s i lly
At Brighton Asylum, the actors take
great pains to shock their guests.
By Maryrose Mullen
IT’S A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT. A wolf howls in the distance.
Mysterious figures dressed in black lurk in the shadows of a
decrepit warehouse. Soon I will join this twisted legion,
surrender to the dark side and be transformed into some-
thing hideous, doomed to wander for all eternity in the
Okay, to be honest, it is a bright and sunny fall day.
The black-clad specters are actors. This evening, they’ll
don blood-splattered costumes and skulk through the
hallways of Brighton Asylum, one of New Jersey’s most
frightening (meaning fun) haunted houses. And there is no
Brighton Asylum in Passaic is a 13,000-square-foot interac-
tive fright fest that goes beyond typical haunted house tropes. It
involves performance, with professional make-up, high-level
special effects and sets, and a cast of horror buffs who
will do anything to scare you silly. Scenes and charac-
ters are frequently updated to keep repeat attendees on
edge. Brighton is celebrating its fifth anniversary this
month by introducing three new features: the Tunnel, a
walk-through attraction exploring the abandoned tunnel
system beneath the facility; and t wo escape activities, Dead
Escape and Lab Lockdown.
According to its fictional backstory, Brighton Asylum was
once a hospital for the mentally unstable. Subjected to cruel and
horrific experiments, the patients revolted, killing the staff and
taking control of the facility.
I checked into Brighton Asylum last October 30—known as
“I get in a lot
of people’s faces,
and it usually
causes me to get
— Alex Izzi