The Terror is a thrilling semi-historical, supernatural horror anthology series in which each season is inspired by a different infamous or mysterious real-life historical tragedy. The newest season of the show titled Infamy, co-created by Max Borenstein (Godzilla) and Alexander Woo (the True Blood series), is set against the backdrop of World War II and the Japanese-American internment camps erected on the state’s West Coast.
Chester lives with his family on Terminal Island, a few miles south of Los Angeles just off the coast of California. He and his father, Henry, make a meager living as fishermen but Chester seeks more. He’s in love with a Spanish-American student named Luz Ojeda and doesn’t understand why his immigrant mother, Asako, and father choose to remain confined to a small swath of the big world – especially after traveling so far in the pursuit of freedom. In the aftermath of Pearl Harbour, the family’s comfortable life is about to change forever as they’re forcibly uprooted and shipped off to an internment camp, where fear lurks in both supernatural and human forms. A string of relentless, brutal, and bizarre deaths haunts the community, and Chester and his family are menaced by a mysterious and murderous shape-shifting entity. What spirit lies behind The Terror, and can the family overcome it and save those dearest to them?
Although The Terror: Infamy is an American production, it showcases a J-horror aesthetic perfectly. Beginning at an undeniably slow pace, the show utilizes this deliberate tempo to create robust characters and build their relationships, along with the horrors of an escalating war in the Pacific. This strong foundation of naturally occurring drama creates a great setting for the supernatural elements of the story to slowly take hold, ensuring a level of care is instilled for the protagonists throughout their supernatural misfortunes. Additionally, an underlining sense of paranoia, though subtle at first, gradually increases throughout the show to drench the story in an overwhelming sense of dread sustained until its very end. Furthermore, a number of adroit references to classic pieces of Japanese horror are plain to see if you are aware. Films such as Kwaidan (1965), Ju-On: The Grudge (2003) as well as Ringu (1998) to name a few have been inspirational in the creation of The Terror: Infamy.
What makes this story work so well is the stunning cast assembled for such a huge production. Each performance is a realistic representation of living in an uncertain time; from the main protagonists to the extras, every scene displays a true sense of life. However, it’s the performances from Derek Mio, Cristina Rodlo, Kiki Sukezane, and the legendary George Takei (to name but a few) that truly stand out from the rest. The incredibly creepy performance from Kiki as the antagonistic Yurei is unsettling, to say the least, along with the strong determination presented in Mio’s portrayal of Chester is incredibly captivating throughout as a man willing to do anything to protect his family.
As a semi-historical series, The Terror: Infamy presents the time period in stunning detail. Along with this is an incredibly poignant look inside these little-remembered internment camps built on American soil. With historical consultants brought onto the production that had actually spent time in these camps, such as George Takei, who spent a number of years as a child growing up in these camps, along with several members of the production, such as director Lily Mariye, assistant director Jason Furukawa, and visual effects’ producer Ken Kokka to name a few whose family had spent a period of their lives inside these camps, providing a candidly personal look inside this part of American history.
Even though a number of different crew members worked on the entire production, an undeniable style of cinematography is maintained effortlessly throughout. Each episode may differ slightly in technique, but the overall vision for the series is near seamless from episode to episode.
The Terror: Infamy is available to purchase from today (23/05) on DVD, Blu-ray, and digitally, as well as The Terror Series one and two boxsets all available at most online outlets.
Though not received as well as the show’s initial season, The Terror: Infamy does an admirable job at presenting an interesting supernatural story in an atypical setting. Starting out slow, the series soon picks up its pace into a crescendo of gripping tension as it reaches its satisfactory conclusion. Although there have been many attempts at horror anthology series over the years, The Terror: Infamy is certainly one of the first to bring forth the heart of Japanese horror incredibly effectively into Western media and is certainly worth a binge-watch if you are a fan of Japanese horror or slow-burn horror in general.
Hey there, I’m Jim and I’m located in London, UK. I am a Writer and Technical Director here at Grimoire of Horror. A life long love of horror and writing has led me down this rabbit hole, allowing me to meet many amazing people and experience some truly original artwork. I specialise in world cinema, manga/graphic novels and video games but will sometime traverse into the unknown in search of adventure.