Kayako, the terrifying ghostly presence in The Grudge horror franchise, is scary for three different reasons: her movements (like a slinking tarantula), her eyes (angry and haunted), and her hair (long, bushy, and enshrouding). SHAED, the alternative pop outfit that consists of Chelsea Lee and twins Max and Spencer Ernst, have dropped a galvanizing new video for "Thunder" that isn't specifically inspired by The Grudge but similarly finds power in Lee's thick tresses. Throughout the clip, her mane grows exponentially, giving her the strength to free herself from evil captors. "I'm a prisoner, in a sense, and my hair is my superpower, which sounds crazy," Lee tells MTV News over the phone. "It grows and I get released from chains and I get to kick some ass."
The cinematic scene kicks off ominously with a group of mysterious suits observing Lee with disgust while she's chained to the ground. "They symbolize the forces that are against us, people that are keeping us in, spectators that are watching this unfold," Lee says. As the action progresses in the video — which premiered today on mtvU and MTV Live — Lee's hair begins to grow longer than Rapunzel's, causing her to look at her captors with malevolent eyes. "She's in these chains and she's kind of subdued," Max says. "She gains more confidence and becomes able to break free and take these forces on."
Spencer and Max, meanwhile, are held in a mysterious room. The video shows them twice: briefly at the beginning and near the end after Lee finally escapes with her woolly mane. The twins sit beside her confidently, twisting her hair as the forces at play look for her. "That's just us being there in support of Chelsea, and in real life, we're kind of like that when it comes to helping each other out," Spencer says. "Braiding her hair near the end is a caring gesture that shows that we are supportive of her."
It also continues the video's storyline and Lee's character development. "It is also that my superpower has been unleashed and they are trying to help me get it back under wraps," she adds. "My identity has been given away."
Eventually, the grim forces crowd outside the door, leading to Lee's final decision. "At the end, she decides that she's going to take them head-on, refusing to hide from anyone ever again," Max says. "She thinks, 'I'm going to stand up for this.'" Lee then emerges behind the long row of villains with her hair fully out and down at max superpower. "This moment is right before I destroy everyone," Lee says. "The chains have been completely cast off and, now, I'm coming for them." The screen then cuts to black.
The cinematic for "Thunder" is, in many ways, similar to the song itself, which the band says is "about coming together and fighting for what you believe in." "We initially wrote this during the 2016 election," Max says. "We were feeling inspired to write a song that could give people the courage to stand up for what they believe in."
SHAED believe that three years later, the song's political roots may have grown even stronger, giving deeper meaning to the bad guys that are determined to keep Lee's character imprisoned. "Since Donald Trump has been president, there have been other issues that this song can directly relate to: whether it's the Me Too movement, trans rights, or anything else that people feel passionate about," Max says. "We wanted this song, and now this video, to motivate people to get up and fight for their beliefs."
Watch the empowering "Thunder" video above.