10 Film & TV Shows Inspired By Social Media Viral Events

Video is watchable content and some videos we see are just too good to not be re-worked into popular tv shows and movies.

Hype House is a 2022 show that features the lives of TikTok personalities after their sudden popularity garnered by creating viral content that has spawned everything from music covers and TV shows.

Since the inception of the internet, creative minds worldwide have taken inspiration from viral videos and social media content to influence TV and movies. Whether it be a story woven by a single person from their computer or a social experiment made from an online account that somehow exploded and went viral, there have been many TV shows and movies that got their start in one way or another from a viral internet sensation.

Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story (2015)

Inspired by the Slender Man craze, Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story is a film adaptation of the 2009 YouTube web series, Marble Hornets. The web series actually premiered its first episode exactly 10 days after the first Slender Man images were published online.

The film based on the web series first aired on April 7, 2015, and pulled viewers into a journey of mysterious and spooky lost tape footage, seeking to expand on the more than 90+ entries in the series. Fans who were already supportive of the series were excited for the feature, but it does not rank very high on aggregate sites.

South Park (1997 – )

South Park has been around for ages, and its main source of popularity derived from its ability to take recent events or pop culture trends and turn them into concepts for their show. The same applies even today, whether it be an episode featuring a parody on the concept of NFTs or a short series featuring how COVID-19 affected the characters in the show and its world.

The title is a sort of benchmark for all major events that take place in the world. However, its inception goes back to the early ’90s when Trey Parker and Matt Stone both attended the University of Colorado at Boulder. The two debuted the concept and some of the characters in an animated short for school titled Jesus vs. Frosty, and the rest is history. And with a seemingly inexhaustible number of topics taken from the real world, there is no sign of the beloved series ending any time soon.

Is It Cake? (2022)

Is It Cake? is the name of a Netflix show in which guest celebrities each take turns to guess whether the presented item in front of them is a cake or the object it’s designed to look like. The show tests the perception of not only the guests but the viewers too, making them each question whether their own reality is as perceptive as they believe.

The series got its start in March 2022, but its origin goes back to when BuzzFeed uploaded a compilation of clips featuring the work of Tuba Geçkil, an artist that designs cakes mimicking real-life objects. Soon after, the trend spread across all of TikTok and YouTube, after which Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz got the inspiration to create a show in which celebrity guests take turns guessing whether the items in front of them are cakes or the objects they appear to be.

Zola (2020)

Zola tells the story of a part-time exotic dancer who, along with her co-worker, travels to Tampa, Florida, hoping to make it big. Of course, it wouldn’t actually be a story without some tribulation. With gangs, violence, and crime — Zola is a film definitely not for the light of heart.

The story derives from a single thread on Twitter, all posted by Aziah “Zola” King, who gave her perspective on what took place during that time in her life. The thread, which was posted on October 27, 2015, ended up going viral and garnered the attention of several big presences on the internet. Rolling Stones then published an article after the initial tweets, interviewing those mentioned, and eventually it was proven that the contents of the tweets were mostly true, leading to the film based on a true story.

S#*! My Dad Says (2010 – 2011)

An outspoken father who, more often than not, embarrasses their family with the odd or nonsensical things they say, is something many people can relate to. S#*! My Dad Says follows the protagonist, an unsuccessful writer who has to move back in with his father and his struggles to make the father-son relationship work for the sake of gaining inspiration from the odd things his father says.

In 2009, a thread was created on Twitter that compiled quotes from a seemingly elderly father figure and usually comprised of snarky comments or rants that were often more awkward than funny. Soon, it garnered enough popularity that people were eagerly awaiting new posts, and that’s when Halpern and Patrick Schumacke picked it up, thinking that making a show depicting the life of the character in the tweets would make a good premise. The show aired on CBS from September 23, 2010, to February 17, 2011.

Light’s Out (2016)

Maria Bello in Lights Out

A family finds themselves terrorized by an entity that only attacks in areas without light – whether it’s when they turn off their lights to go to bed or to leave their homes. Desperately, they investigate the entity to see if they can expel it from their lives before too many people get hurt.

Adapted from a short film made for the Bloody Cuts Horror Challenge, Light’s Out was promptly released on both YouTube and then Vimeo, shortly after. The Light’s Out film was released three years later, directed by David F. Sandberg, the same person behind the short film, after it became so popular that he was contacted by many agents after its premiere.

Hype House (2022)

On January 7, 2022, Netflix released the show Hype House. The show showcases the lifestyle of the members of the house, each of whom holds considerable popularity in the world of TikTok.

While the show relies on the popularity of the internet stars, it was not as much of a success with Netflix subscribers and viewers have rated it low, overall. But those who followed the personalities were able to get insight into their lives and learn the truth behind their relationships and plans for the future, all in an eight-episode season.

Fred: The Movie (2010)

It was in 2010 that Fred: The Movie aired on the popular children’s television channel, Nickelodeon. The film takes place during a time in which the character of Fred falls in love and tries his best to impress the object of his affection by throwing a house party. Eager to throw the perfect party befitting of summer, Fred enlists the help of his friends.

The character of Fred Figglehorn was actually born in 2006. Lucas Cruikshank, the creator of the persona and the Fred YouTube series, was met with overwhelming popularity. He is also considered a YouTube pioneer when, in 2009, his channel was the first ever to reach 1 million subscribers.

Slender Man (2018)

The myth surrounding the entity known as Slender Man started out as “creepypasta,” a story told on the internet on a forum known as Something Awful in 2009. The myth was originally created by Eric Knudsen as a submission for a Photoshop contest in which users were challenged to “create paranormal images.”

That’s when, in 2018, Slender Man made its debut. It took the story of a paranormal entity that possesses no facial features, long limbs, and can kill if made eye contact with. From there, the formula prompted users to create their own stories and content about the character, which eventually spawned a movie.

The Red Ape Family (2021 – )

In recent years, companies are popping up left and right, each promoting their own NFT designs for fans to either invest in or straight up purchase. Even celebrities get in on the action. The craze became so out of hand that many users on the internet began speculating and making their own theories on the NFT market.

One example of the power of NFT’s popularity can be seen in the series, The Red Ape Family. While it doesn’t exactly center around the concept of NFTs, it is the first series to feature well-known NFTs as characters in their own cinematic universe.

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Michael P
Los Angeles based finance writer covering everything from crypto to the markets.

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