Jen Condron, owner of Bane Entertainment Venue in Livingston, has always gravitated towards anything scary, mysterious and gory. She is a petite, innocent looking 33-year-old woman with an inventive and dark mind. Her destiny was clear from the moment she entered her first haunted house at the age of six; Condron felt joy from hearing everyone’s screams and seeing their expressions of fear. In first grade, she was already a huge fan of horror films.
Condron acquired a Bachelor’s degree in political science, with plans to become a corporate lawyer. It wasn’t until 2001 when she worked as a scare actor that she knew she needed to change the direction her life was heading. This is when she made the decision to begin her career in the haunted house industry.
Being the CEO of Bane, she considers herself a director of a movie that needs many people’s contributions. She gets goosebumps every time she scares someone, from children to grown men. Call it a passion or call it a fetish, but she sees it as a success.
Bane was established solely as a haunted house facility, which quickly became recognized as New Jersey’s “scariest haunted house” by the Star Ledger. Its success skyrocketed from the moment Condron opened the first location at 26 years old. It began as a 4,000 square-foot space under a tent in Livingston Mall’s parking lot and reached over 5,000 visitors. By the second year, they moved to a 17,000 square-foot facility which they quickly grew out of after just two years, with the attendance more than doubling each consecutive year. From year three to today Bane has been in a standalone 40,000 square-foot facility. In 2016, they attracted over 32,000 visitors and this year are expecting a whopping 50,000. They are currently looking for a new, bigger location to open up in the near future.
Bane’s extreme success can be credited to it’s ingenious grand set designs and it’s creative tactics to play on different types of phobias. Condron wanted Bane to reach a level of authenticity that would make visitors feel connected to her illusion. It’s not just a large, dark warehouse with a 10-foot animatronic popping out at people; it is a place staffed with 100+ actors. She makes each room look like the set of a movie, with props and details in every corner. Condron even bought a real, working morgue fridge from the Psych Hospital on Randalls Island. Visitors had to walk through the morgue fridge filled with “dead” people to enter into the next room.
There are no limitations at Bane. You will be grabbed and picked up; you’ll have to crawl through hollowed out cars, slide, jump, get forced into small boxes and spun around and you will be separated throughout most of the experience. Good luck (don’t worry, there is a safe word for the “less brave” ones)! Last year, 2,000 paying visitors opted out after a short time.
Now to the best part; Bane recently became active all year round! This entertainment facility has evolved to include immersive escape rooms and laser tag.
Condron designed these escape rooms as creatively and elaborately as her haunted house. She incorporates all the senses with odd smells, musky environments and weird noises along with mind-bending puzzles. She currently offers two scenarios:
The first one is known as Captive. The local psychopath, also known as “the Collector,” has gone on a crazy spree, causing 22 people to go missing over a year and a half. Upping his antics, he now has you and your team captured. You have 60 minutes to get out before “the Collector” comes back, and you can guess what happens next.
The other story is called Maritime Grave, which takes place aboard the U.S.S. Silver Siren, a ship that was converted into a museum and luxury vessel. The ship is malfunctioning and is starting to go down. You and your team must perform all the required tasks to keep the ship from sinking into unknown waters in 60 minutes. Each room is decorated to immerse you into the story.
Bane’s laser tag is unlike any other that you’ve experienced yet. Held inside the 40,000 square foot facility and armed with full weight, metal body replicas of real M4 Rifle you will feel like you are in an actual game of “Call of Duty.”
Condron is the mastermind behind the themed events of “The Purge,” based off the 2013 horror film, and “80’s Apocalypse,” which takes a twist on the basic zombie apocalypse fantasy. Bane is also set to be the next destination for the “Apocalypse World Tour,” which will travel to locations all over the U.S..
Her future plans for Bane are to open multiple locations as well as other interactive activities, such as go-karts and more. Bane Escape Room tickets can be purchased here. The infamous haunted house will be open starting the end of September and to note, it is ADA accessible and veterans are allowed free admission. For more information, call (973) 369-7677 or visit www.banehauntedhouse.com.
Buzzfeed mentioned them in top 25 scariest Haunted Houses in the country:
StarLedger named it the “scariest haunted house in New Jersey” 2 years in a row: