DATE OF VISIT
October 26, 2013
LIVINGSTON, NEW JERSEY - Our 2013 tour is drawing to a close after visiting our ninth screaming stop, Bane Haunted House! This solo attraction deems itself as "New Jersey's Scariest Haunted House" and has been known to push the boundaries of those brave enough to walk through. Taking all the positive hype we have received regarding Bane into consideration, we decided to add it to this years tour! So on the night of October 26, 2013 we took a walk on the wild side at Bane Haunted House and here is what we thought of the scariest haunted house in New Jersey!
The haunted maze is housed in a storefront location within the Best Buy plaza. It really catches your eye with blinding strobe lights, dancing inflatables and a long line waiting to walk in! The parking lot directly in front was packed, therefore, we had to park a little ways down. Once we were parked we walked up to the front entrance which had single file line navigating through the front door. Not gonna lie here, it was very confusing to me. There was a sign for VIP... However, there was no one there to let us through. So I decided to walk through the exit and towards the ticket booth. Once inside the air was filled with the banter of those waiting in line and the screams of those currently walking through. Just like the outside, the inside seemed just as confusing... I personally think it is because of the set up and location the attraction is housed in. Of course with a store front there isn't much you can do with space, if it is limited. So just make sure to really pay attention once inside because it was rather dark and there were tons of people walking around...
After grabbing our tickets we were ushered into a short wait at the head of the line. We were given the rules, asked if we understood them and then moved into the first room of the house. From this point on it seemed like we were on fast forward. Everything happened so fast! We were each given a morgue cabinet to crawl through which was unique and obviously something we have never seen before. Plus the fact that we were already separated gave me the feeling this was going to be one intense attraction... Well I was right, it sure was intense but it wasn't terrifying to me. I found the overall attraction very interesting, unique, inventive and entertaining. Of course there were a few spots where I jumped or screamed. However, it moved at such a quick pace I really couldn't focus on what was going on around me... Or maybe it was the fact that entire maze other than two spots were very dark. It was very hard navigating through certain sections of the maze and I knew that was the point but it seemed like it was just thrown together and I know that is not the case! I know that haunted houses take a lot of time, effort and money to not only set up but to operate. However, because of the darkness and the way certain areas were set up, it gave me that feeling... Not saying it was... Just a feeling!
Anyway moving on! After climbing over a bed which I thought was another unique touch... We moved into a very confusing labyrinth of chain link fences with clothes hanging and tied up everywhere. This was a very effective section because what you thought was a wall turned out to be a thruway or what you thought was a way through was a dead end. However, due to the lack of light and taught strings racing across at neck level, you had to focus very hard on where you were walking. Therefore, I apologize to all the actors inside! But because I was focusing so hard, the scares coming from the actors were unfortunately ineffective. Maybe bring up the lighting level a bit to give people some sort of idea of where they are going. Because when you can't see where you are going... That is a scare in itself. So any type of additional scares could work but in our case fell short.
Once out of the clothing maze we were again split up which made it a second time. We each had to walk through an awesome corridor of webs and spiders. I am personally arachnophobic, so being alone with spiders really creeped me out. I rushed through this section to meet up with my other half... Once we found each other we moved on and entered a church setting where we were told to sit down and wait our turn...
OK... Now this was definitely the most unique and interesting portion of Bane. However, I felt there was a little more that could have been done with it. First off, as you sit there. You watch people who are selected at random walk up to a curtain, turn their backs and without notice are grabbed and pulled through... So after seeing it happen three to four times I knew it was coming and it did nothing for me and it seemed like everyone else prior to me had the same thought. Therefore, instead of leaving this out in the open for everyone to see. I would put a wall up in front of each curtain. This way the people waiting have no idea what is going to take place. If done this way it would definitely be the scariest portion of the attraction...
Then once you are pulled through you are forcefully thrown into a wooden box. The door is locked and you are spun around and around. Then suddenly the door is open and you stumble out as you are told where to go. Its amazing how dizzy you can get in a pitch black box! As you stumble through what you think is a perfectly fine hallway you slowly realize the walls are moving on their own! It isn't your mind or eyes... I was waiting and hoping for someone to coming running up or popping out. But nothing happened! It would have been the perfect spot for someone to scare the hell out of people while they contend with dizziness and disorientation. My guard was down all the way and even a "boo" would have made me jump ten feet.
After leaving the moving hallway we moved through some more sections of the house and into the most perfect room of the attraction. We walked into a very dark room with what looked like furniture and statues covered in white sheets. This was epic, perfect and genius! You didn't know which one was going to move so your eyes focused on each. Because I was concentrating on the sheets I had no idea the scare would come from the dark at face level. It was the most effective scare of the night! I must have screamed so loud the people outside must have thought I was getting murdered! However, as we opened the door to what I thought would be more, it turned out to be the end! Just as it was getting scary it ended and I was sad!
It seemed like we were in and out in a flash! It felt very sped up and it felt like they wanted to get people in and out as quickly as possible. It wasn't the length of the attraction in anyway, it was the actors inside... They made you move quickly and jostled you through as quick as they could. I know it was a Saturday night but still it didn't feel like we were in the attraction for more then ten minutes. Joe actually looked at me and said, "Thats it?!" It was surprising that we had parked, grabbed our tickets and walked through within twenty minutes.
However, Bane Haunted House is definitely one of the most unique, inventive and interesting haunted attractions we have ever been to! Would I consider it the "scariest"...? I am sorry to say, it didn't do it for me. The foundation is there for a potentially horrifying attraction. However, due to the rapid pace of throughput and specific critiques that I feel need working. It was a little more entertaining then scary. However, only in their second year of operation at this location, it was definitely a good find! I would highly recommend visiting Bane if you want to experience things that are towards the same concepts of what Blackout Haunted House is about. Is it comparable...? Well I have never done Blackout but I would think someone who has done it would consider the box idea along the same lines! Therefore, it is a definite if you are sick and tired of the same old gore, clowns, scarecrows and zombies. Bane was an intensely good time!