Masters of Horror: Season 2, Episode 12

The Washingtonians (26 Jan. 2007)

TV Episode  -   -  Horror | Thriller
5.5
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 1,451 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 14 critic

A family man unearths an old letter, claiming that historical figure George Washington was a cannibal, and that a colonial-era reenactment group may be upholding that way of life.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Caroline Carter ...
Hitch Hiker
Julia Tortolano ...
Amy Franks
Venus Terzo ...
Pam Franks
...
Myron Natwick ...
Samuel Madison III
Esme Lambert ...
Nancy Arnold
Abraham Jedidiah ...
Jared Barkish
Patrick Keating ...
Minister
Wendy Morrow Donaldson ...
Chubby Waitress (as Wendy Donaldson)
Nathan Clark ...
Deputy #1
...
Deputy #2
Brian Jensen ...
Joel Wirkkunen ...
Washingtonian #1
...
Washingtonian #2
...
Washingtonian #3
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Storyline

Following the death of his elderly grandmother, Mike Franks travels with his wife Pam and 10-year-old daughter Amy to his grandmother's old house where he accidentally finds an old letter hidden behind a portrait of George Washington. A morbid letter supposedly written by Washington about killing and eating children. In trying to verify the authenticity of the letter, Mike becomes the target of 'the Washingtonians'; a secret society of various and powerful people who protect the secret life of the 'Father of the Country', and whom, like Washington... are cannibals. Written by Anonymous

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Horror | Thriller

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26 January 2007 (USA)  »

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References The Shining (1980) See more »

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I'm A Nut
(uncredited)
Author unknown
Performed by Venus Terzo and Julia Tortolano
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User Reviews

 
A Really Great Idea... Wish Someone Else Had Made It
15 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

After the death of his aunt, a young man moves into her former home. In the basement he discovers a secret letter and a fork made of bone. Oh my! President Washington ate small children and made flatware from their femur bones! And now a secret society (the Washingtonians) will stop at nothing to retrieve this dangerous letter.

The director of this unusual tale is Peter Medak (known for "Species 2" and "The Changeling") based on a story by up-and-coming horror writer Bentley Little (who has been known as a Stephen King apprentice and a follower of Dean Koontz, neither title I'd wish to be known for). While the story is clearly a good one, the film based upon it is not what I was hoping for.

I like cannibals in movies ("Ravenous", "Cannibal! the Musical") and I like them more when they are George Washington or some other colonial bloke. And yes, there is some flesh-eating in this film (though not as much as I expected). And that's good. And the plot was good. And the acting was good... so where's the problem? Here's the problem: the people who adapted this for the screen (and I rest the blame firmly on Medak's shoulders) did not decide if they wanted a horror film or a comedy. Now, you can balance the two. Henenlotter and Gordon do this very well. Medak obviously can't. The film is mostly horror, but every so often we get a glimpse that this is supposed to be "dark comedy"... yet it's not funny. It just comes across as cheesy. The very last scene (which you know I can't reveal) is the solid proof that Medak doesn't know humor or how to use it. Not funny, not clever.

And that's my biggest concern, because somebody else would have made it straight horror (Argento, for example, would have upped the cannibalism) or a better blend (Gordon, Henenlotter -- who, by the way, needs his own "Masters of Horror" episode). This could have been the key episode of the season (as many previews made it out to be).

A tip of the hat goes to the writer for one thing, though: the introduction of a character who is not clearly on one side or the other (is he with or against the cannibals?). I kept second-guessing, whereas most of the time plots and motives are so predictable. So if they did one thing right, it was the writing of this character (it's a history professor, in case you were curious). I also liked the undercurrent theme that the government makes its own history, because this is so true. I just wish they didn't use such an annoying radio announcer to express that theme.

I have my bones to pick with this episode, but I still want you to see it. An idea this creative and well-thought out deserves to be seen, even if the people who optioned it clearly don't know their anuses from a hole in the ground. Someday someone will remake this after we've long forgotten Peter Medak and the world will be right again.


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