If you've Googled 'What is Zepotha?' this week, you're not alone. Euronews Culture dives into the bizarre TikTok myth.
Horror movie Zepotha has long been ignored in favour of other 1980s films from the genre and is finally getting the recognition it deserves.
That’s what TikTok would have you believe, anyway.
If you’ve logged on to Gen Z’s social media app of choice over the last few days, you won’t have been able to miss countless videos celebrating the spooky, apparently seminal film.
TikTok users are posting makeup looks inspired by the movie, while others are sharing film-inspired artwork and cosplaying as characters from Zepotha.
There’s only one problem...
It’s not real.
Gen Z loves to hop on a trend for seemingly no reason and Zepotha is simply the latest obsession.
The entirely falsified movie and all of the fascination surrounding it actually began as a joke.
TikTok user Emily Jeffri started the craze off over the weekend, when she posted a video suggesting a “new bit idea".
"What if we created a fake 80s horror movie called 'Zepotha' & started commenting, 'omg u look EXACTLY like that one girl from Zepotha,' or 'wait u look exactly like _____ from Zepotha' on every thirst trap we see," Jeffri wrote on a video of herself.
"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," she added.
At the time of going to press, the video has gained more than 6.2 million views and 1.1 million likes and #Zepotha is popping off too.
In just three days, the movie has taken on a life of its own outside of TikTok.
On Reddit, thousands of ‘fans’ have been discussing it, with one user claiming they had created a ‘canon’ documentary about the fictional film, referring to fans as “real Zepothians”.
Despite all the brouhaha surrounding the movie, some social media users have been surmising that the trend is nothing more than a marketing ploy for Jeffri’s upcoming album ‘SOUNDTRACK FOR AN 80’S [sic] HORROR MOVIE’, which she’s been promoting on TikTok.
Many of the Zepotha videos posted by Jeffri and devotees feature her track ‘do you remember me’ playing in the background.
Twitter has been set ablaze with discussion of the trend, with one user posting: “‘Zepotha’ is the smartest marketing trick I’ve seen in awhile. Nearly 7000 videos in a day is insane”.
Whatever the truth behind Zepotha, it’s not the first fake film to go viral thanks to internet communities.
The only issue was that Goncharov simply wasn’t real. Regardless, the fictional film's popularity spread far and wide, with fans creating artwork, characters - played by the likes of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro - and even a soundtrack, added to Spotify.
Scorsese himself seemed to appreciate the fervour surrounding the movie he never made. His daughter Francesca, who’s an active TikToker as well as an actress, shared a text exchange with the legendary director.
Asking him if he’d seen the enthusiasm around Goncharov, Scorcese responded: "Yes. I made that film years ago".