So I watched this movie the other night - Toad Road. The original draw for me was that It is set in York, PA and it is tied in to an urban legend: The Seven Gates of Hell. Back when I was in high school, I wanted to go visit this place so badly. I spoke to people who knew where the entrance was, and I even planned the trip a few times. I never did take the trip though.
I knew very little about the movie going in, and I am definitely glad I watched it. It was one of those movies that just kind of sticks with you. It definitely wasn’t horror in a conventional sense, it was more horror a la Requiem for a Dream. The horror element really came from a loss of innocence. Also how far down the rabbit hole one can go while searching the plane of existence reached through heavy psychedelic use. There were themes of the meaning and basis of relationships predicated upon drug use. The Seven Gates of Hell, although part of the story, was a metaphor for the breakdown and loss of a conventional life through drug infested relationships and a lack of any clear direction.
Normally I’m not a fan of movies with such a low budget, but for some reason this one was different. Like I said, it really stuck with me. The end of the film stated that it was “Dedicated to the memory of Sara Ann Jones” - who I realized was the lead actress in the film, whose character had the same name.
Vocativ writer Mike Spies said it well - “What piqued my attention was a parenthetical reference to the death of its star, Sara Ann Jones, who had overdosed on heroin well after production. There was, tucked away between the sentences, and apparent mystery surrounding her life and death, which her character in the film appeared to both mirror and foreshadow.”
Spies’ Article - “American Ghost Story: The Brief, Eerie Life of Model Sara Anne Jones
She was also a poet:
(poem taken from post at The Conduit Speaks):
A sleepwalking pair of twilight kids
Their breath shimmering like halos
Bought the village with their
Crimson high last night.
Now, the avenue is split
A lucky few still sleeping.
And I, striking matches with all the
fans pointed at me like cannonball fire
Care far too little
Which one I will become.
~ Sara Anne Jones