The new series of horror anthology The Terror takes on the trauma of Japanese prisoners of war and their families in 1941 America. Based on Japanese folklore, the story is creepily relevant to a world full of immigration camps and rising racism against Asian people.
The Terror: Infamy follows Chester, a Japanese American photographer who is taken to an internment camp following the attack on Pearl Harbour. While there he discovers that a shapeshifting demon called an Obake is responsible for the attack. He fights to protect his family from the Obake whilst trying to settle into his new life.
The horror elements of the show are decent. But the real gift of The Terror: Infamy lies in the story of the prisoners of war and how their lives have been turned upside down by suspicion and paranoia.
While Chester has assimilated into American society, his efforts—like those of many others—are made irrelevant by the realities of war. The Obake poses a very real and spooky threat to the prisoners, but the most harrowing scenes come from the stories of the people themselves.
George Takei plays Yomato‑San, a prisoner at the same camp as Chester. Takei, who was interned as a child in California, served as a consultant on the show, helping to create a realistic portrayal of the camps.
The Terror: Infamy sets itself up quickly with the supernatural elements. But there is nothing particularly shocking about the horror. And the sheer amount of character background introduced in the first episode makes it slightly tricky to follow.
If you can keep hold of the story enough to follow it through, it’s a worthwhile take on a subject that isn’t often touched on in mainstream television.
Those who are fans of horror fantasy will find some entertainment here. But The Terror: Infamy is also a great watch for those who are interested in this bleak time in history.