Director James Templeton had already made a few music videos for his own band, LIMB, as well as one for B L A C K I E, but it's looking like his collaboration with Mlee Marie and her project Hearts of Animals that will fully secure him as one of Houston's best up and coming music video directors.
"Sea Babies" is an incredibly dark but gripping fairy tale that stands out even in a city known well for its morbid music videos by folks like Jerry Ochoa and Randall Hopkins. It's a common story of baby snatching, with Marie playing the part of a water witch that rises from a woman's bathtub to steal away her daughter. Marie is a powerful presence on screen, decked out perfectly in an otherworldly costume that includes face paint and spurs of children's teeth growing out of her forearms. She's a very scary ghost.
"The concept was all right there in Mlee's song," says Templeton. "I think it's referencing women who go a little crazy for a baby, who will do anything to have one. We took a little run at that to see how far it would go."
It was a personal affair. Templeton's own girlfriend and young daughter starred in the video as the witch's targets. For the most part the baby Margot Guy Templeton seemed more upset over when she was put down for shots than when she came into contact with the spectral Marie. Shots that include the two of them feature Margot happily laughing and playing with the witch.
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Keep that in your mind because it helps detract from the gruesome and terrible direction that the video goes in. Marie doesn't steal an innocent baby out of a crib. That would be too pedestrian for artists like Marie and Templeton. No, she gets the mother to bring her child to the bathtub to be taken.
"I thought it was way more creepy to convince the mother to entrance her into giving her child up," says Templeton. "What would a creature like that would have to say to a mother to get her too do that? That seemed way creepier than just taking a baby out of a crib."
"Sea Babies" may very well be the scariest Houston music video ever made, and Templeton and Marie both bring an eerie concept to life with both revulsion and a kind of beauty. Yes, there's this primal fear embodied in a haunting monster, but there is also loneliness and a desperate need to feel something. It all plays over the one of a kind ethereal music that Hearts of Animals always delivers. You won't want to miss this, as long as you're brave enough. Check it out below.