AMC's The Terror Haunts a Japanese American Internment Camp in a Pertinent New Trailer

The bakemono is coming for you.
Image: AMC (YouTube)

The best way to stop history from repeating itself is to learn from your mistakes.

The latest trailer for AMC’s supernatural horror anthology The Terror is about a shapeshifter haunting a Japanese American internment camp. The supernatural part may be a fantasy, but the horror (and the lessons it can impart for our own border camp crisis) is all too real.

While the first season of the AMC anthology series focused on a fictionalized account of Captain Sir John Franklin’s Arctic expedition, the sophomore season of The Terror takes place inside a Japanese internment camp in World War II-era America.

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Season two stars Derek Mio (Chester Nakayama), Naoko Mori (Asako Nakayama), and Shingo Usami (Henry Nakayama) as a family forced to relocate to one of these camps, with Kiki Sukezane (Lost in Space) playing the role of a mysterious woman from Chester’s past. The series also co-stars Star Trek’s George Takei as town elder Yamato-san. He also served as a consultant on the project to ensure its authenticity, since he actually spent time in Japanese American internment camps during the war.

In the series from new showrunner Alexander Woo, the camp is being terrorized by a bakemono, a shapeshifting monster of Japanese folklore. According to The Samurai Archives, bakemono are traditionally living creatures that have transformed, like kitsune (fox). However, they can sometimes represent yûrei, or the ghost-like beings seen in films like Ringu. Given how this and the previous trailer (shown below) discusses “unfulfilled souls” and spirits, the series looks to be leaning toward the latter.

In a previous interview, Woo said he wanted the show to “convey the abject terror of the historical experience in a way that feels modern and relevant to the present moment.” And does it ever.

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Over the past week, more photos and stories have been emerging about the horrible conditions immigrants and refugees have been enduring along the southern border. It’s grown from a so-called “border situation” into an actual humanitarian crisis. The ACLU has resources for anyone wanting to call their congressional representative in response.

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The Terror hits AMC on August 12.


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About the author

Beth Elderkin

Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.