attractions you will ever see, every scene is meticulously crafted, and one can quickly become lost in the surreal nightmares featured at Brighton Asylum!