Did ‘Stranger Things’ Creators Plagiarize Short Film?

The director of 'Montauk' is accusing the Netflix hit series of ripping off his idea.

There’s a troubling mystery surrounding Stranger Things that’s happening off screen.

The director of a short, six-minute film about an incident on Long Beach Island entitled Montauk filed a lawsuit on Tuesday accusing creators of Stranger Things of ripping off the idea. According to Variety, Charlie Kessler says he made the short film in 2012 as a teaser for a feature film to be called The Montauk Project. After he made the teaser, he claims he pitched the idea to Matt and Ross Duffer, the co-creators of the wildly popular sci-fi show, when they all met at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014.

Kessler claims the Duffer brothers eventually used his pitch as the germ for Stranger Things, which debuted two years later.

Montauk uses found footage to tell a story about paranormal phenomena in the vicinity of a government facility. Stranger Things was originally sold to Netflix under the title Montauk, reports Variety, and it also involves supernatural phenomena surrounding a government lab. But neither project invented the idea of mysterious happenings surrounding a government facility on Long Island. The book, The Montauk Project: Experiments in Time, was released in 1992 and tells the story of repressed memories of secret government experiments at Montauk’s Camp Hero.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.