Music 2 October 2018 | 17:16

The venom of Gaga’s Little Monsters

02 October 2018 17:16

‘I am the biggest Marvel fan, but I just watched #Venom and I don’t know what to say. Easily the worst movie this year. I expected so much better and now I’m just disappointed,’ Twitter user @altjuann posted about eight hours ago. The social media embargo for reviews of Venom, starring Tom Hardy, had just been lifted, you see, and I guess @altjuann has an in at Sony Pictures, because apparently, they made it to a preview screening.

Or it’s a complete and utter lie. Investigate @altjuann’s Twitter a profile a little further and you’ll find, alongside a series of occasionally offensive and inappropriate tweets, that they have no loyalties towards the Marvel franchise whatsoever. There’s only one person that @altjuann worships: Lady Gaga.

And they’re not alone. Released this Friday, Venom has fallen victim to the wrath of the Gaga’s ferocious fanbase, fondly nicknamed ‘Little Monsters’, who are essentially catfishing the film’s reviews in the hope that it will boost the box office performance of their Mother Monster’s A Star Is Born, which opens in cinemas on the same day.

‘Just came back after #Venom premiere & the whole thing was horrible. My grandson hated it & called it the worst movie ever. My good friend Sarah suggested that I should watch this ‘A Star is Born’ movie which has Lady Gaga, so yeah I’m excited for that,’ Tweeted fake account @Cardi_Outsold_, which appears to be unconvincingly posing as a middle-aged American woman named Sasha Gray (a porn-star-inspired moniker?). Two tweets before the account’s Venom assassination is a post of Lady Gaga paparazzi shots, captioned ‘Lady FUCKING gaga’, so I don’t think Tom Hardy should worry too much about disappointing Sasha’s poor grandson.

Having said that, he ought to be concerned about the fake bad reviews that the Little Monsters are attacking Venom with on social media. While legitimate reviews of the film have been mixed, this slew of false bad press could genuinely hurt the performance of the film at the box office, in an age where there are far more people who will choose to read 140 characters over a full, considered review.

Fandoms on social media are famed for being a bit nuts: Beliebers will attack Justin’s ex-girlfriends’ Instagram accounts until they are bullied off the platform; Arianators will dissect the meaning of Grande’s hairstyles in correspondence to her mood; and Little Monsters have in the past trolled Ed Sheeran off Twitter. Ludicrously loyal, their support quickly turns insidious when their idols are met with any form of competition or hardship, and they’ll unflinchingly pounce on the source of said threat as soon a beady-eyed follower flags it up on Twitter.

But why? What makes fans act like this, when it’s likely that their heroes wouldn’t want them to? The answer to that is unclear, but we do know to tiptoe with caution when navigating the world of Lady Gaga. You don’t want to wake up the sleeping monsters.