The horror-thriller Toad Road earned praise from audiences and critics alike last fall at the influential Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, where it won awards for “Best Director” (Jason Banker) and “Best Actor” (James Davidson). Building on that momentum, Artsploitation Films has announced it will bring Toad Road to theaters this October.
Following the film’s theatrical run, the company will release it on DVD and VOD as well as in the digital marketplace. “There is a nihilism and decay present within the characters of Toad Road that makes the film mesmerizing. The horror comes not from just a mystical location and inevitable conclusion, but a very real, very dark place in each of their hearts. It’s a unique film that must be seen,” says Brian Sokel, vice president of Artsploitation Films. The TOAD ROAD acquisition deal was negotiated by Traction Media on behalf of the filmmakers. Jennifer Arndt-Johns negotiated on behalf of Artsploitation Films.
Director, writer and cinematographer Jason Banker (“My Name is Faith”) directed and produced Toad Road, his first narrative feature. The cast includes James Davidson, Whitleigh Higuera and Sara Anne Jones. Tragically, Jones – whose character abuses drugs in the film – died of an accidental overdose on September 4, 2012 shortly after the film’s world premiere.
Toad Road was produced by Jason Banker’s Blackout Films in collaboration with Liz Levine & Adrian Salpeter of Random Bench and was executive produced by SpectreVision a horror film company started by Daniel Noah, Josh C. Waller and acclaimed actor Elijah Wood.
Wood first saw Toad Road while helping select movies for the Nightmare City horror film festival at The Cinefamily in Los Angeles. He says: “We created our company to explore and expand the definition of the horror genre. Toad Road’s blend of documentary and nightmarish hallucination speaks to this perfectly. It provides a unique and disturbing portal into self destructive behavior that barrels horrifically out of control. We’re proud to present this extremely powerful and resonant film.”
For the film, Banker used a mix of documentary and narrative form to create this disturbing supernatural portrait of contemporary youth culture and drug use. The story takes place in rural Pennsylvania near the town of York, an infamous area that – according to urban legend – has a trail in the woods containing the seven gates that lead to Hell.
Toad Road is a local urban legend about a path in the woods rumored to contain the 7 gates that lead to hell. The film follows a group of friends with few inhibitions and no boundaries perilously mixing drug use with self discovery. In Toad Road, verité footage, drug use, drunken pranks, and personal issues comprise a disturbing portrait of contemporary youth culture where the lines between perception and reality are blurred with frightening results.