If you’re on TikTok, you’ve probably heard by now of the 1987 horror film Zepotha. It was one of the most iconic slashers, and yet is shrouded in mystery and impossible to find online. Most likely because it never existed.
With nearly 200 million views online, Zepotha has taken TikTok by storm. Creators are dressing up as the iconic characters, filming their reactions to its goriest scenes, and hailing the film’s synth-heavy main theme.
While there’s plenty of hype surrounding the 80’s slasher, finding a copy to get your hands on isn’t an easy task. That’s because Zepotha was never real.
It’s TikTok’s biggest inside joke, and it all started with one creator’s elaborate marketing scheme.
What is Zepotha?
Having been told that her music sounded like it was “ripped from 80’s horror movie”, independent artist Emily Jeffri thought up Zepotha as a “bit idea” to promote her new song.
Jeffri encouraged her followers to comment on other TikToker videos with zero context; “Wait you look exactly life _ from Zepotha”. The result? Millions of views and a whole lot of confusion.
“Together we will witness new lore develop, main characters will emerge, etc,” Jeffri wrote. “We can convince thousands of people that this weirdly titled 80s horror film actually exists.”
And it worked, with Zepotha garnering so much interest that many are calling for the movie to actually be made. Model and Influencer Haley Kalil even put together a fanmade trailer.
Who are the characters in Zepotha?
Despite its lack of existence, Zepotha does have a cast of characters. Jeffri released an official list of names that have since been shared across TikTok, though some creators opted to add their own characters.
- Alaine (commonly the protagonist)
- Danny (commonly the antagonist)
What is the plot of Zepotha?
Here is where it gets interesting. Not expecting Zepotha to blow up in the way it did, Jeffri never released a canon plot for the film.
Certain scenes are often referenced, such as the forest scene, the chainsaw scene, the bridge scene, the rollercoaster scene, and the arcade scene. But what actually goes down during these scenes has yet to be determined.
Now Jeffri is looking to “restore order” and “organize” Zepotha’s lore by introducing a short film competition. The rules are simple: creators are to make a 12-25 minute adaption of what they believe Zepthoa would have or could have been.
The winner will receive a $500 prize, with their plotline becoming Zepotha’s official storyline.
Why is Zepotha getting backlash?
Intended as a bit of light-hearted TikTok fun that simultaneously introduced Jeffri’s music to a broader audience, not everyone is on board with the make-believe film.
Many have expressed concern over the short film competition, calling it “exploitative” as the prize money is relatively small considering the amount of work a film requires. The deadline is also scarily close, with October 20 not giving creatives much time to put something together.
“Months worth of work for the chance at $500? Really?” one person commented.
Others have compared Zepotha to Goncharov, Tumblr’s own nonexistent film that was dubbed “The greatest mafia movie ever made” and was set in 1973.
One commenter said, “Goncharov was based on Tumblr’s sense of community and genuine creative enjoyment, Zepotha is a shallow marketing ploy.”
Nonetheless, many TikTokers had already expressed their desire to make content for Zepotha, so it’s likely Jeffri will still receive entries for her competition.
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