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TikTok has invented a fake ’80s horror movie named Zepotha

I think I look like Maxine from Zepotha

Illustration featuring purple and blue graphic lines and a TikTok logo Illustration: Ariel Davis for Polygon
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

People online have gone and an created another fictional movie. No, I’m not talking about Martin Scorsese’ cult-hit Goncharov. I’m talking about the vibey 1980s horror-thriller movie, Zepotha.

People on the video sharing platform TikTok invented a fake ’80s horror movie they’re calling Zepotha. The fictional movie started as a joke reply to videos, but has now become a full-fledged phenomena on the app. Now, people are sharing videos about reactions to specific scenes, cosplays of characters, and are organizing lore around the movie. The “Zepotha” hashtag has garnered over 76 million views in under two days.

The trend started with an indie artist named Emily Jeffri. Last weekend, Jeffri shared a video over the weekend that challenged others to comment under videos and say the person reminds them of a character from a movie called Zepotha. In the video, they suggested that people reply to thirst traps with comments like, “omg u look EXACTLY like that one girl from Zepotha.”

“Together we will witness new lore develop main characters will emerge, etc. & we can convince thousands of people that this weirdly titled 80s horror film actually exists,” the text in video said.


putting this song forward as the movie’s main theme, i think it has zepotha vibes tbh #80s #nostalgia #horror #horrormovie #80shorror #bit #trickster #moohaha #newmusic #queerartist #spooky #zepotha


The bit ending up taking root and mentions of a fake movie named Zepotha started populating the replies of seemingly unconnected videos. It wasn’t long until the comments turned into original content, and people started dreaming up the world of Zepotha. One person created a filter that tells others what Zepotha character they are. Others repurposed footage and to create horror-inspired edits inspired by the movie. Some shared reaction scenes to its most brutal moments, like its infamous forest scene.

The most popular way to interact with the movie seems to be through its characters. Several online have shared videos showing off their Zepotha cosplay.


No i didnt include Danny bc I hate him. (While scrolling through zepotha tiktoks i saw that @claire did a very similar video first so check out theirs) #zepotha

♬ Paint The Town Red - Doja Cat

Maria Canals-Barrera, actor on beloved Disney Channel show The Wizards of Waverly Place, even chimed into the Zepotha discourse and said that her daughter looks like the character Elaine.

The actual details on the movie are murky. It’s supposed to be an 80s‘ horror movie, but fans have only created a short list mentioning the names of the characters. There’s no plot, but certain TikToks do mention a gruesome “forest scene” on occasion. At this point, the bit is definitely more for the random goofs than it is for the internet to come together create something new, as what happened with the Ratatouille musical. Because of this, some online are also criticizing the Zepotha joke, and say it’s just a a marketing ploy to advertise Jeffri’s music.


my absolute favorite movie growing up #zepotha #zepothamovie #fyp

♬ whos taylor swift - libby

guess which character i’m playing i hope it’s camp like the og zepotha


Zepotha really just seems like TikTok’s take on Goncharov. People wrote an entire plot for Goncharov, shared fake scenes, and imagined it as if it were directed by Scorsese himself. So far, Zepotha hasn’t reached the same depth of planning, and it’s prompted a bit of a rivalry between the two films. All that is left now is for both to go to theaters in order to see which would outsell the other a-la-Barbenheimer.

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