5 reasons we're stoked for AMC's 'The Terror'
Based on a fictionalized account of the search for the Northwest Passage, the new series combines chills, suspense and one very large monster.
If you felt your pulse quicken after watching Leonardo DiCaprio's "The Revenant," or your skin chilled after surviving Liam Neeson's thriller "The Grey," you're going to want to man the decks and tune in for AMC's upcoming anthology series "The Terror."
Directed by German filmmaker Edward Berger and executive produced by British legend Ridley Scott and Alexandra Milchan, an award-winning Israeli producer. "The Terror" is based on the best-selling book by American author Dan Simmons. Below are five reasons we're excited to add this survival-horror epic to our list of most-anticipated series of 2018.
It's inspired by a real-life horror story
In May 1845, two British ships carrying 129 men under the command of Captain Sir John Franklin left England on an Arctic expedition to traverse the last unexplored section of the Northwest Passage. A little over a year into their voyage, both ships – the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror – became trapped in ice. Unable to continue, the crew spent the next several years surviving off rations and whatever could be gleaned from the frozen landscape. Eventually, all officers and crew succumbed, with only letters and clues left behind from their ordeal to help scientists and explorers piece together their tragic story.
"Captain Franklin – Sir John – made a huge mistake trying to force the Victoria passage with that much ice," author Simmons told NPR. "And he kept going when they could turn back to shelter. And it got them stuck in the worst possible place. So his error of judgment doomed those men."
In September 2016, researchers announced that they had finally located the HMS Terror in roughly 80 feet of water at the bottom of an Arctic bay. Its sister ship, the HMS Erebus, had been discovered earlier in 2014. Despite spending nearly 170 years under water, the wreck was found to be in near-pristine condition.
"This vessel looks like it was buttoned down tight for winter and it sank," Adrian Schimnowski, the foundation’s operations director, told the Guardian. "Everything was shut. Even the windows are still intact. If you could lift this boat out of the water, and pump the water out, it would probably float."
In light of the discovery during filming of "The Terror" series, AMC president of original programming Joel Stillerman couldn't resist sending his best with a bit of a quip to the research team. “We congratulate the Arctic Research Foundation on finding The Terror 168 years later,” he said. “Apparently they’ve never heard of a spoiler alert.”
It features a stellar cast
To convey the stakes and drama of 19th-century expeditions, in particular to cold and unforgiving regions like the Arctic, AMC leveraged the acting talents of some veteran Hollywood veterans. These include Irish actor Ciarán Hinds, familiar to fans of HBO's 'Game of Thrones" series as the Wilding leader Mance Ryder, as well as British star Tobias Menzies of both "James Bond" and "Outlander" fame, and English actor Jared Harris, best known for his role as Lane Pryce in the TV drama series "Mad Men".
"It’s an amazing story," Menzies said last year. "I’m really, really excited for what we’re making."
There's definitely a 'Lost' vibe
While Simmons' book uses the Franklin expedition as its core storyline, the author decided to inject some fantasy horror into the survival thriller playing out on the barren Arctic. As the crew quickly discovers, their entire party is being stalked by a very large, mysterious and bloodthirsty beast.
"The reason for that is I wanted something to personify just the terror, the horror of the darkness, the five months of darkness, the terrible cold – 100 degrees below zero – the constricting ice that you had to listen to against the hull, you know, all the time," he told NPR.
The way Simmons describes the creature in the novel only adds to the dread of what Franklin and his crew are faced with.
"To go out on the frozen sea in the dark now with that … thing … waiting in the jumble of pressure ridges and tall sastrugi was certain death," he writes. "Messages were passed between the ships now only during those dwindling minutes of half-light around noon. In a few days, there would be no real day at all, only Arctic night. Roundtheclock night. One hundred days of night."
The first trailer has us hook, line and sinker
Like so many other great trailers before it, the teaser for AMC's "The Terror" is most effective by what it doesn't show. For those who love survival thrillers wrapped around true events, this is one television event in 2018 that's not to be missed.
The cinematography looks gorgeous and bleak
To pull of the bleak conditions of the Canadian Arctic, AMC turned to a talented team led by Hollywood veteran and Emmy-award winning cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister. Owing to the dangerous conditions still present in that part of the world, the producers opted to recreate the interior of the 19th-century ships on a soundstage in Budapest and the frozen landscapes on the Croatian island of Pag. From what little we've seen, Hollywood's magic for conjuring the look and feel of events long since past has never been stronger.
"The Terror" is slated to premiere on AMC on March 26 at 9 p.m.
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