Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer are facing a lawsuit by a short film director who claims the Netflix series stole his idea.
Charlie Kessler says he made the 6 minute film Montauk about an incident on a Long Island beach, in 2012 as a teaser for a feature film The Montauk Project. He alleges that he pitched the idea to Matt and Ross Duffer, when they met at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014. Kessler says the idea went nowhere at the time, but the Duffer brothers used it as the germ for 2016’s Stranger Things.
The short film uses found footage to tell a story about paranormal phenomena in the vicinity of a government facility.
A book, “The Montauk Project: Experiments in Time,” was published in 1992, and tells of repressed memories of secret government experiments at Montauk’s Camp Hero. Versions of the story has circulated on conspiracy sites for many years. Tellingly, some of the Stranger Things cast have alluded to the connection, saying in an interview that the show was based on stories about Camp Hero.
Kessler is seeking an injunction ordering the Duffers to stop using his concepts and to destroy all materials based on those concepts, as well as restitution, lost profits and punitive damages.
Netflix declined to comment on the complaint.