Plagiarism in the Upside Down: Duffer Brothers sued for stealing the plot of Stranger Things

Charlie Kessler says he made the short film in 2012 as a teaser for a feature film to be called “The Montauk Project' and pitched the idea to the brothers

                            Plagiarism in the Upside Down: Duffer Brothers sued for stealing the plot of Stranger Things
(Getty Images)

We sense trouble in the Upside-Down. 'Stranger Things' creators Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer have been sued for allegedly stealing the idea for the hit show from a writer who handed the idea to them, TMZ reports.

According to the report, filmmaker Charlie Kessler alleges that the Duffer Brothers took a central plot point for the thrilling Netflix original drama from his short film 'Montauk'. 

Kessler claims in a new lawsuit, he produced a short film called 'Montauk,' which premiered in 2012 and even won an award at the Hamptons International Film Festival. The centerpiece of the flick involves top-secret government experiments, which is a familiar key plot point in the paranormal drama 'Stranger Things.'

Previously, in a 2012 interview Kessler had said he was “actively developing a feature version of Montauk.”

The film was based on The Montauk Project, a series of top-secret government experiments in Long Island that conspiracy theorists believe involved things like telekinesis and time travel.

The same concept was adapted in 'Stranger Things' but the title and location were changed to Hawkins, Indiana. Kessler’s found footage short film revolved around a local news reporter who stumbles across a family whose young son mysteriously vanishes, only to reappear with telekinetic powers. 

Kessler says that he and his agents had pitched them the idea for a show called Montauk back in 2014, and that the Duffer brothers stole the idea for the sci-fi thriller 'Stranger Things', which subsequently premiered on Netflix in the summer of 2016 but was originally titled 'Montauk.'

Directors Matt Duffer (L) and Ross Duffer attend the 70th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 3, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)


At that time when Kessler pitched the story, the Duffer Brothers showed no interest.

In April 2015, Netflix announced the Duffer Brothers’ series, which would eventually become 'Stranger Things,' with a very similar plot to Kessler's dismissed story plot.

According to TMZ, Kessler is asking for compensation and “destruction of all materials that were allegedly ripped off from his concept.”