What is the viral horror trend Zepotha? Unpacking the best inside joke TikTok’s seen for years

By Charlie Sawyer

Published Aug 14, 2023 at 12:20 PM

Reading time: 1 minute

If you were still trying to wrap your head around girl maths or the Pinegrove Shuffle, it’s probably best you forget about those for a hot second and divert your attention to the latest trend sweeping the nation: a bizarre prank/conspiracy theory called Zapotha. I have a feeling gen Alpha might’ve had something to do with this one.

This trend is particularly confusing, so make sure to follow along. For the past 48 hours, videos have been cropping up on TikTok wherein references have been made to a supposed film titled Zepotha. Some people also spell it Zapotha. In a majority of the videos, creators complain and stress out about the fact that users keep commenting that they look like a specific character from this so-called film. But when they try and Google or search for the film, they come up with zilch.

@lillapinn

#zapotha

♬ originalljud - Aline<3
@judyhoppsl0vr69

Replying to @Cindy confused #zepotha

♬ original sound - Nik
@latenightwar

this bit isn’t and WAS NEVER funny pls #zepotha

♬ SHUT THE FK UP - Hey pookie

Now, while I’m all for a good ol’ classic internet troll, it’s kind of insane how elaborate this one has become. It’s especially mind-blowing when you consider the fact that this entire hoax came from one individual who was simply trying to promote their new album.

Independent artist Emily Jeffri posted a TikTok on Saturday 12 August in which they joked that it would be fun if the TikTok community got together and created a fake 80s horror movie called Zepotha and began commenting on other creators’ accounts insisting that they resembled some of the movie’s characters all in hopes that it would create buzz around their upcoming album SOUNDTRACK FOR AN 80’S HORROR MOVIE.

@emilyjeffri

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

♬ DO YOU REMEMBER ME - jeffri

The TikTok algorithm clearly loved this idea, because overnight the platform blew up with Zepotha-themed content and commentary.

@emilyjeffri

this will absolutely go to my head omg, should i go as her for halloween?? #zepotha #80s #nostalgia #horrormovie #80shorror

♬ DO YOU REMEMBER ME - jeffri
@emilyjeffri

Replying to @𓆩james𓆪 have been sat going through the zepotha lore y’all have made ALL MORNING?? its insane, i made that video ONE DAY AGO. ONE. DAY. i love you all so much, this is such a dope community of creative minds omg. ANYWAYYY pre-save ‘SOUNDTRACK FOR AN 80’S HORROR MOVIE’ pls!! link in bio :) #zepotha #80s #nostalgia #horrormovie #80shorror #horror #spooky #nightaesthetic #zepotha2 #newmusic

♬ DO YOU REMEMBER ME - jeffri

While it might’ve started as a creative marketing ploy, it’s a sure thing that the Zepotha hype has transcended any kind of simple promotional content. There’s now extensive lore regarding the movie, cosplaying, and makeup tutorials. Yep, the internet moves quickly.

@rllyroman

Zepotha is definitely my favourite Summer Slasher || #zepotha #zepothaedit #zepothamovie #edit #horror #horrortok #horroredit

♬ original sound - roman

There’s literally even Zepotha meme pages. You know that a TikTok trend has succeeded if there’s a clip of Trisha Paytas crying attached to it as a reference.

@zep0tha

got the idea from @☆antonia☆ PLEASE WATCH THEIR VIDEO ITS SO FUNNY 😭😭#zepotha #80s #horror #ZEPOTHA #maxandlyd #fyp

♬ original sound - ZEPOTHA
https://www.tiktok.com/@manylalas/video/7266767755397958918?lang=en&q=zepotha&t=1692007223254

I think the best thing about these viral moments is how some people embrace them and others just cannot for the life of them understand the oddity. Feeling as though you’re apart of a global online inside joke is maybe one of my favourite things about being a gen Zer.

So to wrap things up, who’s your favourite Zepotha character? Mine’s for sure Alaine.

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